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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category


Photo: Just a wee bit of fabric and sewing sundries

It’s not a new business, but shop Wee Scotty is new to the Richmond District. Located on Clement near 7th Avenue, the shop has “taught numerous children to sew, helped countless brides look their best on their wedding day, and designed clothing and prototyped for many local and national brands.”

Welcome Wee Scotty!

Sarah B.

10:27 am | Posted under Business | Add comments

European Foods demolished to make way for new condos & retail

A rendering of the new development coming to 3038 Clement

Always-on-top-of-it development blog Socketsite posted an update yesterday on the condominium project at 3038 Clement Street near 32nd Avenue.

As they reported back in November 2012, the property that the market sat on was being considered for a six-unit condominium development.

Fast forward two years and the market is no more. Bulldozers put the final touches on the demolition, and permits have been pulled to make way for the building which includes three two-bedroom units and three three-bedroom units.

The building will be 40 feet tall and includes parking for ten bikes and six cars over a smaller ground-floor retail space. No word yet on what will occupy the retail space.

The permit issued for the project puts the construction costs at $2,500,449. The new address for the condos will be 3032-3038 Clement Street.

Remarkably, the gas/service station on the corner next to the new condo development continues to stand, and has not yielded to what we imagine are regular “Will you sell?” inquiries from developers.

Sarah B.

5:02 am | Posted under Business, Real Estate | 16 comments

Food news: De Place will be Dragon Beaux, Mescolanza closing, more on Pivot

“De place! De place!” Reader @cassfung tells us that something is happening at the former Big Heart Video Cafe / De Place space at 5700 Geary. As you may remember, it was under construction for over a year, then finally opened as De Place, only to close a few weeks later. According to a sign on the door, “De Place” is going to become “Dragon Beaux”. We couldn’t find any info online about Dragon Beaux other than that their beer and wine liquor license is pending. “Hope the food is better than its name,” @cassfung said.

Cozy Italian restaurant Mescolanza, located on Clement near 23rd Avenue, is closing its doors after 26 years in business. On their website, restaurant owner Ruben Macedo says that the business has to relocate, and that its last day of business will be December 31. Let’s hope they find another home soon in the neighborhood.

More details have emerged about Pivot, the new wine bar opening at 443 Clement Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. According to EaterSF, the venture is spearheaded by veteran sommeliers Michael Ireland (Restaurant at Meadowood, Quince) and John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko). Expect an “elected group of 30 wines by the glass, from $6 a glass from the keg to rare and pricey finds from the proprietors’ personal collections.” The 47 seat space will also feature a menu focused on “super high-quality snacks and light meals that pair with their wines”. They anticipate opening in Spring 2015.

Sarah B.

2:27 pm | Posted under Business, Food | 18 comments

Droolworthy: Award-winning Jade Chocolates to open store on Geary & 6th

If you’ve spent any time at the Clement Street Farmer’s Market, and you like chocolate (who doesn’t?), then you have probably sampled some Jade Chocolates. And if you haven’t, you’re missing out.

Jade Chocolates has been around for 8 years, and has won awards for its chocolates and confections that blend teas and spices from Asia and the Pacific Islands. The popular Genmai bar blends in roasted brown rice mixed with jasmine tea (and also comes as little chocolate Buddhas!), and the Dragon’s Breath bar features smokey lapsang souchang tea, roasted sesame, and red chili. Their Terracotta Bar (tamari soy sauce almonds and sea salt) won in the Best New Product category at the San Francisco Chocolate Salon.

But it’s just now that owner Mindy Fong has embarked on opening her first storefront which will be located here in the Richmond District.

The shop will be on Geary near 6th Avenue, next to the Coco Cafe. As Fong says in her Kickstarter video, she chose the space because of its central location and proximity to other businesses. And perhaps most importantly, because it will be the only artisan chocolate shop on the west side of San Francisco.

Fong’s entrepreneurial spirit came from her grandfather, who owned several businesses in San Francisco after immigrating from China. A self-taught chocolatier, Fong weaves her family’s history, heritage and influences into her confections.

In addition to selling award-winning chocolates in the new shop, Fong has plans to add a line of hot chocolates, pastries and baked goods also with Asian and Pacific Island influences.

Jade Chocolates hopes to open by the holidays but needs to raise some more funds to finish construction on the space. Check out their Kickstarter to learn more and lend your support.

So far the campaign has raised about $7,500 of its $20,000 goal. Rewards for backers range from boxes of handmade truffles to various gift baskets of Jade’s bars, confections and new hot chocolate products.

In the meantime, be sure to stop by the Jade Chocolates booth at the Clement Street Farmer’s Market every Sunday. It’s a delicious stop and I for one can’t wait to have fine chocolates just around the corner every day. :)

Sarah B.

4:15 am | Posted under Business, Food | 1 comment

Grinders Pizzeria to open on Balboa near 6th Avenue

Photo by @kllymills

We heard from a couple of readers yesterday about Grinders Pizzeria, a new restaurant that is getting ready to open at 448 Balboa Street near the corner of 6th Avenue (between Melisa’s Chinese and Cinderella Bakery).

According to their website, Grinders will offer “Chicago Deep Dish and California Thin Crust pizzas in a refined format. Our Chicago Deep Dish pizzas feature our signature carmelized-cheese crust that heightens the flavor profile and crispness of the crust. The California Thin Crust pizzas are where our name derives from. We have deconstructed popular grinder sandwiches and cleverly re-located their ingredients onto a pizza crust.”

Grinders will provide online ordering and their delivery area will include the entire Richmond District.

The people behind Grinders are husband and wife team Joe Irick and Amanda Petrowski. Joe is the former pizza critic for the Chicago Tribune, and the two are aiming to “change the way you think about pizza in SF!” They just got married in April after meeting at a convention in 2008 (you too can stalk their wedding website).

In addition to pizza, the menu offers side salads, buffalo wings, mac and cheese, and a skillet cookie: one massive chocolate chip cookie baked to order.

Grinders’ space still has brown paper on the windows and they tell us they’re in their final inspection so they could be opening within the next couple of weeks. When they do, they’ll be open 7 days a week. But don’t rush over there just yet!

Welcome to the neighborhood, Grinders! Let’s hope this is the beginning of an uptick in occupancies for the Inner Balboa commercial district.

Sarah B.

4:25 am | Posted under Business, Food | 22 comments

Photos: Signage for new restaurants on Geary is, er, creatively challenged

The “You Are Here” style signage on the new Kobe BBQ. Photo by Derek

Last week, BoldItalic published a photo of what was once Quan Bac, a popular Vietnamese restaurant located at 4116 Geary between 5th and 6th Avenues. The photo showed what one might call a “poor man’s restaurant sign” which looked like a spastic graffiti artist had come through (photo below) – and even spelled one of the restaurant names wrong.

It appears the restaurant space is being divided into two eateries – Kobe Korean BBQ and Infiniti Sushi.

Thankfully, the graffiti was quickly painted over within a day or so with dark paint. But today, we received new photos of the facades which are, well, still pretty bad.

The Kobe BBQ storefront on the left side has spray-painted letters with an arrow pointing down at the front door (just in case you don’t know where to go in). It’s a little reminiscent of the “You Are Here” notations on venue maps.

Next door, they seem undecided on how they want to sign the place. “Infiniti Sushi” is lettered on a small wood board that runs across the front, but “Infin” is still spray-painted haphazardly above the windows (and S-U-S-H-I remains spray-painted on the window coverings).

We don’t know anything about these restaurants or when they plan to open their doors. We’ll hope these signs are works in progress because if they’re permanent, we can only assume the quality of the food will be top-notch. ;)

Oh and Brothers Korean BBQ is right next door so let the games begin.

Sarah B.

The current signage for Infiniti Sushi, opening next door. Photo by Derek

How the graffiti’d facade looked last week. Photo by Bolditalic

2:06 pm | Posted under Business | 8 comments

Square data shows which ‘hoods go to Burning Man (hint: not the Richmond)

So you probably noticed the city felt emptier during Burning Man (August 25 – September 1), but is there any data to prove that? Well yes, there is…

Fortune magazine got some data from Square, a transaction processor, showing the growth or decline in commerce in San Francisco neighborhoods during the period that Burning Man was taking place. While the festival funnels a lot of money into the local economy where “the playa” is located near Reno, NV ($55 million last year), it can have the opposite effect in areas where attendees come from.

As you can see from the map, commerce declined in the southern portions of the city.

“Data from Square, the mobile credit card processing company, suggests merchants in the South of Market neighborhood saw as much as a 20% drop in business the week of Burning Man compared to a typical week.”

That’s where a lot of tech workers typically spend, and a lot of them make a mass exodus to Burning Man. When they leave town, so does their $$.

But look at the Richmond District! Our overall commerce was up nearly 20% which means a lot of us were not at Burning Man. As the article points out, “commerce was up sharply in the Richmond, a neighborhood popular with families, perhaps due to increased shopping during a the Labor Day weekend.”

Thanks to Anthony for the tip.

Sarah B.

11:54 am | Posted under Business | 11 comments

MAFIA Bags opens manufacturing space and showroom on Clement Street

Marcos and Paz Mafia, siblings and owners of Mafia Bags

While the Richmond District is known best for its abundance of restaurants, it’s also home to a handful of manufacturing businesses like Paul’s Hat Works, Anzfer Farms (furniture), and our latest addition, MAFIA Bags.

MAFIA Bags was started by brother and sister team Marcos and Paz Mafia, who hail all the way from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Both grew up with a passion for water sports. Marcos became a professional kitesurfer and earned the title of Argentine Kitesurf Champion at age 22, while Paz, a few years older, pursued a corporate career.

In 2012, the two joined forces to start MAFIA Bags in their home country. The company’s products puts old sails from kiteboards, windsurfing boards and boats back into use by re-purposing them as bags and other accessories. Old sails are donated or purchased at a discount, broken and cut into pieces, and then made into handcrafted backpacks, wallets, duffel bags and more.

After getting the business off the ground in Argentina by selling wholesale and online, the duo decided it was time to expand to the US market. After looking for a place to base their US operation and raising $26,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, Marcos and Paz settled on San Francisco, locating their workroom on Clement Street near 20th Avenue.

Clement Street is ground zero for manufacturing the US MAFIA product line. Shapes are hand-cut out of old sails, cataloged, and sent off to assemblers in Los Angeles and Santa Clara for final production.

The MAFIA workroom is a burst of bright color. The old sails piled on shelves come from a variety of sources including water sportsmen, marine surplus stores and even professional water sport events.

Sails get tossed aside for a variety of reasons; they may be beyond repair or simply outdated. Whenever someone donates a sail to MAFIA, they get back a free MAFIA product of their choice made from their own sail. (If you are interested in donating a sail, contact sailsforchange@mafiabags.com)

In one corner of the shop sits a five foot tall pile of old event banners from the 2014 US Open Surfing Championship that took place a few weeks ago. Event sponsor VANS enlisted MAFIA Bags to re-purpose the banners into bags for a follow-up campaign.

Posted on the wall is the weekly “to do” spreadsheet, showing how many of each product part needs to be cut and prepared in the Clement Street workroom by the MAFIA team of four. Another wall board shows the color combinations for each product.

Marcos is the CEO and design lead for the company while Paz holds the title of CFOO, handling finances and operations. Both of them have infectious, passionate personalities.

“The ocean and outdoors have brought me good fortune and such happiness throughout my entire life,” said Marcos who continues to compete as a professional kitesurfer. “The purity of our special environment inspires me, and the entire MAFIA family, every single day. MAFIA Bags is our way of returning nature the favor.”

At the front of the Clement Street space are some corrugated displays showing off the MAFIA product line. Wallets straddle small pegs, colorful rucksacks hang off the sides, and bright backpacks are perched on top. Every MAFIA item is handcrafted, incorporating different sail pieces into a single item, all water-resistant. Even the smallest parts of the sails are used, like the keychains that are re-purposed from small pieces of neoprene.

Back in Argentina, the bestseller is MAFIA’s Discover Pack which is a useful, all-purpose backpack that is both sturdy and lightweight. The company is also working on some new products that they think will appeal to US customers, like a laptop bag.

So far Marcos and Paz are loving their new life in San Francisco. While Paz admits the foggy weather was “a bit difficult at first”, they can’t imagine being anywhere else. She first visited the city when she was 15, and Marcos for the first time in 2013.

“We love Golden Gate Park, the beach, everything is so close to our house,” Paz said.

Marcos and Paz both regularly kite surf at Ocean Beach and bike around the city. They list Pizzetta and Bazaar Cafe as some of their favorite places in the neighborhood. When friends come to visit, they take them to the Cliff House for a drink overlooking the ocean.

They’ve also made friends with nearby businesses like the Clement Nursery across the street. “We love those guys!” Marcos hopes to have a street fair of sorts where businesses in the outer Clement area can all open their doors and welcome in neighbors.

MAFIA is currently manufacturing inventory for their first three months of sales, which includes the rewards for their Kickstarter funders and sail donors. They’re focused on finding resale partners like design stores, surf shops and museums to carry MAFIA products, and getting their online store ready to open in October. MAFIA products will range in price from $30 up to $190, and include a lifetime guarantee.

We’ll keep you posted on the online debut of MAFIA Bags in the US. And if you run into Marcos or Paz, be sure to welcome them to the neighborhood!

Sarah B.

Shelves of old sails from kitesurfing, windsurfing and sailing

The small bins where the hand-cut sail pieces are stored

Wallets and small sacks made by MAFIA Bags

A backpack and the popular Discover Pack made by MAFIA Bags

5:02 am | Posted under Business | 6 comments