SACRAMENTO -- An Oakland company that started off as a public art project was honored by the state Legislature as "Small Business of the Year" for 2013 at an awards luncheon Monday.

Oaklandish owner Angels Tsay attended the event and accepted the award on behalf of the company. Although, initially only a project celebrating "original Oakland charm," the company soon opened a retail store in the heart of downtown in 2011, featuring "civic pride apparel."

Recognizing the achievements of the company, state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, nominated Oaklandish for the award.

Mayor Jean Quan, left, and Marketing Director Sammee Roberts, center, receive hats from Natalie Nadimi, right, of Oaklandish, during a celebration of
Mayor Jean Quan, left, and Marketing Director Sammee Roberts, center, receive hats from Natalie Nadimi, right, of Oaklandish, during a celebration of Oakland's 160th birthday at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 4, 2012. (Jane Tyska/Staff)

"The success of Oaklandish demonstrates that an innovative company can both be successful and make a positive contribution to the community," Hancock said. "The creativity and uniqueness of its product line, combined with its dedication to helping the community, makes this company richly deserving of the award."

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the leaders of the state Senate and state Assembly and more than 70 legislators attended the event.

"It means a lot that the Legislature is honoring a community-oriented small business like Oaklandish," Tsay said. " I hope it will lead to other small businesses assisting in the revitalization of Oakland."