December 6, 2009

Ode to the SLM

Lotto? Check. Thunderbird? Check. Pack of cigs for the kids? Check. Late-night munchies? Got you covered. Cheap sandwiches with no pretense? Got that too. Everything you can't get at Whole Foods. Fact is, we visit these corner stores when everywhere else is closed, or when we can’t walk more than 75 steps for a carton of milk or stick of butter. These (in the words of a coworker from long ago) “shitty little markets” (SLMs) are scattered throughout Noe. You have to wonder, are they disappearing as Noe evolves, will they adapt or will they always have a place just as they are?

A few SLMs from around the hood:

1401 Church St at 26th St

1601 Church St at 28th St

1598 Sanchez at 29th St

1001 Castro St at 22nd St

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

sure do miss the SLM on the block of Church between 29th and Day.

Coexist said...

The last pic is at Castro Street (not Church). As I am 1/2 block away, I use it when I am too tired (read lazy) to go down on 24th. It's pretty convenient to have this on top of the hill.

Noe Valley, SF said...

Fixed. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee that St. Paul Mkt will never go away. The dude inherited the building from his dad (so rent has to be $0) and clearly has no intention of "moving the needle" in response to the Whole Foods invasion... (Probably doesn't even intend to mop up.) But he's a nice guy and sells beer.

I love the sign at Chuck's "Sun Valley" Grocery. Sounds so organic. But the place is a liquor store. Brilliant.

Insidesfre said...

You forgot the dump at the corner of Duncan and Guerrero. I live up the block and avoid that SLM. Instead, I go to 26th and Gurerrero, which rocks.

Anonymous said...

Screw you for calling these stores "shitty little markets"...especially Chucks place. You are obviously NOT a native and do not realize that these markets are such a convenience, as well as being local gathering places to catch up on neighborhood news. I will be changing my homepage away from your shitty little blog effective immediately.

Anonymous said...

I agree that calling a small, local store a "shitty little market" is demeaning and mean. I'm sorry but that kind of language is just not right. You come off as a mean spirited 'shitty little ass'.

Anonymous said...

(note: 1001 Castro is at Castro and Alvarado, not 22nd).

love these places, even as I now use WFs and other 'new' establishments.

One thing I suggest is if you value the convenience of these places, continue to buy ice cream / beer / whatever from time to time from them. They have saved me many times when I didn't want to make the uphill / downhill walk to 24th.

- fan of 1001 Castro (at Alvarado)

Anonymous said...

Like Noe itself, this SLB (shitty little blog) and your SLT ( shitty little tweets) thinks a lof of itself. Most of these markets and especially Chucks are family businesses that improve living in Noe and they and their families are s part of the community. Chuck's is much more than a liquor store, and I would much rather buy my local coffee and everyday items there and support Chuck and his family rather than Wholefoods or Safeway. Support your local cornerstore!

kitchen bitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

SLM is a "term of affection"?? Really??? Just like when someone says something particulary offensive & then they say "just kidding"? Come on folks, these are small, family owned markets and they truly have been woven into the fabric of this neighborhood. When I was laid up from knee surgery recently, not one, but two of these markets kindly offered to deliver to my door anything I needed. Where else are you going to find that??

Anonymous said...

When I grew up in the City, we generally referred to them as "the corner store", even when they weren't technically on the corner. I think "SLM" is a little too condescending to make it as common parlance - I'll use it only when those guys working the store from dawn to the wee hours actually start calling themselves that. I know a number of these markets ARE actually kind of dumps, but doesn't "SLM" diss the markets where they're putting in the long hours and the dull, grinding work to do a good job? I think maybe you should reconsider the words of your SLCW (shitty little co-worker) and take down that "SLM" monicker - warts and all, these "corner" stores are an integral part of the history and culture of the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I can never make it past the prominently displayed porn to get to the milk - always in the back of the store. Why do they have to be so dark and claustrophobic? God forbid you be in one during an earthquake or robbery.
These stores are so shitty that I'll do without milk/etc. until a clean well-lighted store opens up.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with corner stores? They're not meant to be cute boutiques. The couple that runs Modern Market is incredibly sweet.

andy c said...

1001 castro is great! an asset to the neighborhood.

Norine said...

I am not a SFO native but I do know that without Bill and Eddy at 1001 Castro/22nd, my family would miss the neighborhood feel and of course the gossip. I don't drive so they have been a godspend. I lived in NY where they were called bodegas and we loved them.

Anonymous said...

As long as the little markets stay open til 1 am, they're getting more of my business than Whole Foods...

Anonymous said...

Cleaned-up version?: SLM = Small Liquor Market

I still like "neighborhood corner store". OK they're not all gems, but you can tell the ones they put a lot of time into making it work (the one on 24th and Church was a godsend in the gap between Bell and WF). Like any small business, the place reflects the person who owns/manages it. Good or bad, it's personality - something that makes life in SF unique.

mulls said...

Noe Corner Market, Douglass @ 21st - what's up Bob!

Anonymous said...

As long as we're giving shout-outs to our fave SLMs (and if that offends you, grow thicker skin, seriously), I have two words: SHU. FAT. 24th and Church. Great selection, friendly owners, everything you need. Haven't seen any porn there, but I haven't been looking. But whether it's a bottle of Jameson, a Diet Coke, some playing cards, or a sandwich you need, you won't leave disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do, don't attack the shitty little nail salons next. You'll be run off of the blogosphere!

Anonymous said...

To the guy who said "grow a thicker skin" - yeah right, go ahead and tell the guy behind the counter he works at a "Shitty Little Market". Seriously. I dare you! I'll bet his smile will grow a mile wide just thinking of how much people appreciate his putting in 12-hour days in a zero-upwardly-mobile, dead-end job. People just love it when you tell them how unappreciated they are. Make friends, influence people!

Then, when you get tired of mocking other people's jobs, you can go for bigger thrills (but along the same lines) by traipsing to Hunter's Point and spewing the N-word in a real friendly way. Hey, you mean it in a GOOD way. Make friends, influence people!

The obvious point is that disrespecting people makes you seem less respectable yourself.

Anonymous said...

What a slb you are....ie snarky lightweight blog....we know who these store owners are, but who are you? Identify yourselves if you are going to slam our local businesses. Do you, or any of you on this blog, live in this neighborhood?????

Anonymous said...

It looks like you guys graduated from the Stalin School of Journalism.

Norine said...

Ok ok its the holidays so be nice to each other and smile..

Anonymous said...

To 12/8 6:17 pm -

The guys that own my corner store own the whole building. That's more than I own. You think they give a damn what you call their market? Not as long as you keep dropping your disposable income there. There are plenty of things to get upset about other than some dumb acronym.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I agree. It's dumb.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thing about the corner stores is they are basically illegal uses now under zoning

The ones we have are all we will ever have

Zoning kills cities

Anonymous said...

Stalin School of Journalism... love it. This however is not journalism, it's an anonymous blog, though I'm afraid the next generation may lose sight of the difference.

Anonymous said...

I think we call this our shitty little blog. Entirely affectionate, of course, although I think it does stink from time to time. (I also think it's entirely intentional - notice how these posts get the most comments.)

Anonymous said...

Chuck's sells awesome local coffee beans by the pound. We always buy there. Go Chuck's. Never heard the term SLM before. Sounds extremely elitist and derogatory.