Inspired by a small business customer, U.S. Bank donates meals to Oakland youth

June 13, 2022
Serving up a traditional Jamaican dish during a recent lunch hour at Sweet Fingers; below, co-owner chef Clive Barnes.

U.S. Bank customer and Black-owned business Sweet Fingers recently reopened in Oakland, California, following 30-month closure. 

For Oakland, California, restaurant co-owner Roxanne Mosley, reopening her famed Sweet Fingers restaurant after a two-and-half-year closure was about more than making traditional Jamaican cuisine available to the community, it was about being an example of resiliency.

“Now more than ever, we need examples of resilient Black-owned business,” said Mosley, who co-owns the business with Chef Clive Barnes. “And I want to be that example for the city of Oakland.”

In January, Sweet Fingers reopened at a new location in East Oakland to continue its 13-year legacy of serving traditional Jamaican dishes in the Bay Area, which has been known to draw in NBA superstars from the Golden State Warriors.  The reopening was a milestone for the restaurant, Mosley and Chef Clive Barnes, who were forced to close their previous location in nearby San Leandro, California, in July of 2019 following a property fire at an adjacent business. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, upending the restaurant industry and further delaying reopening plans.

Since Sweet Fingers’ beginnings in 2009, U.S. Bank has served as Mosely’s business banking team and advisors. As word spread across the bank’s local leadership team that the restaurant had secured a new space and was planning to reopen, the bank decided to get further involved. U.S. Bank offered to support Sweet Fingers by purchasing 250 meals that could then be distributed to the community.

“The story of resiliency here is inspiring, so we wanted to find a way to both support Roxanne and Clive and give back to the local community,” said Andrew Parsons, North Bay district manager with U.S. Bank. “Small businesses like Sweet Fingers are what make the communities where we live and work unique, so we wanted to celebrate that and also help them become stewards in the community to pay it forward.”

Sweet Fingers partnered with local nonprofits Genesys Works and East Oakland Youth Center to distribute the 250 meals to Oakland youth via gift cards. Mosely has seen a steady stream of students come in to redeem the cards for their meals with friends and family.

“Many of our students live within a one- to two-mile radius of Sweet Fingers, so for them to be able to see what it looks like to be a Black entrepreneur in their own community, that’s impactful,” said Choyannah Davis, youth leader with East Oakland Youth Center.

Mosely invested nearly $1 million in the new restaurant location, which features two kitchens – one dedicated to vegan meal preparation –and a small private dining room to accommodate VIP guests, particularly from the sports world.

“U.S. Bank helped us rebuild our credit. We’ve been around for 13 years, but we started this business with just $50,000… we finally got into the black (financially) and then the fire hit,” shared Mosely. “We’ve learned that if you don’t start thinking about credit early on, you aren’t necessarily credit worthy, so you don’t have any when you need it.”

Mosley and Barnes considered their then-Business Banking Specialist III Mark Poon to be “a member of the Sweet Fingers family.” During their unexpected 27-month closure, Poon helped them secure a SBA Paycheck Protection Program loan and navigate an accidental default on a credit card. They have been working closely with Poon and the U.S. Bank business banking team to rebuild their credit and prepare for their grand re-opening.

Since reopening their new location in January, Mosely says business has surpassed her expectations and they are being contacted for catering events for community groups and services.

To learn more about Sweet Fingers, visit

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