Paint the Town Plaid

Shake off that Thanksgiving food coma with deals at your favorite local shops.


Denim stars in Julie Harleman’s shop, Maple Street Denim, in Old Oakland.

Photos by Lance Yamamoto

It’s no secret that in Oakland, local businesses reign. You can do it in the form of a pop-up, a mobile vehicle, or an old-fashioned storefront, and people will come, maybe even flock, to see what you’re bringing to the DIY table. Rewind to 2008, when then-gallery owner Kerri Johnson (who currently owns Marion & Rose’s Workshop) decided to turn her annual holiday sale featuring local vendors into a full-fledged event. The result? Plaid Friday, a relaxed, community-focused version of the shopping day known primarily as Black Friday.

On Nov. 28, some 80 businesses around Oakland will be serving up drinks, snacks, and discounts. Bonus: Parking is free at meters and city-owned garages all day (and every Saturday thereafter through the holidays). Throw on some plaid—it might get you additional deals and goodies—and work off your Thanksgiving meal on a shopping excursion.

Old Oakland

The downtown neighborhood throws the biggest Plaid Friday block party with sidewalk pop-up vendors, a photobooth, and BLOCK Gallery’s festive video series playing from windows in the area’s fanciful Victorian buildings.

Stop in Marion & Rose’s Workshop for American-made goods and a trunk show featuring local designers. Wool throws, one-of-a-kind prints, and the splashy guidebook, This is Oakland, are among the goods you might find on sale. 461 Ninth St., 510-250-9338,

Over at Maple Street Denim, founder Julie Harleman thinks putting on the right pair of jeans is like falling in love: You know when you know. And you have plenty of chances at finding love in the self-proclaimed denim wizard’s shop with upwards of a dozen brands for men and women including Paige, Naked & Famous, and Nudie Jeans Co., all at 10 percent off if you’re rocking plaid. 465 Ninth St., 510-816-5326,

Refuel with something from Tina Tamale’s “Chino Latino” menu (think char siu pork and Oaxacan cheese quesadillas) at her new restaurant La Snackeria. The aguas frescas spin on bubble tea is a treat not to be missed. 815 Washington St., 510-397-8462,

Piedmont Avenue

The newest store on the block, Mulberry’s Home, serves up festive treats and entertainment as you peruse pillows and textiles from John Robshaw, light fixtures from Arteriors Lighting, and other home décor from It designers. 160 41st St., 510-350-8379,

Save room for more snacks and beverages over at Good Stock, where you can snap up Clare Vivier bags, classic Mason Pearson brushes, and sheer cotton nightgowns, among other sublime gifts for yourself or others at 20 percent off. 4198 Piedmont Ave., 510-653-8518,

For more whimsy, head down to Nathan & Co. and test your luck when you draw your discount from a grab bag. Deals range from 10 percent to 50 percent off on things such as linen napkins printed with vintage letters (one sent from Oakland in 1901), essential oils that double as bug spray, and smoked sea salt. Maybe the sweetest new addition to the store? Handbrewed soaps made by a husband and wife team in Oakland; he brews the beer, and she makes the soap. Over at the Rockridge location (5636 College Ave.), you can also meet jewelry designer Xiaoyu Zhang. 4025 Piedmont Ave., 510-428-9638,

Temescal Alley and Alley 49

Off Telegraph Avenue, find people revelling in the coolest alley in Oakland, if not the entire Bay Area, with 10 percent discounts on waxed-cotton rain jackets, cozy sweaters, and smart winter coats, among other threads at Ali Golden; Lauren Wolf’s magical jewelry at Esqueleto in Alley 49; and Sante Fe Stoneworks knives, Pendleton blankets, and Southwestern-inspired jewelry over at Marisa Haskell.

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