Alameda is special because of the people. Our island is inhabited by the young and old, entrepreneurs, retired military, tech workers, artists, musicians…the list goes on. Our diverse community makes us stronger, more interesting, and more innovative. I started this Alameda Spotlight series to highlight some of our amazing residents. I hope you enjoy their stories!

In 2013, Mike Wang decided to leave his Finance and HR job at UCSF. He wanted to buy a house, start a business, and move in with his partner, Judy. Nothing like going for it all at once!

Mike took a few minutes to talk about his house, his neighborhood, and his favorite things about being a business owner in Alameda.

How did you land in Alameda?

I had lived in San Francisco for 15 years and was tired of the fog, Even the “sunny” parts of the city weren’t that sunny. Marin had no diversity and the peninsula felt a little sterile. I wanted to be warm and by the water. I knew the East Bay was were it was at. I didn’t know too much about Alameda, actually, but learned that it was safe, had excellent schools, and great transportation. All this, and by the water!

How did you find your house?

I was looking for a fixer-upper. There were only about five houses on the market when I was looking. I knew I was going to have to redo the foundation on this house, and I went for it.

Tell me the story about your house.

We are only the second owners. Madeline Tank and her sister owned the house. Madeline was a principal at one of the nearby schools. Her father built the house in 1901. Madeline passed away at the age of 103. We bought the house from the trust. We actually have the original blueprint of the house. We even found kerosene lamp lines in the basement.

What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood, Neptune Gardens?

That we can walk to Webster Street and the Farmer’s Market! It’s so easy to live here. We can walk to Neptune’s, all of the cafes on Webster, two Italian sandwich shops (Santoro’s and Domenico’s). I can walk to my barber shop, and to go have a drink at The Fireside.

What’s your favorite thing about Alameda?

I love the small town feel. Especially as a business owner, everywhere I go people know who I am and say hi. Everyone seems to know everyone, and it makes it feel like you live in a community. A community with access to two big cities! As a small business owner, I love that one family will come paddle, and the next thing I know, they have told their friends and there are six families that come paddle! In Alameda, when we see a new business and we like it, we don’t want it to fail, and we will tell everyone about it!

What’s your favorite thing to do on a date night in Alameda?

We like to start with a drink at The Fireside. Then, we either go to the Alameda Theatre or hang out with friends. We usually end the night with some karaoke somewhere on the island.

Paddling has taken Mike all around the world: Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Canada, Mongolia, Mexico, Hawaii, and China. His favorite paddle, however, is right here in Alameda at Ballena Bay.

Thanks for your time Mike! (pictured: Mike, Judy, Puddles and Mo)

Visit Mike’s Paddle to learn more about Stand-Up Paddling (SUP) classes, SUP Yoga, rentals, kid’s classes, events, and more!


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