Seismic Retrofit Leads Photoworks To Relocate After 28 Years At Church & Market

Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline
By Shane Downing - Published on December 03, 2016.

The fact that Photoworks has operated at the corner of Church and Market over three decades didn’t stop Veritas Investments from sending shop owner David Handler a notice on Labor Day weekend that he'd need to vacate.

Handler said the owner cited a mandatory soft-story retrofit of the building -- estimated to last six months -- as cause for the letter.

"We had five weeks to get out," said Handler. "I thought that we were finished and that there was no way that we would be able to survive."

Photo: Photoworks/Facebook

Handler said he wrote Veritas and asked for an extension, which the property owner granted. During the last week of January, Handler and his team are planning to move out of 2077 Market and into 2279 Market -- formerly A&G Merch -- by February 1st.

"We looked at the Sparky’s Diner place and this dumpy little space across the street," said Handler. "I thought about moving shop to the East Bay, and I thought about getting a warehouse somewhere and just becoming an online company."

A&G Merch shuttered in July. Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline

When push came to shove, however, Handler knew that Photoworks needed to stay in the neighborhood.

"Everyone knows where we are," said Handler. "We’ve been saying ‘the corner of Market and Church’ for 28 years and it just made me nervous to have people have to seek us out."

Handler attributed Castro Merchants association and "the Castro’s integrity" as reasons to stay in the neighborhood.

"The Castro is a neighborhood that has to exist," said Handler, "and because of that, people take an interest in who’s moving into the neighborhood. People look after each other here, and in my opinion, that’s what’s important."

Photo: Shane Downing/Hoodline

Despite the eviction, Handler is doing his best to put a positive spin on things. "We get to build a new store," he said, "and we get to stay on a nicer block of Market."

Photoworks signed a 10-year lease with a five-year option; Handler and his partner are reportedly financing the transition from their personal savings. “It’s a scary undertaking,” he said, “but I think it’s going to be great.”

“We plan to be around a long time,” said Handler. “We’re going to build a really kick-ass, state-of-the-art imaging shop which I’ve actually never been able to do in my current location because after so many years, we’ve grown out of it.”

Photo: Scott Beale/Flickr

According to Handler, the “better version” of Photoworks will be a print shop and frame shop in one.

“We want to make photo printing more accessible to people,” said Handler, “so, it’s going to be more of an interactive store, a one-stop shop, for people to do more with their images. You don’t have to go shopping for art -- you can make your own.”

“What’s important for now is that people know that come February, we’re only going to be a three-minute walk away from our current location,” said Handler.

“I’m glad that we found a place and that Photoworks gets to stay in the Castro.”

About 18 hours ago
San Francisco Embarcadero Financial District

‘Nash Bridges’ reboot movie shoot electrifying the Financial District

The old combination of Don Johnson and Cheech Marin is bringing new life to downtown San Francisco, in the form of gunshots and exploding cars for the “Nash Bridges” made-for-TV movie. Read More

About 18 hours ago
San Francisco

Bay Area restaurants will hold 'Dining for India' fundraiser to raise funds for India COVID-19 relief efforts

In light of India’s catastrophic second Covid-19 wave, ten local Indian eateries have partnered together to donate 50% of their sales on May 25 toward COVID-19 response efforts in India. Read More

About 18 hours ago
San Francisco

California is set to rescind mask mandates next month, but Bay Area counties likely to sort out their own new rules

With California less than a month away from its "full-reopening" on June 15, and after the Centers for Disease Control rescinded its mask mandate last week, it's still not clear what a mostly vaccinated, maskless, post-pandemic Bay Area will look like. Read More

May 14, 2021
San Francisco Embarcadero Fisherman's Wharf

Watch: The F-Line ‘Boat Tram’ returns with ribbon-cutting celebration

The Blackpool Boat Tram popularly known as “Boat Boi” returned to the rails Friday, in advance of this weekend’s reopening of Muni Metro service and stations. Read More