July 31, 2009

Protested: La Boulange de Noe Valley

For those not following us on Twitter, the beer/wine license for La Boulange on 24th St is on hold due to protest. Can't wait to hear what this is all about... Somebody not like thriving businesses on 24th St?

[NVSF: More on La Boulange]
[NVSF: La Boulange To Noe Valley?]

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe "somebody" doesn't want another chain store on the street.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with a small local chain that will attract traffic to the street and let independent retailers thrive?

Anonymous said...

this is beyond unbelievable. to call la boulange a chain is absurd. the "someones" should take a lesson in economics and walk up and down 24th to observe the blight that has set in. this kind of BS makes me feel disloyal to my community.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, give me a glass of pinot with my croissant or give me death!

Anonymous said...

The real problem is that retail landlords are greedy
and do not have the best interest of noe valley development in mind. If they did they would lower rents so decent local stores could move-in. The noe valley merchant assoc should take note. La boulange is not bad but they are chainey compared to the amazing local rest. And stores popping up in the mission. La boulange would not make it in the mission.

Anonymous said...

This is terrible. If you don't like a business, don't patronize it. Or better yet, open a better place that meets your high standards, and succeed in the marketplace. But to sabotage someone like this, anonymously, is reprehensible. And really, this isn't McDonald's. This is a local business that sells things people can enjoy, even when money is short.

murphstahoe said...

Good Protest! I mean, 24th is becoming lousy with chains, I mean Fresca? See Jane Run? Hahn's Hibachi? The place is turning into Walnut Creek before our eyes with these greedy multinational chains!

Anonymous said...

So, who's the bozo who's protesting? Where do we go to indicate our support of this great addition to our neighborhood?

Noe Valley, SF said...

We're trying to find out what exactly is happening, and if there is an actual protester or if this is procedural. The word "Protest" implies conflict, though.

If you find anything out first... please post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Why does a bakery need a liquor license?

Anonymous said...

Uh, murphstahoe, I don't know how long you have lived in Snowy Valley but Hahn's Hibachi, while a chain, was here first (or near first; could've been on Polk Street first - it's been a long, long time).

And I agree with Anonymous (a different one) - just why DOES a bakery need a booze license? Must be those brandy-infused breakfast-of-champions scones.

Anonymous said...

Oh pleeaase - artificially low rents and non-"chain" only store zones such as The Mission create just another planned community/artificial environment... no different than the sanitized 'Walnut Creek' effect these protestors complain about - just at another point on the retail scale. Forget about rents, protests should focus on the other costs imposed by the City to do business here...

Anonymous said...

Why does it matter if something is a chain? Because they have a standard, consistent, and more accountable way of operating? Because they are bigger, and therefore meaner and somehow connected to international political agendas? Because they take away business from local "mom and pop" shops (who are often just trying to become chains themselves but haven't because they're just not good enough)? Because they're "unoriginal", and we SF'ers are too good for anything "unoriginal"? Until someone can explain this to me, I am 110% supportive of Whole Foods and La Boulange, and would love to see a few more of the crappy shops on 24th be replaced by BETTER alternatives...just don't ever mess with the Cheese shop, as I will be the first to protest...

Anonymous said...

The cheese shop would be fantastic if they got rid of the snooty help. I stopped going after that woman looked down her nose at me one too many times.

Bring on La Boulange. It's not Denny's, for Chrissake. Noe Valley Pizza may be an institution, but change happens and neighborhoods aren't static.

Anonymous said...

Please let us know how neighbors that are interested in voicing SUPPORT for this local, successful shop can do so. Why don't all of you that are so worried about having the opportunity to purchase killer sandwiches and salads washed down with a good glass of wine spend your energy protesting the new (maybe local) Glow Day Spa. We do NOT need another nail salon on 24th!

Addison said...

I am tired of the abuse of power some Noe Valley neighbors take pride in exhbiting. There are a handful of folks that love working the system...

I'll come to a SUPPORT rally in favor of le boulange.

Addison said...

"La boulange is not bad but they are chainey compared to the amazing local rest. And stores popping up in the mission. La boulange would not make it in the mission."

Why, because the McDonald's at 16th & Mission would be stealing too much of their business?

Anonymous said...

I would prefer non-chainey places in Noe Valley. I feel like Noe Valley could be a very culturally rich and interesting community, but it's completely white-washed. La Boulange isn't the worst, but I would prefer something more local. There are a number of high quality and interesting places in the Mission which I do not see here. Why do you think they are not here? Well...rents are too high for local businesses...that's why only chains move in. LAME.

Anonymous said...

I agree with wanting to see UNIQUE and ORIGINAL businesses in Noe Valley.
If you can visit La Boulange in other San Francisco neighborhoods there's nothing special about it being in Noe Valley.
The neighborhood will lose its appeal as a special place to visit if it fills up with more Pasta Pomodoro and La Boulange type chains.

Anonymous said...

i disagree...i think it's the intagibles that makes a neighborhood, not whether a particular store is unique.

case: Pomodoro, while not unique, is always filled with families and it's great to see that in the neighborhood.

Starbucks, while not my cup of coffee, bring out folks that might normally not be cruising around Noe, thus adding to the diversity that if we only had Bernies wouldn't necessarily bring out.

My point: diversity is key...and it's the intagibles (folks hanging out / walking around / meeting each other / visiting stores that they may not normally hit) makes things work.

Also, to be fair, I agree with others: it's all about rent. I keep thinking that as there are more vacancies, landlords will lower their rent and thus attract some new 'startup' that normally couldn't do Noe.

Anonymous said...

There we go, the latest post in favor of Starbucks and Pasta Pomodoro, as examples of establishments promoting "diversity" (wtf?) ... Any wonder Noe Valley is not exactly #1 (or #2, or...) on the list of great neighborhoods to hang out in SF?

And to the person who said "this kind of BS makes me feel disloyal to my community" - if a single instance of holding up a liquor license makes you feel like Benedict Arnold, you may not be all that loyal to your neighborhood to begin with, eh?

Anonymous said...

Bring on La Boulange.

If we are complaining about regional home-grown chains, then boot Martha's, See Jane Run, Pasta Pomodoro and Plumpjack. They add to the neighborhood and frankly, are convenient. Unfortunately, they aren't mom and pop retail stores, but we have a few gems in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, the stained glass store is one of them...

At the end of the day, market and cash register receipts will dictate staying power. Others, ie, Andiamo, will die on the vine...

Anonymous said...

We need a Jamba Juice. Ever since the Juice It people ran off in the middle of the night, we've been lacking a good Juice bar.

And now Jamba Juice sells flatbread pizza.

noevalleygal said...

Responding to one of the Anonymi on here, who said..."Why does it matter if something is a chain?"... Actually to me it's about local, not chain or no chain. There are studies that show (I couldn't find the links this morning but I've read them myself), that basically here's how a dollar goes through our society. You go to Bernie's (or Martha's for that matter) and buy a coffee. Bernie, who grew up in Noe Valley and lives in the Mission pays that dollar to one of her employees, who needs her shoes fixed and drops them off at the cobbler on 24th Street and pays our local cobbler that dollar. He's hungry for breakfast and gets a scone at Noe Valley bakery and the owner pays it to her employee Bob. Bob goes to the bookstore and buys a book for his mom with that dollar, which gets paid to one of the employees at the bookstore. That employee goes to Starbucks and buys a coffee and most of that dollar gets shipped off to Seattle. When you buy from local business owners, that dollar gets recycled an average of 10-12 times within the community - when you shop at Whole Paycheck, where I sometimes shop - it's not all or nothing, most of that dollar leaves town immediately.

Anonymous said...

good point: if you disagree with having Boulange, then we should kick out Martha's as well, right?

noevalleygal said...

bit more on the local multiplier effect - there are others studies as well.

http://sfloma.org/ a recent SF study

"(an) economic impact study done by Civic Economics in Austin, Texas (population 657,000) revealed that each dollar spent at two locally owned book and music stores, Book People and Waterloo Records, creates more than three times the local economic activity of dollars spent at a typical Borders Books & Music Corp. store." http://www.civiceconomics.com/

Anonymous said...

Noe Valley Gal, I hear you, and I'm all for giving the locals a chance. But I'm not willing to sacrifice a better experience as a consumer. If Whole Foods has a better and broader selection than Bell Market, I will support Whole Foods. If La Boulange (who actually is 100% local, btw) is better than Village Pizza (or wherever it's going), then I will support La Boulange. Conversely, if a local restaurant comes in and replaces Pasta Pomodoro, I'm all for it...as long as it's better! For me, it doesn't matter if something is a chain or not...what matters is the experience I get.

Anonymous said...

As an independent small business owner on 24th street I'd like to point out we need all the help we can get. Walk down the street as someone else suggested, we are suffering. If a place like La Boulange were to come in it would help us all. It may be slightly chainey but people shop chains, trust me - my wife and I went to Target the other day and realized where all our customers were.

Have you not noticed the mass exodus of the small businesses from the location? Did you learn nothing from fighting the Real Foods renovation and causing the blight in the first place?

The economy is bad, the neighborhood is struggling, please support us and anything that will help us rather than fight blindly without asking questions. My suggestion, stop in and ask a few local business owners how they are doing, if they say fine ask them honestly. It's bad enough most of us will answer truthfully if pushed.

Noe Valley, SF said...

"But it's important to keep the chains out."

Anonymous said...

"Did you learn nothing from fighting the Real Foods renovation and causing the blight in the first place?"

I don't think you can blame the sudden closure of Real Foods and the layoff of all workers on people in Noe Valley who aren't supportive of chains.

How ridiculous.

LibertyHiller said...

This hasn't changed in 30 years. People in Noe Valley talk big about supporting local businesses, but don't patronize them when it comes time to spend money. The only people who can afford the store rents are owners of ditsy little boutiques selling lifestyles and attitudes.

When something useful like a Streetlight disappears, what replaces it is another ditsy little boutique. We have a virtual veto on new restaurants and chain stores; can we please add DLBs to the list?

Love,
LibertyHiller

noevalleygal said...

Of course quality is important - economics are never the only factor. I rarely ever shopped at Bell, but went to Tower and Rainbow instead where quality was better.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is blaming the closure of Real Foods on the protesters, especially not me. I do think the fact that they didn't finish the work they had planned and won't give the space out to other renters has been influenced by the fact that people got involved, started marches, opposed permits for renovations, etc. without considering what a huge anchor store like Real Foods could do to the neighborhood if they boarded up their doors for over 5 years. Why they are continuing to be stubborn and not even feign a reopening plan is beyond all of us.

It's definite that laying off their workers was brash and shouldn't be condoned but you have to take multiple things into consideration and the effect that store has had on the neighborhood by being closed instead of getting even a small iota of support to get them back in the store to hire *new* or rehire old employees and bring shoppers back to the neighborhood.

At this point there is no panacea to fix Noe Valley. The simple fact is that customers are just not there. The best anyone can do is consider the local businesses if they want to keep the few that are holding on for dear life in business and shop with them whenever they can. It would also be good to consider circumstances, if you oppose a liquor license permit for a new local business (La Boulange is local with several stores, does that make it a chain?) a license that was already held by the previous tenant in that location does that hold the possibility that La Boulange will give up and look elsewhere opening the door to another nail salon or possibly a real chain like Gap kids?

LibertyHiller also has a point, people do talk big about support and at times do not stand true to that. But I have seen that Noe Valley customers are our saving grace, they do come to our aid in real times of need. Their support has kept us in business all this time. We shouldn't be chastising our Noe Valley customers in a crisis like this, we should be asking for their help.

As a small independent business owner I am asking, begging you all to support us to the extent you can. By shopping locally or by simply considering possible outcomes when you protest.

There is also another aspect of all this to look at, supporting your local business comes full circle when we in turn donate to the local schools and churches in their parades and auctions. We are also the ones turned to on Halloween when the schools and parent come to our doors with trick or treaters galore. You trust us to be there and we have been. But it is hard to hand out several hundred dollars of free candy to those innocent faces when we close at $32 or our personal worst, $13 dollar days.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the business owner who suggested that so many posters here have a blind focus on their ideology and are overly pedantic about describing their point of view. they should walk 24th street and talk to the businesses that are there and *ask* them how they feel about the new businesses [potentially] coming in. i think they will tell you (as some of them have here) that *anything* that brings traffic to the area is a good thing right now. people are hungry and are trying to grind out a living.

i remember when i started my first business as a young man. while shopping my business plan around to some people much smarter and more successful than i, i explained to one of them who my target audience was and my "strategy" to generate revenue. his response: "son, your strategy to generate revenue is to take money from whoever is willing to give it to you." point taken-

at the end of the day, we do not live in a perfect world and none of us is a perfect human being. we make choices along a continuum and we try to do our best to live our lives according to our own standards. these issues are discussed as if there is an absolute "right" answer and an absolute "wrong" one, but there isn't. it's messy - and complicated. why don't people just do what they feel is best for themselves and stop trying to push a point of view on others?

my last comment: content is king; therefore, whatever people like, because the product, price-point or overall experience is superior to other alternatives, they will buy. all the rest - local/non-local, chain/non-chain, broke/rich - is superfluous.

Anonymous said...

I agree with LibertyHiller - no more DLBs! Great TLA!

Anonymous said...

I really don't see what the problem is here! It's just common sense, an opening in the neighborhood, will bring more foot traffic. Which will bring more business to everyone. Which will bring more revenue to Noe Valley. It's just not the complicated, I say - bring on Le Boulange Bakery - and may they thrive!

Anonymous said...

I'm having a hard time swallowing this sweeping no-chain attitude. I completely agree that having McDonalds or Gap or some huge chain come in would make Noe Valley blend into the suburban whitewash and take money out of the neighborhood.

But there are plenty of shops that started right here, in Noe Valley or heaven forbid 2 miles away. They provide good service and are successful enough to open a second store, and suddenly they're the bad guy? That is not the same thing.

Don't pick on See Jane Run or Martha Bros - they started here. So La Boulange is from Pac Heights - it's still a local San Francisco business. This city is too small to start subdividing the definition of "local" to that level of detail. Besides, if they've proven that they have the business sense and expertise to succeed, maybe they'll stay around and support our neighborhood, instead of closing in another year and leaving the space empty.

Anonymous said...

"There are a number of high quality and interesting places in the Mission which I do not see here..."

Noe Valley attracts dull, middle-of-the-road businesses because that's the character of the neighborhood. Young children aren't generally adventurous eaters and families typically eat at home more than singles or couples. A hip, original place like Dosa would never make it here.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to the opening of La Boulange. Frankly, I have been disappointed by the cakes AND the service at Noe Valley Bakery and am excited to have a local alternative.

Anonymous said...

There are loads of chains on 24th Street: BOFA, well Fargo, chase,walgreens, starbucks, Fresca, Marthas, Gallery of Jewels, phoenix books, pasta pom to name just a few!!
It's not about chains. As a small business owner on 24th street we need things to be open otherwise EVERYONE will eventually close. Most of us would prefer independent and unique things to open- why? Because it's less boring! And yes more money stays locally when you buy local ($70 for every $100 versus $30)Small businesses aren't small because "they aren't good enough" sometimes people prefer things to be simple. I can earn a ton of wage working for a corporation but I prefer to see sunlight and chat with customers, bit i still need to earn a wage- would you got to work and earn nothing? La Boulange is not a favorite of mine this is a personal thing- however I welcome them and hope they do well and aren't paying too much rent!!
Also Noe Pizza are retiring they own the building and are getting more rent than business they earned- they are quite happy.

Anonymous said...

the food at Dosa is terrible

Godot said...

Been to Dosa once; mediocre and heavily overpriced and snotty for a place that sells south Indian every-day food.

Paul said...

So, Phoenix Books, who started on 24th 20some years ago and have since opened 2 other stores (Dog Eared and Red Hill) in SF, is a chain? I think not.

natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natalie said...

do people not understand that bell market was owned by kroger, the #1 food retailer in the nation? they sold the bell and cala/bell stores to an equity firm who sold the locations to delano/iga (another huge food retailer) and apparently, whole foods. its closure was good thing. at least whole foods is environmentally responsible, which is more than i can say for kroger

Mary said...

Bienvenue à Noe Valley La Boulange!

Anonymous said...

BIENVENU BOULANGE de NOE.

Anonymous said...

But La Boulange is wonderful. They have outdoor seating, and there's finally an alternative to the 30 minute waits for Savor and Toast, without condemning us to the purgatory of Pomodoro's "brunch".