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Castro Merchants

February 27, 2015    

The near-constant cry of “Girl Scout Cookies” tells me that spring is just around the corner (officially on March 20; and Daylight Savings Time arrives on Sunday, March 8).  Love me some Girl Scout Cookies.  They tell me there is a Girl Scout ground up in every box.

Here is what’s going on:

No Pink Saturday
We received word on Friday February 13 (and as you probably have read since), that The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have decided that they can no longer produce this event as they have magnificently for many years.   While this is heart-breaking news, many of us agree with The Sisters that the event has grown way too big for it to be produced safely.  The last few years, Pink Saturday started off magical, then as late afternoon turned into evening, things got out of hand.  There are talks underway that address the important concerns and could preserve Pink Saturday in 2015   I am following this very closely, working (once again) with the leadership of Supervisor Scott Wiener and will keep our Members updated.

Jane Warner Plaza 
The Jane Warner Plaza continues to be a major problem in our community. The Plaza now is closed for a few months; the tables and chairs are in storage.  This allows the S.F. Dept. of Public Works to make repairs and some design changes.  Some of the changes include new landscaping, fencing around planters, better “rules” signage, and making the Plaza more open. At a public meeting led by the Castro CBD on February 2, residents and business owners said they were fed up with the increasing antisocial behavior going on at the Plaza.   During the time the Plaza is closed, Supervisor Scott Wiener plans to introduce further legislation that will enable better enforcement, to deter the chronic bad behavior we are currently experiencing at the Plaza.  When this legislation goes before the Board of Supervisors, we’ll need every Castro/Upper Market area business owner to speak up in favor of the legislation.  We must have our voice heard.  Again, we’ll keep you posted. 

Castro Cares  
I am proud to announce that your Castro Merchants Board has unanimously approved our contribution of $5,000.00 to Castro Cares, joining all the other major community groups in our neighborhood, putting “money where our mouths are.”

Castro Cares is a program that has been developing for over 18 months, thanks to cooperative leadership by Castro Merchants, Castro CBD, EVNA, DTNA, and other local groups, working with City agencies including SFDPH and SFPD – all led by Supervisor Scott Wiener’s office.  We all have worked hard to get this new, locally-originated-and-controlled program started.

Castro Cares still needs additional contributions and sponsorship support, from individual businesses and residents.  Please learn all about Castro Cares and join its supporters.  For more information and to subscribe/donate online go to, or pick up a brochure at our March 5 Members Meeting.  
Castro Cares isn’t going to work, unless we all have skin in the game.  Remember, “You can’t do nothing and expect things to get better.”

A Major Castro Cares Fundraiser: Castro Merchants and EVNA Board Member and all around good guy, Mark “the menschen” McHale is organizing a fundraiser for Castro Cares on Thursday, April 16 from 5:00 to 8:00pm at Vanguard Properties (555 Castro Street).  You’ll get an invitation by mail and/or email in March, but SAVE THE DATE NOW!!  See just above for more info about Castro Cares.  

CASTRO MERCHANTS 2015 Board and Officer Nominations and Elections
It is with great sadness, along with gratitude for her years of leadership, service, insight, and old fashioned hard work, that we note that Terry Asten Bennett from Cliff’s Variety will be leaving our Board this year, so she can devote more time needed for her great roles with family and as General Manager at Cliff’s.  On behalf of the 300+ Members of CASTRO MERCHANTS,
THANK YOU, Terry!!
for your participation and unending support. As a Member, longtime Board Member and President for several terms, Terry has left her mark on CASTRO MERCHANTS (and “MUMC” before our name change), and we are in better shape than when she first joined us years ago.

The CASTRO MERCHANTS Board, acting as the Nominations Committee, nominates and recommends Member support for the Board Members and (if elected to the Board) Officers for the year beginning April 2, 2015 through April 7, 2016, or until their respective successors are elected or appointed.   The Board Nominations Slate just below will officially be announced at our March 5, 2015 Members Meeting (see Meeting Notice at the end of this Letter for details).  Elections (by written ballot) will be held at the following Members Meeting on Thursday, April 2, 2015, starting at 9:00am, also in the Auditorium at EVRC.  
  • Steve Adams – Sterling Bank and S.F. Small Business Commission (Board incumbent)
  • John Bellemore - Q Bar, Midnight Sun, Edge (Board incumbent)
  • Daniel Bergerac – Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub (current President, Board incumbent)
  • Dr. Alice Charap – Chiropractor (current Secretary, Board incumbent)
  • Dan Glazer – Hot Cookie (Board incumbent)
  • Ryan Hudson – The Apothecarium (Board incumbent)
  • Jeff Johnston - Johnston Tax Group  (NEW)
  • Petyr Kane – Citizen and Body (Board incumbent)
  • Miguel Lopez – Sui Generis Ille & Illa Boutiques (Board incumbent)
  • Andrew MacDonald – Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy  (NEW)
  • Mark McHale – Vanguard Properties (Board incumbent)
  • Jenn Meyer – Local Take (NEW)
  • Nick Mills – 440 Bar (Board incumbent)
  • Cathy O’Shea – Bank of America (current Treasurer, Board incumbent)
  • Brian Springfield – Brian Springfield Design (Board incumbent)
  • Scott Wazlowski – Bay Area Reporter-BAR (current Vice President, Board incumbent)
  • Jessie Woodward – Hi Tops, HECHO  (Board incumbent)
Additional Nominations from Members remain open until the annual election at the April 2, 2015 Members Meeting.  If you have or wish to be an additional Nominee, please contact CASTRO MERCHANTS President, Daniel Bergerac in advance (415/431-8901 Ext 1,, to discuss that interest and the duties and expectations of Board Members and Officers. 

I’m excited that our Board Nominations Slate includes three new proposed Board Members:
  • Jeff Johnson, EA, LL.M (Tax), leader of Johnston Tax Group at 2327 Market Street       (… and video surveillance expert).
  • Andrew MacDonald, manager of the Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy at 4129-18th Street.  
  • Jenn Meyer, co-owner of Local Take at 3979-17th Street
…and, of course, our awesome Administrator Richard Magary stays on board to help keep us all in line and on topic.

SFMTA/MUNI Twin Peaks Tunnel Re-rail Project
(MUNI Metro Underground between Castro and West Portal Stations)
We heard some initial information about this major MUNI maintenance and infrastructure/seismic upgrade Project (beginning in mid-2015) at our February 5 Members Meeting.  An initial Community Meeting was announced then for March 5.  That date has been CHANGED to Thursday, March 26 from 6:00 to 7:30pm in the Castro Community Meeting Room (CCMR), 501 Castro (at 18th Street, above Bank of America).  For updates and more information click here or contact SFMTA’s Kelley McCoy at 415/701-5428.  As additional Project details are confirmed, SFMTA/MUNI will return to a future Members Meeting with updates before the Project begins. 

Castro Farmers’ Market Season Opening 
This year’s eagerly-awaited annual Grand Opening of our CASTRO MERCHANTS-sponsored Castro Farmers’ Market will be at 5:00pm on Wednesday March 11 in the usual Market space at Noe/Market/16th Streets.   Then the Market will be there every Wednesday thru December 16 from 4:00 to 8:00pm.  I look forward to fresh veggies, fruit and locally produced items every week.   Plus, it’s fun to see neighbors, customers, and friends at the Market.
If you’d like a window poster or counter cards to post and hand out, to help publicize the Market, get them at our March 5 Members Meeting (details below), or contact Richard at 415/431-2359 or email him at

The Market also has limited space available each week at no cost for CASTRO MERCHANTS Members to promote their business or a favorite charity.  For more information, contact Market Manager Shawn Lipetzky at 925/825-9090 or

Dining Out for Life, April 28
San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s 15th annual Dining Out for Life® event this year happens on Tuesday, April 28.   It’s an opportunity for our wonderful local restaurants (so many, sooo good, growing continually!!!) to help support the free, local HIV prevention and care services that SFAF provides to tens of thousands of individuals in our community each year.  It’s also a chance to join more than 100 top Bay Area restaurants in making a real difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS …. and to attract your share of over 20,000  patrons who will gather at participating restaurants that day.  In addition to increased traffic on a traditionally “slower” night for many, participation offers many benefits. Your restaurant will be included in promotional materials that drive patrons through your doors on Dining Out for Life day, Tuesday, April 28.  San Francisco’s dining community always has been socially conscious, and SFAF’s restaurant partners have experienced higher volume throughout the spring after participating in Dining Out for Life.  Help San Francisco AIDS Foundation end HIV transmission by signing up today.
 SFAF is an organization that is near and dear to me.  We are aligned in our dream of getting to ZERO HIV infections.   For information on how to participate or to register (just DO IT!), contact SFAF’s Josie Larimer at 415/487-3114 or
(Note to any handsome, single, over 6 foot, furry men:  I’m available for dinner that night  ….just saying.)

Important Dates for Your Calendar
  • Monday, March 2 from 12:30 to 5:00pm at the PG&E Auditorium, 245 Market Street.  LGBT Business Builder Conference (FREE).  Make more money, do business with the BIG guys.  This event promises to deliver lots of helpful information about contract and procurement opportunities with City, State and Federal agencies, PLUS major corporations, AND Superbowl50 next year in the Bay Area.   DO NOT THINK that your business is too small or doesn’t offer the right products/services!  Attend this key event to learn how you almost-surely can participate, and how to quality.  Co-sponsored by National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) in partnership with Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA), California Public Utilities Commission and PG&E.  It’s FREE.  Register here .…. and then to relax after a full afternoon of information-gathering ……
  • Monday, March 2 from 5:00 to 7:30pm in the Conservatory Room of the St. Regis Hotel (3rd and Mission Streets), “A Reception to Celebrate How SF LGBT Businesses are ROCKIN’ the Nation!” Meet NGLCC and SBA executives from Washington, DC and others from the Business Builder conference (see just above).  Guest DJ John Miranda.  Space is limited – Register HERE 
  • Thursday March 5, 9:00am in the EVRC Auditorium, 100 Collingwood – CASTRO MERCHANTS monthly Members Meeting.  See full Meeting details in the Meeting Notice at the end of this Letter.
  • Wednesday, March 11, 5:00pm – Grand Opening of this season’s Castro Farmers’ Market, at Noe/Market/16th Streets.  See article above. 
  • Saturday, March 28    Soiree 2015 “Limitless” benefitting our Member, the SF LGBT Community Center.  It happens at the appropriately-named, spectacular CityView space in the Metreon Center, 4th & Mission. Convenient to MUNI Metro and BART, or ample parking right across the street in the 5th & Mission Garage.   Come dance and party while supporting the Center.  Buy your tickets now…HERE. Donate items (merchandise, gift certificates, etc.) for the silent auction by contacting 
  • Tuesday March 31, 7:30 to 9:00pm at 474 Castro Street   A Pre-opening Private Reception (for local merchants only at this time, please) of SF AIDS Foundation’s new Center for Health and Wellness.  This event is for local, Castro/Upper Market business people and SFAF’s community partners only.  Other receptions will be scheduled soon and separately for local residents, the general public, etc.  This is a chance for an early peek and tour of SFAF’s beautiful new programs space, which (also) promises to bring lots of additional, quality pedestrian traffic (= customers!) to the area.  RSVP to Rebecca Solak at or 415/487-8081.

Coming in April
  • April 16.  Castro Cares Fundraiser at Vanguard Properties.  See article above.
  • April 28.   SFAF’s Dining Out for Life.  See article above. 

Coming in May
  • S.F. Small Business Week, May 16-23.  Including our annual Castro Sidewalk Sale, all day on Saturday May 23 – Memorial Day weekend.  More details in future President’s Letters and at our monthly Member Meetings, and (soon, we hope) at

Belated Congratulations to UB Cafe
We missed this in our February Letter – huge congratulations on his second-year anniversary to Al Simbal and his team at Café UB (once upon a time, “Urban Bread”) at 18th and Sanchez Streets.  With lots of loooong  hours and creative hard work by Al, UB Café has become a favorite bakery, coffee stop, lunch munchery and more all day long.  Stop by and enjoy!

FREE Business Advisory Services
More help to move your business forward.  Pacific Community Ventures (a philanthropically-funded non-profit with no strings attached to its services) through its program, and in partnership with the City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development (SFOEWD), matches small business owners with volunteer, experienced, professional business advisers.  The service is completely FREE to San Francisco-based small businesses who come in to the program between now and July this year. 
PCV has worked with many, many local companies like City Lights Books, Heath Ceramics, Extreme Pizza, Taylor Stitch, Ritual Coffee Roasters, Benny Gold, 18 Rabbits, Gravel & Gold, Flora Grubb, Tokyo Moto, Equator Coffee, 4505 Meats, Gama-Go, and Three Twins Ice Cream.  The volunteers provide tailored, hands-on assistance to help small businesses grow and create new economic opportunities.  Companies in the program grow their revenues by 25% on average, and add jobs at ten times the national level.  They’ve empowered hundreds of small businesses to create tens of thousands of jobs.
For more information, go HERE  or contact Patrick Duggan at 415/442-4312 or

Opportunity for Free Marketing, Promotion … and some Wine Benefits!
The marketing team of a major, up-market Sonoma-based wine brand is looking for an urban, 30-ish “LGBT power couple” that owns & operates an independent business, to be featured (along with others) in a major new national ad campaign for the wine.  The campaign will run in publications like Sunset Magazine, on the web, etc.   If you or someone you know fits that bill and is interested, send an email ASAP to to express interest.
Thanks to our wonderful Member, Dr. Kathleen Kennedy at For Your Eyes Only Optometry on Castro Street for this tip!

CASTRO MERCHANTS Dues Renewal and Castro Guide Time!
Watch your (snail – USPS) mail about March 5, for your CASTRO MERCHANTS annual Dues renewal notice, and information about great display ad opportunities to supplement your Member Listing in the 2015-15 Castro Guide.  We’re printing 30,00 copies of the Guide this year (up from 20,000 last time), thanks to growing demand from the downtown S.F. Visitors Center, hotel concierges, and many Members in the neighborhood who stock the Guide in their stores (thank you!).  Our target for the 2015-16 Castro Guide to be available is June 1, in time for it to reach all the added visitors we’re expecting during PRIDE month.  

CASTRO MERCHANTS March Members Meeting
You won’t want to miss our next monthly Members Meeting on Thursday morning, March 5 starting at 9:00am sharp (ends by 10:30am) in the Auditorium at Eureka Valley Recreation Center (EVRC), 100 Collingwood (between 18th and 19th Streets, behind Mollie Stone’s Castro Market).  See the Meeting Notice and full Agenda below.
This month’s highlights include
  • The usual, informative update from Supervisor Scott Wiener’s office,
  • An early information look at plans for the major new, mixed-use building proposed for the current Sullivan’s Funeral Home site at 2240 Market (and back thru to 2157-15th Street) – (the Goth Kids are gonna want to live here!)
  • An update on SF AIDS Foundation’s magnificent new programs building at 474 Castro Street.  Also see the calendar item above about SFAF’s Private Pre-opening Reception for local business people only on March 31.
  • Details of the S.F. International Film Festival’s plans for April 23-May 7 which bring thousands of hungry, thirsty, read-to-shop film fans to our area.
  • And we’ll celebrate all the CASTRO MERCHANTS Members and other area businesses, sure to have been named “BESTIES” in the Bay Area Reporters Readers Poll announced that morning. 
Thanks for your Membership and continued support for CASTRO MERCHANTS!
Daniel Bergerac, President, Castro Merchants

Castro Merchants

Thursday, March 5, 2015, 9:00am to 10:30am
Coffee and pastries from Starbucks, 4094–18th Street   THANK YOU !

  • Introductions
  • City Hall Update – Adam Taylor, Office of Supervisor Scott Wiener
  • Official Announcement of the CASTRO MERCHANTS Board’s Nominations Slate for 2015-16 Board Members and Officers (election on April 2, 2015)
  • Updates about Pink Saturday, Newspaper Rack Pedestals – Daniel Bergerac
  • Proposed new Mixed Use Project at 2240 Market/2157-15th Street (now Sullivan’s Funeral Home) Information Only Presentation – Dan Safier, Jon Yollles of The Prado Group, Developer
  • GLBT Historical Society & Museum – update     Paul Boneberg
  • S.F. International Film Society – Preview of its Annual Festival April 23 - May 7 at Castro Theatre (Julie Stallone)
  • SF AIDS Foundation, update on new program space at 474 Castro – Tim Patriarca
  • Member Announcements
  • Other Member Business

  • NOTE: Updated YELLOW MPC-25 “No Trespassing” posters were required as of January 1, 2015 for the first half of 2015.  Copies and instructions are available today at the Literature Table,or call Richard at 415/431-2359 or email
  • All current CASTRO MERCHANTS Members for 2014-15-16 are encouraged to attend this monthly CASTRO MERCHANTS Members Meeting.   Business owners and managers in The Castro who are considering CASTRO MERCHANTS Membership also are invited to attend one Meeting as a guest observer, to become more familiar with CASTRO MERCHANTS.  Others must contact CASTRO MERCHANTS in advance regarding attendance at CASTRO MERCHANTS’ private Meetings.  If you have questions about CASTRO MERCHANTS Meetings, please contact our President, Daniel Bergerac at 415/431-2359.
  • After this one, the next CASTRO MERCHANTS Members Meeting is on Thursday, April 2, 2015, starting at 9:00am at EVRC.
  • Then, CASTRO MERCHANTS regular monthly Members Meetings are on the first Thursday each month,at 9:00am at EVRC  - except NO MEETINGS  in January and July. 


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Castro Merchants
584 Castro Street #333
San Francisco, California 94114

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