April 29, 2012

Interview: Ariel Ford of Easy Breezy

The Noe Valley Town Square may still be a distant fantasy, but Ariel Ford hopes to bring some of that communal spirit to Easy Breezy, a frozen yogurt shoppe set to open in June. We asked Ariel what she has planned for 4028 24th St:

Tell us a bit about yourself. My name is Ariel Ford. I grew up on the Peninsula and have lived in either Noe Valley or Eureka Valley for the last 19 years. My husband Durand and I bought a home here 11 years ago and are raising our three young sons here ages 1 ½, 5 and 7 ½. We live our daily lives here and just love our neighborhood.

What made you want to open a store in Noe Valley? We have been looking at the 24th Street shopping corridor for the last 7 years with frozen yogurt on our minds. We were waiting for the perfect spot – it finally opened up, and at the perfect time.

Easy Breezy – where did you get the inspiration for the name? Durand’s family is from Minnesota, and we spend a few weeks there every summer with the kids and our extended family on White Bear Lake. We love to go to the Cup N Cone there for a soft serve – it’s a small shack that has been there forever - the shop was inspired by this type of frozen treat shack you commonly see in the midwest, where families and community gather around a small shack. The person serves you your treat through a screen in the shack, and people gather in the sunshine and enjoy a nice cup or cone.

You’ve been a long-time resident of Noe – why open a store now? Our kids are finally (almost) old enough to allow us a little more time for a venture like this. And we love the idea of being able to serve our local community. We feel the one thing 24th Street lacks is a fun, sit-down dessert place and we are looking forward to filling that gap with a healthy and delicious frozen yogurt option.

Froyo –other companies have tried and failed – what do you think you can do differently to succeed? We are not a chain, not a franchise. We are long-time residents that understand this neighborhood and it’s tastes – they are the same as ours! We look forward to offering healthy, organic options that are locally produced as much as possible, while still offering fun choices in yogurt flavors and toppings. We are building our shop with zero waste in mind – everything will be compostable, green and energy efficient. We are completely focused on this individual store and how we can cater to our local folks. And personally, we are very community-minded people – it is how we raise our kids, run our home and run our lives. It’s a natural extension for us to create community around frozen yogurt and dessert!

Describe the Easy Breezy experience for us – give us a tour. What do you have planned? Breeze through our outdoor patio (complete with stroller parking!) into Easy Breezy. You’re inside but it still feels like outside – beautiful wood and summery colors greet you and beckon you to grab a Breezy cup. Fill your cup with our organic tart yogurt, or enjoy our home-made flavors like Chai Vanilla, Strawberry Pie, Fresh Cake Batter and Cookies n Cream. There is also a non-dairy option. If you are feeling more decadent you might want to splurge on the vanilla frozen custard. Circle around our toppings island and enjoy items like organic fruits, fresh nuts, cookie dough and brownie bits from local shops, or saltier toppings for the more adventurous – peanut-butter filled pretzels and kosher rock salt anyone? Pay by the ounce, grab a compostable spoon and find a seat on a wide log or at the wooden bar, and enjoy! It’s a great place for the kids during the day, and a cozy place to grab dessert after dinner. All of our frozen yogurt is gluten-free, rich in probiotics and kosher.

Why did you decide to convert a retail space to food? And what were the challenges there? We knew we wanted to be on the north side of the street because of the sun. We also knew we were going to put a lot of effort into the buildout of the space and wanted to work with a landlord we could have a strong and trusting relationship with. Elisa of Elisa’s Hot Tubs and her family have been absolutely wonderful to work with during the long process of converting the use of this space from retail to food. We have had incredible neighborhood support from the Merchant’s Association as well as local businesses and residents. The planning department took a look at the corridor when we asked for the conversion and understood the need for businesses in the area that promote more walk-by traffic. The conversion process was long and we are in communication with our district supervisor Scott Weiner in his attempts to make the process less arduous.

What other places do you love and frequent on 24th St? Our family hits Toast and Pasta Pomodoro a couple times a week. We love the shopping at Xela Imports, and getting pampered at Sally’s Nails. The kids spend hours and most of their money at Just For Fun. I enjoy spin classes at Cardio-Tone as well.

Bernie’s, Philz or Martha’s? They’re all good – Bernie’s has great ambiance, you can’t beat Martha’s selection of pastries…..but I have to admit I am a Philz coffee addict. Turkish with cardamom, cream only. Mmmm…. hey – maybe we should offer a Philz coffee-flavored yogurt!

More Signs Of Spring: Baby Spiders

They're baaaack! Fall brings monsters, but monsters start small. They're Golden Orb Weavers, they've hatched and they love to cuddle. The toughest will survive until fall when they will capture small birds and large insects. Fortunately, they are solitary creatures. As cuddly as they appear above, check out what happens when disturbed. Together in peace, separate in war.

[NVSF: Fall in Noe Valley: Spiders!]

April 28, 2012

Announced: First Republic Bank

Rumor proves true: First Republic plans to open at 3901 24th St on the corner of Sanchez. Over the past fifteen years this space has provided quick service food from Juice-It, Belgano's and Tuttimelon. Now Noe Valley is set to host another bank pending conditional use approval from the Planning Commission on May 17th.

Comments for/against should be directed to Planner Tom Wang at (415)558-6355. Case no. 2011.1372C. We'll post more information next week when the application is posted online.

April 26, 2012

This Week In Noe Valley

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Redfin]

Noe Valley Garden Tour 2012: Tickets Sales Start Saturday

Nine gardens, six hours, one shuttle bus. Tickets will be available at the Farmers Market and at (unnamed) merchants for the 2012 Noe Valley Garden Tour starting this Saturday. Online tickets are available now. (That list of addresses? We're told it's inaccurate and shouldn't be published.)

Here's the tease:
The gardens range across Noe Valley, from 23rd Street to 30th, Hoffman to Dolores. Six are owner designed and maintained and three are professional gardens by Janet Moyer Landscaping, Michele Schaal and Shape of the Earth. Most are well established but one is brand new, showing you how to be realistic about where your new garden will start as well as what it can become.
As in past years, profits go to beautifying Noe Valley. This year funds will be directed to improving the garden at Alvarado School and trimming the trees at Upper Douglass Dog Park. Past Garden Tour fundraising brought street trees and flower baskets to 24th St.

Pro tip: can't afford the $18 entry fee? Sign up to volunteer--a 2.5 hour shift gets you one free ticket.

Update (4/28): We were told that the list of addresses available on the Constant Contact order page was inaccurate and shouldn't be posted online. That list has now been updated, and since it's public we've put together this map to help you plan your tour.

What: Noe Valley Garden Tour
When: May 19, 10AM-4PM 
Where: Buy tickets for official map
Cost: $18, $14 for seniors over 65

[FONV: 2012 Garden Tour]
[Photo: Flora Grubb]

April 23, 2012

Crime Beat: Bike Thefts

The Ingleside Station newsletter has included an increasing number of bicycle thefts in the Upper Noe Valley area over the last month or so. We were all set to post the most recent reports when we received the above flier.
April 17

-- 7:30am, 600 Blk Duncan St. Officers Wong and Pai were dispatched to a report of a well-being check regarding an open garage door. When the officers arrived, they found the garage door of the residence wide open, and an audible burglar alarm was activated. The officers located pry marks on the door frame and damage to the dead bolt. The officers contacted a neighbor to get the contact number for the owner of the residence. The officers contacted the victim, who was out of town. The victim was able to confirm that two bicycles were stolen from the garage.

April 18

-- 5:30pm, 600 Blk 28th St. Sgt. Miller responded to a burglary. The victim advised that he locked and secured his bicycles in the garage area with a cable and padlock. He was advised in the morning by some workers that his garage door was open. The victim noticed the bicycles missing. He located some rebar on the floor which Sgt. Miller believed was used to pry open the door. He took pictures of the scene and booked them into evidence. He did not believe contacting SFPD Crime Scene Investigations Unit was warranted. He provided the victim with follow up information.

Burglary -- 11:00pm, 600 Blk Duncan. Officer Goldsborough was dispatched to a burglary. The victim advised that he left his new bicycle in the garage of his home in the original shipping box. He woke up in the morning and noticed the box and bicycle were missing. A male knocked at his front door and had the empty box with him and asked the victim not to leave his garbage on the street. The victim advised he had been the victim of a burglary. He was unable to provide any further information and was provided with follow up information. SFPD’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit was not contacted due to the lack of physical evidence.
You can download the flier from the Ingleside Station and distribute to your neighbors. Mission Station has not reported any bike thefts on its blog, but considering it recently held a workshop on preventing bicycle theft this problem is not limited to Upper Noe Valley.

Source: Mission and Ingleside District San Francisco Police Station newsletters.

April 17, 2012

Crime Beat: Arson

Information is from Mission and Ingleside District San Francisco Police Station newsletters.

2009 saw twenty-some-odd porta potty fires in the northern part of the City, then there were two last year in the Castro. Now Noe Valley:
April 14

-- 2:53am, 200 Blk Duncan St. Officers Dominguez and Carrasco were conducting traffic control on an unrelated incident when they were flagged down by a citizen regarding a fire. The officers responded to the scene and found a portable toilet on fire. The fire had spread to a nearby vehicle, which also caught fire. SFFD responded and extinguished the fire. The owner of the vehicle was notified. No one was injured during this incident.
[Photo: erikgibb, Flickr]

April 12, 2012

Announced: Mill

The Castro district's Unionmade is opening a women's clothing store in Noe Valley. Via Refinery 29:
Just yesterday, Barket told us, the Unionmade powers that be have started renovating a former liquor store at 3751 24th Street, on the corner of Chattanooga, in Noe Valley. The resulting property will become Mill, Unionmade's first-ever womenswear shop.
More details pending. Stay tuned.

[NVSF: Live The Dream: Prime Corner Space For Lease]

April 1, 2012

Coming Soon: Vivid Floral Design

The former Loft 1513 space on Church Street is under wraps and soon to be transformed into Vivid Floral Design. Unclear if Vivid is relocating from it's current outer Sunset outpost or adding a second location. The shop provides "sumptuous hand tied bouquets and bespoke floral arrangements" available for delivery in the Bay Area.

Vivid Floral Design
1513 Church St.

Update (4/26): After a new coat of paint and a few tables/shelves added the space is now empty and a For Lease sign is back in the window. No reply from Vivid. 

Volunteers Needed: Easter Egg Hunt

The 5th Annual Noe Valley Easter Egg Hunt is next Saturday, April 7. Sylvia Buettner needs "about a dozen volunteers to help with refreshments, hiding eggs, corralling kids in the hunt area, set-up and clean-up, etc." Email Sylvia to sign up.

What: Noe Valley Easter Egg Hunt
When: Saturday April 7, 10am-12pm
Where: Douglass Park Playground, 26th and Douglass
Cost: Free