It’s time to thank the neighborhood business

San Francisco is a city known internationally for its ultra-unique character. In this age of big-box retail and cookie-cutter cafés, to what can San Francisco attribute its perpetually distinct identity? A huge part of what shapes our City and contributes so deeply to our quality of life is undoubtedly the neighborhood business.

The neighborhood business — the mom-and-pop shop down the block that sells fresh produce; the dance studio that teaches kids hip-hop; the café on the corner where local artists exhibit their work and musicians meet to play bluegrass.

What can we do to tell these businesses we value their presence in our neighborhood? Certainly we can patronize local business. And maybe you’ll drop the change from your coffee into the tip jar. If you’re truly loyal, perhaps you’ll hand the proprietor a card at the holidays, but really what can we do to say to that business, “You are special and we appreciate you. Thank you.”?

Last year Urban Solutions, an economic development nonprofit in San Francisco, created a forum in which to recognize and celebrate those local businesses that enrich our City. In 2005, Urban Solutions inaugurated the San Francisco Neighborhood Business Awards. A call for nominations elicited a flurry of passionate replies about neighborhood businesses. It seemed the people of San Francisco were eager to find an outlet for their deep gratitude to the small business owner next door.

As a nonprofit whose mission is to help entrepreneurs secure financing, start or grow their businesses and create jobs, Urban Solutions is pleased to once again present the City with a concrete way to thank the many local business owners who are so committed to their communities.

Urban Solutions is now accepting nominations for the 2006 San Francisco Neighborhood Business Awards for businesses throughout San Francisco.

Neighborhood businesses do more than create jobs and generate tax revenue. They foster the well-known spirit of openness and community for which San Francisco is famous. Whether it’s a family-owned breakfast spot or a cluttered hardware store, the neighborhood business is as much a part of The City’s charm as summer fog and old Victorians.

Last year’s top three Neighborhood Business Awards went to Green Apple Books, Waldeck’s Office Supplies and Rasselas Jazz Club. With criteria including social, cultural and economic contributions, the judges found theyhad a wealth of options — so many businesses were well qualified in all of those categories. The result was a place for six Honorable Mentions — Casa Lopez Produce; Harvest Urban Market; Momi Toby’s Café; Residents Apparel Gallery; Bissap Baobab and Benkyodo Co.

Pete Mulvihill, Co-Owner of Green Apple Books and Music, tells the story of first learning about Waldeck’s Office Supply store at the 2005 awards. “I suddenly asked myself, ‘why am I buying my supplies from a national chain?’” Pete continues, “I’ve been contracting with Waldeck’s ever since that night.”

Urban Solutions welcomes anyone to submit a nomination describing, in 200 words or less, how a neighborhood business has contributed to the betterment of the community. This year’s SFNBA will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at 111 Minna Gallery in a gala ceremony . The deadline to submit nominations is Aug. 25.

So next time you’re strolling in your community please take note of that unique shop that helps make your neighborhood a place you call home, and tell us about them.

Jenny McNulty is the executive director of Urban Solutions. Nomination forms can be downloaded from Urban Solutions’ Web site, www.urbansolutionsSF.org/nominate, or dial (415) 346-0199 to have a form mailed to you.General OpinionOpinion

Just Posted

Niners defensive lineman Joey Bosa played a major role in stopping the Eagles in a Week 2 San Francisco victory. (Courtesy San Francisco 49ers)
What we learned from Niners beating the Eagles

By Mychael Urban Special to The Examiner Is your glass half-empty? Niners… Continue reading

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Most Read