Red Bay Coffee's Virtual East Oakland HQ Tour

As cautions around further spread of the Coronavirus have caused an almost never-ending list of canceled events, Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee has decided to take their newest location’s grand opening online.

What was scheduled as an open house and conversation with Red Bay Coffee’s owner, Keba Konte, has now turned into a virtual tour and an online question-and-answer session.

At 2pm on Saturday, March 14th, people who join the live conversation will get a “hard hat tour” of the company’s new headquarters, according to Ronaldo Brown, the company’s head of marketing.

The building, the former site of a bank, is located on the corner of International Boulevard and Fruitvale Avenue in East Oakland.

Brown told me that, in addition to having office space for other business to rent, the building will have three main components; the first being a cafe for consumers, and the second being a quality control lab where workers will inspect coffee shipped in from around the world. The third is something I’ve got to see for myself: a “story vault,” where people will be invited to share their stories about coffee.

That’d be another layer to what I’ve seen of Red Bay Coffee’s community involvement. I know they host open mics, like Gold Beams’ Second Mondays series at their East 10th St. location, which isn’t too far from their new headquarters. In fact, I’ve been to film screenings there, as well as an event honoring the life of Nia Wilson, and a jam session where Tank and the Bangas were the headliner. But never anything like a “story vault.”

To see that in person, I’ll have to wait until the official opening, which is scheduled for mid-May.

For those wondering, Red Bay’s location on E. 10th will remain open. And in addition to these two locations, Red Bay Coffee (which has one other site in Oakland, two locations in San Francisco and one in Richmond) is set to open their first Southern California location in Los Angeles’ Jefferson Park neighborhood later in 2020.—Pendarvis Harshaw

March 14, 2020

The Virtual Superhighway

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