Arts/Culture

Emeryville in the Post Redevelopment Agency Era

March 8, 2012
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Emeryville in the Post Redevelopment Agency Era

The city’s Finance Advisory Committee met on Monday, Feb. 27.  Some of its business was routine, some not. First, some good news:  Revenue for the second quarter was up $1,512,843 over the same period last year, a gain of about 15%, and expenditures for the quarter were down $356,958.  That’s encouraging, and we hope these figures

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Meeting Tonight! Charting Emeryville’s Future

February 28, 2012
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Meeting Tonight! Charting Emeryville’s Future

Tell the City Council What You Would Like to See When: 5:30-8:30 pm, Tonight, Tues., Feb. 28 Where: Emeryville City Hall, 1333 Park Ave. What: Redevelopment is gone and we must set our shared priorities before the new two-year budget is drafted and adopted in June. Hear information from staff, share your ideas, and meet neighbors.

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Why Buy Local: Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria

September 28, 2011
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Why Buy Local: Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria

by Reem Assil and Jabari Jones   Aron Ford's Chocolate Pride In a tough economy, and in a city known as a haven for big business, it has been a longstanding challenge for small businesses to thrive in Emeryville. But Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria has proven to be an

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Hostages Held Overnight in Botched Office Depot Robbery

September 10, 2011
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Hostages Held Overnight in Botched Office Depot Robbery

Officers surround an office depot store in Emeryville after reports of a gunman inside. (CBS) OAKLAND (CBS 5) – A suspect who held hostages overnight at an Emeryville office supply store in a botched attempt to rob the store was taken into custody Saturday morning, an Oakland police officer said. After police reviewed surveillance video from the

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Children Matter: Join the Richmond Read-Aloud Volunteer Program

September 9, 2011
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Are you looking for a good place to volunteer and help children develop a love for books and reading?  Our neighbor to the north offers just the thing.  For 15 years, volunteers like me have been reading to kindergarten and first and second grade students, one-on-one, in Richmond elementary schools—six of them at present count. 

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Why Buy Local?

September 3, 2011
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Bucci's restaurant owners Paul Camardo, Amelia Bucci, and Leslie Julian at their Hollis Street restaurant in Emeryville, which opened (at another location in town) 24 years ago. Stories about Bucci's and other local businesses in town coming soon in The Secret News.

Why should Emeryville support locally-owned businesses?

Shopping is a political act.  Where we choose to plunk down our dollars has implications far beyond our own household budgets.  Supporting local business helps the local economy and makes our communities stronger.

Locally-owned — what does it mean?

Shopping locally does not mean driving into the parking lot of your nearby big-box mall and going from box to box to do your shopping.  Shopping ‘local’ means sticking to the stores that have their roots in your own community…it may be a mom-‘n-pop, one-of-a-kind place of business, or a small local chain that started out small.  In any case, we are talking about stores that have local ownership, local management, and are closely attuned to the particular needs of their customers.

Keep your money in your community

According to a study done in 2003 in Austin, Texas by the American Independence Business Alliance, when you spend $100 at a nationwide chain store, only $13 stays in the local economy.  But spend that same $100 at a locally owned store and $45 stays to support the local economy.  Think about it.  It goes beyond the profits, which, of course go to “the headquarters in New York City.” For one thing, independent stores employ their managers and buyers locally, while a chain may have only a low-level manager on site.  The fact of more higher-paying jobs per location brings the local stores’ average wages up.  And there’s more.

Support an expanding local network

Independent stores source more of their products locally, giving area artisans, farmers and producers more of edge and a chance to market their goods.  Locally-owned businesses purchase their supplies and services from local vendors as well, thus spreading the wealth around the community.  For example, if a local store wants to expand, it will hire a local contractor who, in turn, employs local workers.  Bankers, accountants, lawyers, and window-washers all benefit.

Reduce environmental impact

Purchases from independent stores require less transportation from producer to point-of-sale.  Chain stores ship goods to regional warehouses and then turn around and reship to the final destination store, while local stores can cut out pieces of that transportation web.  You, the shopper, travel less distance to purchase goods in your own neighborhood, and may be able to bike or walk.

Relish better customer service

Research shows that small business owners focus on high quality customer service to maintain their edge against the chains.  Because they are involved in the development and running of their business, they are more likely to be knowledgeable about their field and about the products they sell. The owner of an excellent lighting store in Berkeley told me of the time he spent a half hour explaining the pros and cons of various lighting systems to a couple, only to have the wife say to her husband, “Okay, let’s go buy it at Home Depot.

Make a small change; make a big difference

Local First of Grand Rapids, MI did a study in September of 2008 examining the impact of local business on the western Michigan economy.  Their study revealed that a modest change in consumer behavior—merely a 10% shift in buying from chain-stores to independent businesses—would result in 1,600 new jobs, $53 million in wages, and a $137 million economic boon to the area in many sectors, not only retail.  Elissa Sangalli Hillary, the executive director, said, “So often, individuals feel overwhelmed and unable to make a difference.  The study shows that by choosing to support locally owned business, individuals can help to create and retain jobs in [their] community.”

Local retailers are your friends and neighbors – support them and they will support you and make your neighborhoods more livable. “More independents means more choice, more diversity and a truly unique community,” according to IndieBound, a national movement to support local, independent businesses. It’s worth it to give financial as well as intangible support to local businesses.  It’s worth it to spend tax dollars to attract and maintain them.  We all will reap the benefits.

(Photo by Scott Donahue)

(To comment on this story and/or to read the comments of others, click the headline to go to the story page, then scroll to the bottom).

The Osher Life-Long Learning Institute

August 13, 2011
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The Osher Life-Long Learning Institute

  I’ve been taking courses and attending lectures for seniors offered by Cal State East Bay’s OLLI (Osher Life-Long Learning Institute) for several years.  It’s been a mind expanding experience and great fun.  OLLI offers lectures (free to members), courses (usually four weeks in length and reasonably priced), and a variety of field trips. History, science,

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Richard Misrach: A focus on the after-story

August 6, 2011
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Richard Misrach: A focus on the after-story

Reprinted from Richard Misrach: A focus on the after-story August 1, 2011 1:00 pm by Tracey Taylor Richard Misrach in his Emeryville studio where he has worked since 1976. Photo: Tracey Taylor  Richard Misrach is nothing if not patient. When, in 1997, the renowned photographer moved into a home in the Berkeley hills and decided to capture his new

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25th Annual Emeryville Arts Exhibition

August 6, 2011
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25th Annual Emeryville Arts Exhibition

Reception: Friday September 30, 2011 6-9 p.m. Show Dates: October 1-23, 2011

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The North End: Third Annual 64th Street Block Party a Success!

August 3, 2011
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The North End: Third Annual 64th Street Block Party a Success!

Introducing The North End by Richard Ambro. This occasional column will feature news and events happening in and around the north end of town. _____________________________ The 64th Street neighborhood recently held its Third Annual Block Party and about 100 or so neighbors stopped by throughout the sunny day to chat, eat, and enjoy the day-long event.  A

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