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  • Writer's pictureNicole Johnson

How these 10 Oakland small businesses are coping with COVID-19

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

Image source: Brother & Sisters Flowers via Instagram

Oakland residents are under orders to "shelter in place" during COVID-19 and we are doing our part to ensure our communities and families remain safe by staying home, except to buy "essential household items", in which case we are social distancing and adhering to the recommendations by the CDC.

We're also highlighting local businesses that are doing their part to service their communities while supporting shelter-in-place initiatives. Here at NicJohn Media, we believe that small businesses are the backbones of our communities and the impact this crisis will have on local businesses is undeniable. That's why we're shining a light and encouraging people to #BuyLocal, #BuyBayArea.

We are also very aware of the hard work of our cities grocery store employees, sanitation workers, postal workers, restaurant employees, and countless doctors, nurses, and medial staff to keep our city running, despite. Please keep them in mind during these unprecedented times.

To that end, here are 10 local businesses that are helping our community cope while giving back and supporting shelter-in-place.

(Disclaimer: These are just some of our personal favorites, but there are many, many other local Oakland businesses that could use our support, like these in this shared list of Bay Area local businesses.)

1. The Red Door Catering

Owner and chef Reign Free knows how to keep stomachs full while giving back to her community. Her company The Red Door Catering is offering curbside pickup of fresh fish and other menu options during its "Shelter in the Fryer" pop-up event, giving a whole new meaning to #FishFridays. They're also offering a special "Shelter in Care" delivery option to support local heath care providers. For every 4 meals purchased TRD will donate the 5th meal free. Grab a meal, or give the gift of one, online at

2. Brother and Sisters Flower Shop

Florist Freya Prowe, owner of one of our fav flower shops, Brother and Sisters Flower Shop, is offering "no touch deliveries" on a limited basis. Check the store's Instagram Feed for delivery info...and why not consider sending a gorgeous bloom to a healthcare worker, senior, coworker, or friend.

3. Skin Spirit

According to an email forwarded to me by the staff at Skin Spirit in Montclair, the store has "temporarily suspended all clinic operations" until April 1 in support of its commitment to public health and social responsibility, but their e-commerce site is open at The company is also offering medical-grade products for at-home self care delivered right to your door (with a 5% discount for auto-delivery). I'm counting down the days when I can see my friend and favorite esthetician Erikka Easterlingbut in the meantime, I will take her advice and stay well.

4. Deidre Joyner, Realtor

This hardworking, top producer and friend at Red Oak Reality is serving her clients using creativity, focus, and sincere dedication. Deidre Joyner explains in this video how she's working for her clients while she's working from home...a GREAT example of being high-tech and high-touch during uncertain times.

5. Brown Sugar Kitchen

Chef Tanya Holland and her amazing team over at Brown Sugar Kitchen is offering comfort foods that one could only wish for during times like these. The restaurant is also offering gift cards for a cause. 10% of all gift cards sold will be donated to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. (Purchase gift cards here.)

6. Red Bay Coffee

Why not grab a gift card to this favorite cafe and coffee shop and gift it to a healthcare worker who could use a little cheering up at this time? Or save it for later?

7. Chef Michele

Michele McQueen, owner and proprietor of Gussie's Southern Table, is cooking up scrumptious southern favorites with a weekly meal prep service and offering cashless payment and delivery options. DM her via her Instagram Page to see what's she's cooking up next! (After having to cook dinner for 7 days in a row now, I'm all for it!)

8. Taylor Jay Collection

Need something comfortable and stylish to take all those #WorkFromHome video calls?

Look no further than Taylor Jay Collection. From wrap skirts and comfy tops, TJ offers all the essentials a busy professional would need during times like these. The retail store is closed for now, but the store's e-commerce site is open. Love how they're continuing to spread love to the community through the store's Instagram Feed, a mix of inspiring images and posts about supporting small businesses and staying safe.

9. Market Hall Foods

This local favorite is offering shelter-in-place hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the "individuals who are 65+ or part of the vulnerable population". The store has also modified its hours to allow extra time for its team members to restock and fully clean stores in light of the current situation.

10. Shakewell

Need cocktails to-go? Shakewell owner Tim Nugent is offering window drops-ins and food deliveries at this popular spot. Visit the website for delivery menu and pick up hours.

Let's do our part to support our local small businesses while we shelter in place (yes, it can be done!), but let's do so from a distance while we help STOP the spread of COVID-19.

For programs to support small business and workers in Oakland and neighboring cities, click here.

Visit for other helpful articles and resources.

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