Random header image... Refresh for more!

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Aug-27-2014

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Sails get tossed aside for a variety of reasons; they may be beyond repair or simply outdated.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
Aug-12-2014

Richmond Republic Draught House to open soon on Clement in old Haig’s space

The proprietors of Chomp N’ Swig, the beer and sandwich spot on Clement near 17th Avenue, posted this sneak peek photo of their new venture on Facebook.

It will be called the Richmond Republic Draught House and will open soon in the old Haig’s Delicatessen space at 642 Clement Street.

The space has been under brown window wrap for many months. This is the second business for the owners who opened Chomp N’ Swig, their first eatery, in February 2012.

Thank to Ben L. for the tip.

Sarah B.

5:12 am | Posted under Business | 14 comments
Aug-1-2014

Green Apple Book opens new inner Sunset location today


Inside the new Green Apple Books at 1231 9th Avenue

Since opening on Clement Street in 1967, Green Apple Books has grown to 10 times the size of its original location, moving into neighboring storefronts as its inventory expanded.

But today, a new chapter begins for the San Francisco landmark as it opens a new location in a completely different neighborhood at 1231 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset.

The story of how it happened is part business and part good neighbor. In March, Le Video, a video rental store, was struggling in the 9th Avenue space. After years in business, the store was barely making rent and struggling to compete with today’s culture of on-demand digital movies and television shows.

In April, Green Apple announced that they would be taking over half of the space as a co-tenant with Le Video. Green Apple opens today in the bottom floor of the building, and Le Video will maintain their business upstairs.

In addition to getting some help with the rent each month, Le Video also raised $60,000 via an Indiegogo campaign which should help it recover and stay solvent. “THANK YOU FOR SAVING LE VIDEO! We are looking forward to our future with you!” it says on their website.

Though this second Green Apple – Books on the Park location will only be one third of the size of the Clement Street store, it’s a welcome addition to the inner Sunset neighborhood which has not had a bookstore in several years.

Stephen Sparks, the general manager of the new 9th Avenue Green Apple says “we’re thinking of this space as more open and showroom-y where we’ll be able to have great events.” Like the upcoming Colorless Tsukuru Midnight Party on August 11 to celebrate the release of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Sparks says they’re also planning to carve out a niche for nature books, local interest, and good literary fiction.

The new Green Apple Books in the inner Sunset is open daily from 10am until 10pm. This weekend they’ll be celebrating their grand opening by giving away $25 gift cards every hour from 12noon to 8pm on Friday, and possibly Saturday and Sunday.

Normally we’d say “welcome to the neighborhood” when we write about new businesses here on the blog, but in this case, we’ll say “way to go!”. And to our Sunset readers, be sure to drop by and welcome them to YOUR neighborhood. :)

Sarah B.

P.S. – Someone tell actor Paul Giamatti. He was spotted at the Clement Street store last night so I’m sure he’d want to see the new location too while he’s in town.

9:20 am | Posted under Business | 12 comments
Jul-14-2014

Local links: Pacific Cafe turns 40, Farallones swim, Beach Chalet drags on & more


SFCitizen caught this snap of yet another creative use of the bike lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park.

  • Congratulations to Pacific Cafe on Geary at 34th Avenue who are celebrating their 40th anniversary. Chronicle food critic Paolo Lucchesi wrote, “In a restaurant landscape where the bright young things are celebrated by media (yours truly often included), let’s give a round of applause to the Pacific Cafe, the epitome of a great neighborhood restaurant.”
  • For only the second time in history, someone swam from the Farallones to the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday. It was his seventh try, and it took 14 hours to swim the 30 miles. Congratulations, Joseph Locke.
  • Columnist John King paid tribute to the glowing dome of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral on Geary. “It’s also the physical manifestation of a community with deep Richmond District roots.
  • Game on… The measure to block the new soccer fields at Beach Chalet got enough signatures to make it on the ballot for the next election. Mayor Ed Lee has already prepared for the ballot battle by getting his own opposing measure on the ballot. “Mayor Ed Lee and a number of city supervisors last month announced their own initiative, designed to override the Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields Renovation Act. That measure contains a “poison pill” that would invalidate any conflicting ballot measure if the city’s measure gets more votes.” [SF Chronicle] Wake us when it’s over.
  • Parking meters are getting an upgrade, allowing them to accept all five forms of payment, have larger display screens and show pay-by-phone transactions on the meter display. The new ones are being installed in the outer and central Richmond District in this next wave. And in case you’re curious what it costs to upgrade each meter – $515.
  • The latest casualty of the tech boom? It’s Chinese businesses according to newamericanmedia.org. “The irony is that as Chinese buyers acquire more property in San Francisco, it is often the Chinese American tenants who are taking a hit. In this new Chinese city of San Francisco, also a hipster city, one sees more white young people and fewer small Chinese shops and shopkeepers that cater to working-class Chinese.” Read the full story
9:57 am | Posted under Business, Politics, Transportation | 19 comments
Jun-6-2014

Artist Frank Kozik opening store on Clement Street? Labbit says yes.

While cruising down Clement Street last night, we noticed the above sign in the window of the old Kumquat space at 147 Clement Street near 3rd Avenue.

We didn’t recognize it, but our Facebook followers did. It’s a drawing of “Labbit” by artist Frank Kozik. Labbit is known for his “Addiction to candy cigarettes and beef jerky” and for his allergy “to work in any form”.

Facebook followers were abuzz that Kozik has plans to open a store on Clement Street. From what we can tell, this will be Kozik’s first brick and mortar store; he does sell his work on his website.

Kozik has a colorful career as an artist that spans across many mediums including silkscreening, album cover design, art toy works, video and music. He currently lives and works in San Francisco with his wife, Sharon, and their four cats.

We emailed Kozik and he had this to say about his new venture:

Yes, we will be moving our design offices there and opening a small store as well! All sorts of fun ‘urban vinyl’ figures, prints, t-shirts and art things. We should be open some time in July. We will be redoing the facade for a cleaner brighter look!

As a long time residents of the Richmond (21 years) we have always wanted a spot on Clement and now its reality!

We have a feeling Kozik’s store will be a very colorful addition to Clement Street :)

Sarah B.

9:10 am | Posted under Art, Business | 5 comments
Jun-4-2014

Local links: Muni sickout, Surfcraft, new Vietnamese, Yee nearly elected & more


Transit Accident at Euclid & Arguello Boulevard with onlookers | November 17, 1915. Courtesy of SFMTA Archives

Not too many links to share this week, but like a good loaf of bread, we don’t want them to go stale…

  • How are you all handling the MUNI sickout? We’ve seen hoards of waiting passengers at stops in the neighborhood these past few mornings, and one (handsome!) reader tweeted us that he ran home 5.5 miles from his job to avoid it. Leave a comment to let us know.
  • Congrats to the Balboa Theater (which is screening Purple Rain this Sunday night!) for being named among 7 best movie house in the Bay Area by KQED. We could have done without the “just decrepit and seedy enough” descriptor though…
  • Despite his legal troubles and pulling out of the election, Senator Leland Yee STILL received just over 287k votes in yesterday’s election primary for California Secretary of State – enough for a third place finish. We’re gonna chalk to this up to people lazily voting for a name they recognize… Sigh.
  • This outer Richmond District resident is crafting a new kind of surfboard made specifically for bodysurfing. He came up with the idea after his traditional surfboard broke in half.
  • Reader Emily F. tells us that the old Barley Cafe at 343 Clement near 5th Avenue, which closed abruptly after a few months, will soon be taken over by a new Vietnamese restaurant. She chatted with the owners who were on site who told her that “there that will focus on noodle soups and fresh spring roll wraps. They expect to be open by the end of June.”
12:35 pm | Posted under Business, Food, History, Movies, Politics | 15 comments
Jun-2-2014

Q Restaurant closing June 29 after 16 years of serving “funky comfort food”

Late last week, Q Restaurant hung a banner above their front door announcing their upcoming shutdown on June 29. The restaurant has been a Clement Street institution for 16 years, serving up “funky comfort food” ranging from tater tots to duck confit.

Owners Brinn and Andrew wrote a long letter to their customers (full text below), explaining that they are calling it quits after “years of disabling back problems, it is time to give Andrew the opportunity to focus on his health”.

In a neighborhood full of ethnic restaurants, Q was one of the few spots where you could always get a good hamburger, mac and cheese and other American comfort foods. Guy Fieri featured Q on an episode of his “Diners, Drive-ins & Dives” show on the Food Network.

Owner Brinn says that the closing is “definitely a sad thing for us”, but after 16 years she feels good about “the comfort that we brought, the friendliness that we brought to the neighborhood.”

“I’m sad to see that end. It’s an end of an era. It was Andrew’s dream, he worked on this for his whole life. His mom taught him to cook. This was his passion,” Brinn told us.

Much of Q’s staff are long-timers as well. The first employee is still working at Q, and a lot of the kitchen staff have been there over 6 years.

“It is so rare to find such a dedicated, hardworking, and friendly staff anywhere. We became a family. We took care of each other. We are so grateful for the love and tremendous efforts by our amazing staff,” they wrote in their farewell letter.

Brinn said they never dreamed that Q would last as long as it did. “We had no idea we’d be there for 16 years. We were stoked we made it through 2 or 3,” she told us.

And while Q didn’t change much in its 16 years, Clement Street has.

“The street has changed so much in 16 years. We started at same time as April in Paris. Busvan for Bargains Furniture store was open when we first opened! There’s still a lot of diversity, maybe it’s even more diverse now,” Brinn said.

Brinn had no specifics on what their next chapter or venture would be, other than to say that Q is definitely closing and will not be coming back. She says she thinks another restaurant may open in the Q space but doesn’t know more than that.

Q’s last day of business will be on Sunday, June 29.

“We’re hoping people will come in one more time, let’s have one more meal together,” Brinn said.

Sarah B.

===============================================

Q’S LETTER TO ITS CUSTOMERS:

Farewell San Francisco
It is with a heavy heart that after almost 16 years of great food, delicious wine, wonderful people, fun times, hard work, ups and downs, (and a few Hokey Pokeys thrown into the mix), Q owners Andrew and Brinn have decided it’s time to move on to the next life adventure. After years of disabling back problems, it is time to give Andrew the opportunity to focus on his health. This has been a very difficult and emotional decision and we are so sad to say goodbye, but health takes priority.

Q gave us all a place to feel at home. It was the site of first dates, marriage proposals, graduation celebrations, wedding rehearsal dinners, children growing up, epic parties, Q Balls, Crab and Champagne Feasts, Sunday brunch with friends, and many other completely routine and sometimes totally extraordinary moments. Q was the friend you knew would be there when you needed them. Q was comforting. Q was a welcoming, smiling face. Q was home.

Q is greater than the sum of its parts. To make a list of the regular customers would be a 1000 page book. Thank you to all of our customers. We loved taking care of you, and thank you for taking care of us too. The spirit of Q is something we all can keep alive by maintaining the connections of the people we met and grew to love there. Have crab and champagne feasts in your homes at Thanksgiving, say hello when you pass people on the street, share wine with your neighbors. You have the power to keep the spirit alive.

There are no words that clearly express the love and gratitude we feel for our staff that worked so hard to keep the vision alive. Restaurant work is not easy. It takes commitment, thick skin, and a really good sense of humor. It is so rare to find such a dedicated, hardworking, and friendly staff anywhere. We became a family. We took care of each other. We are so grateful for the love and tremendous efforts by our amazing staff. We wish everyone the best of luck in whatever path they chose in their future and look forward to lifelong friendships with you.

Deep gratitude and credit goes to Andrew for creating and developing a vision that supported ours and many other families while serving up over a million delicious plates of Funky American Comfort food. The flavors you created made all of our taste buds dance. Thank you Andrew for the heart, body and soul you poured into Q.

This corner of San Francisco has something special – warm and welcoming neighbors, support for individuality, a comfortable place to nurture ones dreams, dedicated small business owners and a safe neighborhood for families to grow. It has truly been an honor to live and serve here. We sincerely hope the strong sense of community in the Inner Richmond continues and thrives forever.

Q’s last day will be Sunday, June 29, 2014. Please come see us over the next month to get a last few Q meals, share stories, write on our memory wall, and say goodbye.

Thank you for 16 wonderful years San Francisco, we will miss you tremendously. Now, go out and save the world!

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 27 comments
May-27-2014

Hi-Five Sports Zone grand opening on May 31; enter to win a birthday party


CEO Ryan Tuchman (L) and General Manager Chris Tabarez stand on the Hi-Five court with Murphy the mascot.

For several months now, Hi-Five Sports Zone has been building out the former Walgreens space at 5411 Geary. The 5,000 square foot sports facility, designed to host sport classes, camps, leagues and special events, opens this Saturday with a special grand opening celebration.

This is Hi-Five’s first brick and mortar location. It started as a family business in Chicago in 1990. The company also offers its programs, designed for kids age 2-10 years, in Menlo Park, Atherton and Scottsdale, AZ.

Hi-Five chose the Richmond District for their first location because they “wanted to build a unique family sports entertainment destination for the city,” Hi-Five CEO Ryan Tuchman told us.

“It’s in a residential part of the city where families live, and there is a lack of indoor sports facilities there. And the space was perfect for what we needed.”

The large basketball court inside Hi-Five features 6 hoops which adjust in height for different age groups and skill levels. The large court can be used for basketball, flag football, volleyball, turf indoor soccer and more.

The building also includes restrooms, bleacher seating at one end, TV screens and a sound system. Tuchman said that for birthday party rentals, they can create photos collages of the birthday boy or girl and play them on the screens during the party.

Hi-Five’s mascot is Murphy, based on the family’s first French bulldog who passed away recently. You’ll see him featured around the court inside Hi-Five, and for certain programs, kids can collect Murphy Coins for various achievements which can then be redeemed for small prizes.

Chris Tabarez will be the General Manager for the Geary facility. Tabarez taught PE just down the road at Lafayette Elementary School and Brandeis School in Marin. He is also a former San Francisco State Gator and played professional basketball in Mexico.

This Saturday, May 31 from 10am to 2pm, Hi-Five is hosting their grand opening celebration. Stop by 5411 Geary to check out their new facility, meet Murphy the mascot, play games, win prizes and more.

Hi-Five has also established a charitable relationship with UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. They’ve pledged to donate one dollar for every child that registers for its youth sports programs throughout 2014 and will raise money for the hospital during Saturday’s grand opening event.

In honor of their opening, Hi-Five is also giving away a birthday party booking for up to 24 children ($399 value) to a reader of the Richmond Blog. To enter, fill out this short entry form. A winner will be chosen by the Hi-Five team at the grand opening on May 31, but you do not have to be present to win. Deadline for entry is Friday, May 30 at 5pm.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Hi-Five!

Sarah B.

9:50 am | Posted under Business, Kids, Sports | 5 comments
css.php