Where do Bernal merchants retreat to rest and recharge after they hang the Closed sign in the windows of their Cortland storefronts? Our friends at the CurbedSF blog recently did a profile of the house that Amy and Ken Shelf from Succulence call home. It’s a colorful look behind the scenes at one of Cortland Avenue’s most unique shops — and the people who created it:
The Shelf family had been friendly with the owner of [Four Star Video] before he died. David Ayoob was often in front of his business, sweeping up and greeting the neighbors. “He was a community character. When I read that the business and building were up for sale, I thought ‘I could be that guy,'” says Ken.
Borrowing every penny (“Back then, you could do that,” notes Amy), the couple purchased the building at 420 Cortland Avenue. The days of video rentals at a brick and mortar store were waning, and from the beginning they were planning the next phase. When Darcy Lee, the owner of Heartfelt down the street, suggested they start selling succulent plants out back, a new business was born.
Amy came up with the name Succulence to honor the richness of life, and for this couple, it’s an idea they take home with them after the store closes. The store, the neighborhood, and their family are inextricably woven into the into the nearby Victorian cottage they own on a short street that’s quintessentially Bernal Heights; in other words, it’s on a narrow, hilly passage where each crest hosts a scenic city view.
Read the whole thing to learn more about Neighbors Amy and Ken Shelf and to see pictures of their colorful home.