: views from the Hill

Thursday, April 03, 2008

from Eames to civets

from Mixed Use to Kopi Luwak.

Mixed Use, a fun shop on Union at Grant that sold used everything from Dooney & Bourke bags to fur coats, to men's cowboy boots, fifties furniture and Scandinavian bookends at prices too high for my Goodwill sensibilities, closed up at the end of the year.

The store had a diverse collection of things for sale and was a wonderful place to poke around in but, as I mentioned, I never bought a thing there because I'm a thrift store girl at heart. I can get the D&B handbag that Mixed Use was selling for fifty dollars for fifteen at the Goodwill, ten dollars if the store is having a "30% off anything with a blue price tag" day. Plus no sales tax at the Goodwill. Oh, yay, Goodwill.

Granted, Mixed Use had the crème de la crème of secondhand stuff. No need to hunt pearls in thrift store oyster beds. But, for me, the hunt (and the successful pearl capturing) is the fun of it. ("Like my Ferragamo shoes? $6 at the Goodwill!")

The store's location on Union, a few buildings east of Grant, might've also been a factor in its demise. (I'm sure my not buying things there wasn't.)

Shops on Grant between Broadway and Fillmore have problems attracting a customer base. I'm not sure what the solution is. Mixed Use was not even on Grant, but off Grant and being off Grant -- on a stretch of Union that usually only neighbors walking home and hardy hill-worthy tourists use -- had to have effected its walk-in business.

Despite the sign down at the corner of Union and Grant directing people up the hill to the shop and good writeups in the San Francisco mags, I was usually the only potential customer in the shop those times I popped in to see what they had in their inventory. Their problem was their location. They would've done much better in Polk Gulch. Or Union Street in Cow Hollow. Or down on Fillmore. Their problem was there were no other nearby nifty little shops to attract like-minded customers.

I was sorry to see them go.

Who would brave the space next?

We noticed new signage last month. A new tenant had opened shop at 463 Union Street. The windows are still papered over but his nibs was able to pick up a brochure when he walked by the storefront the other day. Will this business make a success of the space?

Kopi Luwak Trading Company

Hm. Phone and email orders only at this stage.

Maybe that's the ticket: not depending on walk-in customers.

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