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Oakland small business owner bucking trend with grand opening of retail store

Small business owner bucking trend with grand opening of retail store in Oakland
Small business owner bucking trend with grand opening of retail store in Oakland 03:29

A small business owner is celebrating her grand opening in Oakland during Black History Month after a yearlong search to find the right retail spot, even as many retailers have closed their doors amid a rise in crime.

A physical store felt like the logical next step for Prideful Patchez to grow from the days Regina Harris was working events as a vendor and online seller.

"It means a lot and even my customers, they are very happy to have a space that they can come to," Harris told KPIX. "Just to have a place to call home, I mean, this is Prideful Patchez, and this is where we want people to come to enjoy what we have, look at our art."

Three years ago she started a business after realizing that her hobby of patchwork could become a full-time job. She didn't see enough patches that represented her experience as a Black woman at the time so she created a brand that could celebrate the culture. Pulling from vendors and now designing some of her own, the patches in her store help people to feel seen in their identity and hometown.

"It is unbelievable, their responses, I mean they all say, 'Oh this is definitely me, this resonates with me, Oh I love this,' so yeah we're just happy to have a space to call our own," Harris said.

Even with robbery and burglary rates increasing in 2023, she had to search for an affordable option to work with a small team of employees. Initially, she only wanted a professional workspace but found a location that also offered her a retail shop.

"Well I'll tell you one thing I didn't realize how much work it was going to be until I actually got into it, you know, it was easy when I was home," she told KPIX. " I could sleep as long as I wanted to, I didn't have a set time, now it's a little more challenging because we have to be here, we have to be open.

"It's definitely a different experience and a different challenge I was almost ready to quit."

Harris made sure to take the necessary precautions to keep her business secure and she says that her landlord takes additional steps to give her a sense of security. Despite all the negative headlines and concerns among some in the community, she says everyone around her was supportive of opening a store and did not try to talk her out of it.

"You know what, nobody actually said that to me," said Harris. "I mean, you know, of course the thought came into my mind considering all of the crime and the break-ins that the city is having right now."

Prideful Patchez is located at 5975 Shattuck Ave. in Oakland. The store is open from 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

"I truly believe that this is what I'm supposed to be doing, we have a community-based business here," she said. "We had to serve the community and I just wasn't going to let that stop me from living my dream out, I mean this is something that I've wanted to do and I'm just going to go for it."

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