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A New Novelty Store May Send Alameda Down the Path of Becoming Oakland

By Erica Madison-Youman

On Monday, Oct. 12, 2009, Park street Alameda business owners, protested the inclusion of a convenience/novelty store at a Planning Board meeting.

“We don’t want to have the same problem Oakland has”, said Alameda Business owner Paul Rye.

Mr. Rye was pointing out the fact Abdulmalik Harbi, the applicant, will dedicate 20 percent of his store to the sale of tobacco supplies.

Many business owners are concerned Harbi’s new store will sell illegal products such as bongs.

Abdulmalik Harbi submitted an application to operate a convenience store that specializes in the sale of novelties. The application was submitted to  the Planning Board Design Review staff, on July 27, 2009. After making some revisions, Harbi returned to the Planning board on Monday to receive approval for a use permit. The permit allows him to operate the convenience store on the corner of Park Street and Pacific Avenue.

The Design Review staff presented a history of the lot. Originally the building was a retail store, which sold audio equipment.  Since then, the owner of the lot has not been able to lease the store for four years.

Harbi’s lawyer came to the meeting to let the Planning Board know, the Park Street Business Association had approved of having an additional convenience store.

Unfortunately, Harbi’s lawyer is the only person who appeared to support the application. Harbi’s fellow Park Street business owners were against the application.

“Just because the building has been vacant for so many years, doesn’t mean you can just put anything there. What does this store have that nine other stores within walking distance don’t have?” said an Alameda business owner. “As a business owner I need to know what my future is.”

Most of the business owners were concerned that Harbi’s store will promote the use of tobacco to children. On top of this, Alameda citizens were concerned that another convenience store may increase Alameda’s crime rate.

“You’re three blocks from Alameda High school. These kids walk past there every day. You don’t want to turn this into Oakland,” said an Alameda citizen.

4 comments to A New Novelty Store May Send Alameda Down the Path of Becoming Oakland

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  • Don M.

    A poorly written story like this leaves me pondering its true intent. Mr. Harbi, and anybody investing in Alameda, deserves better than this.

  • Well, let’s hear from the man. If Mr. Harbi wants to write a letter outlining his position, we’ll run it.

  • DAVID W.

    this is way alameda is the worst city for investers it’s because of selfish people that only believe in what benefits them only, not whats good for the rest and just because he said that he was dedicate 20 percent of his store to the sale of tobacco does not mean he is going to be selling crack pipes and bongs. The one thing you should now is that he is the only smoke shop in alameda that does not sell glass pips, and another thing is that he is the only shop that I.D’s ever person that steps throw his doors. I tries to open up a store and was told that i cant because there was one 4 blocks away and the only person to complain was that store owner. witch allows him to charge high prices for his products. how is having only one supplier good for the public. That’s why alameda sales is dropping rapidly and is going to be a ghost town for businesses within the nest 20 years.

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