Business briefs: A walk on the style side
by Raymond Flournoy
A group of Castro merchants have joined up with sponsors Energy 92.7 and Stella Artois brewery to host "Castro Fashion Walk," a benefit for Under One Roof (518 Castro Street). On the evening of July 24, shoppers will be given cards to be punched at each of the participating boutiques, with the completed cards serving as raffle tickets at the wrap-up party at the end of the evening.
At each participating store, Energy 92.7 dance music will be played and Under One Roof volunteers will be offering tastings of Stella Artois beverages in exchange for a suggested donation to Under One Roof. At press time, the list of participating stores included All American Boy (463 Castro Street), Diesel (400 Castro Street), Injeanious (432 Castro Street), and Injeanious: Lounge (538 Castro Street).
The location of the final party was still not determined by press time, but the closing event will include door prizes, appearances by Energy 92.7 morning show hosts Fernando and Greg, and music by DJ Kid Loose.
The Castro Fashion Walk runs from 6 to 8 p.m., with the wrap-up party immediately afterwards.
Christmas arrives early in the Castro
The Castro Fashion Walk is just one item in Under One Roof's busy month of events, dubbed "Christmas in July." The early holiday season kicked off July 11 with Bay Area Reporter society columnist Donna Sachet serving hot cookies and cold cocktails to evening shoppers. Then on July 12, the Bare Chest Calendar men appeared in person to sign copies of the 2009 calendar and pose for photos, and on July 13 the store offered photos with a "sexy Santa" for a $20 donation.
Continuing the holiday theme, on July 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., local photographer Mark Rogers will be conducting professional photo sessions, suitable for use on this year's holiday card, and on July 20 from 6 to 8 p.m., Donna Sachet returns for another round of drinks, sweets, and holiday shopping. From now until July 20, all holiday merchandise and a selection of gift items have been discounted 50 percent and all garden items have been marked down 30 percent.
Under One Roof Executive Director Mark Burns hopes that the festively anachronistic decorations and events will draw attention and shoppers during the historically slow month of July. Burns notes that after LGBT Pride in June, Castro businesses usually experience a dramatic slump in sales. The variety of events is Under One Roof's strategy to counteract the slow-down and bring shoppers back to the Castro store.
So what does Burns have on his wish list for Santa this year? "Warehouse space!" he said emphatically. Currently the store has to turn down numerous merchandise donations because of the lack of storage space, so the donation of 2,500 to 3,500 square feet of warehouse space would help Under One Roof take advantage of these missed fundraising opportunities.
To reserve a time with photographer Mark Rogers, visit Under One Roof or call (415) 503-2300, ext. 0. To purchase copies of the Bare Chest Calendar, which benefits the Positive Resource Center and AIDS Emergency Fund , come to Under One Roof or order online at http://www.barechest.org.
How green is my Castro?
When asked, "When is Earth Day?" some people will answer, "Every day is Earth Day!" Maybe they are too embarrassed to admit that they don't actually know when Earth Day is (April 22 this year), but if you actively try to live an earth-friendlier lifestyle year-round, then a number of Castro businesses have products that will help you green up your life.
It's one thing to buy organic, but Hortica (566 Castro Street) can help you grow organic as well. Owner David Gray can suggest a wide range of pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers that don't depend on harsh chemicals to be effective. He also sells redwood planter boxes made from reclaimed wood ($12-$24) and a wide range of native plants which can thrive in our climate with less water.
Summer entertaining doesn't have to mean creating mounds of plastic refuse filling the local landfill. Cliff's Variety (479 Castro Street) features plates made from sugar cane fiber ($6.50-$9.50), cutlery made from potato starch ($4.95), and drinking cups derived from corn ($9.75-$11.75), all of which are biodegradable. The store also carries a range of refuse bags that are also biodegradable, including cat litter box liners (10 bags for $5.50) and dog waste bags (50 bags for $5.25). Cliff's newest wave of green products is biodegradable housewares that look and feel like traditional plastics, including a stylish trash can from Umbra for $9.50.
In addition to "paper or plastic?" a third choice is to bring your own bags with you. Cliff's, Walgreens (489 Castro Street), and Delano's IGA Market (4201 18th Street) all carry reusable shopping bags ($0.50-$2.95) that will do the trick.
There are also ample opportunities for recycling beyond cans and bottles. Crossroads Trading Company (2123 Market Street), Sui Generis (2265 Market Street and 218 Church Street), Out of the Closet (100 Church Street), and Fashion Exchange (2215 Market Street) all feature used clothing. For entertainment, check out the selection of used books at Aardvark Books (227 Church Street) and Books & Bookshelves (99 Sanchez Street) or the used CDs, DVDs, videotapes, and laser discs at Streetlight Records (2350 Market Street). And for more private entertainment, Auto Erotica (4077-A 18th Street) buys and sells previously-enjoyed porn.
Big Mac under attack
Most people probably do not associate McDonald's with progressive support for the LGBT community. However, the fast food chain's move to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce has brought it under attack by the anti-gay American Family Association, which has instructed its members to boycott the golden arches.
In response, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes sexual freedom as a fundamental human right, has issued a call for a "buycott" to counteract the AFA. Executive Director Ricci Levy writes in a press release that "In support of McDonald's strong support of individual rights ... WFF urges McDonald's customers to regularly make an extra purchase (conduct a buycott) from the McDonald's chain."
Just go easy on the fast food.
For more information on the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, visit http://www.woodhullfoundation.org/.