Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Retail & Industry
Published on October 17, 2019
Mission District flower shop Ampersand to open Castro locationAmpersand's original location at 80 Albion St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

A new flower shop is headed for the third and final ground-floor retail space at apartment complex The Duboce, at Market and Sanchez streets.

Early next year, Mission-based florist Ampersand (80 Albion St. at 16th St.) will open a new location at 2190 Market St., right between beer garden Willkommen and laser hair removal clinic SEV Laser.

Ampersand, whose original location is at 16th and Albion streets in the Mission, will help fill the neighborhood floral void left by Church Street Flowers, which closed in 2016, and Ixia, which departed the Castro this spring.

The neighborhood has long been a mecca for florists, with Urban Flowers, Not Just Flowers, Guy's FlowersBlumen and Flower Corner all in operation along the nearby blocks.

Flower shop Ampersand is opening at 2190 Market St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Benjamin Boso and Emerson Boyle founded Ampersand in 2014, offering a wide selection of fresh-cut flowers and bouquets from a converted former carriage house on Albion Street. An off-site location in Portola handles larger floral arrangements for weddings and events.

"Our core value since opening our first location is to be a space that is inclusive, positive, nature-infused, and a breath of fresh air from the city’s chaos," said Boyle.

The pair, who live in Duboce Triangle, say they're excited about opening a larger location nearer to their home. They still haven't decided whether or not they'll close their Mission location after they open in the Castro. 

Boso said he and Boyle contemplated opening the new location for a long time before making the final decision. "It's really intimidating opening a small business," Boso said. "[But] we have our customer base now."

Ampersand's Emerson Boyle and Benjamin Boso. | Photo: Ampersand/Instagram

The couple signed a lease on the Market Street space about a year ago, but have been tied up in the permitting and approval process.

As a report from the Budget & Legislative Analysis Office showed earlier this year, Castro businesses seeking only building permits take an average of 260 days to open. Ampersand will come in at nearly double the average wait time.

But now that all of Ampersand's permits have been approved, construction started this week inside the approximately 1,600-square-foot space.

Boso said that carrying over the rustic and welcoming aesthetic of the Mission location to a more modern building will be a challenge, but pulling it off is important to the couple.

"We're going to make it feel warm inside," he said, adding a comfortable seating area for customers and neighbors to hang out. "Currently, it feels cold."

Inside Ampersand on Albion. | Photo: Ampersand/Instagram

The opening of Ampersand adds another flora-focused retailer in the neighborhood — just last month, Tenderloin plant shop Plant Therapy (2095 Market St. at Church St.) opened a Castro location.

The arrival of new businesses is welcome news for the Church and Market corridor, which has been hit hard by retail vacancies.

In addition to Willkommen and SEV Laser, Il Casaro (235 Church St.), CorePower Yoga (100 Church St.), Beit Rima, Castro Animal Hospital (100 Church St.) and the Castro/Upper Market CBD offices (693 14th St.) have all joined the neighborhood this year.

We'll keep you posted as Ampersand nears its projected January 2020 opening.