July 13, 2014

Coming Soon: A Healthy Corner Market On Sanchez St

There are plans for a new market in the space at Sanchez and 29th St and we're pretty excited.

A longtime local favorite corner store St. Paul's Market closed in March. There was a rumor the rent doubled and a "health situation." It was ultimately confirmed the owner has cancer in the Noe Valley Voice (which is impossible to link to properly). We learned via the Twitter that the owner tried to sell to family but couldn't, and that he wants to live out the rest of his life without the stress of the market. So St. Paul's close for good on April 14th.

Since the closing, there has been a some work done to the facade of the building at 1598 Sanchez, which according to Planning Department records was to settle a complaint and restore the original glass design. But other than that no word on what may go in that space.

And then a couple weeks ago we stumbled across this ad for a general manager at a new store called Little Jug in Noe Valley:
Little Jug offers urban communities convenient access to delicious and healthy food, beverages, and essential housewares–all in a compact, clean and well-organized footprint. Our markets stock hand-selected local and international beer, wine, tea and coffee, prepared foods, limited seasonal produce, fresh cheese, local bread, and an array of home necessities including toiletries, herbal and over-the-counter remedies, and cleaning supplies. Little Jug is opening its first market in Noe Valley in September 2014.

The co-founders are long-time San Franciscans and food lovers with strong leadership experience in design, food, finance, technology, and operations. We are passionate about taste, quality, neighborhoods, simplicity, honesty, and generosity.
We reached out to one of the principals, Shivani Ganguly, to get some more details on what was planned for the space and when:
You’re calling the new place Little Jug. How did you land on that as a name?
Little Jug is actually a working name, and we're still finalizing the name that we're going to launch with. Once we've figured it out, we'll let you know!

What made you decide to choose Noe Valley (and that specific spot)?
I'd been looking for a market space in Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, or the Mission for several months. St. Paul's Market was one of the original inspirations for opening a corner market - Alex is a beloved community member, but I couldn't find the kind of products I need on a daily basis there, or healthy and fresh meals and snacks. So when a friend who lives a couple of blocks away let me know that the space was available, I contacted the landlord immediately, and everything fell into place from there! I love the sunny corner location and often do my own errands in that neighborhood (more on that below).

You’re advertising openings for a chef, general manager and a beer and wine manager. Describe what the market will offer … give us a tour.
We aim to offer all the daily essentials for the neighborhood community, and some special treats too. What makes our market stand out from others is our focus on providing fresh, local, and ethical options for both food and home products. Healthy meals, artisanal wine and beer, local produce, and environmentally friendly alternatives for household needs are hard to come by in your typical corner store, and we want to change that.

In terms of the nitty gritty of what we're offering, we'll have an excellent selection of beer and wine, with both local and further afield options at reasonable prices. We'll serve espresso drinks, tea, and a light breakfast in the morning for guests on their way to work or school. At lunchtime, we'll offer delicious salads and sandwiches with a Mediterranean flare. In the evening, we'll have a variety of entrees and sides to assemble into dinner for individuals, family and friends. Guests can grab these prepared foods to go, or eat at our communal table or outdoor seating.

In addition to wine, beer, and prepared foods, we'll offer cheese, charcuterie, pickles, dairy, bread, snacks, limited seasonal produce, flowers, magazines, and other grocery staples. We'll also have an array of home necessities including health and beauty items and cleaning supplies.

Your bio says you’re an entrepreneur and consultant focused on leadership and social enterprises. Tell us some more about yourself and why you want to get into the market business?
To me, access to delicious, healthy, affordable food and staples is a cornerstone of good urban living. I'm excited to have the opportunity to build a business that provides delicious food, beer, wine, and delightful products to the neighborhood while partnering with community organizations and providing good jobs.

I also love traveling, and am inspired by the European approach to shopping for food - picking up great products at affordable prices every day or two rather than stocking up once a week.

Shivani Ganguly
In terms of my background, I grew up in an old farm house in Connecticut where we grew much of our own food, and moved out here to go to Stanford in 1995. I've lived in the Bay Area ever since, and have worked in technology startups and nonprofits. I've always been interested in food and community, and in using business as a mechanism for social change. I decided to return to school for an MBA at Presidio Graduate School in 2009 to explore these interests. I also started my consulting firm, Friday Consulting, around that time and have helped build and scale a variety of food and wellness businesses for the past five years, focusing on finance, operations, and human capital management. With good food, health, ethical practices, and community at the core of the market, I'm looking forward to melding my passion for food and social impact with my expertise in building food and health startups to make the market a thriving business for the neighborhood.

Are you opening Little Jug by yourself or with partners - and if there are other partners who are they?
I'm working with friends and consultants. Brook Lane is an amazing designer who's heading up the store design and buildout, and Alli Ball, a former store manager at Bi-Rite Market, is helping us to get up and running operationally. I'm also looking for several key staff members, including a general manager, chef, and a beer and wine manager.

Why open a market now?
I'm a long-time San Francisco resident, and I've lived in the Mission for the last 15 years. (And I'm actually moving to Pacifica in a couple of weeks - I got married recently and though we love San Francisco we aren't able to buy a home here right now.)

I'm opening a market now because I believe that there's a need for urban spaces that bring communities together through food. It's also the right time for me personally to take on this project - I've built a successful consulting firm that I'll continue to run while also having the opportunity to put into practice the methods and principles that I believe in.

What do you think you can do differently than what other markets in the area offer?
In most corner markets, it's difficult to find healthy prepared meals, fresh produce, and environmentally friendly alternatives for household items. We want to make these products available to the neighborhood at affordable prices, fostering a healthy and strong community. We envision the market to be far more than just a place where you buy your groceries; it's a communal space where neighborhood families, friends, and local businesses come together to support one another and share in delicious food and wonderful service.

And a note for early bird and late night shoppers, we're currently planning our hours to be 7am to 11pm. 
What other places do you love and frequent in Noe Valley?
I often shop at Drewes, Church Produce, Omnivore Books, and the Noe Valley Pet Company. I plan to work with these businesses to provide a complimentary selection of products. I also love La Ciccia (I've celebrated many birthdays there), Hamano Sushi, and Chloe's for a meal in Noe Valley. And my favorite nail place is at Church and 27th Street.
There's been no work to the interior of the space yet [Update 7/14: work begins today] but Shivani says she hopes to see the new store open by mid October. Here's looking forward to a new fresh, healthy local market on Sanchez.

Update (10/1/14): The market will be called Bom Dia and will open in November.

[Photo: composite of Emmy C on Yelp]


Anonymous said...

I think "local favorite" is a bit generous. That place had gotten pretty run-down and gross. Looking forward to its new incarnation.

Tom said...

Awesome news! Maybe they can take over the closed down Veterans liquor space on Church too.

Jennifer said...

This also sounds a bit like what Mikey Tom achieved in grocery in our neighborhood back in the 90s. I just wonder if this will heavily impact the XO Cafe, Church Produce and Drewes Brothers bottom line? The more the merrier though from one who lives in the immediate vicinity!

Anonymous said...

Isn't this fairly close to the existing church produce market (at 30th and church)that has the same fresh/healthy focus. I am all for more local healthy markets in the hood but it would be nice if they were spread out a bit.

Anonymous said...

Church Produce is great but doesn't have prepared food, sandwiches, or beer and wine. Alex was a generous guy and a nice connection to the old-school blue-collar Noe Valley of the past. But he was a lousy shopkeeper, especially at the end when he was sick. He ran out of everything and you bought milk there at your own peril. The new business model sounds a bit like the deli near Precita Park in Bernal and also Monterey Deli.

Noe Valley, SF said...

@Tom - Last we heard, the old Veteran's Liquors store at 1710 Church Street at 29th has been leased as a non-retail office since 2010. A quick search online turned up a business that goes as Vintage Elevator Services listed at the address. And no, the current tenant still hasn't replaced the cracked window out front.

Shivani said...

Hi everyone, thanks for your comments! We're excited to get started. Our focus is on the beer and wine, prepared foods and household staples. We actually don't plan to have a lot of fresh produce and meat options--we will have a small selection for the times when Drewes and Church Produce aren't open and you want to put a good meal together though. And we want to work with those businesses and others in the neighborhood to add to what's already a great shopping district.

rachael said...

I'm so excited, this sounds like our own mini bi-rite!I'm hoping you might also offer fresh cut flowers? Church produce doesn't have them and the last place that did, The Apothecary...closed a while ago. Fingers crossed! :D

Shivani said...

Yup, we will be offering fresh flowers!

Anonymous said...

I think Vintage Elevators Services is a red herring. For what I dont know, but 1710 church street sits empty.

Always been fishy to me this place sits empty and covered up

noe resident said...

what a great to add value to the neighborhood. excited to see it all come together. we need more people like you to take on these important businesses and projects. best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Just what we need: our own overpriced Bi-rite.

And please, enough with the "artisanal" everything.

Mark Pritchard said...

Uh, do you guys edit these postings at all? I counted four instances of ungrammatical or incomplete sentences just in the first paragraph:

A longtime local favorite corner store St. Paul's Market closed in March. There was a rumor the rent doubled and a "health situation." It was ultimately confirmed the owner has cancer in the Noe Valley Voice (which is impossible to link to properly). We learned via the Twitter that the owner tried to sell to family but couldn't, and that he wants to live out the rest of his life without the stress of the market. So St. Paul's close for good on April 14th.

Brenda said...

I live right next door to the St. Paul's market and loved it for the convenience and for the owner Alex, who was an incredibly nice guy. I look forward to seeing what Little Jug has to offer the Noe Valley Community. Since I live so close, I can see myself becoming a regular.

Anonymous said...

To Mark Pritchard:

"You are a sad, sad little man and you have my pity."
— Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story