Longtime West Portal hardware store reopens after fire

One year after a three-alarm fire badly damaged multiple businesses in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood, one of the stores, which has operated for more than 80 years, celebrated its reopening Wednesday at a temporary location.

Papenhausen Hardware had been at its previous West Portal Avenue location for more than twenty years, but a fire on Jan. 24, 2018, forced the owners to close and look for a new space.

Fortunately, their new location, located at 2 West Portal Avenue, is just doors away from the old one.

According to the owners, Karl Aguilar and Matt Rogers, they were able to secure a short-term lease at the new space with help from Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee and the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The lease will carry the business over until
renovations at the former location are made. Renovations are expected to be finished in May.

SEE RELATED: Firefighters contain three-alarm blaze in West Portal

“So many people often complain about the slowness and difficultly of the city’s processes, but in our experience, all of the city departments were incredibly clear, responsive and helpful. The night the fire happened, the first responders arrived immediately and stayed until the end to make sure everyone was safe,” Aguilar said in a statement.

“We are so grateful for all of our community members, loyal customers, the city departments and Supervisor Yee’s office for their collective and persistent efforts to advocate to the property manager to reconsider leasing their space to us,” he said.

In a statement, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said, “A year ago Matt and Karl experienced a tremendous loss, as did the entire West Portal neighborhood, when Papenhausen Hardware was destroyed by fire.

“Today, the San Francisco Fire Department is delighted to celebrate the culmination of the hard work of everyone who has played a part
in bringing one of West Portal’s most iconic businesses back to life,” she said.

In a statement Yee said, “For me it was very important that the city did everything in our power to help Papenhausen recover from the
devastating fire and quickly find a new location or move back into their original space.

“After a fire disaster, small businesses need to continue operating, keep their staff on payroll and serve their customers in order to stay afloat,” he said.

According to Yee’s office, Papenhausen’s owners expect to move back to their original spot sometime this spring.

West Portal Daily, a convenience store that was also damaged during the blaze, has since reopened and is currently expanding, Yee’s office said.

-Daniel Montes, Bay City News

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