Castro business leaders elected a new president and board at their monthly meeting this morning and thanked former president Terry Asten Bennett for her two years of service in the position.
As expected, the Castro Merchants group in San Francisco’s gay neighborhood elected Mudpuppy’s Tub and Scrub Dog Wash and Grooming co-owner Daniel Bergerac as its new leader. Bergerac, a gay man who lives above his store on the 500 block of Castro Street, had been serving as vice president of the group formerly known as the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro.
The new vice president is Bay Area Reporter advertising director Scott Wazlowski, who had been serving on the board. Re-elected as treasurer and secretary, respectively, were Cathy O’Shea with Bank of America and chiropractor Dr. Alice Charap.
In an unusual circumstance for the group, it had a contested election for the 16 seats on its board. After the previous board presented a slate of candidates at the March meeting, accountant Jeff Johnston, who owns Johnston Tax Group, and architect Chris McMahon protested and sought to also seek seats.
Yet the Castro Merchants members at today’s meeting (Thursday, April 3) overwhelmingly rejected their bids and went with the board slate.
Those elected were the group’s immediate past president Steve Adams, a president with Sterling Bank and Trust; John Bellemore, a co-owner of gay Castro bars Q Bar, Midnight Sun, Edge, and Beaux; Hot Cookie owner Dan Glazer; clothing stores Citizen and Body owner Petyr Kane; Sui GENERIS Boutique co-owner Miguel Lopez; Vanguard Properties Realtor Mark McHale; Nick Mills with 440 Bar; Recology regional sales manager Stefanie Pavis Medious; Hi Tops bar owner Jessie Woodward; Apothecarium co-owner Ryan Hudson; and designer Brian Springfield.
Gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener presented Asten Bennett, whose family owns Cliff’s Variety, with a proclamation in honor of her leadership.
“Thank you for all of your service to the community,” said Wiener.
Echoing a similar comment made by the supervisor, Adams also complemented Asten Bennett for how she handled what was a tumultuous two-year reign as president.
The controversies ranged from chain stores coming to upper Market Street, homeless people congregating on benches at Harvey Milk Plaza, and the nudists who frequently gathered at Jane Warner Plaza.
Under her watch, the business group enacted a policy to never lower the over-sized rainbow flag flying above the intersection of Castro and Market streets and ended raising the leather flag during the city’s annual Leather Week.
As leader of the group, “you are sometimes a punching bag ,” noted Adams. “You handled it with grace and dignity.”
In a warning for Bergerac as he prepares to take over, Asten Bennett said, “I had no idea going into this how much work it would be. Sorry Dan.”
But she added that overall it has “been wonderful to serve our amazing community” as president of the merchant’s group.