June 10, 2013

Sacramento – An innovative Oakland company, Oaklandish, was honored today as “Small Business of the Year” for 2013 in the 9th Senate District by the California Legislature at an awards luncheon in Sacramento.  The event was attended by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the leaders of the State Senate and State Assembly and more than 70 legislators.

The company was nominated for the award by Senator Loni Hancock, who represents the district, which includes all of Alameda and parts of Contra Costa counties.

Oaklandish started as a public art project celebrating “original Oakland charm” and opened a retail store in 2011 in the heart of downtown Oakland, triggering a revitalization of the midtown area. The store serves as a nexus for its community work and features Oaklandish “civic pride apparel” plus wares from 100+ local makers. Annually, they give at least 10% of proceeds to grassroots organizations through grants, donations, pro bono design work, and marketing support.

“The success of Oaklandish demonstrates that an innovative company can both be successful and make a positive contribution to the community” Senator Hancock said.  “The creativity and uniqueness of its product line, combined with its dedication to helping the community, makes this company richly deserving of the award.”

Owner Angels Tsay attended the event and accepted the award on behalf of her company.  “It means a lot that the Legislature is honoring a community-oriented small business like Oaklandish.  I hope it will lead to other small businesses assisting in the revitalization of Oakland.”

The company opened its first retail shop in the heart of downtown Oakland on a block of Broadway once known as a site of political protests and confrontations with police.  It has brought new energy and vitality to the area. The company sells t-shirts with a “love of Oakland” theme.  These include a shirt with Oakland's original oak tree logo from 1852, a shirt with “Oakland” over the imagery of the city's pro basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, and shirts with images of the eastern span of the Bay Bridge and the MacArthur Maze.