Paxton Gate kids store closing

The former space of Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids will be taking a sharp u-turn come summer. Instead of being a destination for toys, it will be a place to buy sharp objects.

Specifically: kitchen knives.

Bernal Cutlery, currently located near the corner of 17th and Guerrero, will move into the toy store’s former digs at 766 Valencia St., between 18th and 19th, perhaps as soon as August. The business specializes in “all things knife-related” — especially selling and sharpening high-quality kitchen cutlery.

Kelly Kozak, who in 2010 co-founded Bernal Cutlery in Bernal Heights with her partner, Josh Donald, said the shop was looking for a new spot as its lease on Guerrero was month-to-month. A seismic retrofit on the Guerrero building has been looming as well, she said.

The seven-odd-year lease in a larger space located on a busier corridor, Kozak said, will help the business achieve greater sustainability. “We have a commercial lease that’s stable,” she said. “We’ll be there for a while.”

The larger space on Valencia will offer a wider retail selection and more knife-related classes. And, yes, that includes a class that teaches kids knife skills and safety. (Kozak and Donald have three children.)

Curiosities for Kids closed in April after Paxton Gate owner Sean Quigley determined the business was not financially viable, but he still had eight years on the lease.

In a letter announcing the space’s new occupants, Quigley said he personally selected the toy store’s successor. Kozak and Donald, he wrote, met while working at Paxton Gate more than a decade ago. Donald, he said, helped secure outside funding for Paxton Gate when it was a nascent business.

“Without him, who knows, we may never have moved to Valencia Street,” Quigley wrote. “We may not even be here!”

“So, somehow this outcome seems right to me and partially relieves the sting of closing a business,” Quigley added. “It seems like events have come full circle and landed in their proper place.”

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. I don’t mind. Now at least I have a place close by to bring all my dull knives to be judge-mentally sharpened.
    I do wish for the new store to keep the little art gallery in the front. What a great space to introduce really talented artists.