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Stories of Resilience: How One Oakland Business is Delivering Hope in a Pandemic

Blaisdell’s Business Products has been delivering office supplies and support to communities for over 70 years. What originally started as a small retail shop has flourished into a multi-million dollar e-commerce business focused on supporting the needs of other local businesses. Blaisdell’s is woman-owned, family-operated, and certified green with a corporate headquarters currently in Oakland, California. They are an alumnus of ICIC’s Inner City Capital Connections program and a valued member of our network of small businesses.

Despite the enormous impact of COVID-19, Blaisdell’s is now delivering more to their communities than usual. The business has been proactively using this time to strengthen partnerships and utilize all available resources to support the needs of their local community. With the reduced number of supply deliveries, Blaisdell’s trucks are now being used to transport food donations from Alameda County Community Food Bank to several Oakland public school distribution sites on a weekly basis. They’ve also partnered with food industry leaders, like Ghirardelli Chocolate and Vistar, to help facilitate and deliver their product donations to first responders and organizations such as UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.

Not only is Blaisdell’s dedicated to delivering assistance during office hours, but they’re also looking to lend additional hands on weekends. Recently, a small group of their employees volunteered to pack 480 backpacks for homeless men and women in the Bay Area. Each bag contained a variety of essential hygiene products, food, and water provided by Lend A Hand Foundation and several local business sponsors. In addition, they’ve also recently teamed up with Roonga to launch a school supply drive to support remote learning. The schools are providing remote resources, but many students are still lacking the basic supplies needed to excel at their education while at home.

When asked about their experiences so far, the team shared, “It warms our hearts to see so many businesses stepping up with us to deliver assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak! We hope our story of resilience and community support will inspire others to do the same.”

This story is part of our Stories of Resilience series, showcasing small businesses in the ICIC network which are pivoting their focus during the COVID-19 crisis to accomplish good in their communities. If you are a small business doing the same, we would love to hear your story. Please email info@icic.org.

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