Survey finds Occupy Oakland has had positive or neutral Impact on 80% of Small Businesses near Plaza with 20% reporting a negative impact. Local Business Liaison seeking to help.

Categories: Local Business Liaison Committee, News, Press Releases 2011

Survey Finds Occupy Oakland Has Had Positive or neutral Impact on 80% of Small Businesses near Plaza with 20% reporting a negative impact. Local Business Liaison Seeking to Help.

(Click here to see the write up in the Oakland by Eric Arnold about this survey released on December 8, 2011.  Feel free to leave a comment of support in response to the “Trolls” who have been making some negative comments.)

Oakland, California – 12/7/11 – Occupy Oakland’s Local Business Liaison (LBL) is a group composed of small business owners, organizers, and workers from every class and profession. Their mission is to enable communication between the local business community and Occupy Oakland by studying its impact on local businesses, to identify the benefits and detriments to the business community, and to seek ways of optimizing the situation.

The Local Business Liaison Committee surveyed 106 businesses within two blocks of the Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza on November 6-8, 2011. This period of time was during the Occupy Oakland encampment at the Plaza. The results show that 25% of businesses reported a positive impact since the Occupy Oakland Encampment began. These included credit unions, a local bank, convenience stores, affordable restaurants and cafes, copy and print shops, and some restaurants and businesses outside of the plaza. Much of this positive effect was due to increased pedestrian traffic in the area. 55% of businesses reported an overall neutral impact.

For the 20% of businesses that reported a negative impact, many attributed it to the police actions on October 25th. The use of excessive police force, teargas, alarming media coverage, vandalism, and aesthetic impact were their concerns. Fencing the perimeter around Grant/Ogawa plaza for two days by the police on October 25-26 shut down any Plaza businesses completely during that time. This caused the most damage to small businesses on the Plaza. The Local Business Liaison is seeking to address these concerns by calling for the community and Occupy Oakland supporters to patronize independent local businesses in Oakland.

This survey refutes an Oakland Chamber of Commerce claim that the Occupation harmed local businesses, a claim on which the Chamber based its demand that the City of Oakland shut down the encampment. The survey shows more businesses helped than harmed by the encampment; furthermore, many losses derived from police actions and attempts to remove the encampment rather than from the encampment itself.

Maria Gastelumendi, the owner of The Rising Loafer Cafe and Bakery, a Certified Green Business at Ogawa/Grant Plaza, states, ” If one wants to hear from local small business owners about their perspectives, go to an association that actually represents them, such as Oakland Grown/Sustainable Business Alliance, Green Cafe, and the Chamber of Commerce for Green Business.”

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