Sisters Coffee Shop on opening day on 920 Valencia St. Taken by Annika Hom, Aug. 13, 2021.

Valencia business: the new kids on the block

Sister, sister 

Sister, sister 

Aww, sisters. They’ve got traveling pants. Perpetual indulgence. And now, on Valencia Street, coffee. Sisters Coffee Shop debuts today, Aug. 13, and the sisters in charge had no time to talk to me as they tended to the bustling cafe. 

Karen Ruelas and her sister Melody have taken over the former Javalencia Cafe, whose logo lingers on the shop’s front door. Now, the spot has a new look: electric green and baby pink. 

By 10 a.m. today the tables were flooded with Latinx families chatting away, and each barista was all-hands-on-deck to fill orders for smoothies, lattes and sandwiches. When I dropped by, Karen said she’d call me later if she got a chance to breathe. (She didn’t.) The shop runs every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

HUF is back to the streets

If you haven’t seen the “HUF” posters plastering walls and wooden barricades around the neighborhood, maybe you noticed the stenciled logo on sidewalks or the letters gracing the double doors of Curio. If not, you just might be blind. Whatever the case, the original San Francisco skate store has moved in at 968 Valencia St. 

While long ago, the shop attracted the city’s skaters to its first  location in the Tenderloin, it departed San Francisco for 10 years and moved on to numerous locations across the country and abroad. It officially returned to Valencia Street the weekend of Aug. 7, and had locals who attended the launch party flipping out, staff said. Even if you don’t shred, there might be some clothes to your liking. I ogled a beanie sporting signature black and orange Giants colors; maybe that’ll finally succeed in keeping me warm during a night game. 

Something’s afoot

A hop and a skip over, at 956 Valencia St., something’s in the works. The space was home to the boutique Azalea for six years before it shuttered in May, 2020. However, a realtor and the contractors working today confirmed a brand-new business is opening up. “What will it be?” I asked the man with a paint roller. He doesn’t know. Something. 

What pandemic infrastructure will we keep?

Most are familiar with the process of decluttering a closet. You take a look at all the amalgamated stuff, hold it up to your chest and go, “toss or keep?”

Well, in a way, San Francisco is undergoing some housekeeping of its own post-pandemic mess. City officials are scrutinizing many pandemic-driven, temporary initiatives. Should we toss or keep?

Shared Spaces, which ushered in roughly 2,100 temporary parklets during a fraught time for city eateries and bars, was deemed a keeper last month. We’re also holding on to four of 31 Slow Streets, including Shotwell Street, which enters design review. More of the 31 streets in consideration for permanent slowness are inching along in the process. 

Ah, but re: the Twitter-sphere, there is one major, heartbreaking toss: the Great Highway’s 24/7 street closure, which begins Aug. 16. The highway welcomes back cars five days a week, which Mayor London Breed deemed a “compromise” to those who really wanted it closed daily. They’re not going down without a fight. Citizens are filing a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, and it now looks like a San Francisco-esque protest/bike-ride is scheduled the day before cars return.

Housekeeping: What you missed and what I’m reading

From us, to you, with love

From us, to you, with love

David Mamaril Horowitz alerts us that the Mission library branch may have solidified its stained-glass window design. Additionally, he tuned into a discussion with the city’s head of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, who said she wants to spend $417 million on permanent, supportive shelter for the unhoused. 

What I’m reading

An interesting Chron piece reveals how the state and the city’s housing policies are at odds. A California senate bill renders certain housing projects exempt from community or San Francisco Planning Commission review as long as developers promise a specific amount of affordable units for their building. Part of that is to address the housing goals the state outlined in the coming years. While this piece uses 300 De Haro St. as an example, it’s curious to see if this legislation will translate to other controversial projects in the Mission. 

Could simple improvements, like visible signs and seats at bus stops, increase Muni ridership? It might, argues a Bloomberg City Lab article that focuses on San Francisco. The enlightening report included fascinating finds to get your wheels turning — like how Census tracts in the north of the city were more likely to have bus amenities and shelter than those in the south. More Census tracts with higher than average numbers of white residents wound up with more benefit-laden bus stops, too. 

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Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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3 Comments

  1. I am disappointed that the Shared Spaces program has become permanent without any obvious supervision. Recently, I have come upon several parklets that are NOT accessible for people that are mobility impaired and use walkers/wheelchairs. I thought that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors stated that this wouldn’t happen, yet it is EXACTLY what’s happening. Like the upcoming closing of JFK roadway in GG Park, let the majority (able bodied) push people with disabilities out of the picture and community. Once again, they’re being told you’re not wanted or valuable… we really don’t care, do we??

    1. Don’t worry, as soon as a couple of horrific crashes with cars, into the in street parklets happen. The city will ban them. I can’t believe that even now, insurance companies cover the parklets. Multi million dollar judgements just waiting to occur. I sure won’t sit in one.

    2. It looks like you can see the accessibility requirements for Shared Spaces, and report any violations, here: https://sf.gov/information/make-your-shared-space-accessible

      The permanent program has somewhat stronger accessibility requirements and will include signage that explains how to report violations, but it looks like it doesn’t go into effect until January for businesses that already have permits.

      Have you had trouble accessing Golden Gate Park since JFK went car-free? Any specific thoughts for what they should improve? I know they’ve already replaced 18 of the 26 blue zones that were lost along JFK and plan to replace the others as well. There’s still drop-off in front of the museums, too. As someone who doesn’t drive and is stressed out by traffic, I used to avoid Golden Gate Park because it just felt like a set of highways. I now really enjoy the calmer, quieter, safer spaces there with car-free streets. Hope we can ensure access for all without giving that up.

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