We’ve gotten a few tips from local residents and readers while walking around the Castro lately regarding business changes going on up and down the main business strip of the Castro. Here’s the skinny in brief.
COMING: Eureka! (451 Castro), is a new coffee shop venture from local, long time biz pair, Patrick Batt and business partner, Bill Singleton. Mr. Batt is a former Board Prez of Merchants of Upper Market Castro (MUMC) and current owner of the vintage porn store Auto Erotica on 18th Street. They plan on joining the Castro’s hotly contested coffee battle at the end of the month in time for Leather Walk which kicks off the City’s week-long celebration of Leather Pride culminating with the 30th anniversary of Folsom Street Fair. If they pull it off they’ll also beat two other neighborhood coffee concerns who’re mid-remodel of new locations in the Castro, Weaver and Illy. Eureka! plans on selling Blue Bottle coffee as well as an assortment of other high-end goods produced from within SF.
MOVING: Hero (2286 Market St), the new mens clothing store that started as a pop up in the old Kard Zone is looking for new digs. Things are rough out there in the retail real estate market for small, local start-ups despite all the available empty store front space that haunts the Castro. Hero owner David Wilson has been negotiating with every property owner available who has space that will meet his needs. He first tried to slip into the recently completed mixed-use space across the way from his current local at the new build Icon, but, their price per foot proved to be too high for his budget. He’s hoping something that will fit the bill becomes available soon. CVS is slated to start remodel soon and the store has been given until the 20th to move. If you’ve got a lead on property feel free to drop in and leave him the info. It’s good to support and promote local Queer businesses in the Castro.
STAYING: Under One Roof (541 Castro) announced that their experimental pop up store on Castro will be its permanent home for now. Located directly across from their former, still unoccupied digs on Castro St., the AIDS non-profit is seeing great foot traffic and an uptick in sales following its return from its other temp digs in the highly exclusive Crocker Galleria. Their landlord, Les Natali, agreed to the organization carrying on at this new local. Mr. Natali recently acquired all permits needed to re-open the more than decade shuttered Patio Cafe, and after great hope and media fanfare, the once well loved eatery remains closed. No word again of when it might reopen.
CLOSING(?): De La Sole Footwear (549 Castro), one of the only exclusively shoe orientated stores in the neighborhood is rumored to be closing. The door states they open at 11 but that rarely is the case and crude signs announcing vacations were put up following several days of being shut. Their phone and website are both out-of-order and now another handmade sign announcing all goods on sale 50% off was stuck in their front window. None of this bodes well for the once highly Yelped shop. No one has been available at the store for comment every time I dropped by. Guestimate-keep your eyes peeled for an open sign, grab a cheap pair of good shoes and don’t be surprised when the ‘out of biz’ notice pops up.
We’d like to encourage all our readers to continue to shop local and support small business owners in the neighborhood. They’re part of the integral fabric that helps keep the Castro going as a destination and a community.