Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

Business Briefs: Castro businesses put on their holiday finery


Manager Scott Denardo has saved you a seat in the showroom of A and G Merch, newly opened in the Castro. (Photo: Steven Kasapi)
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The Castro is gearing up for the holiday shopping season with plans for decorations, music, and special shopping events.

Bank of America plaza near the corner of 18th and Castro streets will host the Castro Christmas tree again this year. The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro will kick off the holiday season with the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony on Monday, November 28 at 6 p.m. The festivities will be hosted by Bay Area Reporter society columnist Donna Sachet, and will include musical performances, appearances by city officials, and a word from the big man himself, Santa Claus.

MUMC will also sponsor a number of special shopping events during the holiday season, with dates to be announced later. During these events, the Imperial Council will offer gift-wrapping while serenading the neighborhood with carolers.

For information on the tree lighting and other shopping events, visit the MUMC website,

New Castro construction project unveiled

At MUMC's November meeting, the Strada Investment Group and Forest City Enterprises presented plans for a new development in the Castro.

The project, combining commercial and residential space, would replace the Market Street 76 service station at 2175 Market Street with two buildings separated by a courtyard. The Market Street-facing building would be five-stories with three commercial spaces on the ground floor. The building facing the 15th Street side of the triangular lot would be slightly shorter, reaching three stories in height and featuring porches and stoops on the ground-level units.

"We are very excited about the site. It sits right atop the Church Street station and will extend the merchant corridor, as there is a gap there now," said David Noyola, associate at Strada Investment Group.

The development would add approximately 85 to 90 rental units, of which 15 percent will be earmarked as affordable housing. The plans also include 40 parking spaces for residents.

The Planning Department has begun environmental review of the project, and Strada and Forest City expect to go before the city's Planning Commission next spring or summer, said Noyola.

Brooklyn style in the Castro

A and G Merch, a Brooklyn-based home design store, has opened its first West Coast location in the Castro. The shop opened its doors in early October at 2279 Market Street, the large space vacated when Plant'It Earth relocated to Divisadero Street.

Manager Scott Denardo said that a number of cities were considered before San Francisco was chosen for A and G Merch's second location. Denardo walked a number of neighborhoods in the city before settling on the Castro for the new shop.

Denardo describes the store's aesthetic as "an eclectic mix of fun stuff ... ranging from $2.50 hand wipes up to a $3,000 sofa."

In the back of the shop is a separate room that houses a rotation of special displays and pop-up stores. Currently, the space is occupied by a pop-up store run by another Brooklyn retailer, Dijitalfix , which specializes in electronic and audio equipment with an emphasis on neo-retro design.

Fast food facts

The last month has seen a number of changes to the restaurant line-up in the Castro:

In early October, Gingerfruit abruptly closed its doors. During the past year the site has featured two names, three managers, and three menus, but without success.

After a long delay – which inspired legislative changes to neighborhood restaurant permit limits – Soup Freaks (499 Castro Street) opened its doors at the corner of Castro and 18th streets.

Cafe Sophie opened its doors Pride weekend at 3463 16th Street, another location which has seen a rotation of closed businesses, including Kape and Caffe D'Amore. Co-owners Shawn Simon and Kirk Tarou serve coffee from Santa Cruz roaster Verve and Chinese teas imported by San Rafael-based Silk Road Teas.

Beautifull, the counter-service restaurant attached to Gold's Gym at 2301 Market Street, closed for good on November 7 after less than six months in business. According to a sign taped to the window, "We have decided to focus our efforts on our California Street store."

GGBA holiday celebration

The Golden Gate Business Association is hosting its annual gala tonight (Thursday, November 10) at the Hotel Kabuki (1625 Post Street). The festivities begin at 8 p.m. and feature performances by Veronica Klaus with Tammy Hall as well as comedienne Marga Gomez.

The GGBA is the first LGBT-focused chamber of commerce in the United States.  The holiday event is sponsored by State Farm, Wells Fargo, Hotel Kabuki , B.A.R., New York Life, Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, Blue Angel Vodka , and O Izakaya Lounge .

Tickets are $45 and can be purchased at

Under One Roof into the finals

Under One Roof (518A Castro Street) is a finalist for 7x7 magazine's title of "San Francisco's Favorite Charity." The Castro gift store, which funds a wide variety of local HIV and AIDS organizations, is competing against 48 other charities for the grand prize of $10,000, provided by PG&E .

To see the full list of charities and to vote for your favorite, visit Voting ends on November 15.

Days of wine from Rose's

Rose Cut Wine Bar, housed in the rear of D and H Sustainable Jewelers (2323 Market Street), is featuring the wines of Storrs Winery during the month of November.   The Santa Cruz winery is dedicated to sustainable and organic production methods, in its vineyards as well as its apple orchard.

On November 11 and 12 from 6 to 8 p.m., Storrs Winery will host a special wine tasting event at D and H supporting the Green Gem Foundation. This organization seeks to develop the African gemstone industry in an ethical manner, by investing in local communities and supporting humanitarian efforts. Current programs supported by the Green Gem Foundation include women's education and clean-water initiatives. 

A donation of $25 is requested for the event. To RSVP, email For more information on the Green Gem Foundation, visit

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