Random header image... Refresh for more!

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category


Barley cafe opening Sunday on Clement near 5th Avenue

We mentioned earlier this week that a new cafe was opening up in the former Java House space on Clement near 5th Avenue. Reader Derek saw the doors open on Tuesday and stopped in to get the scoop and snap more pics.

Derek talked to Asher, one of the owner/operators who is also a Richmond District resident. The cafe is called Barley and they’ll start with a soft launch this Sunday, serving just coffee and beverages initially.

Once they get rolling, Asher says they will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and highlighted some dishes including vanilla bean French toast, on-site roasted chicken, soups and “Smashburgers”.

“The Smashburgers sounded like a twist on sliders consisting of 3 patties grilled with spices and carmelized onions squished together!” Derek said.

Once Barley gets their liquor license, they’ll also be serving beer and wine.

Thanks to Derek for the scoop and the pics. We look forward to trying it!

Sarah B.

Interior seating

The planted wall on the covered front patio

Seating on the covered front patio

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Food | 14 comments

New bizness: Three Bees buzz back, LOLA Clothing, and two mystery cafes

Some of the new finishes going in at the former Java House on Clement near 5th Avenue. Photos by Derek

There’s lots of business activity happening in the neighborhood! Thanks to everyone for sending in your tips.

  • We hear that Three Bees Nursery (1921 Clement) has finally re-opened as Clement Nursery after a closure and remodel. You can find them on Facebook, where they mention “the new nursery yard is teeming with interesting new flowers, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees”, “the dairy barn is restored and introduces garden antiquities, soaps, candles, jewelery, art and more”, and “the 1904 cottage at the rear of the nursery has been uncovered, restored, and fitted with a new arbor to finally give a home to our 40 year old wisteria”.
  • LOLA Clothing opened in the former April in Paris space at 55 Clement Street. We peeked in through the window on Sunday and the clothes are lovely – high end, custom designs from beautiful fabrics. Owner and designer Lola grew up sewing with her mother and says on her website that “fashion runs in my blood”.
  • Construction is underway at the former Java House location on Clement near 5th Avenue (they moved to a smaller space at 2nd Ave and Anza). What was once a dilapidated, slightly scary coffee shop is getting new wood paneled walls, subway tile and a big cleaning. We still don’t know what it’s going to be, but definitely something cleaner and friendlier we hope. :)
  • The former Haig’s Delicatessen on Clement Street near 8th Avenue is still papered over but there’s a liquor license application notice posted in the window for “Locals Cafe”. We can’t find anything about them online, so their concept, menu and opening date are still a mystery…

Sarah B.

10:59 am | Posted under Business, Food | 32 comments

Local links: Fresh & Easy sold, Balboa stays alive, Yoga Tree, Sutro Heights fire, art stuff & more

The Tidy Shoppe aesthetics salon that opened at 4050 Geary this week. Photo by Derek

  • The Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain is being purchased by billionaire investor Ron Burkle. Burkle is buying 150 of the stores, and the remaining 50 will be shut down. It’s been confirmed that the store on 32nd Avenue and Clement will be one of the 150 stores that remains open. Burkle has been mum on his plans for breathing new life into the 150 stores he’s purchasing, but called Fresh & Easy “a tremendous foundation.”
  • In case you haven’t heard, the Balboa Theater reached their Kickstarter fundraising goal of $75,000. So now they can go digital and not dark. Congrats and good job Richmond District! They’re still taking donations, which will go towards digitizing the second theater.
  • Park Life is curating an art show of local artist Ryan Beavers in the office of Supervisor Eric Mar. There’s an opening reception this Friday, September 13 from 4:30pm-7:30pm at Mar’s office, which is located in Room 284 of City Hall. The public is welcome to attend.
  • In other art news, neighborhood artist Jay Mercado of donut painting fame, was recently profiled in the Chronicle Sunday magazine. Mercado has a studio on California and 10th Avenue, and told the Chronicle, “It’s nice to have a studio that’s accessible to people. I don’t want art to seem like it’s something that is elite. It should be accessible to everyone. I want to make them feel at home with artwork and be able to talk about it. If the mailman comes in and buys a painting, like she did once, I think that’s pretty cool.”
  • There’s a new yoga studio coming to the neighborhood. We heard from a reader that popular chain Yoga Tree will be opening on 6th Avenue between California and Lake Streets. We hear the outside is painted bright green. We haven’t heard when they’ll open for classes, but say your om’s and keep your eyes out.
  • Another fire broke out last week at a homeless encampment that located on the back of Sutro Heights Park. The last fire on Sutro hill was in January 2013 and because of its hard-to-reach location, fire crews have to hand carry hoses up behind homes on Balboa and up a flight of forty stairs to battle flames there.
  • A public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, September 11 to discuss Cinderella Bakery’s (436 Balboa) proposed parklet. We haven’t seen any renderings of it yet, but if you want to attend, the meeting is at 9am at City Hall, Room 400.
  • A new aesthetics salon called The Tidy Shoppe opened this week at 4050 Geary near 5th Avenue. Service categories include bikini waxing, brows, tinting, face, threading, body and lashes. Online appointment booking is available through their website.
  • Have you seen the Snowy Plover? Join a free guided walk on Ocean Beach this Sunday with Brent Plater of the Wild Equity Institute to search for the Western Snowy Plover. This small shorebird is highly threatened by human activities and habitat degradation. Join the walk to see this adorable species in its native habitat and learn ways that you can help. The walk is from 10am – 12am and RSVP online is required.
  • The Chronicle recently wrote about Glenn Gable, a one-man anti-graffiti crusader in the Richmond District, and why we’re not likely to see tags removed from neighborhood mailboxes anytime soon.
  • The complete lineup was recently confirmed for the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival, taking place in Golden Gate Park on October 4-6, 2013. Highlights include Chris Isaak, Los Lobos, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris Gogol Bordello, Nick Lowe, Boz Scaggs, and dozens more.
2:59 pm | Posted under Art, Business, Eric Mar, Events, Fire | 29 comments

Neighborhood artisans nominated for “Martha Stewart American Made” awards

Examples of the artisans’ work. From L to R: In Haus Press, April in Paris, and Poppy von Fröhlich

Alissa, the owner of Foggy Notion Boutique on 6th Avenue, emailed us about some neighborhood artisans who have been nominated for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards.

The American Made Awards honor makers from across the country for innovation and excellence in their field of food, design, crafts, style, beauty, technology, and gardening. From reprising a lost art form and impacting a community to pioneering an industry, each maker is honored for their role in pushing the American Made movement forward.

There are three nominees from our own neighborhood. First up is In Haus Press, a small letterpress studio owned and operated by Treasa Ewing out of her Richmond District apartment. This is Ewing’s second year being nominated for an award. She sells her pieces online as well as in some local stores like Foggy Notion.
Vote for In Haus Press

Next is April in Paris, a leather accessory boutique on Clement Street that is owned and operated by Hermes trained artisan Beatrice Amblard. Amblard left Hermes in 2000 to open her own shop. “I felt that there was a niche for custom work, which was what Hermes used to do quite often, which they don’t do as much anymore,” Amblard writes in her profile. She also teaches leather hand word to other artisans.
Vote for April in Paris

Finally, clothing brand Poppy von Fröhlich is nominated. Creator Trudy Hodges, who’s also a full time Mom, works out of her home in the neighborhood, and sells her wares online as well as at Seedstore Clothing on Clement Street. “I design for a Northern California lifestyle; foggy coastal trail jaunts, redwood journeys, farmer’s market shopping, whale watching outings, picnics and child chasing adventures,” she writes on her website.
Vote for Poppy von Frolich

Ten winners will be chosen by the editors of “Martha Stewart Living,” while the audience votes on six category winners and one grand prize winner. The grand prize audience winner gets $10,000 to further his or her business and a trip to New York City to attend the American Made Awards and workshop.

To vote for one of our local artisans, click the “Vote” link under their description above. You can vote multiple times if you want to, until the contest closes on September 26.

Good luck to all our neighborhood artisans!

Sarah B.

5:10 am | Posted under Art, Business | 2 comments

Richmond District’s Koru K9 turns problem dogs into favorite family members

Koru K9 owners Ray and Bridget Murphy, with their dogs Nero (L) and Luna.

Desiree used to dread walking Emma, her anxiety-filled Chihuahua. It was a stressful time for Emma, who lived in fear of other dogs, especially large ones. Desiree would try to walk Emma during off-times, when they were less likely to see other dogs. Emma had a particular fear of anything on wheels – elderly woman with wheeled walkers, wheelchairs, and the worst of all – a small dog she once ran into that had its back legs in a wheel harness.

The anxiety was crippling for the Chihuahua-Dachsund mix that Desiree had rescued from a friend. The sight of a large dog rendered her prone on the sidewalk where she would shake and not move at all, sometimes peeing from the stress.

Over time, Desiree, and her boyfriend Mike who also walked Emma, would anticipate the anxiety and begin reassuring Emma as a dog came closer, which only made it worse. Suddenly, Emma’s irrational behavior was being condoned by her owners. She barked loudly and acted aggressively, but her tail was always tucked far between her legs.

Desiree decided it was time to get professional help, so she turned to Koru K9, a new dog training business here in the neighborhood that was started by husband and wife team, Ray and Bridget Murphy.

Ray and Bridget own two German Shepherds of their own, Luna and Nero, and are passionate dog lovers. After adopting Luna from a puppy rescue, they realized she had serious behavioral problems. After a lot of time and a myriad of approaches, they were able to bring Luna under control and reform her as a well-behaved, socialized dog that was part of a healthy family unit, rather than a divisive piece of it.

To address Emma’s problems, Ray first began with an in-home evaluation to assess Emma’s behaviors even before she left the house. And more importantly – how Emma’s owners interacted with her and managed those behaviors.

“Dogs crave structure and leadership, and when they don’t have it there’s anxiety,” Ray told us when we observed a recent training session with Desiree, Mike and Emma. It was Emma’s third session with Koru K9 and as an outside observer, I found it hard to reconcile the once skittish Emma with the one I was seeing on our walk around Sutro Park.

Koru K9 changed a few things about Emma’s daily routine that helped establish some needed boundaries and roles in the family unit. Emma’s harness, which she was known to squirm out of during stressful moments so she could bolt – was replaced with a leash and a prong collar that when tugged during training, reminds Emma to pay attention to her owner, taking the focus off whatever is causing her anxiety.

They also changed where Emma was allowed to walk. Rather than cowering behind her owners or pulling out in front, they designated a box to the left of the walker where Emma should stay positioned. The area was safe for Emma and reinforced that her attention should be on her owner, not the potential stressors around her.

Developing a well-behaved dog is also about creating a better dog owner, and Koru K9 incorporates that into their training. During the training session we observed, Emma was rewarded verbally and with treats by her owners for good behavior, and their handling of Emma was just as critiqued as the dog’s performance. After training sessions, owners are given homework to do with their dog to keep reinforcing the behaviors.

During one exercise we observed, Luna and Nero, who Emma would typically be terrified of, lay down about 15 feet from each other. Emma was required to “figure-8″ around them like they were cones, gradually getting closer and closer to them with each pass. Like aversion therapy for Emma, it reinforced to her that if she stayed focus on her owner and not on the stressors around her, she could keep her anxiety down.

The “figure-8″ training that gets Emma comfortable with being close to other dogs

In another exercise, Emma was put on a 30 foot, loose leash and was called back and forth between Mike and Desiree, with treats awaiting her for a successful come and sit behavior when she reached them. Known as recall training, this helps teach a dog how to stay under control just by their owner’s voice commands.

On our last loop around Sutro Park with Emma, Ray tackled one of her biggest anxieties – when a large dog follows behind her. In the past, not being able to see and keep an eye on another dog sent Emma into a tailspin.

But during the exercise, Desiree kept Emma’s focus on her, and both Luna and Nero walked behind Emma, passed her on the path, turned around – all without Emma displaying any anxiety. We even saw the tell-tale sign of a happy dog – Emma’s tail in the air rather than tucked between her legs.

Mental breaks are important even for dogs when they’re learning, so after about 8 minutes of exercise, Emma would have a chance to relax, get some pets and de-stress with her owners before moving on to the next exercise.

Desiree and Mike are thrilled with Emma’s progress, and said they don’t think twice now about taking her for a walk or taking her to a park, even if there are other dogs.

Desiree said Emma even passed “the Angelina’s test” when she took her by the cafe on California and 22nd Avenue recently, known to be a favorite of dog owners who often leave them tied up outside while they order.

“Emma and I just sat outside and watched the other dogs. She did great, no anxiety at all,” Desiree said.

Ray and Bridget’s mission for Koru K9 is “to help turn your dog into an amazingly balanced and well-behaved dog,” which they definitely achieved with Emma. She went from being completely debilitated when faced with another dog, to actually enjoying the walking experience and having no stress when training around two large, German Shepherds.

The “Koru” in their business name means “new beginnings” in the Maori language, and that is what Ray and Bridget hope to bring to their clients – both the dogs and their owners.

You can find out more about Koru K9 on their website. They are also offering $25 off an initial consultation to readers of the Richmond Blog. Just mention the blog when you call or email to take advantage of the discount (valid through 12/31/13).

Sarah B.

A recall training exercise that reinforces voice commands

Luna and Nero walk behind and in front of Emma as owner Desiree keeps her calm and focused

5:10 am | Posted under Business, Pets | 7 comments

Local links: Sparky’s afterschool, Paul’s Hats expands to KY, Bernice Bing & more

Traffic backed up on 25th Avenue this weekend. Photo by David H.

Here’s a smattering of local links spanning from a fun, afterschool program to a Kentucky expansion of one of our oldest businesses!

  • Even “all the way out here”, we’re feeling the effects of the Bay Bridge closure. All arteries leading to the Golden Gate Bridge have been a parking lot this weekend, including Park Presidio and the 25th Avenue entrance to the Presidio. Good news – the bridge is due to open on time tomorrow morning!
  • Last year, Paul’s Hat Works on Geary launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a new store in New York City. After further evaluation, the business, owned by four women, has decided to instead open their second store in Louisville, Kentucky. Paul’s has had great success selling their hats in a “pop-up” fashion during the derby – “the foremost hat event in the United States” – for the past few years. “This will be the first “second” Paul’s Hat Works since its founding in 1918. We will take custom orders at this new store, sell straw and felt hats, do hat cleanings, and hat finishing at this new store… We are very excited, a little nervous, but mostly grateful, to all of you who have made this possible for us.”
  • Sparky’s Toys & Balloons at 115 Clement Street has launched a new afterschool art program in partnership with Oflauer Design for kids age 6.5 up to 13 years old. The 6 week, $510 program promises to be “filled with Crafting, Drawing, Painting, Gardening & Floristry” and takes place at Sparky’s store. For more info, visit the Oflauer website.
  • On Friday, September 13 the de Young Museum will screen a new documentary short, The Worlds of Bernice Bing, about the life of San Francisco artist Bernice Bing. The Worlds of Bernice Bing illuminates the life and times of Bernice Bing – artist, Chinese American, lesbian, and activist. The powerful story of a woman who used color, paintbrush, and canvas to speak from her heart, this film promises to energize and inspire viewers with the resilience of a unique American icon. (Facebook). Admission is free and tickets will be available at the event beginning at 6pm; the film is at 7pm.
  • Amphawa Thai Noodle House on Geary near 14th Avenue was featured by SFGate as a Bargain Bite last week. “Amphawa doesn’t have the style of hipper counterparts in the Tenderloin, but it serves home-style Thai food with fresh ingredients and deep flavor, and without backing down on the spice level.”
4:23 pm | Posted under Business, Food, Golden Gate Park, Kids, Movies, Museums | 3 comments

E. coli outbreak at Burma Superstar; restaurant voluntarily closes for weekend

On Friday, the Health Department released a statement confirming an E. coli outbreak that sickened 14 people in San Francisco, many of whom had eaten at Burma Superstar around August 16th or 17th.

It’s the first such incident for the popular Clement Street restaurant, which has been in business for 17 years and always has a long line of customers waiting for a table.

The restaurant voluntarily closed on Friday for the weekend, and posted a letter on their windows for customers.

The letter includes a statement from Burma Superstar owner Desmond Tan, saying “we are confident any exposure has been eliminated”. Tan goes on to say that he voluntarily decided to close the restaurant for Labor Day weekend, but will re-open on Monday, September 2.

Alongside Tan’s statement is one from Tomas J. Aragon, a San Francisco Health Officer. In it, he wrote “Based on our current investigation, our preliminary conclusion is that there is no ongoing risk to the public’s health”. He also said the restaurant will remain open.

According to Aragon’s statement, the strain of E. coli found in those who became sick was E. coli O157, which can cause severe illness, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. E. coli, formally known as Escherichia coli, is typically transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons (Center for Disease Control).

Burma Superstar has two other locations in the Bay Area – Oakland and Alameda – and owner Desmond Tan also owns and operates two other restaurants just down the block on Clement Street – B Star Cafe and Eats.

Sarah B.

A passerby stops to read the E. coli notice posted on the windows of Burma Superstar

1:31 pm | Posted under Business, Food, Health | 14 comments

Balboa near its $75k fundraising goal to digitize; thanks donors on marquee

The Balboa Theater is making great progress with their Kickstarter “Go Digital or Go Dark” campaign to raise money to digitize one of their two theaters.

The $75,000 campaign began on August 3 and with 27 days to go, they have raised nearly $62,000 (82% of goal).

In a unique twist, the theater is thanking random donors with its marquee, splashing names between the currently running movies. Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise to drive down the street and see your name up in lights?

Kickstarters are proving to be an effective way for local businesses to get support from residents. Cassava Bakery, just down the street from the Balboa, recently raised $30,020 to fund a new outdoor, heated patio.

Assuming the Balboa reaches its goals, that’s over $100,000 that will be pumped into two neighborhood businesses in a 3 month period. Who says the Richmond District is apathetic? ;)

The Balboa Theater’s Kickstarter campaign has 27 days to go – good luck to them!

Sarah B.

9:39 am | Posted under Business | 5 comments