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BTinSF
May 9, 2008, 4:54 PM
riday, May 9, 2008
Lux menswear seller John Varvatos opens at Union Square
San Francisco Business Times - by Sarah Duxbury

Men have a new, 6,500-square-foot reason to accompany their wives to Union Square.

John Varvatos has opened a new menswear boutique with entrances on both Maiden Lane and Geary Street. It is the company's seventh store and one of its largest. The store will sell Varvatos' three brands and the merchandise mix ranges from weekend casual to formal, with a dose of rock 'n' roll. The entire second floor will be devoted to suits.

"From a men's fashion standpoint, straight or gay it doesn't matter, I feel that San Francisco is in the same genre as New York and Los Angeles in terms of sophistication," Varvatos said of why he came here early in his retail expansion.

The New York-based chain growing fast. The brand and company started in 2000, and its main collection and Star USA brands have wholesale distribution in several hundred stores around the country, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys, all three of which carry the brand in San Francisco. Rather than cannibalize sales, Varvatos believes the new boutique could help the nearby department stores by increasing brand awareness.

Varvatos, owned by VF Corp., declined to share revenue figures, but retail insiders peg it as close to $100 million a year. John Varvatos could be paying in the $800,000 range for the space.

"Retailers are willing to reach for a location on Geary because of its proximity to the Neiman Marcus entrance," said Julie Taylor of Cornish & Carey. "It's considered a prime block for luxury."

Last month, Varvatos opened a store in the former CBGB's on New York's Bowery, and this summer he will open a store, in Malibu. Other John Varvatos stores are in SoHo, East Hampton, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Varvatos expects to open four to five more stores in 2009, provided the luxury market remains strong.

"We're having the best season we've ever had," Varvatos said. "In business, whatever industry you look at, even in a downturn some people are doing well."

sduxbury@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4963
Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/05/12/story17.html?t=printable

hi123
May 23, 2008, 4:24 AM
Did the Disney store on Union Square close because it was an underperforming store? That would be hard to imagine considering its prominent location...

peanut gallery
May 23, 2008, 8:46 PM
I haven't been able to find any details outside what's on Curbed. I'm with SFView. My kids will be very disappointed.

BTinSF
May 24, 2008, 2:29 AM
Did the Disney store on Union Square close because it was an underperforming store? That would be hard to imagine considering its prominent location...

Big changes afoot at Disney:

In Brief
Disney Reclaims Store Operations
May 2, 2008; Page B7

Walt Disney Co. said it has taken over 220 Disney Store outlets in North America from Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. and will close about 98 stores in the U.S. and two in Canada. The move to reclaim most of the money-losing operation came after the Children's Place subsidiary that ran the chain filed for bankruptcy protection in March.

--Associated Press
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120970139959362225.html

And there could be more to come on that corner:

Barnes & Noble Studies Bid for Borders
By JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG
May 21, 2008; Page B3

Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain by sales, has assembled a team of executives and advisers to study the possibility of acquiring No. 2 chain Borders Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the situation.

Whether such a deal would pass antitrust hurdles is unclear. Barnes & Noble has about 20% to 22% of the retail book market, while Borders controls 10% to 12%, estimates Albert Greco, a professor at the Fordham Graduate School of Business.

Web giant Amazon.com Inc., which has become a major player in book sales in recent years, has about 15%, he estimates.

Borders put itself up for sale in March after surprising investors by disclosing a potential liquidity issue. The retailer suggested that declining sales in the second half of the fourth quarter, the tight financial market that made borrowing difficult and the failed sale of some foreign assets were in part to blame. The company has a market value of $384.1 million, although a buyer would have to assume the company's debt of $548.6 million.

That Barnes & Noble is contemplating a bid illustrates how competitive book retailing has become.

Not only have Amazon and other Web retailers taken a significant portion of the $15 billion consumer book business, but also book sales have shown little real growth in recent years.

A purchase of Borders would give Barnes & Noble a chance to significantly boost revenue and profit. Such a deal also would create cost savings. One potential stumbling block for Barnes & Noble is concern about some of Borders' store leases and store locations in proximity to current Barnes & Noble stores.

One person familiar with the situation said that 30 people have either signed confidentiality agreements or are negotiating to sign such agreements. "There are multiple strategic buyers and potential private-equity investors," said this executive.

A spokeswoman for Borders declined to comment.

When Borders made its announcement, Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio said he would feel compelled to take a look at Borders. But the formation of the team suggests Barnes & Noble is a serious contender.

Mr. Riggio has built the company from a single store in New York City to 798 stores across all 50 states.

Over the years, he has engineered a series of acquisitions of such book retailers as B. Dalton, Marlboro and BookStop, among others. He is known as a smart, opportunistic investor willing to take risks to create growth.

Write to Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at jeffrey.trachtenberg@wsj.com1
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121132903873408981.html

hi123
May 25, 2008, 4:13 AM
I wouldn't mind if B&N took over disney's space, however i'd rather see a restaurant or something...

hi123
May 28, 2008, 2:31 AM
Another update from curbed.com: if the employees got 4 weeks notice then i assume that the store will close sometime next month...)

Storefronting: A Shuttering for Disney
Storefronting is Curbed's regular look at the changing retail scene, with an emphasis on how it impacts neighborhoods. Opening a store? See a store that's opening? Send the deets. We have a special place in our hearts for those who also include digital photos.

It is confirmed: The Disney store on Powell is so gone. Why, exactly, is unclear (maybe because they sell Disney swag?) though we do know that employees were given four weeks' notice to hustle new retail jobs in a tanking economy. Nice. Popular opinion (a.k.a. a couple of tipsters) seems to indicate a want for even more luxury retail on that corner. (And here we were expecting a crack op.) Who's edging out the Disney store? Guesses in the box. Tips, the Curbed SF inbox.

BTinSF
May 29, 2008, 6:13 AM
Popular opinion (a.k.a. a couple of tipsters) seems to indicate a want for even more luxury retail on that corner.

Truth is that every time I passed that place the thought crossed my mind that it really belonged near Fisherman's Wharf or some such, not Union Square. I won't miss it, especially if it does get replaced by something higher end. I don't think a restaurant (as you suggested) belongs in a prime corner location though and I doubt one could cover the overhead of what has to be one of the most expensive (on a per sq. ft basis) retail locations in the country. A top end or designer clothing or accessory boutique would be much more suitable although, as I recall, that's a pretty big space. Not many might want that much space.

It won't be Barnes & Noble. If they do acquire Borders, they'd just take over the current Borders location (on the upper floors).

San Frangelino
May 31, 2008, 8:13 PM
from:http://www.fillmorestreetsf.com/about_detail.php?id=3

This is an interesting concept. I wonder if other companies will try the same thing in order to get a chain store in the neighborhoods.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3165/2538868117_05b15bdcf3_o.jpg

nequidnimis
May 31, 2008, 11:48 PM
from:http://www.fillmorestreetsf.com/about_detail.php?id=3

This is an interesting concept. I wonder if other companies will try the same thing in order to get a chain store in the neighborhoods.


Why not? The Planning Department just gave its blessing. What's next: Boyz' Gap in the Castro? SF Caffe Starbucco? SF Burger Royal?

BTinSF
Jun 1, 2008, 7:52 AM
I just want a Wall-Smart and/or a Tar-Get.

hi123
Jun 27, 2008, 11:45 PM
Has anyone else noticed how many stores have closed on post street between grant and stockton? johnston & murphy , ann taylor, leve , sharper image and two others! Do you think those spaces will be leased anytime soon?

BTinSF
Jul 22, 2008, 11:00 PM
Prada opens tonight, at long, long last, per CurbedSF:

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3017/2692221228_d4906a4399_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3170/2691407089_e6bbe74dd9_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3246/2691407163_cac391537d_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3033/2692220874_68d438c77f_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3065/2691407051_0866163dda_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3253/2691407135_9c717072ea_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3257/2692221142_17ed34b7af_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3060/2692221194_a662037d7f_o.jpg
Source: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/07/22/storefronting_prada_premieres.php?o=8

BTinSF
Jul 22, 2008, 11:03 PM
Has anyone else noticed how many stores have closed on post street between grant and stockton? johnston & murphy , ann taylor, leve , sharper image and two others! Do you think those spaces will be leased anytime soon?

Yes. Retail is in trouble generally and at least 2 of those specifically, but Union Square, with its inundation of Euro-wielding tourists, is as recession-proof as anywhere outside NYC.

hi123
Jul 23, 2008, 11:32 PM
The prada store looks great!
Good to hear that union square is somewhat recession proof. Has anyone been on that stretch of post recently? Have any of the 6 vacant spaces been leased yet? I haven't because i'm not anywhere near San Francisco right now.

Here is the full list of empty spaces on the 200 block of post between Grant and Stockton:


Johston&Murphy
(The old) Cartier
Escada
Ann taylor
Sharper Image
the space at 250 post (don't know what it was before)

hi123
Jul 24, 2008, 2:59 AM
Here is a picture of the not quite-yet complete CB2 store next to the stockton street apple store:

Pic form etslee of flickr.com

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3021/2694677619_1519d823af.jpg?v=0

This turned out better than i expected and i'm sure that when it is 100% complete for the opening on july 31st that it will look quite nice.

The next stores that will be opening in this area will be the Ferrari Store where cody's books used to be (which was supposed to open "spring 2008", anyone know what's going on here??) And the HUGE new Diesel store right across the street from the new CB2)

New diesel store location at the base of the building that is being renovated and is completely covered in white:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3134/2653280652_804c0eecf3.jpg?v=0

(picture from Allan Ferguson on flickr.com)

peanut gallery
Jul 24, 2008, 4:38 AM
To further BT's point: I walked around the fringes of Union Square at lunch today and man, it's hard to tell the economy is in the dumper. There were people everywhere with bags and bags of stuff. Lots of folks from over seas of course, but quite a few North Americans as well (inferring from accents).

peanut gallery
Jul 24, 2008, 4:39 AM
There was a small tidbit in today's Chronicle about a new deli opening on TI. I don't go out there too often, but usually make a stop when company's in town. It will be nice to have a new place to grab a bite on those occasions.

http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2008/07/22/mn-weather23_pbx_0498821844.jpg

Slicked up for a grand opening
Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Abdul Nassar, owner of the Island Market and Deli on San Francisco's Treasure Island, gets ready for his grand opening next week, washing the building and street at his business on Tuesday. His deli will offer spectacular views across San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the city's skyline.

Reminiscence
Jul 24, 2008, 8:16 AM
To further BT's point: I walked around the fringes of Union Square at lunch today and man, it's hard to tell the economy is in the dumper. There were people everywhere with bags and bags of stuff. Lots of folks from over seas of course, but quite a few North Americans as well (inferring from accents).

I agree with you. I havent had the chance to walk around town lately, but the last time I did, the Union Square area was packed to the brim with people and their bags. San Francisco seems to be partially immune to the national crisis going on. The way the dollar is though, its a good time to be a European tourist, as I've seen more and more lately.

Reminiscence
Jul 24, 2008, 8:17 AM
There was a small tidbit in today's Chronicle about a new deli opening on TI. I don't go out there too often, but usually make a stop when company's in town. It will be nice to have a new place to grab a bite on those occasions.

Watering the driveway? Tsk tsk tsk.

hi123
Jul 31, 2008, 2:44 AM
I have found some photos of the closed space on the 200 block post on Flickr.com. They are from "ultraclay":

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3098/2580816743_10e42ba8df.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3028/2580816537_77dd0fd159.jpg?v=0

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3178/2580816199_14f13abf88.jpg?v=0

The empty escada space. Hopfully when it is rented out all the tacky brass will be removed:rolleyes:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3012/2581642550_d466890325.jpg?v=0

The old cartier space
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3115/2580817193_6f2085b9be.jpg?v=0

The empty Johston& Murphy space:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3090/2581642264_892391ed03.jpg?v=0



:( This is on ONE single block!

BTinSF
Jul 31, 2008, 3:03 AM
There was a small tidbit in today's Chronicle about a new deli opening on TI. I don't go out there too often, but usually make a stop when company's in town. It will be nice to have a new place to grab a bite on those occasions.

When I worked out there (and the Navy was still there), there was a Nizario's Pizza (a branch from other locations in SF including 18th & Castro) that was pretty darned good. And I could be wrong but I seem to recall that Abdul Nasser may have been the owner of Nizario's.

BTinSF
Jul 31, 2008, 3:19 AM
I have found some photos of the closed space on the 200 block post on Flickr.com.

The empty escada space. Hopfully when it is rented out all the tacky brass will be removed:rolleyes:

The old cartier space

The empty Johston & Murphy space:

:( This is on ONE single block!

It's a very unlucky block. We all know about the Sharper Image bankruptcy. Ann Taylor is having problems of its own:

AnnTaylor Stores Corporation reaffirmed its fiscal 2007 earnings per share (EPS) of $1.80-$1.85. The Company also announced a multi-year restructuring program that is designed to enhance profitability and improve overall effectiveness, following the Company's comprehensive review of its SG&A cost structure. The key elements of the restructuring program include: The optimization of the Company's store portfolio, including the closure of 117 underperforming stores over the 2008-2010 period; An organizational streamlining, primarily involving the downsizing of the Company's headquarters staff by approximately 13%; and A broad-based productivity initiative, including the strategic procurement of non-merchandise goods and services, to improve efficiencies and effectiveness across the organization and store base.
Source: http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/keyDevelopments?symbol=ANN.N&timestamp=20080522124300&rpc=66

Cartier just moved. Escada also I think (to Maiden Lane?).

I'm not sure what's with Johnston & Murphy but I'd bet they are just moving also.

And I'll also predict the locations will get snapped up.

hi123
Jul 31, 2008, 3:43 AM
^I think escada has left maiden lane aswell. San Francisco no longer has an escada flagship store :(. However most of the storefronts that are closed are quite dated/somewhat ugly ( Cartier and Escada storefronts!! Ann taylor too), so there could be a silver lining if nice stores lease the space and renovate the fronts to further enhance that stretch of post street. One note though. Does anyone haveany clue why the the lights would still be on and a plant still be outside the cartier space that closed almost a year ago!?

peanut gallery
Jul 31, 2008, 7:47 PM
I've walked down that block recently and never noticed a cluster of closed businesses. I went through there today looking for them, and it is unusual for that area. One of them is being worked on -- there is a notice about it being a hard hat area. I'm not sure which, but it was on the south side of the street and didn't have any obvious old signage.

hi123
Jul 31, 2008, 10:01 PM
I found pictures of all the closed stores and posted them on the previous page,Perhaps you will recognize which one was being worked on ( either way the fact that there is something going on at one of them is good news!)

peanut gallery
Jul 31, 2008, 10:51 PM
It might be the second one:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3028/2580816537_77dd0fd159.jpg?v=0

In fact, that blue and white sign might be the sign I saw. I'd have to go back for a second look to be sure. I think it was #247 or #245.

hi123
Jul 31, 2008, 11:02 PM
Was the for lease sign still up? If it was still up then i doubt anything is really happening, but you never know.

BTinSF
Aug 1, 2008, 2:55 AM
Here is a picture of the not quite-yet complete CB2 store next to the stockton street apple store:

Pic form etslee of flickr.com

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3021/2694677619_1519d823af.jpg?v=0

This turned out better than i expected and i'm sure that when it is 100% complete for the opening on july 31st that it will look quite nice.


So were you at the opening party?

http://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3246/2719663035_3662b35049_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3123/2720486118_4ee92e97b0_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3247/2719662041_2fc8fac49d_o.jpghttp://curbednetwork.com/cache/gallery/3026/2720487158_22098a3a27_o.jpg
Source all: http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/07/31/storefronting_cb2_opening_party_report.php?o=3

hi123
Aug 1, 2008, 3:11 AM
No no, i am in France right now but i will be in SF starting late august. Nice pictures of the party. Did you go?

BTinSF
Aug 1, 2008, 8:37 AM
Did you go?

No, I don't think I'm their demographic although I do rarely shop at parent Crate & Barrel.

peanut gallery
Aug 7, 2008, 9:03 PM
Check out the rendering of the new skin for the building at Market and Ellis (it will house a new Diesel store):
http://sf.curbed.com/uploads/7Aug08_Diesel.jpg

Source: Curbed SF (http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/08/07/storefronting_diesel_rendering_reveal.php).

quashlo
Aug 7, 2008, 9:35 PM
I like... :yes:

Seems like it would match nicely with the Apple store and the CB2 store on the other side of Ellis. Plus it opens onto the corner, something which seems forgotten in a lot of other projects. Hopefully the adjacent Shoe Pavilion is next in line for some kind of renovation or new building.

hi123
Aug 7, 2008, 10:36 PM
The architectural firm for the renovation of the corner building is Brand+Allen. They did the renovation of 185 post aswell. This building will be fantastic!

peanut gallery
Aug 7, 2008, 11:52 PM
I like it too. And it's in a prominent location, making it extra nice.

hi123
Aug 10, 2008, 9:23 PM
Just thought i'd post this beautiful photo from "rayNYC" on Flickr.com since it's san francisco main retail district: Union Square:

http://flickr.com/photos/25230924@N08/2748999515

And here is one from "syntax sands" on flickr.com of post street:

http://flickr.com/photos/23347059@N06/2672269280/

hi123
Aug 10, 2008, 10:26 PM
How long do you think it will take to lease all the empty spaces on post? Some of them have been there for a long time i think. For instatance the old cartier spot must have been vacated last summer when cartier moved across the street...

hi123
Aug 11, 2008, 8:26 AM
Does anyone know if there is a for lease sign at the old johnston and murphy store location? Because all the signs are up and running for johnston and murphy as i see on the westin st francis webcam so I am wondering if the store might just be undergoing a renovation.It could be possible as the store was very out of date...

BTinSF
Aug 15, 2008, 5:39 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
Waterfront project adds a third restaurant
San Francisco Business Times - by Sarah Duxbury

The Piers project is filling up with tables.

San Francisco Waterfront Partners has signed its final restaurant lease for 4,600 square feet. The tenant will be Lettus Organic Cafe, which will recreate itself from a quick-service 2,200-square-foot Marina operation into a bona fide restaurant complete with waitstaff and an expanded menu.

Lettus, with its casual, health-oriented cuisine, joins two other high-profile projects that have already signed on at the Piers: La Mar Cebicheria, an 11,000-square-foot Peruvian style ceviche spot and the first North American venture from acclaimed chef Gaston Acurio, will open on Pier 1½ this fall, and Lafitte, a 2,100-square-foot upscale affair from Russell Jackson, also known as the Dissident Chef, should open on Pier 5 by the end of the year.

San Francisco Waterfront Partners had been hoping to land a casual, high-quality cafe-style operator for one of the 2,000-square-foot spots on Pier 3, said Alicia Esterkamp, a principal with the developer. Turns out Lettus was willing to take both spots, and its venue will straddle a passageway.

Lettus co-owner Matthew Guelke is making the most of the funky space. The south side will feature the restaurant’s kitchen and a casual cafe where customers can order coffee, pastries, fresh juices and smoothies, with some seats and an array of to-go items. The north space will have a full-service menu, seating for 65 and a 700-square-foot bayside patio. The restaurant will also have up to 20 outdoor seats on the Embarcadero.

Like its Marina location, Lettus’ owners want to make the physical space as eco-friendly as possible, from using reclaimed wood to low-energy fixtures. It’s even considering a solar option.

“Price matters, but we’re definitely willing to spend a little more now to save in the future, but also to have a nicer environment for everyone and continue with our green practices,” Guelke said. He and partner Mark Lewis are still working on the restaurant’s design.

The Embarcadero and Marina locations will both change their names from Lettus in coming months owing to a Trademark dispute, but the new name is not yet finalized. Nor is the company’s third San Francisco location, for which Guelke and Lewis are already in negotiations.

“Owning a restaurant was never the idea. Our idea was to provide access to pure, organic food every day. To do that, we wanted to open up several locations,” Guelke said.

Sales on Steiner Street are over $2 million a year. The Piers location could open as early as February 2009.

Guelke realizes the new spot will be more of a destination since it can’t rely on the heavy weekday foot traffic the Marina enjoys. In some ways, though, the waterfront is more central.

“The Ferry Building gets a huge amount of traffic, and we’re a stone’s throw away. We have two restaurants on either side of us that will do really well, I imagine, and I think we will be a beautifully designed space,” Guelke said. “Not to mention that anything in such close proximity to the waterfront with outdoor seating is an amazing thing.”

Just north of the Ferry Building, the Piers project and its restaurant tenants hope to capitalize on the area’s heavy foot traffic. It’s also got its own weekday population in the project’s 60,000-square-foot class A office space, which is more than 86 percent leased.

sduxbury@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4963
Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/08/18/story12.html?t=printable

rs913
Aug 20, 2008, 6:23 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
Neiman Marcus inks lease for new Walnut Creek building
San Francisco Business Times

Neiman Marcus agreed to a lease at a new building planned near the existing Broadway Plaza shopping center in Walnut Creek.

Santa Monica-based Macerich (NYSE: MAC) is developing the site of the 107,000-square-foot building, which should open in late 2010 or early 2011. It will be at the corner of Mount Diablo Boulevard and Main Street.

Nordstrom and two Macy's stores (a men's and juniors' store across the street from another store) already anchor the Broadway Plaza center.

Neiman Marcus already leases stores at three Macerich buildings, in Dallas, and in Fort Worth, Texas; and in Scottsdale, Ariz.


Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/08/04/daily2.html?f=et78&ana=e_du

More details here (http://bigmallrat.blogspot.com/2008/08/neiman-marcus-commits-to-broadway-plaza.html). I think it's great that BP gets another anchor, but too bad that a big chunk of the mall gets razed to make room for it (as opposed to outward expansion).

BigKidD
Aug 20, 2008, 11:59 PM
Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/08/04/daily2.html?f=et78&ana=e_du

More details here (http://bigmallrat.blogspot.com/2008/08/neiman-marcus-commits-to-broadway-plaza.html). I think it's great that BP gets another anchor, but too bad that a big chunk of the mall gets razed to make room for it (as opposed to outward expansion).
Actually, I believe only the old David & Bryant store will be demolished. The other buildings highlighted in that photo contain businesses, and are not likely to disappear. Too bad David & Bryant went out of business though.

g-man435
Aug 21, 2008, 5:42 AM
:) I like the new Prada store. Very classy:
http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f221/g-man436/074.jpg

http://i48.photobucket.com/albums/f221/g-man436/131.jpg

hi123
Aug 21, 2008, 11:16 PM
It appears that the ferrari store will be opening in november 2008.

rs913
Aug 22, 2008, 12:34 AM
Actually, I believe only the old David & Bryant store will be demolished. The other buildings highlighted in that photo contain businesses, and are not likely to disappear. Too bad David & Bryant went out of business though.

I think I saw a sign that David M. Brian will be moving to a new location in Broadway Plaza just across from the old one, which means that weirdly anachronistic but charming gift store will stay in business.

Walnut Creek could probably support a Bloomingdale's, but the downtown seems to be going strong regardless.

BigKidD
Aug 23, 2008, 7:32 AM
I think I saw a sign that David M. Brian will be moving to a new location in Broadway Plaza just across from the old one, which means that weirdly anachronistic but charming gift store will stay in business.

Walnut Creek could probably support a Bloomingdale's, but the downtown seems to be going strong regardless.
I see. Although, who doesn't want to buy wooden model airplanes, and fine glass products in one place?

hi123
Sep 2, 2008, 3:00 AM
Another post street 200 block space has closed! It used to be occupied by an art gallery i believe....:(

San Frangelino
Sep 6, 2008, 6:47 AM
From http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/03/BU5Q12MQ3H.DTL&hw=section%3Dfinance+subject%3DFIN&sn=062&sc=468

Sir Paul Smith has designs on Union Square
Victoria Colliver
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

British designer Sir Paul Smith has signed a 10-year lease for 46 Geary St., where he plans to open a store before the December holidays. The high-end designer, known for his colorful and irreverent styles in fashion and home furnishings, will add to Union Square's growing lineup of luxury retailers, which includes Prada and Barneys.

Smith's store, which also opens onto Maiden Lane, will take up about 4,300 square feet on the street level and 2,500 square feet on the second floor, said Vikki Johnson, principal in the San Francisco real estate firm Johnson Hoke Ltd., which represents the building's landlord. The building used to house a Catholic bookstore and was a residence for the Daughters of St. Paul.

While Paul Smith is sold through several U.S. retailers and is available online, the company has just a handful of stores in this country.

hi123
Sep 13, 2008, 7:06 AM
Finally some good retail news! Hopefully the other empty storefronts on maiden lane and on post will be leased soon!

hi123
Sep 21, 2008, 12:15 AM
Pacfic heights retail news:

I Was on Fillmore street today near California, they are building a very large Ralph Lauren store there....

peanut gallery
Sep 21, 2008, 5:21 AM
I'm trying to think of where there's a large space available there. The old Fillamento is a good size space, but it's closer to Sacramento and I don't even remember if it is still vacant. Do you remember which stores are on either side of it?

Gordo
Sep 21, 2008, 9:35 AM
I'm trying to think of where there's a large space available there. The old Fillamento is a good size space, but it's closer to Sacramento and I don't even remember if it is still vacant. Do you remember which stores are on either side of it?

It's between California and Pine next to Harry's Bar on one side and Royal Ground Coffee on the other. I can't remember what was there before.

WildCowboy
Sep 21, 2008, 3:30 PM
2040 Fillmore...it was the Smith & Hawken garden store that closed last summer.

peanut gallery
Sep 22, 2008, 4:22 AM
Ah yes, I had forgotten about S&H closing. Thanks!

San Frangelino
Sep 23, 2008, 4:55 AM
Flippa K, a popular swedish clothing company, looks like its opening next to the Ritz Carlton Tower.

http://flickr.com/photos/minhthy/2853018192/in/photostream/

hi123
Sep 24, 2008, 12:15 AM
They're closing down the market street shoe pavillion in between the Oakley and the future Diesel.

peanut gallery
Sep 25, 2008, 10:32 PM
Retail might be getting a small boost right now with all the big cruise ships passing through on their way from Alaska to Mexico. The three I've seen in the past two days are just massive in scale. And the number of people heading back onto them with armloads of goodies was a nice sight.

I don't really know if these visits even make a blip on our economic radar, but it's quite a sight to see anyway.

hi123
Oct 8, 2008, 2:08 AM
Shuz of san francisco on post street between stockton and grant is now an ECCO shoe store...

peanut gallery
Oct 8, 2008, 11:21 PM
A new store in Union Square. From CurbedSF (http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/10/08/storefronting_merrell_flagship_in_union_square.php#reader_comments):

The Great Outdoorsy amongst you will be pleased to hear that harbinger of all shoes waterproof, Merrell, has opened its flagship store in Union Square— at 285 Geary Street. Bonus feel-good marketing move: the company is donating money, meeting space, and "services" to various local community organizations, including the SF Rec and Parks Department, along with everyone's favorite, the SF Bicycle Coalition. Smiles.

BTinSF
Oct 17, 2008, 1:02 PM
riday, October 17, 2008
S.F.'s Union Square bags stores
Tourists keep district very much in fashion
San Francisco Business Times - by Sarah Duxbury

The economy may have cooled, but Union Square remains hot.

For now.

Since August, five new stores have opened. More than 10 additional openings and relocations are slated to happen through next spring.

Recent openings include Merrell right on the square, Tory Burch on Maiden Lane, De Beers on Post Street, CB2 on O’Farrell Street and Ugg on Sutter Street.

Max Mara has moved to temporary digs on Maiden Lane while it expands its existing store into the Allen Edwards space, while that retailer is moving to Sutter Street. Diesel is building a major new flagship at 800 Market St. set to open next fall. Morton’s is expanding into part of the vacant Disney building on the corner of Post and Powell streets.

Among the new-to-market retailers eager to make a Union Square splash are Filippa K., a Swedish brand that chose San Francisco for its first U.S. store. Allore, a specialty eyeglass boutique owned by Luxottica Group will open at 245 Post St., and Joe’s Jeans will open its second retail store at 239 Grant Ave. Another premium denim company, Seven For All Mankind, is also opening on Grant.

Other new retailers soon to open include Paul Smith, Priscilla of Boston, Skechers, Mulholland Luggage and Ferrari.

Most of these leases were signed before the economy got so sour. While that will likely eat into near-term revenue targets, any Union Square lease is signed as a long-term play.

“Unless a lease was signed in the last 14 days, it’s not a market indicator. A retail deal takes six to nine months to make. Leases inked this spring and summer were started last fall,” said Julie Taylor of Cornish & Carey.

It serves San Francisco that this market — thanks to tourism and a less-hammered local economy — seems to be among the strongest for retailers. Even though sales may be down at some Union Square retailers, by and large they are still performing better than most other markets.

And there’s always room for surprises.

Open for a month and without any marketing, the new 2,400-square-foot Merrell store more than doubled its first-month plan.

“Union Square really gives us a chance to speak to consumers as a global brand … we wanted to be right on the square and this was a once in a lifetime retail space we stumbled upon,” said Seth Cobb, vice president and general manager of Merrell USA.

While retailers worry this will be a lackluster holiday season at best, Linda Mjellem, executive director of the Union Square Association, said people remain bullish on Union Square itself, particularly if the financial crisis is contained and tourism remains strong.

“It’s really encouraging that Union Square remains the draw it has always been for great retailers,” Mjellem said. “Certainly there’s turnover, but it seems like when someone leaves, someone even better comes along.”

Prominent and coming vacancies in the area include the old Gucci store, the old Prada and the old Diesel spaces, Ann Taylor and Escada. What happens with those spaces, and with Union Square, won’t be clear for at least six months, Taylor said.

sduxbury@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4963
Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/10/20/story4.html?t=printable

hi123
Oct 26, 2008, 8:37 PM
The author of the article made a mistake. The sunglasses boutique opening at 245 post st. is ILORI not allore, and it's a sunglass boutique not an eyeglass boutique (says so on johnston Hoke website.) And apparently the old gucci space has been leased to BVLGARI. :cool:

hi123
Oct 31, 2008, 8:11 PM
They've taken down the plywood in front of polo ralph lauren on Fillmore, the storefront looks great! I can't wait for the space next to it to be leased!

peanut gallery
Nov 4, 2008, 12:28 AM
The new Gucci store at Stockton and Maiden Lane has been revealed. From Curbed SF (http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/11/03/storefronting_update_gucci_eco_in_earth_tones.php):

http://sf.curbed.com/uploads/2008-11-gucci.jpg

Storefronting Update: Gucci Eco in Earth Tones
Monday, November 3, 2008, by Susie Cagle

Here it is, folks -- and in a nice earthy brown to boot. A Curbed operative spotted the new Gucci "Eco Flagship" store greening up at 240 Stockton. So much for that June opening, but in the nick of time for the holiday shopping slag. The Energy Star rated space shaped up some months behind schedule, but it looks like the slow economy might've taken a bit of a toll on the luxury outfitter. Pro tip: brown is the new green is the new black.

San Frangelino
Nov 6, 2008, 9:51 PM
A Whole Foods and 85 units of housing in the CASTRO.

http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/11/06/curbedwire_whole_foods_coming_to_the_castro_after_all.php

peanut gallery
Nov 6, 2008, 10:40 PM
A couple of pages back I posted (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=3720782&postcount=931) this rendering for the new skin on the building that will house Diesel on the ground floor:
http://sf.curbed.com/uploads/7Aug08_Diesel.jpg

I walked by there yesterday and they are painting the building black from head to toe. Could this be prep for adding the new facade pictured above? Or do you think they decided to save some clams and just paint the existing facade a darker color?

POLA
Nov 6, 2008, 10:47 PM
^The latter of the two. They took down the scafolding, so they're clearly done!

peanut gallery
Nov 7, 2008, 5:08 PM
Duh! I was so focused on the ground floor work and dozens of (I assume fake) cameras, that fact didn't really register in my mind. Too bad. I really like the rendering. In this economy, I guess it was hard to justify.

peanut gallery
Nov 8, 2008, 1:33 AM
Went back today and took a couple of photos:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3037/3011859440_d6817194d3_b.jpg

Here's a before-and-after view:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3167/3011024355_d73ca36947_b.jpg

It's not as nice as the proposal, but it's not a bad looking building to begin with so I'm OK with it.

peanut gallery
Nov 10, 2008, 11:12 PM
From MarketWatch (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/LevisR-Brand-Opens-Retail-Store/story.aspx?guid=%7B31411903-B990-4188-BD88-28B96A92BECC%7D) (it's a press release actually):

Levi's(R) Brand Opens Retail Store in San Francisco's Historic Castro Neighborhood
Last update: 11:41 a.m. EST Nov. 10, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 10, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The company hosts 'People's Premiere' of 'MILK' and makes important grants to Castro nonprofit organizations to celebrate grand opening

The Levi's(R) brand will open its newest U.S. store in San Francisco's historic Castro neighborhood at 525 Castro Street today, November 10. The Castro location is the brand's second owned-and-operated retail operation in its hometown city. In celebration of its new home in the Castro, the Levi's(R) brand is honored to sponsor the "People's Premiere" of Milk, the highly anticipated biopic about the life of gay-rights icon Harvey Milk. Inspired by the life of Harvey Milk, and in honor of the opening of Levi's(R) new store in Milk's beloved Castro neighborhood, the Levi's(R) brand and the Levi Strauss Foundation are also proud to be making cash grants to two nonprofit organizations with a presence in the Castro.

"It's a perfect fit," said Mark Breitbard, Levi's(R) Brand Retail President. "We have a unique relationship with the Castro neighborhood that goes back decades. As the Castro was being reborn in the 1960s and 1970s, Levi's(R) jeans were an important part of the neighborhood uniform. Over the years we have also provided philanthropic support to numerous San Francisco and Castro neighborhood organizations that provide services to and advocacy for neighborhood residents."

There are more details about the store at the link, but being a press release it's rather sales-y, so I didn't post it all over here.

hi123
Nov 20, 2008, 6:10 AM
A huge plywood wall has gone up around the old gucci location at 200 stockton. I think it will be the new Bvlgari.

BTinSF
Nov 20, 2008, 8:21 AM
Here's a before-and-after view:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3167/3011024355_d73ca36947_b.jpg

It's not as nice as the proposal, but it's not a bad looking building to begin with so I'm OK with it.

What have they been doing for over a year? They didn't need a construction elevator and all that time to paint the building black. Except for the ground floor, I think it was office before so I guess they gutted it to creat large open floors for retail. But does anybody know?

BTinSF
Nov 21, 2008, 5:58 PM
Friday, November 21, 2008
Fillmore businesses ask redevelopment agency for loans
San Francisco Business Times - by J.K. Dineen

Restaurants and music clubs in San Francisco’s fledgling Fillmore Jazz District may need cash infusions to stay afloat as customers stay home or spend less due to the economic downturn, according to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

Thus far, four nightlife establishments that received funding from the agency — Yoshi’s, 1300 On Fillmore, Sheba Lounge and Rassales — have all approached the agency looking for additional loans and to restructure debt to survive what may be a prolonged economic recession. All four businesses are seeing revenues 10 percent to 20 percent below projections, according to the memo.

“Fueled by cost overruns and scarce operating reserves, all of the businesses have struggled to break even on a month-to-month basis,” stated a Nov. 18 staff memo on the subject to the Redevelopment Commission.

The four night spots in question all received public financing as part of the Redevelopment Agency’s efforts to resurrect what was once a thriving black neighborhood lined with jazz clubs, restaurants and Victorian homes. Much of the neighborhood was razed during the urban renewal of the 1960s and replaced with public housing projects, leaving longtime residents with a bitter distrust of city government and redevelopment.

Given the history, it’s that much more important that businesses working to bring back the area be given a chance to succeed, said Redevelopment Agency Director Fred Blackwell.

“Just like the other retail establishments, times are hard for folks doing business in the Fillmore Street corridor,” Blackwell told the Business Times. “The thing that is a double-challenge for those is they have been pioneers in efforts to rebuild the corridor. It isn’t as if these are places located in Union Square or Fisherman’s Wharf. We view the reinvestment in these restaurants as not just restaurant investments, but neighborhood investments.”

The four establishments are looking to borrow a total of $2.4 million in new loans. Yoshi’s, which originally borrowed $5.7 million for its $15 million build out, is requesting $1.5 million for debt related to construction; 1300 On Fillmore, which received $2.5 million from the redevelopment agency, is asking for another $624,000 for immediately working capital and tenant improvements; and Sheba and Rassales are looking for a combined $280,000 for improvements.

Most pressing among the needs is 1300 On Fillmore, a restaurant on the ground floor of Heritage on Fillmore, an 80-unit condo development that also includes Yoshi’s jazz club, according to Blackwell. The upscale soul food restaurant recently informed the agency that it had “exhausted its limited working capital and has not been able to borrow additional working capital from private lenders like Wells Fargo, Union Bank and Citibank,” according to the redevelopment memo.

On Nov. 18 the Redevelopment Agency authorized an emergency $100,000 loan to allow 1300 On Fillmore to meet payroll and pay off vendors. The restaurant’s budget crunch is partially driven by construction costs that went over budget by $930,000 to a total of $3.4 million. The restaurant has 42 employees and is expecting revenues of $2.4 million this year, according to the redevelopment agency.

Monetta White, the owner of 1300 On Fillmore, said every restaurant in the city is down 10 to 20 percent.

“We are still trying to get the word out about our new corridor, to put the jazz district on the map,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know that the jazz district is here. ... It takes time and people have to know about it and see it come alive.”

She said the agency has been a partner. “That is why we went to them to say ‘hey, we need some help here,’ and with this banking crisis nobody is giving anybody loans, let alone a restaurant.”

Blackwell said all the businesses “have different needs that are quite immediate,” but said the agency “also takes seriously at a staff level and at a commission level our fiduciary responsibility.”

He said the agency would work closely with the business to “reduce costs and increase revenues so we are not just throwing money, but being smart about working with the restaurants.”

The agency memo said “the Jazz District suffers from a perceived stigma as an area plagued by crime and potentially dangerous.”

jkdineen@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4971
Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/11/24/story17.html?t=printable

peanut gallery
Nov 21, 2008, 8:33 PM
Those don't sound like huge amounts of money, but how long will that keep these businesses afloat? The economy could be down into 2010. If these loans just keep them going another few months, I'm not sure there's much point.


What have they been doing for over a year? They didn't need a construction elevator and all that time to paint the building black. Except for the ground floor, I think it was office before so I guess they gutted it to creat large open floors for retail. But does anybody know?

No clue, BT. From what I can tell from the street, I would agree that they've been gutting it. Perhaps they're doing a full-on upgrade of electrical, telecom, plumbing etc along with more open floor plans to attract new office tenants. I assumed the retail would be on the first couple of floors, but I'm only guessing.

hi123
Dec 25, 2008, 7:13 AM
I was in downtown yesterday and noticed many new developments in the retail sector. On grant ave. in between Post and Sutter "7 for all mankind" and "joe's jeans" have opened new stores that look fantastic! On top of this , there is plywood on one the previously empty post street storefront with a large banner that reads " ILORI coming december 2009". Other than that, BVLGARI is taking the old gucci space at the corner of stockton and geary and is also taking the "Brite smile" space next door. Downtown was buzzing with activity and is looking very cool.:cool:

CHapp
Dec 26, 2008, 10:01 AM
So ILORI claims they're "coming december 2009?" How long does it take to change a store(front)???

And thanks for the read on downtown SF shopping and shoppers on the last weekend before Christmas, hi123! :)

peanut gallery
Jan 8, 2009, 5:40 AM
Heaven's Dog, Charles Phan's new restaurant in SOMA Grand, looks like it could open any day now. I could only get an exterior shot (it was too dark inside to get anything but a lens full of glare) but I could see inside that it was looking very close to ready. Only obvious thing missing is exterior signage:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3343/3179023614_1026a8dbb6_b.jpg

The area in center frame looked like more of a lunch counter area. To the right and just out of view is another door the looks like it leads to the main dining room. That basically fits with what I've read his plan is. I'm also excited to see some outside seating will be included.

AndrewK
Jan 8, 2009, 8:33 PM
awful name for a restaurant.

peanut gallery
Jan 12, 2009, 9:22 PM
^ Doesn't exactly whet the appetite, does it? I did a quick search to see if it has some cultural or religious reference, but I couldn't find anything that seemed like a good reason to give that name to the restaurant.

quashlo
Jan 13, 2009, 11:57 PM
"Heaven's Dog" probably refers to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiangou.

peanut gallery
Jan 15, 2009, 12:11 AM
^ Interesting. At least I get the relationship to eating now. Thanks!

viewguysf
Jan 15, 2009, 6:57 AM
^ Interesting. At least I get the relationship to eating now. Thanks!

Eating dog?! :haha:

peanut gallery
Jan 15, 2009, 8:27 PM
That's the connotation that makes it a bad name. But assuming Phan actually has a good reason to name it this, the Tiangu legend of eating the Sun at least fits.

peanut gallery
Feb 4, 2009, 6:22 PM
First the bad news. From SFGate (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/04/BALI15MEP0.DTL&tsp=1):

Clothier Wilkes Bashford to lay off 18 workers
Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wilkes Bashford, the Sutter Street clothier who set the style for a generation of San Francisco's movers and shakers, has become the victim of the town's latest fashion trend - layoffs.

Slumping sales have led Bashford to let 18 of his 97 employees go.

"Things are tight, there is no question about it," Bashford said Tuesday before heading out to his daily lunch at Le Central, where he frequently dines with his best customer, Willie Brown.

Can't say we didn't see the layoffs coming. Bashford, whose stores in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Mill Valley and Carmel specialize in suits that run as high as $4,000, sent out a letter to shoppers in October offering a $300 discount on purchases of $800.

Then the stupid news, from the same article above (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/04/BALI15MEP0.DTL&tsp=1):

Apparel in peril: Times are tough, but not so tough that San Francisco can't reject new businesses - even politically correct ones.

American Apparel, the U.S. clothing outfit that pays its work force, mostly immigrant Latinos and Asian Americans, twice the federal minimum wage - plus health care and other benefits - is just too much of a chain operation for San Francisco's hip Mission District.

A year ago, American Apparel, which already has three stores in San Francisco, leased a storefront on Valencia Street near 20th Street. Public notices of the store's planned opening went up three weeks ago, and quick as a zipper, neighbors and community activists hit the phones and spammed the blogosphere with howls that American Apparel would destroy the edgy, boutique quality of their neighborhood.

"Valencia Street is a great experiment and a fragile and cool thing - and we don't want to blow it," said neighborhood showman and one-time mayoral candidate Chicken John.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the store site, says he hasn't taken an official position on the battle because he doesn't want to be disqualified from voting on the permit should Thursday's Planning Commission vote be appealed to the board.

Dufty did, however, underscore his general support for the city's limits on chain stores, noting that his office has received 250 letters and e-mails opposed to American Apparel on Valencia, and just five in support.

Company spokesman Ryan Holiday said, "A lot of people say they really want us, and a lot say they hate us and want us to go back to L.A. with our immigrant employees."

Although the company recently sold anti-Proposition 8 "Legalize Gay" T-shirts, Dufty and others say this fight isn't about the company ethos.

Explains Dufty: "They are just saying it's not right for Valencia Street."

A street that the Planning Commission lists as having 24 vacant storefronts.

Read that last line again. I prefer (and try to support) small, local shops over chains whenever possible. But with so much vacancy and an economy in the dumper, this is nuts.

And finally, the worst news, also from SFGate (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/03/BUST15ME5A.DTL):


http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2009/02/03/mn-elephantpharm_0499753499.jpg

Elephant Pharm abruptly closes its stores
Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Elephant Pharm, a small Bay Area drugstore chain known for its holistic approach to health remedies, abruptly closed all three stores on Tuesday and announced plans to file for bankruptcy.

Based in Berkeley with stores also in Walnut Creek and San Rafael, Elephant Pharm employed a total of about 190 people, including at its home office. A Los Altos location, which opened about two years ago, closed in the fall.

The company, which offered traditional prescriptions along with Chinese herbs, yoga supplies and other alternative products, cited the downturn in the economy for its decision to liquidate under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

"The company has been burdened with obligations that were quite difficult for a company of our size to carry," Elephant Pharm's chief executive officer, Kathi Lentzsch, said in a statement.

Over the past year, Elephant Pharm continued discussions with potential investors, cut costs and closed the Los Altos store in an unsuccessful effort to avoid Tuesday's decision, the company said.

"The current management team and board of directors worked diligently to grow the company to a size that could bear these obligations," Lentzsch said, "but due to the current economic conditions and the tightening of the credit market, it has not been possible to raise the capital required to continue the business."

Elephant Pharm, which opened its first store in Berkeley in 2002, was founded by self-described serial entrepreneur Stuart Skorman, who also started Reel.com and the now defunct Hungryminds.com at the height of the dot-com boom. In 2005, Lentzsch took over as CEO from Skorman, who is no longer involved in the company.

In the fall of 2005, the company raised $26 million from Tudor Investment and the Bay Area Equity Funds. Giant drugstore chain CVS also has invested in Elephant Pharm.

Customer Keith Gatto made a pilgrimage to Elephant Pharm's Berkeley store Tuesday from his office on the UC Berkeley campus because he couldn't believe it was closing.

"The feel I got from Elephant Pharmacy was that they were looking out for you and your health. It wasn't a transaction-based environment," said Gatto, 44, who appreciated the company's support of both Western and alternative therapies.

Jude Valentine, a Berkeley resident, said she wasn't surprised by the store's closure because she noticed recently that the store's shelves were emptier and some products were out of stock.

"What was great about that place was there were consultants that anyone could see - reputable people with credentials," said Valentine, 72. "A lot of times you could see one of their practitioners before you could get an appointment to see your doctor."

Valentine, who did not know where she would take her pharmacy business, said she attended the store's wellness classes and considered it a community center. "And you could get a prescription filled, by the way," she said.

The president of Elephant Pharm's chief competitor, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, said he was sorry to see Elephant Pharm go out of business.

"You always want competition in your space because it keeps you on your toes and lends credibility to the model," said Mark Panzer of the Boulder, Colo., company. Pharmaca has 23 stores in five states including 13 in California.

But Panzer didn't think Elephant Pharm's troubles signaled similar problems for his company. "Our execution - complementary, alternative medicine coupled with traditional pharmacy - has been a model that resonates with our customers," he said, adding that the stores continue to show positive sales growth.

On Elephant Pharm's Web site, the company left this message to its customers: "It's been a very special six years since we started this drugstore revolution, and we certainly couldn't have made it as far as we did without you - our customers. We hope that you will continue your pursuit of a good, long life, well lived."

My wife was in the San Rafael store just a few days ago and noticed the shelves were strangely bare. She asked if they were closing and the employee said no, they were just late in getting shipments. They might have been just saying that, but my guess is the employees didn't know this was coming either. We can get our prescriptions at other places, but they sold a lot of unique stuff we haven't found elsewhere.

Gordo
Feb 4, 2009, 6:27 PM
Too bad about Elephant Rx - I had only been to the Berkeley and Los Altos locations, but they did stock some pretty unique stuff and were generally just cool stores.

On the American Apparel BS - :hell: :whatthefuck:

BTinSF
Feb 4, 2009, 6:31 PM
That's the connotation that makes it a bad name. But assuming Phan actually has a good reason to name it this, the Tiangu legend of eating the Sun at least fits.

I think it's too clever by far. The average American is going to immediately focus on some kind of unfortunate Asians eating dog reference. That, coupled with the dubious Mission St. location, the partially unsold building and the lousy economy, and I'd say this place won't last long. But that's par for the course for these places opening in new condo buildings. They tend to be flashes in the pan (I still miss both the extraordinarily good Indian place that opened in my condo when it was new and the equally good Bruce Cost high end Chinese place that followed it). We'll see.

peanut gallery
Feb 4, 2009, 6:44 PM
But that's par for the course for these places opening in new condo buildings. They tend to be flashes in the pan (I still miss both the extraordinarily good Indian place that opened in my condo when it was new and the equally good Bruce Cost high end Chinese place that followed it). We'll see.

On that note, Minna's new place in Millennium is starting to take shape. They've got the overhead lighting in place and you can see some of the wall treatments (mostly brick). Still looks like a construction site overall, though.

peanut gallery
Feb 5, 2009, 3:35 AM
They're not done yet, but the wraps have come off the space for the new Diesel store on Market:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3522/3254868880_cb7f1f33e4_b.jpg

I like what they've done on the ground floor, but I don't like the transition from the modern treatment on the second floor to the original windows on the upper floors:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3378/3254042745_9df13e916e_b.jpg

An entry along Market:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3402/3254872516_a95a27f153_b.jpg

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they have planned for the corner:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3101/3254874432_d31eaebc54_b.jpg

By the way, the inside has barely been started. So it's not like this will be opening any day now.

BTinSF
Feb 5, 2009, 3:51 AM
:previous: Sure seems to me like it's taking a very long time for what they did/are doing.

Gordo
Feb 5, 2009, 3:57 AM
It does seem to be taking forever.

I walked by this building earlier today, and pg's right, nothing has been touched inside. There's a huge hole down into the basement back by the southwest corner of the building - I'm curious to see what they do there.

peanut gallery
Feb 5, 2009, 4:57 AM
You're right about the time. Could they have been doing a lot of seismic work?

I agree, Gordo, it will be interesting to see what they do with that space.

viewguysf
Feb 5, 2009, 5:18 AM
You're right about the time. Could they have been doing a lot of seismic work?

I agree, Gordo, it will be interesting to see what they do with that space.

Maybe they just don't want to spend the money now to complete the project; after all, just how well would a new store perform today? It would cost a substantial amount not only to build out the store but also to furnish and stock it as well as commit to expensive labor costs that they currently don't have to shoulder.

peanut gallery
Feb 5, 2009, 4:19 PM
That's certainly a very reasonable approach at this point. But even from the beginning this has been a very slow process. Although they did gut the entire building, so it's not like they were simply building out a retail space.

sofresh808
Feb 5, 2009, 9:19 PM
^^Just in case you missed this gem from the AA protest.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3335/3251994715_16972c67d7.jpg?v=0
Flicker Gretchen Rosinette (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gretchenrobinette/3246107033/in/photostream/)

yakumoto
Feb 6, 2009, 3:14 AM
^^Just in case you missed this gem from the AA protest.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3335/3251994715_16972c67d7.jpg?v=0
Flicker Gretchen Rosinette (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gretchenrobinette/3246107033/in/photostream/)

Oh, I don't see how those two can keep a straight face...

San Frangelino
Feb 6, 2009, 5:00 PM
Whole Foods in the Castro District by 2011
http://2001marketsf.com/

http://sf.curbed.com/uploads/2009_02_castrowholefoods.jpg

BTinSF
Feb 6, 2009, 5:33 PM
:previous:

Friday, February 6, 2009
Retailers delay opening new stores
San Francisco Business Times - by Blanca Torres

Three years ago retailers couldn’t open stores fast enough. Now those companies are taking a harder look at where they open a new store, if at all.

Whole Foods Markets expects to go forward with the eight Bay Area stores it has in development — it will just take longer than originally planned.

Glen Moon, Whole Foods vice president of development for Northern California, said some of the company’s lease agreements provide flexibility on when they will open stores, such as a vacant site in Lafayette. That property was expected to open in 2009, but will now open in 2010. Whole Foods also plans to add a store in Dublin that will anchor a shopping center called The Green still under construction. The site, developed by Blake Hunt Ventures, was expected to open in 2010, but will likely come online in 2011.

“We just reevaluated our opening dates,” Moon said. “In the past, we opened stores too close together. ... That’s a lot of stress.”

Tesco, a global grocery chain that runs Fresh & Easy, announced 18 Bay Area locations last year it planned to open in 2009, but none has come online, and the chain’s timeline is undetermined.

“It’s important to be prudent in our expansion,” said Brendan Wonnacott, a Fresh & Easy spokesman.

Another example is the former Target store in El Cerrito, steps from a BART station, which has been vacant for six months after the retailer abandoned plans to remodel it. Target, which bought the property from the city’s redevelopment agency, has asked to extend its agreement so it can find a tenant or buyer.

“We invested a lot to have this site assembled and now we’re stuck with an empty building,” said Lori Trevino, El Cerrito’s redevelopment manager.

Tenants have an advantage in the market, but retailers are weighing their options, said Nina Gruen of San Francisco-based Gruen + Gruen Associates, a retail consulting firm. In the last six months, the firm has seen an uptick in retailers commissioning market research reports.

“Retailers have become relatively cautious, and that means they will probably do a smarter move,” she said. “They are more concerned about asking, ‘Is this the right market for me?’”


btorres@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4960


Source: http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2009/02/09/story22.html?t=printable

BTinSF
Feb 7, 2009, 1:32 AM
I enjoy the snarky attitude at Curbed SF sometimes. Here's their take on the American Apparel saga:


Store-punting: Nope on American Apparel in the Mish
"At the end of the day, they (American Apparel) definitely screwed up," said a planning commissioner. And shortly after, the commission voted unanimously against allowing cool kids chain American Apparel into 988 Valencia St., citing both the company's failure to connect with the community and the Mission's collective smackdown of the store. There's never been a flood of emails and speakers quite like this one, and the commission heard the village loud and clear. Missionites, for the most part, left their pitchforks at home, and often even spoke brightly of their affinity for the brand— just not in their "delicate flower" of a neighborhood, where coffee roasters and struggling artists work, hands clasped together, to "bring to fruition their dreams." And just before a round of kumbaya broke out— one commissioner seemed to almost choke up over talk of gentrification on Valencia— everyone agreed that American Apparel was quite the stand-up company, but they'd rather BART to Union Square to get their tees, thx. And the crowd went wild.
Source: http://sf.curbed.com/

Ah, the "delicate flower" of Valencia St.. :koko:

hi123
Feb 7, 2009, 1:50 AM
Whole foods is also set to replace Bell Market on 24th street in Noe come february.

Gordo
Feb 7, 2009, 1:58 AM
I enjoy the snarky attitude at Curbed SF sometimes. Here's their take on the American Apparel saga:


Source: http://sf.curbed.com/

Ah, the "delicate flower" of Valencia St.. :koko:

All of that banter started in the comments section of this post:

http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2009/02/06/storepunting_nope_on_american_apparel_in_the_mish.php#reader_comments

It's got several posts from "Bree" ;)

peanut gallery
Feb 7, 2009, 2:59 AM
I read that earlier today. Those Bree posts were hilarious.

viewguysf
Feb 7, 2009, 6:02 AM
Whole foods is also set to replace Bell Market on 24th street in Noe come february.

That will be a huge improvement that I'm definitely looking forward to, as well as to the one on at Market and Dolores. I hope that they both make it and don't get hung up in the economic mess, etc., etc.

BTinSF
Feb 7, 2009, 6:08 PM
Mission residents reject American Apparel
C.W. Nevius
Saturday, February 7, 2009

Congratulations to the residents of Valencia Street. After a rowdy and sometimes misleading campaign, they managed to stop American Apparel - a socially conscious, popular, American-run clothing store - from moving into one of the street's vacant storefronts.

The hoot, of course, is that many of the vociferous opponents of the store admit that they buy and wear American Apparel clothing. Some of them wore it to the City Planning Commission meeting to argue against the store opening in their neighborhood.

"Everyone I know is wearing an American Apparel T-shirt right now," said Chicken John Rinaldi, one of the protest organizers. "I wear one every day."

It's another through-the-looking-glass moment in San Francisco. They love the product but hate the store solely because there are about 260 of them worldwide. That means it's a chain and unwelcome under any circumstances.

By a 7-0 vote - including staunch Republican Michael Antonini - the Planning Commission refused to grant the company a conditional use permit.

This only reinforces San Francisco's reputation as America's squeaky-wheel city. If you can get 200 people together and persuade them to show up at a meeting and raise a fuss, you can stop damn near anything in this town. At some point, someone is going to have to stand up and say we've had enough of government dominated by small groups of shouting people.

I am not holding my breath.

"I'm scratching my head on this one," said Steve Adams, president of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro. "There was all this opposition to American Apparel, saying that you need to be socially conscious. Well, they are. They pay their workers more, they have a health plan and they opposed Prop. 8. I'm still trying to figure this one out."

Opponents see it all in black and white. At Thursday night's Planning Commission meeting, public comment on American Apparel ran for about three hours. They railed against retail chain stores as if they were polyester golf pants. One called it "the beginning of the end of Valencia Street," and another warned ominously of allowing "these parasitic entities to come in."

And you thought it was just a T-shirt store with tacky ad campaigns.

Many opponents offered up the same argument: that the minute American Apparel moved in, local businesses would be forced to close and a flood of chain stores would swamp the neighborhood.

Uh, actually, that's not right.

In 2006, voters passed Proposition G, which states that before a chain store can move into a neighborhood, it is required to apply for a conditional use permit before the Planning Commission.

"A lot of energy went into this," said Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who opposed American Apparel. "But I think the 7-0 vote shows that this tool works."

I don't have any quibble with requiring American Apparel to seek out a special permit. My complaint is that Prop. G is being used as a bludgeon instead of a scalpel. If a socially conscious chain store whose clothes are already wildly popular in a neighborhood wanted to move in, you would think that would be fine.

Now, if it were a Wal-Mart or, as Adams says, something that was already well represented, it should be turned down. It's happened elsewhere.

"One thing we said no to was a porn supermarket," he said. "C'mon, it's the Castro. We've already got enough of them."

Admittedly, American Apparel totally blew its rollout in the neighborhood. More than one civic leader warned the company that it needed to do an enormous amount of community outreach, with Dufty leading the way. Instead, company officials basically announced they were moving in and left the neighbors to deal with it.

"I met with them and gave them 10 things I thought they should do," Dufty said. "The reality is they have done none of those things."

In contrast, take the case of Levi's, which wanted to open an outlet on Castro Street. Working through Dufty, the company met with merchants, explained their plans and even pointed out that they wouldn't undercut competitors - products sold in the Levi's store cost as much as $10 more than in mom-and-pop stores.

The result? Levi's conditional use permit passed - there was not a single dissenting vote.

So, if American Apparel had done all that, would it now be setting up shop on Valencia? Probably not. Valencia is one politically active street.

"The deal is, we are not going to allow a chain store to come in here," Rinaldi said. "Never. No way. End of story."

Even if the store makes perfect sense?

I guess that's what you get when you leave city policy to a guy who calls himself "Chicken."

C.W. Nevius' column runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail him at cwnevius@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/07/MN6M15P43V.DTL