Arik's, 1696 Valencia Street. Photo by Lola M. Chavez

An electrical fire that occurred five months ago has indefinitely shuttered the Valencia Street men’s workwear shop Arik’s.

A sign that reads “store closed until further notice” behind a gated storefront hints at the store’s recent trouble, and the shop’s owner said he is unsure when operations will resume.

Owner Avi Mandelbrot has operated the men’s apparel store out of its 1696 Valencia St. location for some seven years. But during the early hours of October 10, an apparent electrical fire threatened to destroy his establishment. His workers discovered the danger.

“They came in the morning to open the store and saw it was full of smoke,” said Mandelbrot. “They called the fire department right away.”

Mandelbrot also owns the almost four-decade-old Arik Surplus Co. at 2650 Mission St. He plans to re-open the Valencia Street location once repairs that include an overhaul of the store’s electrical system are made. He said he plans to begin repairs next week, although it is unclear how long they will take.

Mandelbrot said that firefighters had cut through his roof in order to extinguish the fire.  It is unclear where and how it originated – a spokesperson for the San Francisco Fire Department did not respond to inquiries by press time.

“We have to fix the roof that the fire department opened and the electricity before we can reopen,” he said, adding that he was glad that “nobody got hurt.”

Neighbors of the business were alarmed by the fire.

“The owner’s son caught it just in time, otherwise the whole block might have burned down,” wrote Paul Miller, owner of the adjacent Royal Cuckoo Bar at 3202 Mission St., adding that he and several other neighbors had lost power for several hours.

In June, a five-alarm fire just a street up from Arik’s, at 29th and Mission streets, took out almost an entire block, displacing six businesses and some 57 people from a residential hotel on that corner. That fire appears to have started in two trash cans near the back of the roof of a hardware store on located that block and was ruled accidental by investigators.

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