‘Oakland Reward Field Woman’ Tracey Friley creates present packing containers to convey enterprise to Oakland eating places

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) – These days, Tracey Friley calls herself the “Oakland Gift Box Lady,” but she is so much more than that. Friley is the mastermind behind the popular Instagram account and blog “Best Food in Oakland” and owned a gift shop in Uptown Oakland for the past 13 years.

“I had plans for the future and future success,” said Friley. “I had plans for new business and then came COVID.”

Like so many others, the pandemic drew her passion right from under her.

“I finally closed my shop on September 30th and it’s still a strange thing to say.”

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With the renewal, the self-proclaimed foodie used her Instagram platform and thousands of followers to help the struggling Oakland restaurants.

“Getting the business into the Oakland grocery stores was always the goal, that was the goal,” Friley continued. “It was and always is. I thought, well, I would want some kind of gift card or gift certificate or some kind of box, you know, just a random, random thing from the universe that showered me.”

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Friley’s chance idea became an instant success. Their first round of gift boxes contained small Oakland-themed gifts and, most importantly, items that could be used to bring people to restaurants. Everything was donated. To Friley’s surprise, it was sold out.

“As I did the math, I realized. I sold 105 boxes,” Friley continued. “There are 10 certificates from 10 restaurants, bakeries, caterers, that’s 1,050 food transactions.”

Next up for Friley is the Oakland Black Box. It will highlight black restaurants in the city.

“I’ll be the boxer, I think, but I’m excited,” said Friley.

For every box sale, $ 5 goes to the Alameda County Food Bank. You can find more information about the Oakland Gift Box here.

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