Oakland Fortune Factory- The Future of Fortune Cookies
“Focusing ahead, we aim to broaden our reach in numerous groceries, elevate our online store, and maintain our mentor-driven growth via PCV.”
The Oakland Fortune Factory, located in Oakland, California’s historic Chinatown, is a family-owned business that has been making delicious fortune cookies since 1957. Alicia Wong, the third-generation owner of the business, co-owns the factory with her mother, Jiamin; and manages it with her husband, Alex Issvoran. The couple took the reins in 2016 and continues to share their family’s traditions with the community. The Oakland Fortune Factory is one of the last few businesses in the United States that still handcraft fortune cookies and their unique approach is testament to their commitment to quality. What sets The Oakland Fortune Factory apart from the rest is Alicia’s extraordinary creativity. With a keen ear for customers’ desires, and her creative design talent, she ventured into elevating the classic fortune cookie experience to new heights by dipping the cookies in Belgian dark chocolate and Swiss chocolate, adding new flavors including Schezuan peppercorn, and dying them into any imaginable color, and often customizing them for unique events and occasions.
Collaborative Growth with PCV
When The Oakland Fortune Factory team connected with Pacific Community Ventures(PCV) via email in 2018, they were excited to learn more about the pro-bono business advising services offered through PCV. At this time, they were faced with the challenge of locating accessible mentors specializing in the food industry and possessing other valuable skills that would help grow their brand. The Oakland Fortune Factory team has been partnered with three mentors to date- Pierre Dubois, Antonio Tavares, and Florence Chen. These partnerships opened doors to fresh ideas, enabling them to acquire insights on how to address specific challenges they were faced with as a company from a third-party perspective. Each advisor helped with pinpointing strengths and addressing opportunities within their business strategy, resulting in developing new flavors and packaging concepts, improving their marketing strategy, and strategize approaches on obtaining working capital. Alex shares “It was great to have PCV as an introduction to working with advisors and organizations like it.” PCV’s mentoring services provided expertise in vital areas such as sales, SEO, social media, digital marketing, administrative, and overall business development. The Oakland Fortune Factory’s collaboration with PCV has been a catalyst for their evolution, offering a direct channel to experienced mentors who provide diverse perspectives and expertise. The guidance, tools, and resources that have enabled them to run the business more efficiently by fine-tuning their marketing strategies, maximize their digital footprint, and connecting them with new customers.
Strength in Solidarity: Impact Amidst Challenges
After achieving their established goals with their mentoring team, Alicia and Alex continued their creative journey with the Oakland Fortune Factory amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This period not only fostered community but also ignited an inspiration to express their commitment to social justice. When protests erupted in downtown Oakland, they knew they could use their family-run business to make a difference. The couple created new fortune cookie recipes and stenciled “BLM” in gold letters on each one. They also replaced traditional Chinese proverbs with quotes from civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. “Today we know with certainty that segregation is dead. The only question remaining is how costly will be the funeral.” Moreover, Alicia spoke during a PCV webinar for AAPI-owned small business owners impacted by the shutdowns and anti-Asian sentiments. She shed light on the challenges within Chinatown, in which her efforts played a role in the inclusion of Chinatown within the geographic scope of our Oakland Restorative Loan Fund that launched late 2021 and increased support for the community, by introducing us to the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce. Their efforts – indicative of Oakland’s long history of intentional solidarity between Black, Brown, and AAPI communities – were not in vain as their community leaders followed suit by reaching across generational and racial divides to coordinate assistance and support each other.
Having garnered recognition the New York Times, ABC News, SF Eater , Saveur, and other top publications. The Oakland Fortune Factory stands as a testament to excellence. Anchored in the community for 65 years, they have been known for providing their delicious fortune cookies for traditional events, corporate gifts, celebrations, and modern palettes. Looking ahead, the company has set its sights on expanding its reach in the wholesale market. With a dedicated team committed to producing high-quality fortune cookies, they are excited to continue implementing the knowledge provided by their advisors and building meaningful connections and alliances through PCVs network. Alex shares, “Focusing ahead, we aim to broaden our reach in numerous groceries, elevate our online store, and maintain our mentor-driven growth via PCV.” The Oakland Fortune Factory currently offers a variety of cookies, including the option for personalization, making each cookie just that much sweeter and unique. Visit The Oakland Fortune Factory website to shop and join PCV’s 25th anniversary celebration to see their treats highlighted!
Connect with the Oakland Fortune Factory