Tonight: Party at The New Wheel to Celebrate a Homegrown Electric Bike

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Miss Karen Wiener, co-founder of the newfangled (and devilishly successful) New Wheel electric bicycle shop on Cortland, shares news that there’s a party at the store beginning at 6 pm tonight to celebrate the release of the Faraday Porteur,  a supersexy new ebike created in San Francisco.

Since you are supersexy and newfangled too, you’re invited to tonight’s party. Plus, FREE CARROTS!  FREE CUCUMBERS! Go crazy!

Miss Karen says:

The New Wheel is throwing a grand party for the Faraday Porteur, a beautiful electric bicycle designed right here in San Francisco. The New Wheel and Faraday have been working together for over two years as Faraday developed their product, ran a successful Kickstarter, and started production.

The party will be the official launch of The New Wheel taking pre-orders for the second production run of Faraday Porteurs, which will be available Spring 2015 in classic white and fabulous British racing green. It will also be an opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, munch a fresh crispy cucumber and carrot, meet the founder and engineers at Faraday, and take a test ride on the best bicycle for Bernal. So stop by The New Wheel on Thursday, August 7 from 6 to 9pm to experience the future of urban transportation!

PHOTO: A Faraday Porteur climbs Cortland, via The New Wheel

Chuck’s Grocery Closes, But Neighborly Gratitude Remains

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Chuck’s Grocery on the corner of Cortland and Bocana has been an institution since just about forever. Yesterday was Chuck’s last day of operation, though, and Neighbor Michael Nolan shared this lovely appreciation:

Chuck’s Grocery Store, also known as Reliable Grocery, is scheduled to close after 40 years at its Cortland & Bocana location. I’ve known and enjoyed this incredible Palestinian-Chilean-San Francisco family for most of that time. I’d like to thank Chuck for letting me run a tab when money was scarce and I needed milk for the family. And to Vera for the tasty homemade salsa she would give me. And to Antoinette for providing an evening social center when I was feeling lonely and unappreciated. Thank you, Lama Family, for lifting my spirits. Por favor, let’s stay in touch!

Special bonus! Neighbor Michael also snagged this amazing photo of Vera Lama and her children leaving Santiago, Chile for San Francisco in 1973. In birth order: Tony, Antoinette, Claudia, Mauricio, Alejandro and Nadia.

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PHOTOS: Above, Chucks Grocery and the Lama family on July 24, 2014, by Telstar Logistics. Below, courtesy of the Lama family

New Andi’s Market Opens in Old Storefront on Cortland

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Neighbor Andrea Cohen lives on Elsie, and she recently took over the former JC Market at 820 Cortland. Now renamed Andi’s Market, Neighbor Andrea tells us more about her plans for the business:

I took over 3 months ago. We FINALLY got our sign up on April 23, replacing the old JC Super sign; we expect the new awning within the next week and a half.

We’ve gotten an unparalleled amount of support and goodwill from neighbors. The store is getting scrubbed from head to toe; huge volumes of expired inventory purged from the shelves. Its cleaner, brighter. But slow going, so pardon our dust. Although it looks a bit empty, theres actually more food on the shelves than there’s been in years. For real.

My goal is to welcome the diversity of the neighborhood into the store by focusing on convenience and value. And that’s a daunting task. There are Filipino, Latino, union worker, and more recent Bernalese folks. But everyone needs a convenience store open early, closing late and having necessities–from ice cream, frozen food, snacks, beer, to little drugstore and hardware things. We’ll try to do this by having some pallet sales, sensible prices and ease of shopping on Cortland. Oh, and did I mention the deli? Its coming. Don’t have a date, but soon. Simple, down to earth, two-handed sandwiches and prepared foods.

Keeping lots of the old products–traditional snacks and convenience foods, but gradually adding in the foods neighbors request, like organic milk and basic healthy alternatives. More family oriented products. We love hearing what those requests are, so please stop in and let us know the kinds of things you’d like to see in the store

The building is this historic and really large space. It was built as a Safeway in 1926, and then in the 1970’s, the landlord (at that time he ran the grocery) took a crane and lifted 2 truck trailers over the houses in back to create permanent warehouse space. As we get the store running more smoothly and get to know our customers, we are thinking of lots of innovative way to best use the volume of space we have.

Me and most of the workers live in Bernal, so community isn’t just a buzzword–its a truth.

UPDATE: No fair to mention that the store used to be a Safeway, without providing a photo. So here you go; you can see Safeway/JC Market/Andi’s just left of the old Cortland Theater:

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Andi’s Market

Fun Fact: Bernal Buys Ridiculous Amounts of Sunscreen

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Bernal Heights is famous throughout the galaxy as being home to many dog-owners, families with kids, and lesbians. So one would think that means we buy lots and lots of dog food, diapers, and Subarus. Yet according to the data-crunchers at Google’s same-day shopping delivery service, the Citizens of Bernalwood actually buy exceptional amounts of… sunscreen:

Some of the most popular items that Bay Area shoppers get with same-day delivery are everyday essentials like toothpaste and toilet paper, as well as heavy or bulky items like canned soup and potting soil. In fact, in a single day, people around the Bay Area buy enough cat food through Google Shopping Express to feed about 1,500 cats! While a lot of people are buying everyday essentials, they’re also using the service to buy some rather unexpected items like Sriracha hot sauce and tennis balls, which are among some of the most popular products ordered.

But not all neighborhoods around the Bay Area are filling their carts with the same items. For instance, in San Francisco, people in Potrero Hill buy more cereal than any other neighborhood, while shoppers in Bernal Heights buy the most sunscreen. People in The Marina love getting protein powder delivered on the double, while Mountain View shoppers buy the most rock climbing gear. And when it comes to same-day spreads, people in San Jose buy more mayonnaise than any other city, while Palo Alto tops the list of Nutella purchases.

Star Sighting: Mayor Lee Visits New “Mission Bernal Merchants Association”

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Star Sighting!  Earlier this month San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was seen hobnobbing in the Bernal flatlands to show his support for the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, the new group that appears to have deftly navigated their recent naming challenges.

Here’s the mission statement:

The purpose of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) is to facilitate unity of action among the merchants and nonprofits in the MBMA, San Francisco, in order to protect, promote and preserve the business conditions within the Mission Bernal Commercial District. The Mission Bernal Merchants Association is defined as that area inside the following boundaries: Mission Street from Cesar Chavez to Randall Street, 29th Street from San Jose Avenue to Mission Street in San Francisco.

Mayor Lee dropped in as part of his regular Small Business Friday tours to speak with with La Lengua Mission-Bernal merchants about business concerns and neighborhood issues. Neighbor Erin Archuleta (of Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar fame) shares these notes about the MBMA’s most recent meeting, along with details about the next one:

This past meeting resulted in drafting agenda items pertaining to merchants in the neighborhood, such as a visit with our Police Captain; a chance to host a Networking Mixer; and opportunities to participate in planning events that would benefit our community. The group is open to all business owners in our corridor along Mission (and just off Mission) between Cesar Chavez and Randall Streets.

Our next meeting is:
Monday, May 12th
10 AM
at PizzaHacker (3299 Mission Street at 29th Street)

PHOTOS: Mayor Lee at Ichi Sushi and Secession Design, courtesy of MBMA

New Video Profiles Miss Darcy from Heartfelt

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As part of his ongoing video series about Bernal Heights personalities, Neighbor Steve Sisler points his camera at Neighbor Darcy Lee, the glamorous proprietor of Heartfelt on Cortland:

Serving the residents of Bernal Heights for over 22 years, Heartfelt is a treasured neighborhood gem. Reminiscent of an old-fashioned variety store with a modern twist, proprietor – Miss Darcy Lee has created a place where delight meets whimsy at the intersection of happy.

It’s true. Heartfelt is a  gem, and not only does David Byrne love to shop there… why, Bernalwood’s very own Cub Reporter does too. Just like us!

Roll video…

Badger Books on Cortland Will Close, Permanently

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Last year, the bookstore long known as Red Hill Books was briefly shuttered, then refocused and reopened with a  new name: Badger Books. Alas, it seems the transformation did not succeed in reversing the store’s fortunes. Now there are For Rent signs in the windows, a sale is underway, and Neighbor Karen has learned the sad news that Badger Books will be gone at the end of the month:

Badger Books is closing for good at the end of February. The owner is transferring books and employees to her other stores. She hopes to rent the space (see sign in window) either to a business or individual. The employee I spoke to said, “We’re just not making enough money.” Bernal can support fancy restaurants and umpteen nail salons and multiple hardware stores but not a single independent bookstore? So depressing.

When Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter (age 6) was informed about the planned closure she said, “Whaaat? Oh poop. I love that place.”

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics