Coming Soon: More Gourmet Auto Parts

When the Hollywood Video store on the corner of Cesar Chavez and South Van Ness closed down, I had a little fantasy: The store occupied a high-profile location with above-average square-footage and even a few parking spaces, so in my heart of hearts I hoped the location might become a gourmet deli or Asian mini-supermarket of some sort. I envisioned a business perched somewhere between a Bi-Rite and a Trader Joe’s that would further increase the gastro-retail diversity of Bernal’s north slope, in a convenient location that’s both eminently walkable and yet still car-friendly.

But alas, it’s not to be. Instead, over the last few weeks its become clear that the former Hollywood Video will soon become an Auto Zone. So instead of getting a convenient place to buy exotic and tasty food for dinner, we’re getting another purveyor of artisanal auto parts. Indeed, the building had been home to an auto parts store before it was occupied by Hollywood Video, so perhaps it’s just reverting to type.

I suppose I’m lucky, in a Bernal Dads sort of way; From my house, I will soon be able to walk to not one, but TWO auto partsmongers — the other, of course, being the O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store that’s in the former Mission Chevrolet dealership on Mission at Precita. Somewhat less lucky, however, is Neighbor Rachel, who wrote to Bernalwood to share this view out the rear window of her Precita Avenue home:

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics and Neighbor Rachel

19 thoughts on “Coming Soon: More Gourmet Auto Parts

    • Wish you lived in Potrero. We have a preschool ready to open but some merchants here are opposing us. We are gathering support.

  1. And there’s yet another O’Reilly’s on Bayshore, between the McDonald’s and Lowe’s. I think we’re overserved, auto-parts-wise.

    • Three within a half mile. Yeah, we’re really over-served with auto parts stores in that area. Instead, why can’t we have something that we white people are totally under-served with? Like a Marina taco bar, gourmet pizza, or yoga studio?

      When the Mission was a working-class family neighborhood, there were at least FIVE independent auto parts stores between 16th and Army, Folsom and Valencia. Four were on or just off S Van Ness. The competition meant low, low prices, and you could find obscure, quality parts for old cars, instead of the generic crap you can get at O’Reilly’s or Auto Zone.

      Yes, things change. But when you sterilize and delimit your economy, you ruin a vibrant and special neighborhood. Ever wonder why auto repair is so expensive in SF (hint: it didn’t use to be).

      • It’s not my field. I don’t even own a truck or car anymore. Too expensive in SF for anyone other than innernetin’ dorks.

        Yes, I appreciate the hypocrisy of ranting about internet dorks while I’m innernettin’ myself. Oh, the irony.

    • Stores don’t have to be profitable to exist. Large companies sometimes put stores somewhere with the knowledge that they’ll lose money but with the hope it will have other benefits for the company. Starbucks famously used the tactic to expand their brand and try and see if they could put smaller competitors out of business.

  2. Settle down, rebel scum! Don’t you have a burrito rail gun to perfect?

    I can’t imagine how that box could be much more visually appealing, so at least it’s Auto Zone orange instead of O’Reilly red and green.

  3. get off my lawn said everything that needs saying. What happened to YIMBYism? Is this a sketch scenario for Cortlandia?

  4. I yield to no one in my YIMBYism! I was pro-Home Depot building on the old Goodman’s hardware site. (After a decade of NIMBY-driven “environmental impact” studies to replace a large hardware store with a somewhat larger hardware store, HD dropped out, so we got Lowe’s. It’s nice to have it in the neighborhood, I think.)

    I don’t want to stop AutoZone from opening. I’d certainly rather have AutoZone than an empty building. I’m just saying we’ve kind of got a lot of auto parts stores, on our east, west, and now northern borders. That’s fine, they’re obviously not just serving Bernal Heights. But they are all adjacent to it.

  5. I think it’s kinda weird…a few years ago, shortly after the video place closed, a relatively small paint store chain tried to open there. But it wasn’t allowed because it was a chain. So…they’d let in an Auto Zone instead?

    It really annoys me that we can have these anti-chain rules in place, but then seemingly completely arbitrarily make exceptions.

    • As I recall, the BHNC opposed the paint store because they wanted the city to buy the property and then let BHNC develop low income housing on it. Yes, they used the “it’s a chain store” but the real reason was they wanted to develop another property like the one on Chavez/Mission. It was the same thing with the Home Depot- they opposed it because they wanted to build a housing project there. They opposed the market rate condos, the Walgreens was just the more visible “chain” target to oppose.

      Some info on how one of BHNC’s main activities is property development:

  6. Pingback: The Lost History of the Oldsmobile Dealership on Army Street | Bernalwood

  7. Pingback: A Glamorous Perspective on Our Unglamorous AutoZone | Bernalwood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s