OAKLAND INDIE ALLIANCE FORESEES ACCELERATING SMALL BUSINESS FAILURES DUE TO RAPIDLY CHANGING ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - MAY 18, 2016
Inquires to: Sal Bednarz . firstname.lastname@example.org . 510.735.6016
We are Oakland Indie Alliance, representing over 50 locally-owned and -managed restaurants. We are seeing our members’ profits in sharp decline, and our employees and customers fleeing Oakland for more affordable alternatives. We’re increasingly concerned as long-standing small local restaurants give up and close their doors. We believe this is the beginning of a wave of small business closures which will accelerate if current pressures do not abate. These closures will not be confined to our membership - they will affect small businesses (especially restaurants) in all Oakland neighborhoods, and will irrevocably change those neighborhoods. In the end, we will be left with chains and franchises in the casual segment, well-funded high-end establishments (which cater to the growing wealthier population moving into our city), and not much else.
Oakland Indie Alliance was formed in early 2015 as Measure FF brought an unprecedented increase in minimum wage to Oakland, and has continued to grow and evolve. We took a strong stance against an unfair Waste Management contract which recently went into effect, and were a key part of pushing the City and Waste Management to adopt a rate reduction agreement. We have weighed in on the evolving plastic bag reduction program and food truck policy. We increasingly are sitting at the table with local politicians and other interest groups to find ways to protect our continued existence, because we recognize that our voice is important and hasn’t been heard in the past. We know that if we don’t engage in this broader dialog, we will lose.
We are an all-volunteer organization with no funding. We do this work to support each other, hoping that our effort will benefit our city as a whole. Most of our members opened their establishments in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. We took a risk on Oakland when Oakland needed risk-takers. We created hundreds of local jobs and have cycled hundreds of millions of dollars through the local economy. We helped create the Oakland we live in today: increasingly livable and still accessible to Oakland residents.
We care about our workers. We care about Oakland. And we’re very worried.