Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hot Industries: Oakland Solar Companies & Restaurants

Oakland's corporate base is underrated and its financial strength is under-reported.

While the national economy alternates between sputtering relapses and recovery, the number of Oakland companies is growing and thriving, often in new, cutting-edge industries. Look no further than the solar-energy corporation, Sungevity, which is headquartered at Oakland's Jack London Square.

Sungevity and Lowe's, the nation's second-largest home retailer, have partnered to give the Oakland rooftop solar company more access to Middle America consumers.

You remember Sungevity. It's the corporation whose CEO, Michael Kennedy, praised Oakland and the company's Jack London Square location when they moved there last year.

In the meantime, Oakland's red-hot restaurant scene refuses to cool down. A new Cuban eatery named Cana Cafe just opened in the Grand Lake area to rave reviews.

Also, Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, co-owned by Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt, is days away from opening on the ground floor of The Fox Theater in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood.

Also new to Uptown is Hawker Fare, which specializes in Asian food. Also, Hawker Fare is run by well-regarded Commis restaurant owner James Shyhabout.

And a new wine bar-restaurant called Toast Wine Lounge opened last month to standing-room-only crowds in Oakland's Rockridge district.

Every few months, there are a handful of new eateries opening in Oakland and the older one aren't going out of business, either. It's all proof that Oakland is an untapped market for the Bay Area's entertainment dollar.

And those with the business savvy and entrepreneurial vision to see it are making a healthy profit from Oakland residents' ever-growing disposable income.

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