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Archive for the ‘Business’ Category


Local links: Stolen bikes, Anzfer on Clement, new eateries, NEMS clinic & more

At a SFPD evidence site, about 800 stolen and recovered bicycles are stored. Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle

Hard to believe that it’s already December! Here are some local links to take you into the final stretch of 2013…

  • A lot of you have read about stolen bike after stolen bike in the weekly police blotter. Ever wondered what happens to them all? The Chronicle paid a visit to a SFPD warehouse, where nearly 800 “mountain bikes, road bikes, rusted clunkers, fat-tired cruisers, fancy carbon fiber, and new and old frames of every color” sit gathering dust. The challenge? Reconnecting the recovered bikes with their owners. If you’ve had a bike stolen, visit the Park Station website, tweet to @sfpdbiketheft, or call 553-0123 to report a stolen bike.
  • The woodworkers Anzfer Farms have opened up a temporary store at 248 Clement Street for the holidays. Stop by on December 7 between 2 and 8pm for a little celebration featuring shopping (furniture and other home accessories), snacks and drinks.
  • The Bold Italic recently went on a very scientific pork bun adventure, tasting and rating the brown pockets of meaty joy at nine different dim sum restaurants in the Inner Richmond, hoping to identify the best one. “After charting out all the nuances of each bun, we had a hard time defining what “best” meant. While we all shared similar rankings for our top three favorites (Clement Restaurant, Wing Sing, and Cherry Blossom), there wasn’t one clear winner.” Nevertheless, their detailed research and photography is definitely worth the read!
  • If you say something egregious about your employer or job on Facebook, could you be fired for it? Two Richmond Village Beacon employees found out the answer to that is yes, and that not every social media post by disgruntled employees is protected by the National Labor Relations Act. A judge ruled that their profanity-laced Facebook posts went too far.
  • A new Japanese and Korean izakaya called Joo Mak has taken over the Sushi Tani space on Geary near Funston. According to their Facebook page, Chefs/Owners Tony Chong and Sam Sohn “always envisioned a place where people could come together and experience authentic street food from Korea and Japan.” They’re open daily from 5pm until 2pm, but closed on Tuesdays. Yelp reviews are very positive so far, and one wrote that “they still use Tani’s menu for the Japanese rolls.”
  • A new sushi place called Yoi opened up in the former Drunken Sushi on Clement and 24th Avenue. The name means “good, pleasing, skilled”, and according to their website, they’re offering sushi, ramen and robatayaki (skewers slow-grilled over hot charcoal). They’re open daily from 5pm until 12midnight, and from Thursday through Saturday, stay open late until 2am. Yelp reviews are mixed so far.
  • North East Medical Services (NEMS) recently celebrated the opening of their new clinic on Clement Street near 12th Avenue. The building was donated to NEMS by Hong Kong entrepreneur Dr. Tihua Koo and his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Shaofen Vee Koo. NEMS is the largest non-profit, federally-qualified community health center in San Francisco, providing health care to over 57,000 patients annually. They have 8 locations in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
  • The OBB recently profiled the owner of Fredy’s Deli out on La Playa near the beach. After a medical struggle that caused him to close for several months this year, he’s decided to sell after 28 years. A former employee, David Nottage, is re-opening the business as Kawika’s Ocean Beach Deli. Nottage plans to close briefly in January for a renovation, and will keep selling many of the favorites that Fredy’s customers like so much.
  • Zephyr Cafe at 3643 Balboa has been renamed to La Promenade Cafe. Ownership changed back in June, but it sounds like they just got around to changing the awning. “We have completely renovated the café with new wooden floors and mural paintings depicting French café scenes which gives it its charm.” One Yelp reviewer reports that a lot of the clutter is gone and all the chairs now match. :)

Photo by @bonanos

5:15 am | Posted under Art, Business, Crime, Food | 5 comments

Photos: Paul’s Hat Works opens a second location in Louisville, Kentucky

The Paul’s Hat Works teams cuts their grand opening ribbon with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Photo by David H.

Earlier this morning, the ladies of Paul’s Hat Works (6128 Geary) opened their second location. But it’s not in the neighborhood, or even in San Francisco. It’s all the way in Louisville, Kentucky.

Paul’s Hat Works owners Abbie Dwelle, Wendy Hawkins, Olivia Griffin, and Kirsten Hove bought the 95 year old business on Geary back in 2009, and since then have spent time marketing the store and finding new opportunities to put a hat on every head. They even managed to get a fedora on President Obama!

In a blog post last August, the owners wrote about why they decided to expend the business:

Our dream as a team here at Paul’s Hat Works is to be successful and profitable enough so that the four of us, and our current and future employees, can make a healthy enough income to support ourselves and our families. In order to do this, we have to keep growing, taking risks, and expanding.

They launched an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a new venture and after much research, decided on Louisville as home for their second location:

We have been doing pop up shops in Louisville, Kentucky, for the past two years during the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby; the foremost hat event in the United States. Selling our beautiful straw hats in Louisville has been so successful, and so well received by the folks over there, that we want to explore this option much further.

The store, located at 1319 Story Avenue in Butchertown, opened this morning. Festivities included a visit from Mayor Greg Fischer for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Should be a hit at Derby!” Fischer tweeted about the store.

Our cub reporter David H. went east to help open the new store and snapped some pics of the big day.

Congratulations to the women of Paul’s Hat Works and to Lousville residents, who now have a much better chance of being fashionable about town – and for looking spiffy for the Derby in May.

Sarah B.

The exterior of the new Paul’s Hat Works in Louisville, KY located at 1319 Story Avenue. Photo by David H.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer presents the owners of Paul’s Hat Works with a city proclamation. Photo by David H.

11:52 am | Posted under Business | 1 comment

Grocery Outlet opens Thursday, grand opening celebration on Saturday

After laying vacant for nearly three years, Grocery Outlet will open at 6333 Geary at 28th Avenue this Thursday.

This is the first San Francisco location for the Grocery Outlet chain in 12 years, which first began in the city in 1946. The chain has more than 200 locations in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Pennsylvania

Grocery Outlet refers to itself as an “extreme-value” grocer, offering prices that are typically 40 to 70 percent lower than its competitors.

“Grocery Outlet buys discounted close-outs of excess inventory from national brand-name manufacturers and private-labels, including fresh produce, organic goods, dry groceries, beauty items and beer and wine, passing the savings directly onto their customers,” the company said in a press release.

The new store clocks in at 9,000 square feet, has 40 employees, plus an expanded Natural, Organic, Specialty and Healthy (NOSH) section.

The proprietors of the new Richmond District location are Travis and Rose Dawson, who recently moved into the neighborhood with their young son who attends school near the store. The couple also owns and operates the East San Jose Grocery Outlet location.

“I also grew up just a few miles from our new store, so there is something truly special about now raising my family here and being a local community resource for the tight-knit, multi-cultural Richmond District residents,” Travis said.

There’s even more local flavor on the 28th Avenue side of the store, where a new mural was painted by local artist Bryana Fleming that features neighborhood landmarks like Green Apple Books, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the Alexandria Theater.

The store “soft opens” this Thursday at 8am. Saturday will be the official grand opening celebration which will include free coffee and treats for shoppers, activities for kids, and a chance to enter to win a bevy of prizes including an iPad, a 42-inch television, and free groceries for a year. The celebration runs from 8am until 3pm (prize drawing at 12noon).

There will also be a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday at 9am where a $1,000 donation will be made to the Richmond District Neigborhood Center.

Grocery Outlet will be open daily from 8am to 9pm beginning this Thursday.

Sarah B.

The mural on the 28th Avenue side by Bryana Fleming

Crews worked on new landscaping last Thursday in the parking lot

4:35 am | Posted under Business | 17 comments

Local links: Small biz honors, Blondlogic turns 3, no bike sharing & more

Happy Friday to everyone! Here are some local links to take you into what we hope is a great weekend. – Sarah B.

  • State Senator Mark Leno was in the neighborhood last Saturday. While here, he honored Green Apple Books and Joe’s Ice Cream as Small Businesses of the Year for 2013. Congrats to both of them!
  • Next Tuesday, Blondlogic, a purveyor of new and consigned women’s clothes and accessories at 792 Arguello, will celebrate their third birthday. To celebrate, stop by for some late night shopping, wine and live music from Em K from 5pm to 10pm (music starts at 7pm). Ever wonder why they called the store Blondlogic? Owner Sally Hanley says because that’s how smart they were to open a new business in what was then a depressed economy…
  • Reader Gabriel reports that there is a notice for change of ownership at Fredy’s Deli out on La Playa. Look for a new name – Kawika’s Ocean Beach Deli – in the near future.
  • The ban on overnight parking for large RV’s and campers in the outer Richmond and other areas is working ao well that there are plans to extend the affected area. “Along La Playa Street and the Great Highway, for example, 21 oversize vehicles were known to park. But after three months of enforcing the new law, just two were counted in October.” [SF Examiner]
  • Paul’s Hat Works is about ready to open their second location – in Kentucky! We wish them well on their November 22 grand opening, and loved their new commercial… “It’s Your Head, Put a Hat on It” – makes perfect sense to us :)

  • And as it turns out, we do live WAY out here… The new bike sharing program that the city started is doing well, but project manager Heath Maddox told the SF Bay Guardian that expansion to the west side will never happen. The reason? “The eastern side of the city has more economic and population density, making for more bike usage. As for the west side, he said, “the economics aren’t there.” Perhaps the bike rental company in GGP wouldn’t take kindly to it either…
  • The Western Neighborhoods Project, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the history of the western parts of San Francisco, recently moved their headquarters into the neighborhood at 4016 Geary. Director Woody LaBounty tells us “we’ll likely get a spiffy sign or two to announce our presence.”
  • We love Golden Gate Park but so do butterflies apparently. A recent SF Chronicle article profiled the efforts to restore healthy habitats for butterflies in the park. Project co-founder Liam O’Brien calls Strawberry Hill a “singles bar” for butterflies. Boom chicka boom.
  • Want to get your groove on? Then head over to the Shan-Yee Poon Ballet School on Arguello near Clement for the Mission Groove hip-hop dance class taught by Jenya Lum. It’s every Monday night from 7pm until 8:15pm, all levels welcome.

5:30 am | Posted under Business, Classes, Golden Gate Park | 7 comments

Chronicle video series profiles “Typecaster for Life” at Arion Press

Tucked just inside the Presidio gate at 14th Avenue is Arion Press, a small printing company that employs about ten people as printers, bookbinders, editors, and in other publishing roles.

Part of the team are the highly skilled and long-experienced typesetters of Mackenzie & Harris, the oldest and largest surviving typefoundry in America. They supply lead-alloy type to printers and schools around the country and provide typographic services in computer-generated composition.

In the Chronicle’s video series “The City Exposed”, Arion Press typesetter Lewis Mitchell was profiled. He’s been doing his job for over 60 years, and boasts that one of his best machines was used in the 1915 Panama Exposition:

In the basement of Arion Press, where they still print books the old-fashioned way, Lewis Mitchell slid open a box of parts used to change the font size on the Monotype casting machines he has maintained for 62 years.

“I thoroughly enjoy the sound of the machines turning, and seeing the type come out is a joy,” Mitchell said. He can tell by the sound of the moving springs and levers if something is awry with his machines — a skill he said all good technicians should have.

Four different owners have run the business since Mitchell walked through the doors at age 18, and he has had several opportunities to leave, including a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that he declined. Now 80, Mitchell can’t imagine retiring from the job he loves so much. When Mitchell started making this kind of type, it was really the only way to print things, and now he doesn’t know how many books he’s helped print over the decades…

Watch the video above to learn more about Mitchell and his legacy at Arion Press.

Want to get to know Arion Press even better? Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 7 – that’s when they’re having their annual Holiday Open House. Stop by between 11am and 5pm to tour the facility and see their just released edition of Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess,” illustrated by Kara walker (her prints will be on display), Julie Mehretu’s newly handcolored prints for “Poetry of Sappho,” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” illustrated by Jonathan Hammer.

Sarah B.

The Arion Press building (yellow) inside the Presidio near Lake & 14th Avenue.

5:05 am | Posted under Art, Business, Events | Comments Off

Fog Baby Cafe opens, offering warming foods for the outer Richmond weather

Fog Bay Cafe owners Shireen and Fernando Fonseca

Outer Balboa Street is experiencing a bit of a renaissance with new cafes like Cassava opening and the Balboa Theater undergoing renovations. And now Fog Baby Cafe has made its way into the neighborhood at 3516 Balboa near 36th Avenue, offering tasty paninis, soups and warm beverages to help anyone weather the often chilly outer Richmond weather.

The cafe was started by Fernando and Shireen Fonseca, a husband and wife team whose background is in construction / property management and teaching dance to children, respectively. They are also filmmakers and recently screened their art house feature film Playground of Dreams at the Balboa Theater.

Shireen also has a special culinary connection to the very block on which Fog Baby Cafe is located. Her Russian immigrant grandmother’s home was on the corner and as a child, she used to play in the house and kitchen, where her grandmother cooked Russian delicacies for a restaurant on Union Street.

“I grew up on this very block,” Shireen said. “So it’s great to be back and be able to open our own business here.”

The couple saw an ad on Craigslist for the cafe, made an offer, and closed the deal a week later. The cafe was the former home of Crumbville.

Fog Baby’s menu is in keeping with the often foggy days we get in the outer Richmond. Favorites include the Playland panini sandwich – tuna salad with melted swiss cheese on rosemary focaccia ($7.75). Shireen’s favorite panini is the Windmill – chicken breast, cheddar pesto and sundried tomatoes on ciabatta ($8.25).

Fog Baby Cafe is open for breakfast every day at 7am, and features bagels from the House of Bagels and fresh coffee from Catahoula Coffee Company in Richmond, CA.

The cafe is also stocked with homemade desserts from Applebaum Bakery, including raspberry bars, lemon bars, and caramel apple crumble. Shireen came across their products at the Farmer’s Market at Stonestown and on Clement Street.

For lunch I chowed down on the Balboa panini with salami and provolone on rosemary focaccia ($7.50), along with a bowl of tomato red pepper bisque ($3.50). Shireen also sent me home with a homemade chocolate chip cookie that was fresh out of the oven – delicious! They also serve Strauss soft serve ice cream for those seeking a cooler treat.

Fog Baby Cafe has been open for about 5 weeks and aside from Shireen and Fernando, their 20 year old son, who is a student at City College, helps out with running the cafe.

Shireen still holds her job as a dance teacher and says that juggling the new cafe with her job has been the biggest challenge. Fernando worked in friends’ cafes in the Sunset, so he had a good handle on the operations required for running a cafe.

Fernando also handled the upgrades to the cafe’s interior, which includes a new front counter, freshly painted walls with Renaissance style murals of fog babies, cherubic angels floating on clouds. Those fog babies will soon learn a turtleneck is in order to make it out there. ;)

Fog Baby Cafe is open daily from 7am until 7pm. Stop in and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Sarah B.

4:52 am | Posted under Business, Food | 11 comments

Local links: Cassava honored, Boitano coming to Green Apple, renter’s woes, SFPUC survey, Aziza is a star, free photo classes & more

Cassava Bakery & Cafe owners with Supervisor Mar (read more below). Photo courtesy of Supervisor Eric Mar’s office

Happy Friday! Hard to believe it’s November already. Here are some local links to take your mind off how fast this year is flying by…

  • Owners Kristoffer Toliao and Yuka Ioroi (and husband and wife) of Cassava Cafe & Bakery were recently honored at City Hall by Supervisor Eric Mar for this year’s Restaurant Appreciation Month. ” They have been a source of great food, wonderful company, and the revitalization of the neighborhood,” Mar’s office wrote.
  • SFAppeal writes about a real estate investor group that is may try to evict all the tenants at 2405 Anza, include a single parent and two seniors, who have been living at the location for 36 years. That’s because they want to recoup their investment and flip the building as a Tenancy-in-Common (TIC). The investor, who pled guilty to shady dealings in the past, asserts that since the Ellis Act is state law, he’s only acting within his rights as a property owner. Read the full story
  • The 5L Fulton line went into operation this week and is getting high marks from many MUNI commuters. “20 minutes from home to downtown; thanks SF Muni for the 5 Limited and for making Monday almost bearable,” tweeted one rider. The 5L runs during peak commute hours in the morning and evenings, Monday through Friday, and makes all stops from Ocean Beach to 6th Avenue, and then limited stops until from 6th Avenue until it reaches Van Ness Avenue. Though one blogger is wondering why the new faster 5L buses are electric instead of diesel.
  • Earlier this month, The SFPUC held their first public meeting about the Baker Beach Green Street project, designed to manage stormwater and improve water quality at Baker Beach. The project is focused on enhancements in two corridors: El Camino Del Mar between the Legion of Honor and the Lands End Trailhead, and on Sea Cliff Avenue between 25th and 26th Avenues. They’d like to get your thoughts in their online survey.
  • Roadside BBQ at 2nd & Geary was sold and now has a new name/brand: GS Riverside Grill. We weren’t frequent diners of the Roadside but the menu under new ownership looks pretty similar – lots of BBQ, a kid’s menu, and some homemade pies.
  • A cyclist who was struck by a driver at 3 in the morning on Tuesday at California Street and 8th Avenue is expected to survive. Hilah Sulme, 56, was taken into custody after the collision, which was reported at 3:13am. Sulme allegedly fled from the scene but was later found and taken into custody. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the collision, police said. [SFAppeal]
  • Aziza restaurant on Geary will maintain their single Michelin Star rating for 2014. Way to represent!
  • Interested in telling the story of the Richmond District in photos? The Richmond Branch library is offering a 3 session program with wward-winning photojournalist Frederic Larson called “Through Our Eyes: Visual Stories of the Richmond Neighborhood”. It’s an intensive photo documentary class and study of the Richmond neighborhood where each student will create a visual story over the course of the class. Stories will be submitted to the city’s archives where they will be available for research and public use. The class meets November 9: 3-5pm, November 23: 2:45-5:30pm, and December 14: 3-5pm. Space is limited to 20 people, so be sure to register online in advance.
  • Creative Canopy on California Street near 6th Avenue is celebrating their first birthday with a holiday craft fair on November 16 from 10am until 3pm. Many of Canopy’s artists and teachers will be present to share their craft ideas and class information and offer workshops for projects. Many will have gifts to sell for the holiday season. View the event flyer
  • Brian Boitano will be at Green Apple Books on Saturday, November 16 at 4pm to discuss his latest culinary tome, “What Would Brian Boitano Make?”.
  • Cycle over to the Family Bike Safety Fair on Saturday, November 16 at Roosevelt School from 10am until 2pm. The fair is being put on by Assemblymember Phil Ting and it will feature a bike obstacle course and information booths on bike safety and opportunities to make San Francisco more bike friendly. First 300 families receive free bike safety equipment for children.
  • Local artist Karen Lechelt is offering a free download of her children’s e-book “What Do You Love About You?” via Amazon until November 4, featuring black and white line drawings of funny animals revealing what they love about themselves. “It indirectly explores what it unique about us all, while binding us together in the idea that we all share a commonality of pride and self-love,” Lechelt told us. Download it here
3:15 pm | Posted under Business, Eric Mar, Food, Free stuff, Muni | 1 comment

Hearing Thursday to extend Clement St. Farmer’s Market; some don’t approve

Ever since its debut on June 23, 2013, the Clement Street Farmer’s Market has been a favorite stop for residents on Sunday mornings to pick up fresh, organic foods and mingle with neighbors.

The market runs on Clement Street from 2nd Avenue to 4th Avenue every Sunday from 9am until 2pm, closing off both blocks to cars (including parking). Attendance is routinely high, even on foggy days that the Richmond District is known for. Vendors often sell out of their wares by market close, and on October 27, to coincide with the Clement Street Sunday Streets, the market will be extended by 2 blocks.

This Thursday at 9am, the SFMTA Division of Sustainable Streets will hold another hearing to consider extending the street closures on the two blocks of Clement Street that are required to hold the Farmer’s Market. If approved, the Farmer’s Market would be able to continue until June 22, 2014 when the SFMTA would once again evaluate the weekly event.

Given that the market is so popular with residents, why wouldn’t it be approved to continue? The push back comes from some merchants who have seen a decline in business since the market started.

We’ve spoken to a few merchants since the market opened in June. All are in favor of the market and its community benefits, but they have also struggled to find ways to meet their revenue goals in spite of it. The lack of parking for their customers, decreased visibility for their storefronts, and competition from market vendors are the main reasons they have second thoughts about the weekly gathering.

Q Restaurant (225 Clement) has always enjoyed a brisk brunch business on Sundays. But since the market began, Sunday revenues are down. Q had their own taco stand at the market when it launched, positioned just outside their front door in hopes of raising awareness and attracting strollers in to the restaurant to dine. And while taco sales were swift, it did not translate to increased dine-in revenues. And with the market not closing down until 2pm, Q also misses much of its Sunday lunch crowd.

Sparky’s Balloons (115 Clement) has seen a similar decline in sales as many party-throwers struggle to pick up their orders on Sunday mornings since they can no longer pull up to the store. And like most merchants along the two blocks of the market, Sparky’s storefront is rendered nearly invisible by vendor tents. The produce market at 4th and Geary has complained that competition from the Farmer’s Market has negatively affected their sales.

For as many merchants that complain, there are as many who are ecstatic about the farmer’s market presence on Clement Street. Cumaica Coffee (200 Clement), on the corner between the two blocks of the market, is thriving on Sundays. So far, there are no drip coffee vendors in the market, so when shoppers are seeking a jolt, Cumaica is the go-to spot. Their new parklet also offers a popular gathering spot during the market’s hours.

Seedstore Clothing (212 Clement) has seen a similar uptick in foot traffic. The store is routinely busy on Sundays, as shoppers wander in to check out their selection of men’s and women’s clothing. And four blocks away, Foggy Notion Boutique (275 6th Avenue) has enjoyed a surge in traffic, opening earlier on Sundays to take advantage of the Clement Street crowds. Their sandwich board placed near the Farmer’s Market info booth helps drive awareness.

Thursday’s hearing, which takes place at 9am at the SFMTA, will likely be a formality since the approval at question is only for another 6 months. If approved, the SFMTA would re-evaluate the market in June 2014, when they may consider a permanent approval for the required street closures.

Despite overwhelming support from residents for the market, including several thousand signatures gathered in favor of its continuance, the hearing will likely include negative feedback from some of the merchants whose businesses have been adversely affected since the market began in June.

Foggy Notion owner Alissa Anderson, a member of the Clement Street Merchants Association, is asking residents to come out to Thursday’s meeting in support of the market, to ensure its future.

“It is super important for people to show up if they want the Farmers Market to continue. Regardless of how many signatures are provided in favor of it, at prior meetings a couple of business owners have shown up with negative reactions to it that have jeopardized the existence of it for things like complaints about lack of parking or competition. In-person physical support by neighbors and especially business owners is crucial to combat the naysayers and show that is truly benefits the majority of the local community,” Anderson said.

Thursday’s hearing will be held at the SFMTA, 1 South Van Ness, 7th Floor at 9am.

What do you think? Are you in favor of the Farmer’s Market continuing? Are there changes you’d like to see made to the market’s format or hours? Leave a comment to let us know.

UPDATE 10/24/13 12:25pm: The SFMTA approved the required street closures during the hearing, so the market will continue through June 2014 (when it will be re-evaluated).

Sarah B.

4:55 am | Posted under Business, Community | 46 comments