Oakland’s Airbnb hosts visit Uptown businesses, help promote local spending

On February 23, the Oakland Airbnb host community came together to tour ten uptown small businesses. The Merchant Walk connected Airbnb hosts with local business owners in the neighborhood. The business owners treated hosts to samples, walkthroughs, and discounts for hosts to offer their Airbnb guests.

Airbnb guests who stay in Oakland’s neighborhoods spend their money locally. A recent report found that Airbnb guests spent $4.5 billion in the past year on restaurants and dining out, including $47 million at local restaurants in the East Bay.  The report also highlights how restaurants, bars, and cafes outside the traditional hotel districts benefit from Airbnb.

The Uptown Merchant Walk began at Little Giant Ice Cream on Telegraph Avenue. Cynthia, a local Oakland host, outlined the tour stops as hosts sampled the creamery’s delicious flavors.

From there, it was on to Xolo Taqueria, a popular Mexican restaurant that offers tacos, burritos, and other Mexican dishes. Hosts learned about the restaurant’s history, named after one of Frida Kahlo’s hairless dogs and opened by the owners of two other Oakland locales Bar Fauna and Flora.

At Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, hosts learned about the cool, retro design of the locale. According to the Cafe’s manager, each dining table was handcrafted with different items that the owners have collected over the years including coins and bottle caps from various countries. This second location has been serving the Uptown Oakland community since 2011 and is open every day until 1 a.m.

Next, the group headed to Make Westing, a popular bocce bar right next to the famous Fox Theatre. It so happened that the day of the Merchant Walk visit, the bar was celebrating its  5 ½ year anniversary!

Sole Space welcomed the group into their retail space after that.  The shop is located at 1714 Telegraph Avenue and is a performance and art studio by night.  The clothes sold here are designed and made in California and the profit from the sales of sneakers helps fund the local community events hosted here on a nightly basis.

Hosts really enjoyed these stops and getting to meet local business owners like Alanna. Her shop, Urban Stitch Boutique, is a trendy boutique that sells all kinds of apparel and home accessories. Alanna was excited to place an Airbnb “Community-Loved Local Business” sticker in the front window of her 2nd-floor store because she believes in the local economic impact Airbnb guests have.

The last stops on the Merchant Walk were at Hella Halal, a hip new Middle Eastern restaurant that opened six months ago, and Suru, a premium clothing shop that promotes multiculturalism and diversity through lifestyle and fashion.

Hosts enjoyed the tour of local businesses in their own neighborhood and said they are eager to support the growing Oakland Uptown small business community!