Molly Sherman was working in San Francisco full-time, traveling back and forth every day between Oakland and San Francisco. Tired of the daily commute, she set her sights on her favorite local business: Bay Grape, a well-known wine shop and staple to the Lake Merritt community. We sat down with her to hear her heartwarming story.
Why Bay Grape?
I was brought up to value a short commute time to your job. My mom worked three blocks from our house and she always said, “Your time is so precious. You shouldn’t spend it in traffic or driving to work.”
Then I remember I working a half day and it took me two hours on public transportation to get from San Francisco to my hometown of Oakland. When I finally got home, I was exhausted.
Setting her sights on Bay Grape
My boyfriend was thinking of looking for another job at the time and sensing my frustrations, asked if I was interested in finding another too. I told him, "There’s only one place I would leave my job for and that’s Bay Grape."
I pulled up Localwise—I'd recommended it before because the layout is clean and easy to navigate, and I loved Localwise’s philosophy on getting a job in your neighborhood and supporting your community. I pulled it up and not even 45 minutes before, Bay Grape had posted.
I ran upstairs and yelled, “I have to apply for this! I just have to try.” I put together a cover letter, applied and got an interview. They offered me the job.
Has your time here been what you expected?
I was nervous that I didn’t have the background in wine that the employees here have. Stevie and Josiah, the owners of Bay Grape, are very well-known in the community, very smart, and extremely passionate about what they’re doing. It can be intimidating to work alongside people like that, but they’ve made me feel really comfortable.
They encourage me to continually be learning and growing and to be honest with my level of knowledge. Every day gets better and more comfortable. Stevie and Josiah really try to make it like a family and it that's exactly how it feels.
What are some challenges on the job you hadn't expected?
The level of knowledge here is intimidating, and that’s always a challenge to keep up with it. Wine is so intricate. It’s not only facts about wine but it's intertwined with science and history. Who the producers are and where it’s grown—it’s a challenge to keep up with it all.
Something you’ve learned on the job that you’ll take away?
Working in the community that you live in is wonderful. Meeting all the customers who come in here regularly—to see who lives two blocks away or down the street from my house—is really nice. It’s really wonderful to be working in a place where I grew up, putting names to faces, and seeing it change and grow as time passes. It gives you a different perspective.
A wine to recommend?
Right now I really love lighter-bodied reds. I think they’re the perfect transition between seasons, especially with Northern California with the wacky weather. It gives you that fuller-bodied aspect when it’s cold but it’s still perfect with a little chill on it for the warmer days.
Interested in trying Bay Grape?
Look for their calendar online for classes and tasting hours, or stop in for a taste! They're at 376 Grand Ave. in Oakland, CA (and you'll get to meet this little guy!).