Business Briefs: Celebrate
globally, shop locally
by Raymond Flournoy
The holiday shopping season is upon us, and as the stores are decorated with tinsel and reindeer, so perhaps is your Facebook page festooned with messages encouraging you to support local retailers and to buy locally produced items.
One post entitled "Occupy Black Friday" claims that out of every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy, in contrast to only $14 of that same $100 spent at a chain store. The post originates from a Facebook group called "US Uncut" and has been shared over 16,000 times as of press time.
Whether your motivation is keeping money circulating locally, contributing to the local tax base, creating local jobs, or supporting the LGBT community, the Castro offers a great way to support the "shop local" movement while finishing up your holiday shopping.
"Worn Out" made new
A name with a long history in the Castro neighborhood is getting some company and a slightly updated look. Worn Out West: 2nd Generation (2352 Market Street) has now joined the original Worn Out West (582 Castro Street).
Opened this month, the new store is unofficially connected to the original Worn Out West. The new store's owner is Mike Holland , who manages the Castro Street location and said a deeper relationship between the two shops is in the works.
As Holland explained in a press release, "While we are not yet affiliated, we are working together to assure that we continue the long legacy that Worn Out West has provided to our Castro Community! Stay tuned for a future affiliation "
Any confusion over the two stores may not last long, as the building that houses the Castro Street shop is listed for sale with a purchase price of more than $2.7 million. And one online real estate site specified that the three-story Victorian retail and residential building would be "delivered 100 percent vacant" to the new owner.
Holland declined to discuss the status of the Castro store's lease. He did disclose that one major difference between the original and new stores is that Worn Out West primarily carries previously-owned apparel sold on consignment, while WOW: 2nd Generation features new merchandise for both men and women.
Additionally, beginning in 2013, WOW: 2nd Generation will offer leather alteration services. Holland, who is gay, aims to make the leather alteration a major part of his store's services, tailoring not only the merchandise he sells, but also any items that customers bring in.
If supporting local artists and designers is on your holiday list, Holland has a store full of options for you. The shop sells a selection of apparel and jewelry from local designers, including a wide variety of unusual T-shirt designs. One example is the "I am San Francisco" T-shirt that features the names of city neighborhoods superimposed over an image of the Transamerica Pyramid. The T-shirt is priced at $24.
Holland encourages designers looking to market their creations to contact him for information about consignment.
More local options
Throughout the Castro, shoppers can find a variety of products made by fellow Bay Area folk.
At luxury consignment seller Sui Generis (2231 Market Street) you will find bowties, neckties, and pocket squares crafted locally under the label This Humble Abode . Featuring Liberty of London fabrics, the accessories run $20 to $65.
Local artist Masami Kelly has created a line of distinctive silver rings and pendants carried by Fiat Lux (218 Church Street). The jewelry is molded from pieces of Kelly's crochet-work, creating a light filigree effect. The pieces cost between $140 and $255.
For a more whimsical option, Kenneth Wingard (2319 Market Street) carries a range of animal hats fashioned from faux fur by the brand Hat Rutha . The hats are handmade in the Bay Area, and cost $39.
Looking beyond fashion, the Castro district offers many other options for locally produced gifts. Thorough Bread & Pastry (248 Church Street) carries Aunt Kitty's Kreations, a line of jams and jellies made in San Francisco. The local treats cost $5.50 per jar. Whatever (548 Castro Street) has shelves of gay-themed comic books written and illustrated by local artists.
Northern California is known for its wines, but also consider Junipero Gin , bottled in San Francisco by the Anchor Distilling Company and available at Swirl (572 Castro Street) for $31 for a 750 ml bottle.
Looking a little further afield, home scent specialist ZGO (600 Castro Street) offers the Aquiesse line of candles from Santa Barbara. The candles come in a range of holiday scents, including Frankincense & Myrrh, Winter Currant, and Monterey Pine, and run $36 for an attractively boxed gift.
Books and Bookshelves (99 Sanchez Street) carries a wide range of unfinished furniture, much of it made in the Bay Area, with other lines made in Oregon and Washington state. You can choose from tables and bookcases in dozens of configurations, as well as stools and children's rocking chairs. Or gift certificates in any denomination will allow your lucky recipient to design his or her own perfect gift.
Maybe you have friends or family who miss San Francisco and would like to have a reminder of the Castro neighborhood? Or maybe you just want to rub it in that you live near such fabulousness year round? Either way, many local businesses create their own branded merchandise that could be the perfect gift.
Beck's Motor Lodge (2222 Market Street) has turned its distinctive retro sign into a T-shirt, which sells for $20 at the motel's check-in desk. FitnessSF (2301 Market Street) is a brand new local mini-chain that replaced Gold's Gym in the Castro. It offers tank tops ($23), New Era caps ($27), tees ($24), exercise pants ($44), and sweatshirts ($53) emblazoned with its new logo.
Spike's Coffee and Teas (4117 19th Street) offers its namesake bulldog on a range of mugs, travel mugs, and shirts, priced from $8.99 to $20. Sweets shop Hot Cookie (407 Castro Street) and Hand Job Nails & Spa (565 Castro Street) both offer more intimate souvenirs – underwear with the Hot Cookie ($13) or Hand Job ($16) logos.
The GLBT History Museum (4127 18th Street) sells buttons, magnets, and shirts with the museum logo, as well as a range of other gay-themed items. The buttons are $2.45 and the shirts cost up to $26.95. The items are available at the museum or online at http://www.zazzle.com/glbthistorymuseum.
Under One Roof (518A Castro Street) started as a holiday store and continues to excel at offering unusual d cor and gifts that you will not find elsewhere. A teddy bear wearing a Castro T-shirt ($16.95) could be the perfect gift for the bear in your life.
While you are visiting Under One Roof, check out the new mural by local artist Meagan Spendlove. Commissioned by Barefoot Bubbly, the mural is themed on gay pride and the local LGBT community. It will adorn the wall of Under One Roof until at least February of 2013.
And a treat for the shopper too
If you need a break during your holiday shopping, there is always a holiday treat nearby. Harvey's (500 Castro Street) is adding a festive option to its famous Bloody Mary menu. During the month of December unwind with a "Bloody Merry Christmas," which features a seasonal mix of red pepper and green pepper infused vodkas.
And if you are hankering for an eggnog latte, do not feel bound to a national coffee shop chain. Spike's Coffee and Teas has a selection of holiday drinks, including the eggnog latte and spiced apple cider.
Castro pet emporium Best in Show (545 Castro Street) is celebrating its 10th anniversary in December, and you get the gifts – or rather, your pooch gets the gifts. Anyone spending $25 or more on December 8th will receive a free "Bony Baby" chew toy; a total of $50 or more will net a "Bony Baby" plus a designer tote bag from "Barkology."
A new "Top" in town
Tonight (November 29) marks the opening of Hi Tops (2247 Market Street), a new bar in the Castro that bills itself as a combination of a "modern sports bar and retro-nostalgic gay bar." Owner Jesse Woodward renovated the space formerly occupied by Lime, adding 16 flat-screen televisions and a menu designed by Top Chef contestant Jamie Lauren .
For more information, visit www.HiTopsSF.com.
A consortium of AIDS/HIV service organizations invite you to "Paint the Castro Red" on World AIDS Day, December 1. As people worldwide devote the day to promoting awareness of the pandemic, local organizers have pulled together an event that is part fundraiser, part remembrance, and part celebration of life.
The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro (MUMC) is a major supporter of the "Red" letter day, in which the neighborhood will be festooned with red ribbons, balloons, and lights. During the all-day event, a number of Castro shops, restaurants, and bars will donate 10-15 percent of sales to support the participating charities.
At 6 p.m. the Castro Theatre will screen the AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague, with a candlelight vigil following immediately after.
The organizations benefiting from the event are AIDS Legal Referral Panel (www.alrp.org), Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center (www.apiwellness.org), Maitri (www.maitrisf.org), National AIDS Memorial Grove (www.aidsmemorial.org), Positive Resource Center (www.positiveresource.org), Project Inform (www.projectinform.org), Project Open Hand (www.openhand.org), San Francisco AIDS Foundation (www.sfaf.org), Shanti (www.shanti.org), and Visual AID (www.visualaid.org).