Small Black-owned businesses bank on investing in Oakland
We take a look at new Black-owned businesses that have recently opened in Oakland. The owners decided to invest in this city despite recent issues with crime. Owners of both of these businesses say they love Oakland and that now is a great time to help bring improvements to make a difference.
OAKLAND, Calif. – During Black HIstory Month, KTVU took a look at new Black-owned businesses that have recently opened in Oakland.
The owners decided to invest in a city grappling with crime.
Regina Harris recently held a soft opening for Prideful Patchez in North Oakland.
“They’re patches that depict the African American experience, what we go through, our lives, and our culture,” said Harris.
This is a second career. Harris was a 911 dispatcher and became the first female civilian manager of the dispatch center.
She retired after 34 years and started Prideful Patchez in 2019 as an online business from home.
“Initially the rent was too high. You couldn’t find a place. Everything was unreasonable and it just didn’t make sense,” Harris said it now makes sense to open a brick and mortar store.
After the pandemic, rents dropped.
She said she had some concerns about crime but didn’t let that stop her.
“I felt this was it,” she said.. This is where I’m supposed to be. We’re just going to roll with it.”
Harris is not alone in wanting to invest in Oakland.
Two bartenders, Oakland natives, are now owners of a new bar named Theory on Telegraph Avenue.
Gabriel Holland said he’s wanted to own a bar for ten years and now, the rent is finally affordable for home.
“Once I started bartending, I fell in love with it,” said Holland,”Pretty cool. It’s a dream come true.”
Holland and co-owner James Fortune said they want to be part of revitalizing Oakland.
“It’s hard, but like anything else, it’s also wonderful when you’re doing something that you absolutely love,” said Fortune.
They said it’s about making a positive impact on community members.
“No matter what their day was like, you have the ability to change it. You can literally change the way someone feels,” said Fortune.
The owners planned to double the size of their business soon by opening up a section that will serve craft cocktails by the end of the month.
Back at Prideful Patchez, Harris said she’s proud of the partnership she has with HBCU, short for historically Black colleges and universities, which carry her patches in their bookstores.
She wanted to build a business for the community she grew up in.
“Oakland has a lot of problems right now. I’m hoping the city can figure this thing out,” said Harris.
The new business owners said their best advice to others is to go for it and follow your dreams.
The grand opening for Prideful Patchez is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU, Instagram @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU.hm