Cole Hardware Makes Debut In North Beach, Aims To Return To Bernal Heights

Cole Hardware softly opened its sixth store, at 627 Vallejo St. in North Beach, on Valentine's Day.

The new store occupies the long-vacant former Piazza Market space, which freed up this fall after Mama's on Washington Square pulled out of a plan to expand its restaurant there. 

Owner Rick Karp said the Valentine's Day opening caught many neighbors by surprise, but nonetheless, it was a "nice day of sales," with many customers excited by the arrival of a hardware store in the neighborhood. 

"People were appreciative," he said, estimating that 300 to 400 visitors dropped in on opening day. 

Karp and his kids, David and Adrianna, have fully equipped the 5,000-square-foot store with pet supplies, hardware, electrical supplies, housewares, garden supplies, patio furniture. They're also taking special requests from neighbors: many have asked for live plants, so he's ordering racks for the front of the store to fill with greenery. 

David (left), Adrianna, and Rick Karp at their new SoMa store. | Photo: Elaine Gavin/Hoodline 

When designing the store, Karp hired a color specialist to ensure the new store's look would fit in with the neighborhood's style, and added gold leaf stenciling on the facade so it blends in nicely with surrounding architecture.

"We wanted something everything in North Beach that people can be proud of," he said. "So far, all the feedback has been all great."

Rick Karp at his original location in Cole Valley, which his father opened in 1961. | Photo: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline

Cole Hardware had a difficult 2016, after a catastrophic fire burned the store's Bernal Heights location to the ground. But the Karps have rebounded with a new SoMa location at 9th and Folsom, and now, the North Beach store.

As for Bernal Heights, Karp said he's had numerous requests to return to the neighborhood from his former customers, and he hopes to be back in action there in two to three years.

He told us that the property at 3312 Mission St. has now been sold, as the previous landlord was far too underinsured and had to let it go. Over Christmas, Cole Hardware opened a holiday pop-up in the area, and he said he's in talks with the new property owner about moving back in once the building is rebuilt. 

"We are still very committed to that neighborhood," he said. 

In the meantime, the store is settling in in North Beach. Karp is planning a happy hour event on Tuesday, February 28th from 4-8pm; neighbors can come in to drink wine, eat chocolate, and enjoy coupons while they shop. 

Hours for Cole Hardware in North Beach are 8am–8pm daily. 

Thanks to Albertino M. for the tip.

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Cole hardware makes debut in north beach aims to return to bernal heights