To support "buy local" campaign Shop & Dine in the 49, Mayor Ed Lee and District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy took to the streets on Monday morning for a merchant walk along the 24th Street corridor in Noe Valley.
Now in its third year, the program is a partnership developed by the Mayor’s Office, along with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), Shop Small, Shop Small Saturday, and the Office of Small Business in partnership with local business groups.
The campaign's goal: put small businesses in the spotlight by driving local attention and support; in a statement, Lee said a 1% increase in local spending would add $100 million to the local economy.
Last fall, OEWD noted that San Francisco has more than 90,000 registered businesses, including more than 7,700 restaurants, cafés, food stores, and beverage establishments. These entities employ approximately 326,000 residents.
The walk also gave community members and business owners an opportunity to speak with their elected representatives.
At gift store Just For Fun & Scribbledoodles, located at 3982 24th St. (near Noe), owners said Halloween sales had drifted down in a challenging retail environment.
One of the challenges was foot traffic, especially as area businesses tend towards early closing hours. Just For Fun's owners said many 24th Street shops found it difficult to hire staff that would stay past 6pm; their store closes at this time.
Other merchants told Lee and Sheehy that the community benefited from the family-friendly vibe. Neighborhood restaurant NOVY, which serves up Californian cuisine, has been at 4000 24th St. (and Noe) since 1977.
Kristen and Kathryn Gianaras said their father John Gianaras purchased L&F Corner Market and then turned it into a dining space called Panos’ before it became NOVY, their nickname for the neighborhood. With roots in the area, the sisters said they value their community relationships.
The walk included a stop at the former Real Food site (3939 24th Street), which has been vacant for nearly 15 years. Sheehy said a potential buyer of the site would also receive a letter from his office.
"As the Supervisor representing this area, making sure a project happens at this location is a top priority," the letter states.
"The best chance of success will come through engaging local community members and stakeholders," Sheehy added. He suggested that a future buyer could commit to an interim activation of the site to serve Noe Valley families.
"[Like] a facility for kids," Lee said as the group gathered in front of the building during the walk.
At bookstore Charlie's Corner (4102 24th St), the last stop on the tour, Sheehy and Lee joined owner Charlotte Nagy's story time with toddlers, parents, and caretakers. The independent neighborhood bookstore carries children's literature and hosts up to four story times a day.
"Larry loves cable cars," Lee read aloud, before going off-script: "they are expensive, they cost your parents a lot of money."