The current economy has left a lot of empty storefronts around Oakland. Friday on my way home from Habitat, I came across a creative way of dealing with it, a collective popup market. The force behind the Montclair Plaza Collective is photographer Reenie Raschke, and she's hoping to make the collective a permanent fixture in Montclair Village.
Reenie ran a photography studio in the village for 12 years before rising rents forced her to run her business from home. After talking with other village merchants about the vacant storefronts, Reenie and her husband Greg Fieler came up with the idea of a sustainability-based collective market. During the initial two month trial run, the market has artwork and pre-packaged food items. They're hoping to get the necessary permits to have fresh food such as seafood, and to be a drop-off point for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes, like the Beet Box from Phat Beets. Think slow food and slow money.
The list of vendors is growing, and currently includes:
Back to The Roots
Little Paper Monkeys
Montclair Skin Care
My Town Montclair Book
King Bag Co
You probably recognize some of those, like Back to the Roots (aka the mushroom guys) and Heidi Wyckoff, the artist who painted the images for the soon-to-be-released Oakland Landmarks book done in collaboration with columnist and historian Annalee Allen.
Montclair Plaza Collective
Another place markets are popping up for the holidays is Old Oakland. The Popup Hood is making use of currently vacant storefronts in Old Oakland. Such a setup is a win all around, as the neighborhood gets the space used, the landlord gets to show off a space that's not empty, and the vendor gets a space to use for a while. Current vendors include:
Marion and Rose's Workshop
Piper and John General Goods
Sticks+Stones Gallery (@815 Broadway)
Turtle & Hare
Hidden in plain sight: The working poor
10 hours ago