West Alameda Business Association

I am proudly forced to repeat myself from last week — the West End is my home.

I have called Webster Street my home for the last 15 years. I’m blessed that I was called to this island — my lady said I was invited, that it’s a kind of magic, destiny, an honor — and that it accepted me and that I’m lucky, and it’s true. I’ve made so many beautiful friends over the years — I’m looking at you, Il Postino and El Viejo Loco. Webster has everything I need within walking distance. There is no need to ever leave this street, let alone the island itself. 

“I never thought I’d need so many people.” — David Bowie

For months I have walked the streets of the West End alone, feeling like Will Smith in I Am Legend, Charlton Heston in the Omega Man, or Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth (the geeks out there reading this will know that they are all based on the same book by masterful Mr. Matheson).

Al’s Barbershop, like many other barbershops, has been feeling the pain of COVID-19. Although the shelter in place orders came fast, Al’s reacted just as quickly.

“We’ve been closed since March 16 per the shelter-in-place order. We shut down immediately, informed all our clients that had appointments and our larger client base shortly after,” said barber Joe Polissky. “Originally, we were advised that the order would likely be lifted by the beginning of April. This was then revised to May, now June. We are patiently awaiting the definite date we can go back to work.”

Roving West End reporter checking in with my latest updates on eating and drinking in the Webster Street area. First off, after weeks of making COVID-19 modifications, Spritzers Coffee House on Central Avenue has reopened.

Local art remains on the walls where tables and chairs are “taped off,” but they’re still making good coffee, and have snacks for pick up. If life ever returns to “normal” I suggest ordering their vegetarian quiche.

A moment of gratitude — help is on the way

On Tuesday, April 21, the Alameda City Council made an important decision to dedicate $600,000 for the new Alameda Strong grant program — just one of several initiatives designed to help local businesses. For this, we wanted to take a moment to say a heartfelt “thank you.”  

This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for business owners, both large and small. Last week was like none seen in recent memory. What the world looked like on Monday was vastly different than where we wound up just a few days later. Keeping up with the rapidly changing news and resources for our business community brings new meaning to the old phrase, “drinking from a firehose.” 

But the staff here at the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) is doing its level best to try to centralize resources for local business members.

This past week has been a difficult one in the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) office. We have fielded multiple calls from local businesses who are suffering a significant slowdown in business. It is during these trying times that we look to come together as a community for safety, security and comfort.  As Alamedans we take pride in our huge sense of community and neighborly spirit.  

So, we encourage each and everyone to first, be safe, and secondly, remember to support one another; this includes our local business community.

The West Alameda Branch of the Alameda Free Library has two events on the calendar of interest to the general public. Both events are free.

Travel in photos

First, next Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. the library wll present “Ten Cities in Ten Days.” Mara, a longtime member of the Alameda Photographic Society, will present a slide show of images from a whirlwind visit to Spain’s beautiful, historic and romantic cities, as seen through her third eye, her camera lens. 

The words evoke a thoroughfare with shops, a park and maybe city hall or other municipal building. Alameda’s Main Street boasts no such amenities.

In fact, the Island City’s Main Street runs nowhere near the center of town but skirts its periphery. Alameda’s Main Street has something in common with San Francisco’s Main Street. They both bear Charles Main’s name.

This year is going to be a wonderful year for Webster Street. 

On Jan. 25, the Chinese New Year was celebrated as the Year of the Rat.  Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life. Join the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) for our Spring Celebration — a multi-cultural family-friendly festival, Saturday, March 14, at Webster Street and Taylor Avenue, starting at 11 a.m. The event will feature music, artists, dancers, entertainers and a kids’ crafts zone where they can even make their own paper rats!