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February 18, 2009 > Paddy's celebrates a birthday

Paddy's celebrates a birthday

By Simon Wong

Paddy's Coffee House celebrates its 6th Anniversary this year. Owner Paddy Iyer and his wife, Tanya, invited all customers, past and present, to celebrate with them on February 7, 2009.

The coffee shop, at 3900 Smith Street, was filled with community members, young and old, who regularly enjoy the relaxed and comfortable ambience of Union City's only independent coffee house. Judging by the large gathering and the number of people with whom Paddy spoke, he and Tanya have built a loyal clientele over the years.

Tri-City Voice took the opportunity to speak with Paddy who was honored as Union City's Local Hero by Assemblyman Alberto Torrico at the 2008 State of the 20th Assembly District Awards Ceremony last December.

TCV: When was Paddy's Coffee House founded?

Paddy: February 2003

TCV: Why was Paddy's Coffee House founded?

Paddy: I always wanted to open a coffee house. After working for a long time in the technology industry, I decided it was time for a change. So, when the opportunity arose, "Paddy's" was born.

TCV: Why is Paddy's located in Old Alvarado and not in another part of Union City?

Paddy: The area, Smith Street in particular, is convenient for local schools, residences, the Saturday Farmers' Market across the street and is on the way to Union Landing. It was an ideal location waiting for a neighbourhood coffee house.

TCV: What has been most rewarding about owning your own business?
Paddy: Meeting and greeting people from all walks of life. It amazed us that there is so much artistic talent within the community. We enjoy coming in to work because each day has its own charm. We bring about a personal level of hospitality that makes everyone feel at home and relaxed.

TCV: Statistically, many businesses fail in their third year of trading. To what do you attribute your success?

Paddy: Yes, we are a coffee house, but we are also a neighborhood, community gathering spot. We open our doors to all sorts of activities, be it youth, social, church and anything of that ilk. We host frequent open-mic nights, music nights, voter- registration drives, fundraisers for social causes. We host PaddyPalooza, an afternoon-long music extravaganza, in association with Union City Leisure Services. There is the Annual Paddy's Film Festival in September. We host the annual photo contest, the Kids' Art Fair and other events. Given all this, the appreciation and support that we receive makes the difference.

We are also one of the few green business establishments in Alameda County and the first business in Union City to go completely green. Currently, we are working with Union City, Tri-Ced and Allied Waste as a pilot project in that regard. We compost and recycle all our waste. We are also one of the few coffee houses to be socially connected on the Internet with a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

TCV: At the recent reception for the Unsung Heroes featured in Union city's 50th Anniversary Calendar, you stated "I live in Fremont but Union City has made me what I am today." What do you mean by that? How has that happened?

Paddy: This business has given us a great appreciation of the City and of community. I spend most of my waking and working hours in Union City. Consequently, I interact with many residents and business professionals from Union City. Being in the Old Alvarado area of Union City, we are also exposed to the history of the neighbourhood.

TCV: Why do you participate in Union City's community?

Paddy: We firmly believe in the adage "No man is an island." People should support each other. Everyone needs someone. Our philosophy has always been to participate and be an integral part of the community. We believe our location, and hope that our reputation, can benefit the community and its endeavors.

TCV: What is special about Union City and why do you think those qualities exist?

Paddy: It's a great City, led by visionaries, both elected officials and City Hall personnel. They strive to avoid a bedroom community and create a municipality that is the envy of all. For instance, the Intermodal Station District is a thoughtful and well-planned development by our Council and Economic & Community Development staff who are at pains to ensure that the City's future needs are met. The business community is vibrant and allied with the City's vision. There is tremendous energy all around. The residential community takes great pride in their surroundings and works with the City to make it a wonderful place.

TCV: What would you like to say to our readers?

Paddy: Although Paddy's Coffee House is located in Union City, we welcome everyone from far and wide. Apart from serving you a good cup of coffee, we cater to your community's responsibilities and needs. If you are a musician looking for a place to showcase your talent, come on over. If you are an artist looking to display your art, come on over. If you are just in need of a comfortable couch and good cup of coffee or tea, Paddy's Coffee House is your destination.

For more information, visit or call 510 324 8572

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