On March 18th, the Airbnb community came together for its seventh Oakland merchant walk to tour 10 businesses along Grand Ave. The Grand Ave area is known for its lively weekend farmers markets, the historic Grand Lake Theater, and an array of shops that are locally owned and operated.
The Merchant Walk began at Merritt Station Cafe, where hosts grabbed coffee and heard from local Oakland hosts, LaurieAnn and Cynthia, who outlined the walk and gave a preview of the businesses that would be visited.
One of the first stops was at Kume Spa, a local business that offers a number of services and products for locals to live a healthier lifestyle. At Kume Spa, hosts learned about a number of refreshing teas and detox treatments that are available. The spa gave the group discounts to share with their Airbnb guests.
At Lakeview Bicycle, hosts learned that guests can get a three-hour bike rental, lock and helmet included, for only $15! Getting around on a bike is a great way for travelers to explore Oakland’s many unique neighborhoods.
One of the most popular spots on Grand Ave is Grand Lake Kitchen, a place known for locally sourced ingredients and warm hospitality
Next, the group went to BarLago Italian restaurant. BarLago is a neighborhood Italian restaurant and bar known for their beef ribs and steak carbonara. They were recently voted as having one of the best bloody marys in the Bay Area!
A favored portion of these walks for hosts is the opportunity to meet the owners of these businesses and hear from them directly. John Beaver, co-owner of Oaktown Spice Shop, spoke to our hosts about how his shops offer the freshest, highest-quality spices and hand-mixed spice blends in the Bay Area.
“Oakland is a vibrant, welcoming community, and there are many businesses like mine that are benefitting from Airbnb guests who stay in the area. I love getting more foot traffic at Oaktown Spice Shop!” – John Beaver, Co-owner, Oaktown Spice Shop
Sacred Well, a new age shop, presented hosts with an option for their guests who may be looking for homemade and one-of-a-kind products made by local artists. One of Oakland’s own Airbnb hosts – Pamela Long – makes crystals and are sold at Sacred Well.
Another great stop for our hosts was a local favorite, Room 389 Sports Bar serving a variety of refreshing drinks.
Nearing the end of our walk, we stopped by The Working Body, a local fitness studio that offers various classes including pilates, yoga, and dance. Hannah Husband, personal trainer, and Oakland host who teaches at The Working Body explained that the facility is a great option for incoming guests — a 7-day unlimited class pass is only $30.
At the end of the walk, hosts gathered at Ensarro Ethiopian Restaurant, a local favorite founded in 2006. Hosts tried a variety of favorites offered by the restaurant, including Ye Messer Sambusas (handmade sambussa’s stuffed with lentils, onions, peppers and herbs). They were delicious and hosts enjoyed getting to know each other!