At Temescal Works, it hasn’t been a great month to give up carbs.
Throughout June, as part of our first-anniversary celebrations, we’ve been hosting Waffle Wednesday, a once-a-week morning filled with starchy goodness. We supply the waffler iron, the batter and all the fixings. You supply the waffle-making expertise. Judging from the feedback we’ve received, it’s been a hit.
As if that weren’t enough on the carbo-loading front, we also had a mid-day mac-n-cheese extravaganza, with lunch supplied by our friends at Homeroom, the wildly popular mac-n-cheese restaurant on 40th Street. They brought us three heaping platters of mac-n-cheese (each a different recipe), along with lots of salad. And it all went fast. Next time, we’ll be sure to order even more.
June isn’t over yet. And neither are our anniversary commemorations. We’ve got one more Waffle Wednesday coming up on June 26. And our month-long give-aways are still in play. Sign up for a membership in June, and we’ll waive the $75 registration fee. And if you’re already a member, don’t forget to stop by the front desk to pick up your free Temescal Works t-shirt.
Thanks again for helping us celebrate.
You can start your keto diet in July.
Or, as non-Latin speakers often say: Time flies.
It’s hard to believe, but like that, it’s upon us. June 1. Our one-year anniversary at Temescal Works.
Much has transpired in the 12 months since we flung back our doors and welcomed our first members into our lovingly restored, character-rich building, smack dab in the middle of Temescal.
For starters, over the past year, we’ve gone through 299 pounds of coffee (that’s 6,578 12-ounce cups) and eliminated waste from almost 10,000 disposable plastic water bottles. Along the way, we’ve held multiple First Thursday celebrations. We’ve staged film screenings and art openings. We’ve conducted coffee, donut and kombucha-tastings. We’ve held lunches hosted by the fine folks at Julie’s, just around the corner. And more.
Over that same time, we’ve also signed up more than 100 members, whose diversity of professions point to the wide range of talent and expertise in our midst. In our co-working community, we have members in design, engineering, law, healthcare, technology, social impact, real estate and more.
It’s been a wild, wonderful and rewarding ride. And we’re so grateful for it. Above all, we’re thankful to you, our members, for being the reason we are here in the first place.
There’s a lot to celebrate. We’ll get started with that on June 1, and we’ll continue our celebrations throughout the month with a slate of promotions and events.
Here’s a look at what’s in the works.
1. Registration fee waived for new members this month: Join us during the month of June, and we’ll waive the registration fee. That’s a $75 savings, folks.
2. If you’re already a member, well, lucky us. And lucky you, because we’ve got a free t-shirt for you. Stop by the front desk and it’s yours. Soft and highly wearable, with two colors to choose from: grey carbon and navy heather. And no, we’re not making those color names up.
3. Tag us on Instagram or create a Facebook post and you’ll be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a $75 gift certificate at Julie’s. Every tag or post increases your chance of winning.
4. Waffle Wednesdays. Every Wednesday morning in June, we’ll have make-your-own waffles in the kitchen. We’ll supply the batter, the skillet and the fixings. You supply the waffle-making skills.
5. Also: keep an eye out for confirmation of our June evening social. We’ll be nailing down the date soon. We’re thinking it will be a pizza party. We will likely also throw in a pizza lunch.
6. Last but not least, we’ll also be holding sitting yoga sessions, led by our resident yogi, Judith Alper. We’ll keep you posted on times and dates.
That’s it for now.
Thank you, again, for making all of this possible. It’s been a great year, and we’re looking forward to many more to come.
The Temescal Works Team
You can hardly flip through the newspaper these days–or, more likely, swipe through it on your iPad–without seeing co-working in the headlines. There’s been lots to report.
Among the facts that you might glean are these: there are currently more than 14,000 co-working spaces in the world. In the United States alone, co-working accounts for 27 million square-feet of office space, and that figure is expected to grow. According to industry projections, the number of co-working members will nearly double, to 3.8 million, by 2020, and jump to 5.1 million by 2022.
I guess you could say we’re onto something. But we wouldn’t be onto anything without you, our members. So thank you for being part of our community.
To read one of the many recent articles on co-working in the mainstream press, click here: http://Co-working not just for startup bros anymore
Oh, and speaking of news, we’ve got something to share: our one-year anniversary is fast-approaching: June 1 is the date. We’ll be celebrating throughout the month. Keep an eye on this space for details, also coming soon.
May is Oakland Art Month–31 days of events, performances and exhibitions meant to spotlight the city’s rich diversity of artistic talent.
And Temescal Works is taking part.
All month long, and through the first week of June, our co-working space will double as a pop-up gallery for a botanical-themed exhibition. Presented by Temescal Artis Community, a local organization that creates arts-focused educational and networking events, the exhibition features paintings, sculptures, photography and other pieces by 14 Oakland artists.
On May 3, as part of First Friday celebrations, we’ll be holding an opening reception from 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
We will also welcome participants in the Temescal Art Walk on May 18, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
A closing reception will be held on June 9, from noon-5 p.m.
To RSVP for any of these events, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oakland-art-month-pop-up-gallery-tickets-60760079032.
You can learn more about Temescal Artist Community here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TemescalArtistCommunity/
Among the many elements to our mission—providing our members with a clean, modern, comfortable and efficient co-working space; brewing good coffee; hosting community-minded events; greeting you with a smile when you walk through our door—environmental responsibility is high up on the list.
That’s not just talk.
At Temescal Works, we’ve taken action by opting to receive 100 percent of our electricity from renewable sources.
We’ve done this by signing up with East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), an innovative non-profit that partners with the local utility (PG&E) to provide Alameda County businesses and residences with electricity from clean, renewable sources such as solar and wind.
You can learn more about EBCE by checking out its website at ebce.org. But the gist is this: EBCE procures clean power for its customers, and PG&E delivers it, just as it did before, meaning that the switch-over is pretty much seamless. At our co-working space, the lights still turn on and off, just as they always have; the Big-Ass Fan on the ceiling (yes, that’s what it’s called) still whirs in the same way; the coffee grinder grinds on, as ever.
But the electricity itself comes from a cleaner place.
Making the change at our building was simple and smooth, a small, uncomplicated step toward reducing greenhouse gases and helping meet community climate-action goals.
We want to give you lots of reasons to feel good about being part of Temescal Works. And we hope you’ll see this as one of them.
At Temescal Works, we’re not all work, all the time. We’re also big on movies, donuts, coffee, wine and cheese. Oh, and pie. We like pie, too.
In the last month alone, our neighborhood co-working space has played host to a coffee tasting with local roaster, Modern Coffee; a morning of donut indulgence, with sugary fried dough provided by Oakland stalwart, Donut Savant; and an evening of wine and cheese, coupled with a film screening that showcased the work of two local filmmakers: Temescal resident Darryl Jones, and Temesecal Works member Bradley Furnish. (He sits upstairs; great guy; say hi sometime).
Then, last week, on March 14, the good people from Slate Geotechnical Consultants, who have an office upstairs in our building, celebrated Pi Day (you know, 3/14) by throwing a pie party around our kitchen table nook.
All of which is to say that along with being a neighborhood co-working space, we aim to be a community gathering place, a cool but comfortable venue for everything from cultural events to casual get-togethers.
We encourage you, as members of our community, to come to us with ideas for events and gatherings you’d like to see.
Meantime, keep an eye out for word about an evening tapas party. We’re plan to get one on the books soon.
The transformation of the Temescal from a sleepy neighborhood in the late 1990s and early aughts to the vibrant district that it is today owes to many factors. Notable among them is the tireless work of the TBID.
Unfamiliar with that acronym? Let’s get you acquainted.
It stands for the Temescal/Telegraph Business Improvement District, a non-profit organization devoted to the continued betterment of the Temescal Telegraph commercial corridor for the benefit of business owners, residents and visitors alike.
Established in 2004, and expanded in 2014, the TBID extends along Telegraph Avenue from West MacArthur Boulevard to Woolsey Street, including small portions of Shattuck Avenue, 51st Street and Claremont Avenue. It also encompasses Children’s Hospital, Temescal Alley and 40th Street from MacArthur BART to Broadway.
Aside from caring for the district through regular sidewalk sweeping, litter pick-up and graffiti abatement, the TBID works on multiple fronts. It has spearheaded a range of beautification projects, from murals and mosaics to the installation of planter boxes blooming with greenery. It has also been responsible for the addition of pole banners, pedestrian streetlights and district-entry signage, as well as for running such popular events as the annual Temescal Street Fair, which will mark its 16th anniversary this summer.
Here’s another fun-fact.
The TBID has its headquarters on the ground floor of Temescal Works. That’s where we caught up with the group’s Executive Director Shifra de Benedictis-Kessner, who took time discuss the many ways that the Business Improvement District aims to live up to its name.
Temescal Works: To a layperson, “business improvement district” sounds a bit like “merchants’ association.” Is there a difference?
De Benedictis-Kessner: Absolutely. Often times, merchants’ associations are simply a group of people, like a neighborhood association, who get together regularly or periodically. There might be voluntary dues. There might be mandatory dues. There might not be much money behind it at all. It’s not the most formalized or solid of organizations. But it’s generally how you start. Temescal had a merchants association for more than 30 years before it had a BID.
TW: How did the BID come about?
DBK: There are two kinds of BIDs—a business-based improvement district, or a property-based business improvement district. We are the latter. We are a line item on property taxes for those whose property touches the business district. Getting a BID established is something of a process. It gets approved by ballot. From our perspective, there are pros and cons to this. On the one hand, as a non-profit, I do not have to worry about funding. Unless the sky falls, we know our check is coming. On the other hand, every 10 years, we have to go back on the ballot, which means we have to go through a pretty big campaign to ensure we have our funding for the next 10 years. When the BID was formed, Temescal was pretty sleepy. A lot of people didn’t even know what or where Temescal was. There wasn’t really a there, there. And that’s a big part of what business improvement districts are about—-helping create a there, there.
TW: And nowadays it gets written up in publications like the New York Times and celebrated as a kind of hipster epicenter of Oakland. How do you describe the Temescal to people who are unfamiliar with it?
DBK: One thing that defines us is that we are small area with a lot of independent shops. About 90 percent of them are small and independent. We have restaurants and services with owners who care deeply about the neighborhood and are highly invested in it and are highly motivated to improve the area. That makes us distinctive. People are intentional about what they are putting in front of you. Whether it’s a piece of jewelry or a record or a plate of food on the table. People are thoughtful and they have a point of view.
TW: It’s also a neighborhood that’s changing quickly. How much of a concern is it that with all this growth, Temescal will lose those distinctive traits?
DBK: One of the things that’s about to change is that in about a year, we’re going to see an explosion in the number of residents. Historically, we’ve been a commercial district with mainly single-family homes on either side. But now we’re going to start having many more people living IN the district. In the next couple of years, we’ll have about 1300-1400 units coming online. That’s great for shops and restaurants. There will be all these new people right in the district, shopping, dining, getting a haircut. All those people will also create a lot of trash, which our team will work clean up.
TW: And traffic, right?
DBK: I wouldn’t call the traffic a result of the new residences being built. That is a phenomenon of the Bay Area, with its high rent costs and the amount of employees we have who commute from elsewhere. That’s where a lot of our traffic comes from. Most of those new residences don’t have a lot of spaces for cars. And if you don’t have a parking spot with your name on it, you are less likely to have a car. You also have MacArthur BART right there. There’s Uber. There’s Lyft. There are scooters. And who knows what’s coming next!
TW: For all of the bustle, two of the more distinctive addresses in the neighborhood are currently vacant—Hooper’s and Kasper’s. Any update on what’s going on with them?
DBK: We have a number of older, unique spaces, and what’s often an issue with them is that they might not necessarily be up to code or have the greatest wiring. The bathrooms might not be ADA compliant. Those sort of things that require an investment either on behalf of the property owner or on behalf of the new tenant. For that reason, they can have a tough time being competitive. But they’re cool. They’re quirky. They have a lot going for them and one of the jobs of the BID is to make connections and convince people that, yes, the investment to make those improvements is worth it. We’ve had some interest in Hooper’s. As for Kasper’s, there was a deal that was going to go through about a year-and-a-half ago. But that fell through. It’s a tiny piece of property and the potential buyer wanted to use the sidewalk as well as the building. But it turned out that this particular sidewalk was part of a pre-Oakland part of Temescal. It had been a gas station and had been part of the key system, but the person who wanted to buy it—they actually couldn’t find the owner. And their plan was contingent on buying that piece of sidewalk. It’s kind of mind-boggling to think that there is someone out there in the world who has probably inherited this piece of land and doesn’t even know it.
TW: Let’s shift from sidewalks to streets. Word has it the commercial corridor is finally going to get repaved.
DBK: Yes! Summer of 2019. It will all be smoothed over. It’s so exciting. And there are a lot of components that come with it, including bike lanes and pedestrian spaces. As part of the redesign, we’ll be getting our pedestrian plaza at Kasper’s.
TW: What’s that, exactly?
DBK: It will be at that Kasper’s intersection, and it will include Shattuck Avenue between 45th and 46th streets. That part of Shattuck will be closed off to cars. Part of the reason the city approved it is that that intersection is one of the worst anywhere. You’ve got two lanes of Telegraph plus a bike lane plus cars and bikes on Shattuck—three and two lanes coming together and narrowing down to just three. And people turning right. And pedestrians up ahead in the crosswalk, and cars and bikes not knowing what that flashing yellow is going southbound on Shattuck. Basically, no one knows what to do and there have been so many crashes. So the city has marked that as a public space opportunity zone, which is something we’ve been working for a year-and-a-half. The plaza is part of the redesign. So not only are we filling potholes, which are dangerous on their own. But we’re going to be making a much safer intersection out of one that right now is really dangerous, design-wise.
The dust has settled, the plastic curtains have been removed and our four new upstairs offices are oh-so-close to finished. All that remains is to install the doors and add a few minor final touches. Thanks again for the patience and understanding you showed us throughout construction as we made these additions. Though all four offices are already spoken for, we have a waiting list for them, and we may be building others in the near future. We’ll keep you posted on any firmed-up plans.
Meantime, on the ground floor of our two-level building, please keep in mind that Temescal Works has three conference rooms of different sizes: small, medium and large, all hard-wired for super fast internet, and equipped with high-def displays and VOIP capability. No matter the size of your next business meeting, we’ve got the Goldilocks option for you: a space that will fit just right. Rates start at $30 per hour.
As you may have noticed, there’s been work going on at Temescal Works, and not the kind that happens on a laptop. It’s the kind of work that happens with hammers and nails.
Behind those plastic curtains at the back of the mezzanine level, a construction project is underway. We’re building four new offices, part of our continuing efforts to meet our members’ needs.
We know that construction can be noisy and dusty. Hence the curtains, and our construction schedule. To minimize disruptions, we’re having the work done on weekends and after-hours. We’re expecting the offices to be finished by the first week of February, which is just around the corner.
In case you’re wondering: all four offices are already spoken for, but we have a wait list for office space, so it’s possible we’ll be building more later this year.
Meantime, thanks for your patience with the construction. We’re looking forward to pulling down those curtains. We know those offices will be put to good use, and we think you’ll like what you see.
Name: Bianca Kaprielian
Where she sits: Traveler’s desk, ground floor
What she does for a living: Co-owner of Fruit World Co., a produce sales company that represents small and mid-size family farmers
When Bianca Kaprielian was growing up, in a deep-rooted Central Valley family, her father, a farmer, urged her not to follow in his footsteps. Kaprielian did her best to oblige.
After attending college in New England, she settled in New York and embarked on a career as a documentary cinematographer.
But farming was often at the forefront of her mind.
“As a filmmaker, the subjects I kept gravitating toward seemed to involve farming or food,” she says.
Since returning to California in 2007, Kaprielian has immersed herself full-time in agriculture—not as a farmer but as the founder of a sales entity for a handful of small and mid-size farms, bringing the best of the state’s seasonal bounty to local stores and stands.
With citrus season in full swing, Temescal Works caught up with Kaprielian to ask about the evolution of her career, the year-round rhythms of her work, and if she would please clarify this question—what’s the difference between a mandarin and a tangerine?
TW: How far back does your family go in California?
BK: My great-grandfather came over from Armenia during the Armenian genocide and eventually landed in the Fresno area and started farming. I’m fourth-generation, and my family still farms out of our home base in Reedley.
TW: What crops does your family grow?
BK: Originally it was stone fruit— peaches, plums, nectarines, as well as table and raisin grapes. But around 20 years ago, my dad saw the writing on the wall. He saw that the stone fruit market was starting to falter and consumer demand was starting to drop. So he traveled all around—to Spain, South Africa, Israel and beyond—and when he came back he started a mandarin breeding program. He has nursery, which is one of the places I worked when I was growing up. At this point, that’s what my family grows—-mandarins, a little bit of oranges, a little bit of lemons.
TW: Did you consider becoming a farmer yourself?
BK: Though I grew up farming, I was always told, ‘don’t be a farmer. It’s too hard.’ I think my dad didn’t want to be farmer but it’s what he and his siblings wound up doing, and he’s good at it. He bought his first ranch when he was 17. He probably should have been an engineer because that’s what he’s passionate about, but he’s a great farmer so that’s what he’s done. But I think his view was always, ‘I’ve done well, but I don’t want my kids to have to do this.’ He wanted us to explore. He had a rule that we had to go to college at three hours driving distance from home. He was like, ‘Go do something else. Follow your dreams.’
BK: So where did your dreams take you?
TW: I went to Smith College, in Massachusetts, and then moved to New York and started working as a cinematographer. But as a filmmaker, the subjects I kept gravitating toward involved farming and food. When I moved back to the Bay Area, it was hard to make as good of a living in documentary film, and I also realized that I wanted to get back into agriculture. So I became a produce buyer. I started out working for Veritable Vegetable, then Whole Foods.
TW: And from there you hung out your own shingle?
BK: We started Fruit World Co. about two years ago. I had been thinking about how I could be a part of my family’s farming business and continue our agricultural heritage into future generations. One day I received a call from my dad saying that the large marketing company that was selling/marketing the family’s fruit had decided to pull out of the California citrus deal. It was a great opportunity – a big opportunity – so I started up my own sales/marketing company with the help of my friend and brother-from-another-mother C.J. (who has a similar family farming background). It’s been so important because we’ve had each other to lean on. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you’re starting a business, find someone to start it with. At some point, you’re going to want to go on vacation.
TW: It doesn’t seem like there’s every much downtime in agriculture. What’s your average day like?
BK: I wish I had an average day. It would allow me to plan better. But I’ll give you an average week. We work with my family farms, my business partner’s farms and a handful of other growers. Primarily, we’re in the San Joaquin Valley, but we also represent a grower in Ventura County. So in any given week, I’m usually in the Central Valley for one night and then I can fly to Venture County for a day if needed. The morning is reserved for sales. I start calling customers around 5am to sell fruit, then communicate with the harvest crew, packing houses and trucking companies to get all the logistics worked out. It can be pretty time consuming. In produce we still use telephones and faxes. By 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., I can usually wrap that up and start with all the other stuff that comes with running a business. Working with our packaging designer to create a new mandarin bag, walking the mandarin blocks to determine what block we’ll pick next, showing/sampling our fruit at the cold storage to prospective buyers, signing checks to get the bills paid.
TW: Speaking of mandarins, when we were kids, weren’t they tangerines? What’s the difference?
BK: I would say that now the umbrella term is just mandarin. People don’t really use the term tangerine. Sometimes people say clementine, but clementines are just one mandarin variety.
TW: When did the term ‘tangerine’ go out of fashion?
BK: Tangerines are a type of mandarin, originating from Tangier, Morocco. I don’t know that the term tangerine went out of fashion, but most mandarins you see on the market now are clementine and satsuma varieties. The mandarins that people know as Cuties are clementine varieties. You don’t really see tangerines grown much anymore because on the mandarin spectrum, they are less sweet and harder to peel.
TW: You mentioned Cuties. It seemed like one day, we woke up and they were everywhere. Do you and your family have any fun names for fruit that you’ve been able to been able to carve out a place for in the marketplace?
BK: We are about to launch a brand called Winks that has a cute winking mandarin as the mascot.
TW: I remember reading a book on oranges by John McPhee and I was surprised to learn that oranges turn green at night, and that a green orange is not necessarily bad to eat?
BK: That’s true. But consumers will not buy an orange that’s not orange. We’ve had customers reject truckloads of products because it’s not orange enough. That green has no bearing on the flavor. But it doesn’t sell. So at the start of the season (October – November) when the nights have not been cold enough to bring on the orange color, citrus gets de-greened. It’s like the banana-ripening process. They’ll put the citrus in a room with high humidity, stable temperatures in the 70s and ethylene gas, the same gas that’s used to ripen bananas. It gets the oranges to color in four to five days. As the season progresses, usually by early December, fruit doesn’t have to be de-greened.
TW: That’s interesting. Any other citrus fun-facts you can share?
BK: Lots. Hmmm. Here’s something else. Rain and a lot of water will wash out the acid in fruit, so we don’t ever pick in the first few days after a rain because the sugars will be there but there will be no acid, so the flavors aren’t balanced.
TW: Is that what has happened to the grapefruit of my youth? They used to be tart. Now there’s so sweet.
BK: To be honest, I’m not much of a grapefruit person myself. But I definitely notice that with grapes. A lot of grapes today are like sugar water. The generic black, red and green grapes now taste like flat sugar. This is due to breeding. We are breeding new varieties that are super sweet.
TW: Do you have a favorite fruit?
BK: My absolutely favorite is a mandarin we grow called a Clemenules. My grandparents home ranch is on one of the few foothills of the San Joaquin Valley. We named it Sky Ranch for the beautiful views. There is less than two feet of top soil and then granite beneath. And the granite provides high mineral content in the soil. The mandarin we grow there is perfectly balanced. It’s really sweet but has a nice of amount of acid so it tastes bright, not flat and sugary. It’s my favorite fruit in the whole world.