Design that Pops: Oakland Businesses Get a Fresh Start

Through a collaboration managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and AnewAmerica Community Corporation with partners: Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center, Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and The Unity Council, these organizations provide a spectrum of technical assistance services to businesses impacted by construction of AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project on International Boulevard.  In addition to technical assistance, a limited Business Assistance Fund (BAF) program is available to those most impacted. In conjunction with AC Transit, these programs were created by the City of Oakland to help business mitigate the new physical environment created by the BRT.

Roció Navarro owns Artesanías y Botánica Del Sol. Although she has been in business for the last 18 years on the Boulevard, she decided to move her shop from 4030B to 5115 International, in hopes of increasing exposure.

Yudy Herrera working with businesses along the BRT corridor.

After a visit from Oakland Digital, a non profit that helps local business increase their marketing and digital presence, Designer Yudy Herrera assessed the business and determined they needed to modernize their brand. The first step: create a new custom logo able to be reproduced in both digital and  and print formats. The second step: build and optimize their social media presence including the creation of design elements, verify accounts and digital literacy. The final step: designing and ordering the business cards. Roció was so impressed by the look of Yudy’s creative solution that she ordered an 8’x 22’ banner to serve as a storefront sign.

After over 15 hours of a collaborative design process, Roció reported that her sales increase $400 more on the day the signage was installed. Yudy says,

Oakland Digital is thrilled to continue serving the businesses along International most impacted by the BRT project. We are now on our 8th year of providing digital literacy, equity, and tech inclusion. Our success stories like Roció’s keep us inspired and validates our mission that design is positively impacting our communities.

Marsha Murrington, Senior Program Officer of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) explains the value of technical assistance to small businesses: “In the big picture, we are looking at introducing optimization tools that teach small businesses to become proactive in exploring ways to expand their customer base, to increase sales; and by introducing systems to enhance their operations also helps them become more efficient enterprises. We are hopeful that businesses like Artesanias y Botanica Del Sol will inspire change in others as it becomes more viable.”

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