Heart of Oakley Festival

Hosted by City Of Oakley

Heart of Oakley Festival September 14th 2013


The City of Oakley did a great job with its inaugural Heart of Oakley festival, which an estimated two to three thousand people attended. (That was the mayor’s best guess.) The vendor application forms stated an expected attendance of 600, which is perhaps why Republic of Cake ran out of cupcake samples in the first hour and the commemorative wine glasses sold out. I didn’t hear any complaints about shortages, however, so on the whole, supply must have been able to meet demand.

The fountain in Oakley Plaza was in fact finished in time for the event, and once it was turned on after the ribbon cutting at the beginning of the day, kids played in the water non-stop. Representatives from the offices of Jerry McNerney and Mark DeSaulnier presented certificates to Oakley’s mayor as part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by all the local school superintendents, police chief, and fire chief, as well as previous council members and former mayor Pat Anderson.

It was good to see the City following through on some of the suggestions that the Oakley Chamber had made earlier: increasing the length of the event, expanding the number of available vendor booths, adding more local entertainment groups, involving local artists, and adding a movie in the park at dusk.

Booth spaces still sold out very quickly, so the Oakley Chamber was happy to be able to provide vendor space for members at its booth. Among those who took advantage of our offer were Reach Project, Inc., the Oakley Press, Stonecrest Lending, Tax Specialty Service, the Degree of Pocahontas, and Comfort Suites. We hope that next year more local businesses will be able to get booths of their own.

Despite some concerns that had been raised about offering food vendor spaces to out-of-town food trucks instead of local Oakley restaurants, it was clear that La Costa, at least, was doing absolutely thriving business on Saturday (the free drinks for kids and the Mariachi band hired at La Costa’s own expense may have had something to do with that).

September Chamber Mixer at Sutter Delta


The September 2013 Oakley Chamber mixer took place in the healing garden at Sutter Delta, the employer of board member Darci Bowen. Sutter provided an impressive spread, and Cindy Thomas of Wine Shop at Home was on hand to serve the wine.

In addition to several of Darci’s colleagues from Sutter (including the woman responsible for the amazing raffle prizes), there were guests from the Oakley Press, the Monthly Grapevine, ECC Bank, Shadow Lakes Golf Club, Madrona Naturopathic, and Scruffy Dog Productions. Chamber board members Diane LasherSallie Goetsch, Stefan Didak, Wendy Lou Turner, and Kristin Mattingly were also present.

Breakfast with the Mayor September 2013

Since the first Monday in September is Labor Day, we held this mayor breakfast on the second Monday at the Red Men/Pocahontas Hall.

Mayor Kevin Romick presented a proposal on the state of development in Oakley, including the downtown construction, the bids on the lot at the corner of Carol Lane, and planned new housing developments.

He also offered advice on when to call Code Enforcement. If you have neighbors who leave trash on the sidewalks, fail to maintain their property, run illicit businesses in residential zones (a housing development is not the place for a mechanic’s shop), or park inoperative vehicles on their lawn, phone Scott Sanders at 925-625-7031.

The complete Oakley Municipal Code is available online on the City’s website as is a convenient list of common violations.

Common Code Violations to Avoid

Oakley Chamber Mixer August 2013–Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage



The parking spaces have started to fill up at Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage since the June 29th ribbon cutting, but there’s still plenty of space for anyone who needs secure covered storage for a boat or RV in Oakley. We got to see the security cameras in action (though the motion sensors don’t go into action until after closing time), and everyone who hadn’t yet had the grand tour had a chance to tour Bob Hayworth’s beautiful facility.

There were more than twenty people in attendance, including both long-time and prospective members. Mayor Kevin Romick dropped in briefly at the beginning, but wasn’t able to stay. Travis Credit Union‘s Helen Raoufian brought her manager, and Judy Hester brought a guest. Both Fred Ginsler and Greg Robinson attended on behalf of the Press. Tom Williams from Ironhouse Sanitary District generously purchased the wine from Cindy Thomas of Wine Shop at Home on behalf of the Chamber. Board member Darci Bowen brought the usual enormous raffle prize from Sutter Delta. Both Wendy Lou Turner of Glow Wellness and Dr. Margaret Stahler of Madrona Naturopathic Healthcare mentioned Dr. Oz. Dr. Kristin Mattingly of Oakley Chiropractic had to leave early, but the raffle prizes she contributed were welcome. Chamber director Shirley Darling had good news about the Oakley Seniors. Larry Jones and his wife Sabrina contributed some nice raffle prizes, and Roger Strauss of SDG Architects was vibrant in bright orange. As usual, board member Stefan Didak took the photos and Chamber president Sallie Goetsch attempted to herd the cats.

It took a bit of effort to persuade everyone to go upstairs where the food (provided by La Costa) was being kept warm in the kitchen, but we relocated the raffle prizes and Cindy Thomas brought the wine up as well. The raffle was a great success, with several of Oakley Executive’s employees, particularly Liz, winning prizes–enough for a party, in fact.

Jane Crockett provided the best line of the night, when twitted about her pronunciation of the word “almond.”

“So what’s the difference between an ‘ahhlmond’ and an ‘a-mond’?” asked Fred Ginsler of the Press.

“Well,” Jane answered, “Kenny always said that they’re almonds on the tree, but when you harvest them, you knock the ‘ell out of them.”

August 2013 Breakfast with the Mayor–City Hall

Hosted by City Of Oakley


The August 2013 Breakfast with the Mayor event took place in the City Council Chambers, built in 2008 along with the rest of City Hall and the new Oakley Police station.

In addition to Lynn Stahli’s breakfast casserole, there were pastries from Panera provided by Cecilia Nichols-Fritzler, and plenty of desperately-needed coffee.

The usual loyal crew turned out: Oakley Chamber board members Jane Crockett, Shirley Darling, Stefan Didak, and Sallie Goetsch; Chamber members Larry Jones of Larry Jones Garage Doors, Roger Strauss of SDG Architects, Alan Peterson of Peterson Studios; and prospective member attorney Susan Morgan.

We discussed, as usual, the perpetual Main Street construction (almost finished); the temporary Hallowe’en store, owned by the same people who run California Fitness 24/7 and due to open September-November in the CentrOmart building; bids on the property at the corner of Carol Lane and Main Street across from the FedEx plaza; and other issues of business development in Oakley.

Our other topic was the confused evolution of the Heart of Oakley festival on September 14th, but although the mayor and city manager have been working to expand the hours and scope of that event, so far there is little concrete information to report.


Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting–S. Brooks Training

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for S. Brooks Training

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting for S. Brooks Training

Shammond Brooks carefully researched every aspect of his sports training facility for children, visiting facilities all over the Bay Area and even conducting market research as far away as Texas and Florida. He seeks to provide children who play sports like soccer and baseball the competitive edge they need to face teams from other regions.

Although the grand opening event had been planned some time in advance, S. Brooks Training had only joined the Chamber a few days prior to it, so we had to scramble to get our ribbon cutting together, and the Oakley Chamber was under-represented. Nevertheless, Good Scents provided a lovely pair of bouquets connected by a ribbon for us to cut, and Doug Hardcastle was able to represent the Oakley City Council.

Tom Cusack of Scruffy Dog Productions was on hand to make a video recording of the event, which will eventually appear here in this post as well as on the Scruffy Dog YouTube channel.

The Grand Opening featured discounts on club memberships, demonstrations of soccer, weight training and zumba, and one unexpected adventure involving the light fixtures.

We wish Shammond Brooks and his family the best of luck with their new venture and feel confident that their careful planning will pay off.

First Home-based Business Roundtable

Hosted by:
Cecelia Fritzler and Sallie Goetsch lead a discussion on issues facing home-based businesses in Oakley

Cecelia Fritzler and Sallie Goetsch lead a discussion on issues facing home-based businesses in Oakley

The City of Oakley’s Economic Development Department and the Oakley Chamber of Commerce joined forces to hold the first Home-based Business Roundtable on July 23rd, 2013 in the city council chambers. We sent out nearly 400 postcards inviting everyone with a registered home-occupation permit, as well as inviting all Chamber members to attend.

Given the usual direct mail response rate of around 1%, we worried that we might only have 4 people in the room, but in the event, there were about 20, many of them people we had not met before, and a wide range of business types. Some people were just starting or preparing to start businesses; others had been in business for more than 20 years. Most preferred to remain at home, rather than moving to offices outside of their homes. While some were interested in pursuing funding for startup or growth costs, almost all wanted help with marketing and advertising. (Many said “I need a website” or “I need a better website.”)

Very few were aware that the City of Oakley produces a “Starting a Business in Oakley” guide and publishes it on their website. (There is a new version coming soon.)

Two special guests joined us that evening: George Carter from the Workforce Development Board and Mitch Hardin from the Contra Costa SBDC. Both are great resources for small businesses in Contra Costa County. There’s a lot of free online training available from the SBDC.

Everyone wanted to continue to hold more such meetings and focus on different topics such as marketing and sources of funds. Contact Sallie Goetsch or Cecelia Nichols-Fritzler to be notified of dates for future meetings.

Download the Resources for Small Businesses handout from the event.

Oakley Chamber Mixer July 2013: Madrona Naturopathic Healthcare


Dr. Margaret Stahler of Madrona Naturopathic Healthcare hosted the July Chamber Mixer at Delta Valley Athletic Club. Pho Vietnam provided the catering and Black Bear Diner provided the wine, though Brenda and Jimmy d’Amico weren’t able to stay for the event.

Although several members of the Chamber Board were unfortunately out of town, a number of new people attended the event, including local author Glenn Ogura, whose novel Startup is now available in Barnes and Noble. (Larry Jones won a copy of the book in the raffle.) Dr. Gene Martin of the Fibromyalgia Relief Center of the Bay Area joined us, as did several representatives of Pacific Asset Management and Transamerica, as well as Margaret Quintana of Land Home Financial and Helen Raoufian of Travis Credit Union. (Yes, the money people were really out in force.)

Sue Servantes attended on behalf of the Monthly Grapevine, and Sallie Goetsch, Stefan Didak, and Kristin Mattingly held down the fort on behalf of the Oakley Chamber. Dr. Stahler’s young assistant Sam, daughter of the receptionist at the executive suites in the complex, helped pull the raffle tickets.

We had some unexpected excitement when someone working out in the club collapsed unexpectedly and the EMTs arrived. (Fortunately it wasn’t serious.)


July 2013 Breakfast with the Mayor – Stonecrest Lending


There were several new faces at Monday’s Breakfast with the Mayor. Laura Cunha, owner of Stonecrest Lending, had invited some of her colleagues from the real estate industry, and also her personal trainer, Anthony Scalia from Trucks Training. This led, in turn, to a new focus of discussion on housing prices (the same in Antioch and Oakley, and considerably higher in Brentwood), property taxes and special assessments, landscaping, and plans for development.

The group also discussed the upcoming Home-based Business Roundtable on July 23rd and the possible reasons for the discontinuation of Brentwood’s business incubator project. (The conclusion was that the neighborhood was deteriorating and businesses were leaving.) Oakley lacks available light industrial properties and office buildings, but without a demonstrable demand for them, no developer is going to build them. If enough home-based business owners in Oakley say they want a co-working space, or small offices, or a shared commercial kitchen, and would pay to use it, then it could become interesting to investors.

Mayor Kevin Romick talked about the recently passed $13.2 million city budget, more than $8 million of which goes toward the police force, contracted from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s department. The cost of the contract is now about equal to the cost of having an independent police department, but there are some other trade-offs: we would have to train our own officers, pay separately for the use of helicopters and SWAT teams, etc. The contract is re-negotiated every year, so the City will be able to make the change when it becomes financially necessary.

Otherwise, the budget is balanced and the City has maintained a reserve throughout the recession. See the recommended budget here. (The final budget will be published on the City of Oakley website soon, but isn’t there yet.)

As for our favorite can-we-please-stop-talking-about-this topic, the construction on Main Street, the road had to be dug up yet again for the fire sprinklers for DG Market, but it’s supposed to be done by the end of this week. No, really.

As we’re now halfway through the year, Friends of Oakley is ramping up for its 2013 Christmas Basket Collection. Visit their website to find out how you can contribute.

The August Breakfast with the Mayor will be hosted by the City of Oakley.

Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage Grand Opening

Bob and Luis cut the ribbon

Bob Hayworth and Luis Fabian cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage. Photo by Stefan Didak.

Oakley Executive RV & Boat Storage had their grand opening on Saturday, June 29th, 2013, and the Oakley Chamber was there with the ribbon and the giant scissors to cut it. What a change since November’s groundbreaking ceremony! Where there was once bare dirt, there are now 338 parking spaces for RVs, including an RV wash, as well as an air-conditioned building with a conference room downstairs and an office and meeting space upstairs with a kitchen. There are two bathrooms inside and one outside; the outside bath is equipped with a shower for those coming in muddy from their boats.

All of the RV parking spaces are covered, most by solar panels pumping 1.5 megawatts back to PG&E. There’s still some undeveloped land, which may be used for Baja Construction and may be put back into grapes; further development plans will wait until more of the spaces have been rented.

Oakley mayor Kevin Romick and vice-mayor Randy Pope attended, as did Gary Prost from Congressman Jerry McNerney’s office and Satinder Malhi from State Senator Mark DeSaulnier’s office. Radio station KKIQ FM provided the music and Black Bear Diner furnished the hot dogs.

Tom Cusack from Scruffy Dog Productions has recorded a video which will be available here and on his YouTube channel for two months.