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Closed for business: Heartbaker Restaurant, Thom’s Fresh Organics Market

We’re a bit behind but wanted to report on the closures of two businesses here in the neighborhood.

Heartbaker’s exterior (2013)

Heartbaker says goodbye after 4 years

At the end of December, Heartbaker, located at 1408 Clement near 15th Avenue, closed its doors after four and a half years. They posted this message on their Facebook page:

It is with deep sadness that we announce that after this weekend Heartbaker will close its doors. We had a good run but we can no longer sustain it. Our family has been committed to making it a success but due to factors beyond our control and the prolonged stress we have to call it quits. The support we have received from our Richmond community as well as that of our family and friends has been overwhelming. We are so sad to have to say goodbye. Sybil worked so hard to build this business from nothing and with the help of her dad, Mike, was able to bring her vision to the Richmond where we all found a community and a family we may not have found without it. We are indebted to our dedicated employees, friends and family that have helped us over the years and are proud to have shared this experience and so many wonderful memories with them. Thank you all! Much love from our family to yours – Sybil and Jason

Heartbaker was the lovechild of pastry chef Sybil Johnson, who had a wholesale baking business before opening Heartbaker’s retail shop in 2013. Sybil’s family all helped out, including her husband Jason and her father, Mark. Heartbaker was a central Richmond favorite, offering pastries, small sandwiches, quiches, cupcakes and cookies, and a popular Happy Hour and weekend brunch. I know many readers will miss the restaurant. We wish Sybil and her family the best in their next adventure.

Thom’s Fresh Organics

Thom’s Fresh Organics Announces Closure

Late last week, Hoodline reported that Thom’s Fresh Organics (5843 Geary Blvd. at 23rd Ave.) would be closing. The market was sold in 2002 to Nutraceutical, a Utah-based natural products company.

Thom’s employs about nine people and according to one employee, the announcement was not a shock.

“[The decision] comes “after a lot of neglect,” noting that a cooler has been broken for weeks, the location’s been under an extended hiring freeze, and the space lacks central heating,” the employee told Hoodline.

Thom’s will remain open until most of the inventory is sold, including fixtures and furniture.

One reader told us they stopped by the store earlier this week and saw notices posted about Thom’s employees potentially buying the business. But we have been unable to verify if that is in the works.

Another Nutraceutical store, Real Foods in Cole Valley, will also be closing soon.

Sarah B.

7 Comments

  1. I cried while I paid for the last tomatoes I’ll ever have from Thom’s. So sad, the staff there made you feel like you were in their house and they were happy to share the bounty of a blissfully stocked pantry. I truly hope something wonderful happens for the group hoping to buy it, as well as the space itself if they cannot. The domino effect of closures on that particular block is upsetting, and Thom’s was always a cheerful- albeit chilly- respite from the empty windows around it.

  2. I hope something can be done. Thom’s is the only place in the neighborhood with a bulk foods section. Looks like I will be visiting Other Avenues in the Sunset more often.

  3. Hard to believe about Thom’s — it’s been there since I can remember! The article is quite spare about the store’s heritage. It was bought out by a small controversial company called Fresh Express (infamous for keeping prime spot Real Foods on 24th Street closed for several years in an employee dispute. It was across from the old Bell Market). Fresh Express owned Thom’s, Real Foods on Cole and one or two others. The bearded blondish fellow had been at Thom’s for more than a decade. The rest of the staff changed frequently. The only reason my shopping tapered off was due to higher prices than say Other Avenues on Judah, etc. Make no mistake, Thom’s was begun and run for 30+ years by a true natural foods enthusiast. It will be missed!

  4. CORRECTION: I wrote Fresh Express, but meant Fresh Organics (that was the company that sold to the Utah corporation). Hard to believe about Thom’s — it’s been there since I can remember! The article is quite spare about the store’s heritage. It was bought out by a small controversial company called Fresh Organics (infamous for keeping prime spot Real Foods on 24th Street closed for several years in an employee dispute. It was across from the old Bell Market). Fresh Organics owned Thom’s, Real Foods on Cole and one or two others. The bearded blondish fellow had been at Thom’s for more than a decade. The rest of the staff changed frequently. The only reason my shopping tapered off was due to higher prices than say Other Avenues on Judah, etc. Make no mistake, Thom’s was begun and run for 30+ years by a true natural foods enthusiast. It will be missed!

  5. Sort of sad about Thom’s even though I haven’t shopped there much lately (better quality and prices at Other Avenues and Rainbow made the occasional slog worth it). I remember when it originally opened on 10th and Clement as the only health food store in the neighborhood (actually, guess it still is; meaning now there won’t be any alternative to trips to Other Avenues or Rainbow for that kind of stuff).

  6. Sad to hear about Heartbaker. They must have been having trouble right from the start because they were almost never open or had very short, limited business hours. Every time I passed by they were closed so I wasn’t able to patronize as often as I would have liked.

  7. I remember Thom’s on 10th & Clement from my childhood in the ’60s and ’70s. He was a character and one of the first natural food purveyors in SF. Sad to see Thom’s close.

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