Oakland Fortune Factory is a custom fortune cookie business in Oakland, CA. Originally opened in 1957, the business offers modernized versions of the traditional fortune cookie. Co-owners and couple Alex Issvoran and Alicia Wong took over operations of the factory several years ago from Alicia’s parents where they have been able to revitalize the company with having an online presence, which now makes up for about 70% of their revenue sales.
Alex and Alicia’s business makes beautifully designed fortune cookies for weddings, corporate events, birthdays, and more. The cookies go beyond traditional fortune cookies, they are available in a variety of colors and flavors, and the fortune messages can also be customized for holidays, special occasions, or even with company logos.
Right before the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland Fortune Factory was expected to have its best sales year of all time. However, due to the pandemic, the business had to pause overnight.That’s what had Alex and Alicia create their online presence and began sharing virtual cookies.
Alex used this time to reflect and focus on the community, bolstering his already heavy involvement. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Chinatown, Alex does volunteer work and interacts with local artists and other small businesses. Through Oakland Fortune Factory he often makes cookies for social causes and donates the proceeds to various organizations in the community.
However, Alex knew that the business needed more exposure to bring paying customers in, which is why he applied for the Comcast RISE program.
Oakland Fortune Factory received a media grant from the Comcast RISE program, which includes a commercial that will help get the word out to the broader community about the tasty treats. Alex hopes this opportunity will help Oakland Fortune Factory receive more exposure and plans to continue building on the success that the Comcast RISE program will bring.
Anne Lin firmly believes that the best way to meet people is through food. Her passion for food, community and culture is what inspired her to open Sweetheart Cafe more than 25 years ago. The Chinatown-based café, which was the first bubble milk tea café to open in the East Bay area, is more than a place to purchase food and drinks. Anne enjoys teaching her customers about her Taiwanese background and hearing their own stories as well.
Like so many others in the Bay Area, Anne’s business relied on tourists. With the lack of patrons and a lack of help, Anne and her husband now run the café on their own. They still try to work seven days a week whenever they can, because they know that high schoolers and the elderly use the café as a safe place to spend their time.
“With a small business, every penny makes a difference,” said Anne. “When you visit a small business, you’re not only receiving a product, but you’re also experiencing someone’s culture too.”
After the hard work it took to keep her small business alive during the pandemic, Anne knew that she needed to expand to the digital world to help draw in more customers. She was able to set up a website on her own, but knew that she needed more assistance, which is what led her to the Comcast RISE program.
Sweetheart Cafe received a technology makeover from the Comcast RISE program, which included free Internet for a year and iPads. The tablets have helped Anne and her husband spend less time taking orders and more time focusing on improving the overall customer experience.
Comcast RISE which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment” is part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative that Comcast launched in June of 2020.
If your business qualifies, you will have the opportunity to apply for free marketing consultations, media placements, commercial creative production services, or technology services from Effectv and Comcast Business.
Recipients are selected on a quarterly basis. To apply to the current round that closes on June 17, visit comcastrise.com.
Visit the California RISE Map and Directory to find a RISE business near you.