Thieves Smash Healthy Spirits Door to Steal Cash Register


Grrrrrrrr. Rami from Healthy Spirits tells Bernalwood:

Healthy Spirits located at 249 Cortland Ave  was broken into at 5:30 AM this morning. Two robbers broke the glass on the front door and entered the shop. They stole the cash register with the small sum of money and proceeded to exit. Thankfully the damage was only financial and no one was hurt in anyway.

PHOTO: Smashed door, via Healthy Spirits

Cole Hardware Hopes to Return to Mission Street


At this point, it happens almost daily: I’m doing the Life Thing, trying to keep everything working, and inevitably there’s some small item required. Like a replacement key. Or a picture hangar. Or a rubber grommet thingy that goes between this thingy and that thingy. And inevitably I have a habitual thought: “Oh, I’ll just go get that at Cole Hardware.”

Except, that’s not possible anymore.* Sigh.*

In the wake of the June 18 Cole Hardware Fire,  a great many Bernalese have wondered if our neighborhood hardware store will one day return to our fabulous stretch of Mission Street. Last week, our friends at Hoodline interviewed Cole Hardware owner Rick Karp to learn more about the history of the business and the future of Cole Hardware in La Lengua:

On June 18th, the night of the fire, Karp gathered with his Mission store employees in the Safeway parking lot to discuss finding them new jobs. “We wanted to make sure that everyone continued to work, and we emailed them that night to tell them where they would be working the next day.” Sure enough, the next day, all employees had jobs. With help from his son, Dave, and daughter, Adrianna, who both help run the business, Karp was able to quickly divvy the staff up to the other four other locations. “Everyone is now working and they seem to be very appreciative with their new digs,” he said. “They’re all disappointed that they are not working together anymore. That’s a tough thing for the staff to be broken up. They were a cohesive group, but everyone from the other stores has welcomed them with open arms.”

“We are lucky that nobody got hurt [in the Mission fire],” said Karp. “We try to look at the good side.” Karp is actively looking for another site to relocate the Mission Street store. He told us that he really wants to stay connected to the neighborhood and get back in as soon as possible, because the loss of the hardware store impacts people’s lives daily.

“We want to continue to keep serving our customers there and stay connected. In fact, the burnt-out building is coming down this week. This is San Francisco, so we will be lucky if it’s built in a year. It could be a couple years [to get the building back up to speed].”

Karp is seeking a new location in Mission/Bernal/Noe Valley area, but hasn’t yet found a suitable space. He is also looking citywide to open another store, and is currently considering a spot in North Beach and another in SoMa. “We are open to any opportunity, as well. When the Mission building is ultimately rebuilt, whether that is two years or three years from now, whatever it is, we would like to move back into our Mission Street location. We don’t want to abandon that neighborhood, by any means. In fact, we are working with some Bernal folks to do a pop-up store here and there.”

Cole Hardware has been around since 1961. It all began when founder David Karp purchased the business on Cole. In 1984, he and his son, Rick, expanded the business to the Mission.

There’s a lot more to the story of Cole Hardware and Rick Karp, so read the whole thing.

PHOTO: Former site of Cole Hardware, July 16, 2016, photographed by Neighbor Valerie

Thursday: Celebrate Summer at the Cortland Solstice Stroll


The legend is handed down among Bernalese from generation to generation: Tens of thousands of years ago, in the time of the sages and ancients, a race of wizened elves gathered in the area we now call Cortland Avenue for a gala celebration of the summer season. There was celebration. There was food. There was plenty of drink and glad cheer. And it was good.

Today, the Bernal Business Alliance has revived this hallowed ritual for the modern age, and the 2016 Summer Stroll happens this Thursday, June 23, from 6 – 9 pm on historic Cortland Avenue.

Here are the deets:

The Bernal Business Alliance and merchants will celebrate the solstice at the sixth annual Summer Stroll all along Cortland Avenue in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood.

Businesses will stay open later than usual, from 6 to 9 p.m.Thursday, June 23, 2016.Each participant will feature one­night specials, including giveaways, musical guests, treats and food & drink for the evening. Admission is free.

Here are some of the brick­and­mortar and home­based businesses who will be participating:

  • Heartfelt will have Cajun music, cookies and a specially crafted drink! Heartfelt & will be open with a special “sale”!
  • Little Bee Baking are hosting Good Eggs the “online farmers market” out front withinformation about their great service and local artist RaissaTrend will be showing newartwork inside the store.
  • Pinhole Coffee have a far eastern theme for the evening, with Japanese Curry by Chef Michael Black, former Chef and owner of Sebo, and ceramics for sale by Mitsuko Siegrist of the Tsuchikara Pottery.
  • Succulence are hosting an art opening for Cat Johnston whose amazing art will be hanging in the window for the month. They will also have music and wine and cookies.
  • Healthy Spirits will host a small band playing Middle Eastern inspired music as well as
    making some rare beers and whiskeys available from their cellar.
  • Members from the Bernal Business Alliance will be in front of Heartfelt with membership information and helping our neighbors at the Mission Bernal Merchants Association collect donations for the victims of the recent Mission Street fire.
  • Bernal Beast will have doggy treats and chocolate cake for any human companions!
  • Red Hill Station will have Oysters, Oysters and yes, more Oysters!!!
  • Lauren Becker of Recycled Glassworks will be showcasing her new work in slumped, recycled glass.
  • Epicurean Trader will have Bernal local winemaker Bryan Harrington for a free Wine Tasting event.
  • Inclusions Gallery will host an art opening with San Francisco painter Jeffery Roth. There will also be 15% off all handmade jewelry as well as music & refreshments.

Both the Bernal Branch Library and the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center will also be joining us for the evening.

The Library Staff will be out front of the Library giving away books and small prizes and signing people up for the summer reading program. And across the street, the Neighborhood Center will have plenty of information about their current projects and you’ll be able to sign­up as a member on the spot.

And when you are done with the strolling you can stop by The Lucky Horseshoe for some smooth jazz with Larry Epstein from 8­11pm.

For more information about the Bernal Business Alliance, visit


PHOTO: Modern Bernalese elves strolling during the 2014 solstice, by Telstar Logistics

Newfangled App Will Deliver Healthy Spirits Booze by Bicycle


Such are the wonders of modern life that you can now use an app on your futuristic smartphone to have exotic spirits delivered to your glamorous home by Healthy Spirits, the esteemed boozemonger on Cortland.  Eli Rodriguez, manager of the Healthy Spirits store on Cortland, tells Bernalwood:

Hope this message finds you in good spirits. We have a new service we’re providing the neighborhood, in partnership with Postmates. We made a menu of some of our most popular products available via the Postmates App (or website).

In addition, we now deliver via Uber, so customers can call us for a recommendation or request and we can get it to them easy-peazy.

We’re one of the only stores Postmates and Uber have partnered with for booze delivery, and we’re pretty excited about it. Here’s a link to the Postmates Menu and if Bernalwood readers are new to Postmates they can get a $10 delivery credit with the password healthy.

ILLUSTRATION: An ET-powered booze delivery bicycle sails over Bernal Hill, courtesy of Healthy Spirits and Postmates

Bernal Merchant Seeks Revisions to Mission Street “Red Carpet” Program


Neighbor Eden Stein is a resident of the La Lengua Autonomous Zone and the proprietor of the fabulous (and resilient) Secession Art & Design store at 3235 Mission (@Valencia). She’s also president of the Mission-Bernal Merchants Association, which represents merchants along the Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street.

In recent weeks, Neighbor Eden has expressed concern about Muni’s new “red carpet” bus lanes on Mission Street. Although bus riders report the new red carpets have noticeably improved public transit, Neighbor Eden says local merchants are struggling because the rollout of the new traffic configuration has coincided with reduced foot traffic and sales in Mission Street stores.

This morning, Neighbor Eden released a letter summarizing her views on Muni’s new red carpet along Mission Street:

Two months ago, MTA reconstructed Mission Street, introducing red transit lanes and forced right turns. The bus is running two to five minutes faster, but I have observed a decrease in pedestrian traffic and clientele, especially for daytime businesses. My business is not only a go-to for locals, but a destination for people from all over. The forced right-hand turns funnel drivers away from shopping and local restaurants, making it harder for our customers to show up and support us. This is a direct call to our customers to walk, bike, take public transit, or drive to support local businesses impacted along Mission Street.

My specific concerns for Mission Bernal are to make sure it is safe for pedestrians, residents, and our valued customers. A request has been made to MTA to put in protected left turn signals at 29th and Valencia, remove the right hand turn at Cesar Chavez, and review positions of new bus stops. I am concerned that the Mission-Powers bus stop is not well-lit and is located in front of a preschool. My other concern is when it rains the red paint is causing the buses difficulty in stopping. I have seen the buses slide through the intersection at 29th Street on the red light because they are slipping on the red lanes. This is a safety concern for our whole community. I support public transit, but not at the cost of safety or small business. I am for finding a balance that works for all us.

My grandparents owned a storefront for over 40 years in Philadelphia. Their legacy business was one of the things that inspired me to open Secession Art and Design in an emerging area of the Mission in 2007. Mission Street has been home to my gallery and boutique for 9 years, supporting over 60 local and independent artists and designers. Businesses along Mission Street all want the chance to be legacy businesses, and live out our dream that small business can thrive in San Francisco. This is why I became president of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, so my neighborhood would have a passionate point person who lives and works in Mission Bernal.

I have attended many MTA meetings, sometimes closing my store to make sure my voice is heard. A happy medium needs to happen, so small businesses aren’t forced to shut down. I want to continue my grandparents’ legacy of doing what I love everyday, being the owner of a small business. I’m working to help Mission Street culture return back to its vibrant and artistic hustle.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive, encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and speak up for my community, and reminded me to be strong and love what I do!

You rock, Eden

PHOTO: Top, a worker installs flexible bollards to prevent traffic from crossing Mission Street at Cesar Chavez, April 7, 2015. Photo by Telstar Logistics

Free Bike Rentals for Bernal Residents on Bike to Work Day

rider-4 copy

Cortland Avenue’s newfangled bike shop, The New Wheel, has a special offer for Bernal Heights residents: A free ride to work on a electric bike for Bike to Work Day this Thursday. They say:

The New Wheel is offering free electric bike rentals to residents of Bernal Heights on Thursday May 12th, Bike to Work Day.

Here’s the fine-print:

Neighbors interested in renting bikes should email to secure a rental. Quantities are limited. Bikes will be available for pickup the day before Bike to Work day, between 5 and 7pm on Wednesday May 11th.

The New Wheel will equip renters with an appropriately sized bike, a helmet and a lock. Bikes must be returned no later than 7pm on Thursday May 12th. This time window is designed to allow for a fun and swift ride to work and back home on Bike to Work Day, with no rental fee. Late returns will incur a rental fee.

All electric bike rentals require a fully refundable security deposit in the event of damage or theft. Renter takes full responsibility for the return of bike in the condition it was rented.

PHOTO: Courtesy of The New Wheel

Secession Art and Design Wants to Set You Up for Mother’s Day


Pro Tip: Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8.  Don’t forget!

Neighbor Eden from the fabulous Secession Art and Design wants to help you remain in good standing with mom. She writes:

Secession Art & Design (3235 Mission @Valencia) is consistently inspired by the moms that shop our gallery and boutique. In our eyes, they’re rockstars! Stop by this weekend, 12-8pm, to pick up a card, gift, or art that will make mom smile from head to toe.

As a special bonus for Bernalwood readers, we’re offering a 10% discount on our jewelry collection this weekend. Just mention Bernalwood when you stop in the store, and have a great Mothers Day!