Popuphood, the innovative revitalization project for once-vacant storefronts throughout Old Oakland district held their grand opening on Friday evening, December 9. For the first time all five of the new businesses were open together. The glow emanating from both the lights wound around the trees that lined the street and the stores on the dark December evening, retailers around the Popuphood usually shut once night approached remaining open for the festivities, and consumers beginning their holiday shopping gave a hopeful and inspiring ambiance that permeated throughout the neighborhood.
Mayor Jean Quan toured the Popuphood shops talking with the business owners about the project, their experiences collaborating with the city, and also about the artists and artisans whose works were available for sale. There were also booths outside the shops for local intiatives like Oakland Grown‘s gift cards. Redeemable at many local businesses, the gift card carries the same purpose as Popuphood. It can be used at multiple locally-owned businesses, and will help holiday shopping stay local.
Although many of the shops have been open from one to two weeks before this grand opening, this event welcomed the final Popuphood store, Piper and John General Goods at 465 9th street. Owners Nicole Buffett and Jake Bagshaw are both San Francisco native artists who are committed and passionate about creating alternative spaces to other retailers that will support local San Francisco Bay Area talent. Their store sells vintage clothing and home design with work by local artists throughout, and also has a small gallery space in the back. Currently on view is Buffet’s quaint Novelitas: small, hand painted and bound books. Also in the gallery are a video of Buffet making her small books, and photographs from her past installation work during her show at San Francisco’s Ever Gold Gallery. With a focus and identity as a kind of ‘DIY California lifestyle store’ the general look will be a modernist, minimalist, bohemian aesthetic.
Also opening on Dec 9 was the Holiday Faire at Chaparral City, including an exhibition of Daniel Backman‘s collages within the design store further down 9th street and Washington. Artist, designer and DJ living and working in Oakland, Backman’s artworks are illustrative analogies of the city as collage, and pertinent to the current revitalization and progression of Old Oakland. Backman writes, “The urban fabric is engaged in an unending state of transformation, shaped over time through layering, aggregation, erasure, cutting and splicing. It expands and contracts through a connective structure that allows disparate elements, characters and conditions to interact with one another.”
Popuphood stores do keep regular business hours, open during the week and weekends. Check out their websites for more information: