Hannah Onstad

Owner of LOAKL

Oakland CA | http://www.LOAKL.com

What does your business do?

LOAKL.com is a social enterprise that aims to shift dollars from massive online retailers to local independent stores. Currently, LOAKL helps customers find books across local independent bookstores in the Bay Area. In doing so, LOAKL supports local businesses by helping them compete against distant online retailers! It's simple: Users tell us the book they're looking for, and once we find it locally, customers can pick it up or get it delivered.

We make it more convenient for customers to find what they need and support local retailers. Plus, when you buy locally, you help small business owners provide local jobs and pay local taxes—which go towards local schools, roads, and infrastructure—further benefiting your community!

How would you use the grant money?

We would invest the grant in expanding our user base and increase daily sales—keeping more dollars in our community that would otherwise go to shareholders of large multinational corporations. We source our books from independent, locally-owned businesses in our community.

What would the grant enable you to do that you can't now?

Focus on expanding our customer base in the east bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville, Richmond, and San Leandro, California).

If Idea Cafe's Grant helps your biz reach greater success, how will you "pay it forward" to help others in some way?

LOAKL.com is all about helping other small businesses in our community, that's built into our business model. In fact, we were inspired by a book called "The Local Economy Solution" which talks about the need for small businesses that exist to support other local, small businesses. As we grow, the businesses in our community benefit—and everyone who lives in our community wins too!

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