In a story that's becoming all too familiar in the city, North Beach shop Park and Pond is yet another casualty of high rents in the competitive commercial real estate market. Owner Jessica Herman says May 3rd will be the shop's last day in business.
Park and Pond isn't just another retail store: since opening in August of 2011, it's been a showcase for the local maker community, with works by 150 different artists and craftspeople represented. Herman sells paintings, jewelry, skin care, greeting cards, flasks, glassware and even punk onesies, among a host of other items.
Herman has also worked had to promote the Upper Grant area to the wider city. She spearheaded the "Shop Upper Grant" campaign to bring more recognition to an area she calls a "hidden jewel" due to the concentration of unique businesses.
"Hopefully, somebody will pick that up," Herman said. She also ran the Shop Upper Grant holiday boutique for three years. "Hopefully, somebody will pick that up, too."
According to Herman, someone contacted her landlord about her space at 1422 Grant Ave., and "wanted it for more than what I am willing to pay." She tried to negotiate, but the landlord asked for an increase of more than 25 percent. "They signed a lease and will be here May 15th," she said of the new tenants.
She has no idea who's coming, she added, but she pointed out the space is small—roughly 600 to 700 square feet—and she heard the new tenants have a store elsewhere in the city.
"I'm sad to go," Herman said. "I really love the community here. That's what drew me to this space—I wanted a neighborhood spot. Since we sell all locally-made and -designed items, it was nice to have that in a neighborhood spot where we could really connect with people." She lives in SoMa and walks to work.
Herman doesn't say this the end, though. She's actively looking for a new location and is "open to any and all help in finding a space." But she'll be sad if she has to leave the area. "It's been a great time here," she said. "The community of store owners is really welcoming. This was my first store and it was nice to have that."
Loyal customers have also been upset to hear of the closure, even if it might be temporary. Herman sent an email out about it, and said people have come in daily to tell her how sad they are. "It's important to me to know I've touched other people," she said.
Park and Pond will hold a customer appreciation party from 12pm–5pm on Sunday with food, drinks and 10 percent off purchases, a deal which will stay in effect through the last day in business. Herman will also continue to sell items through the store's website.
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