The Fortune Cookie Factory
Alicia, the third-generation owner, continues her family’s tradition of sharing the history, culture, and craftsmanship of the fortune cookie as one of the last few businesses in the US to still make them by hand.
Alicia Wong is co-owner of The Fortune Cookie Factory in Oakland, California — the oldest fortune cookie maker in the area, with their history dating back to 1957. Alicia, the third-generation owner, continues her family’s tradition of sharing the history, culture, and craftsmanship of the fortune cookie as one of the last few businesses in the US to still make them by hand.
Alicia, who has a keen ear for customers’ wishes, started dipping the cookies in Belgian dark chocolate and Swiss white chocolate (which can take on any color), adding colored sugar crystals and letting her imagination go wild to produce items for every holiday, season and commemoration. A Warriors “Champions” cookie, for instance, sported team colors, players’ jersey numbers, and an edible Warriors logo. When they built the company’s website in 2016, they created a portal for customers to type in their own fortune cookie messages.
Alicia first joined PCV’s Business Advising program in the summer of 2018, and since then she has worked with three different advisors who have helped guide her through revamping the business operations, developing new flavors and packaging concepts, improving the marketing strategy, and allowing for overall growth. The Fortune Cookie Factory has seen a lot of changes in the last three years, but what remains the same is that they continue to provide a quality product, and that Alicia remains committed to providing quality jobs for her employees.
They also have a heart for social justice. As featured in The New York Times, When Black Lives Matter protests erupted in downtown Oakland, Alicia and her husband Alex knew what they could do to support the protesters — make fortune cookies.
The Fortune Cookie Factory, is one of the oldest family-run businesses in Oakland’s Chinatown. They created new recipes and stenciled “BLM” in gold letters on each one. Next came new fortunes. Instead of Chinese proverbs, they searched classic texts and films of civil rights leaders. From Martin Luther King Jr. came: “Today we know with certainty that segregation is dead. The only question remaining is how costly will be the funeral.”
Throughout Oakland, Asian-American and Black leaders are reaching across generational and racial divides in new ways. In the wake of California’s pandemic shutdown, the African American, Chinatown, Vietnamese and Latino Chambers of Commerce in Oakland submitted their first joint proposal to the city to coordinate assistance across neighborhood lines as businesses try to survive and rebuild. In June of 2020, the Oakland City Council approved $500,000 to fund the effort.
“I’d always been saying there will be a time where we need to come together to advocate for each other, to support each other,” said Shonda Scott, chairwoman of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce and another client of PCV. “Who knew it’d be Covid-19 and some pandemic that we would be fighting against? And the other pandemic is racism.”