Zocalo Launches the New Horizons Innovation Cafe at The Gate
The San Leandro community noted with much sadness the closing of the Zocalo coffee shop on Bancroft Ave. several weeks ago. Founded by husband and wife team Tim Holmes and Mitch Huitema around 10 years ago, Zocalo had become the favorite coffee watering hole and community gathering place in North San Leandro for many people living inside and outside of San Leandro.
The good news: Tim and Mitch have sold the Zocalo business to Sara Ubelhart, who has been the resident coffee roaster expert at Zocalo. Sara and the coffee roaster have moved to The Gate — San Leandro’s new tech center on the 2nd floor of West Gate on Davis Street.
From the Zocalo website: “Zocalo isn’t a building or an address, it is the community.” And we proved this through the launch of a new community of innovation — San Leandro by Design: New Horizons Innovation Cafe — in the new work loft that houses the beautiful old roaster and new Zocalo office at The Gate. Joined by a group of young entrepreneurs and innovators from San Leandro, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, City and Chamber staff, October 19th marked the beginning of a monthly series of mid-day events at The Gate designed to connect people and businesses and build community within its massive walls.
Much of the two hours we spent together was deep in conversation, getting to know each other. Sara welcomed the group and spoke of her intention to create a retail brand of roasted Zocalo coffee beans, and possibly open a cafe in The Gate once the new 10,000 sf community room has been finished. Michael Howland of Omnom Project, one of the Gate’s newest businesses, told us about his experimental projects using recycled plastic bags to make 3D printer filament — and his trade with a group in Ghana learning how to use this filament in 3D printers! Dustin, Daniel and Paul excitedly described their concept of developing the San Leandro Fab Lab project, an interactive, mobile art exhibit that would invite San Leandrans to participate in its design and expansion. Greg Delaune of UIX Global and I spoke of this gathering as the first of many, and invited the group to participate in the design of the developing community at The Gate.
One of the best moments was the field trip to the roof of West Gate. David Holley, West Gate’s property manager, explained that the roof could support any number of new developments — solar, urban farming, rooftop garden and event space, windmills — limited only by imagination and funding! It was hard to tear us off the roof — the view spoke to us of the possibilities in San Leandro just by looking UP and taking advantage of the breathtaking views available from its rooflines! (Click on the pictures to enlarge the views!)
If you are interested in learning more about joining future Innovation Cafes at The Gate, please let me know by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Entrepreneurs, innovators and community builders are welcome!
Photographs provided through courtesy of Tim Holmes