Sad News for Bernal Heights Ninjas: Brandon Lai’s Martial Arts Supply Has Closed


Via Neighbor Vicky from the Bernal Heights History Project, Bernalwood was sad to learn that Bernal’s finest one-stop shop for local ninja warriors has gone out of business. After many decades of glorious martial arts significance, Brandon Lai’s Martial Arts Supply Co. on Mission Street has closed.

In a note to Neighbor Vicky, Al Lai writes:

We just couldn’t hold on anymore, and so we quietly shut our doors for good.

It was pleasant being in Bernal Heights for our last 4 years, I must say. My mum & I will miss being here and talking to the neighbors around the corner … we recently met the extraordinarily friendly, sweet, Holly Park cat, “Tumbleweed”; we’ll equally miss the little, woolcapped, homeless lady that built a makeshift domicile on the tanbarked SouthWest corner area of Mission & Appleton … she quietly and dignantly kept that vicinity so clean for herself and for others.

It’s sad, but as Al wrote, “everything is temporary.”

Bernalwood is told that the store still had a year remaining on it’s lease, so if you’re interested in a historic storefront space at 3581 Mission, read this Craigslist post.

PHOTOS: Top, Damon Styer. Below, via Al Lai.

5 thoughts on “Sad News for Bernal Heights Ninjas: Brandon Lai’s Martial Arts Supply Has Closed

  1. I know a lot of people who have been put out of business by the internet. When people ask me what kind of business to go into I tell them to do something exquisite that rich people want. Those who do this not only make great sums of money but they don’t even need a website because the business will come to them.

    Among the kinds of businesses I’m talking about are McRoskey Mattress. When your product is so good that the queen of England buys it, you know your future is secured. Likewise, I know someone who makes dovetail drawers for cabinets (that’s where the sides and backs of the drawers fit together in a dovetail fashion rather than being simply nailed. He sells to high-end cabinet makers. Started the business 20 years ago with his brother. Now he has a staff of about 18. He managed to buy a huge piece of property up by the Delta.

    Unfortunately, ninja gear is a hard sell with internet competition these days unless one can sell only high-end one of a kind gear that is impossible to get elsewhere. That is where the future of commerce in America is.

  2. So sad that this great little shop is out of biz. My husband owns a martial arts studio (of the Russian variety) up on Market and Franklin and was in often talking to Mr;. Lai. Here’s wishing them all the best! (And, hey, love the shout-out to our favorite cat-about-town, Mr Weeds!)

    • Speaking of martial arts news, does anyone know anything about the very-recently-defunct martial arts studio on 30th and San Jose? I know that’s all the way down in La Lengua, but thought I’d check…

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