Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Pulling off our 5th annual sidewalk sale wasn’t going to be easy this year. Not on Leland Avenue, not among all the streetscape construction that had encompassed the entire south-side of Leland Avenue between Bayshore Blvd and Desmond St. We did have one big advantage this year however - a state senator eager to meet small business owners on a commercial corridor undergoing financial hardship amid immense change. Additionally as luck would have it May 15th was also Lemonade Day, a city-wide event that introduces kids to entrepreneurship by starting a lemonade stand and selling their lemonade to the community.
So when 8 year old Niko Zernik Traxler from Teddy Avenue set up his well crafted ‘Moto-ade’ stand in front of Joe Leland Coffee Shop at 10am, the day brightened up. He wasn’t alone on the sidewalk. Body, Soul and Spirit Salon set up an eye-catching table display of beauty and hair care products next door, traveling to the heart of the sales event from their 222 Leland Avenue storefront. They were joined on the sidewalk by Bay Wash, Royal Pacific Mortgage, Nails By Jenny, Casa Lopez Produce Market and North East Medical Services. Attendees made laps up and down the block socializing between bites off delicious ‘crazy’-corn on the cob (courtesy of Casa Lopez), while perusing unbeatable deals on everything from house plants to laundry detergent. Rounding off the sidewalk sales closer to Alpha Street were local entrepreneurs and artists including Beauna Clark and her hand-crafted jewelry, Eric Johnson and his Garlic Luvrs Spread butter and Nosh’s addictive Dirty Popcorn.
By the time Senator Leland Yee arrived around 12:00 noon, the sun was shining through the clouds and the sidewalk was filling up. After trying a cup of ‘Moto-ade’, Senator Yee was greeted by event attendees eager to shake hands and grab a photo. The Senator proceeded into Leland Avenue storefronts to meet with small business owners, learning first-hand the financial distress caused by ongoing streetscape construction. While the sidewalk sale was able to gather neighbors together on Leland Avenue for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, it is going to take continued patronage of local businesses to ensure merchants weather the storm of construction. But for those who came down on Saturday, it was a perfect afternoon to mingle with neighbors, bargain shop, get a bite to eat and of course see Leland on Leland (sorry, I had to say it).
Gabriel Rivas Lopez was seated in San Francisco City Hall, room 250 on Tuesday, May 18th before the full Board of Supervisors, it was the first time he stepped foot inside domed Civic Center landmark between Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street. At approximately 4:30pm he was called to the podium by Supervisor Sophie Maxwell to accept the prestigious District 10 Small Business Award. In a very cool and calm demeanor, Gabriel proceeded to the microphone to express his joy, gratitude, and most importantly accept this honor on behalf of his parents – Ramiro and Grizelda Salazar, owners of Bay Wash. The Visitacion Valley business had been nominated by Supervisor Sophie Maxwell to receive the first annual Board of Supervisors Small Local Business award. And for good reason. The family owned and operated business located at 44 Leland Avenue has become a neighborhood institution with a loyal customer base.
After opening their doors to Visitacion Valley neighbors 5 years ago, Bay Wash distinguished itself from area laundromats with their clean, festive interior and extremely popular raffles. Owned and operated by the Salazar family, Bay Wash takes pride in joyously decorating their store for every major holiday (including Mothers and Fathers Day), most recently Cinco De Mayo. To the Salazar family, holidays mean seasons of giving, as they regularly raffle off turkeys on Thanksgiving and San Francisco 49'er football tickets. Moreover, winners of these free raffles have their picture taken and prominently displayed on the wall above the counter. Bay Wash is open early (at 5:30am) and is often the last ones to turn off the lights on Leland Avenue each and every night. Active members of the Leland Avenue Merchant Watch Group, Grizelda and Ramiro Salazar and their son Gabriel earned their Small Business Week Award. Stop in and congratulate them; Bay Wash is located at 44 Leland Avenue.