Pop-ups? Fun. But there's one step better: Popuphood, invented by Oaklanders Sarah Filley and Alfonso Dominguez. The two banded together with the Old Oakland community to renovate five dilapidated 19th-century storefronts and repopulate the historic neighborhood. Then, they offered five start-up retailers the chance to sell their goods out of them, giving them six months of free rent to make a go of it.
The grassroots effort was such a success that foot traffic increased and the desirability of Old Oakland is skyrocketing. Other cities have looked at adopting this model to bring back their Main streets. Give your love to Popuphood by shopping the retailers between 8th and 9th, Broadway and Washington streets.
At Umami Mart, barware and kitchenware from Japan are arranged as artfully as if in a museum. There are gold cocktail shakers and porcelain teapots.
Marion & Roses Workshop stocks well-made items manufactured in the United States, like dish towels, screen-printed with Bay Area emblems to Faribault wool iPad covers.
Rewild your life, as the motto goes, at FloraCultural Society. Shop for botanical- and plant-made items as well as just plants.
So hot: Indian recycled bikes and patchwork furniture designed by Sobu co-owner Alessandro Latini. The store carries furniture made from reclaimed and sustainable wood.
Popuphood-grad Kate Ellen now runs her Crown Nine jewelry store a half block away. It sells her jewelry made from recycled metals and jewelry from other indie designers.