Castro’s ‘Local Take’ gift shop prepares to move into old

Today we offer you, for a change, a story of commercial success in the Castro district. After nine years at its current location on 17th Street, the Castro Gift Shop Local plug (3979B 17th. St.) is preparing to expand to a new, larger space at 18th and Castro streets.

Local Take will move into space formerly occupied by Core40 Exercise Studio and Magnet Health Services Clinic at 4122 18th Street.

“This is my dream place,” said Jenn Meyer, owner of Local Take. “Everything about it makes me so happy to be here.”

“I am delighted with this new start,” added Meyer. “Love this block on 18th street, looks like a whole different neighborhood from 17th street.”

Local Take opens this month at 4122 18th St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Meyer tells Hoodline that she plans to open later this month — a specific opening date is not available at this time.

“Everything takes longer these days,” Meyer said, of the opening process.

Once the new store opens, Meyer says she will keep the 17th Street location open for a week or two to eliminate on-sale products and accessories.

Opened in 2013, Local Take sells everything from tote bags to t-shirts, jewelry, pottery and more. “I call it a gallery gift shop,” Meyer said. All Local Take items are made by local artists. Meyer said they have items from around 120 local artists.

“It was an amazing experience,” Meyer said. “We really succeeded.”

While Meyer appreciated its location just off Jane Warner Plaza, she said, “it had its limits.” “There were no windows and there are four steps leading up to the store.”

Local Take has been at 3979B 17th St. for nine years. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

With less foot traffic along 17th Street, Meyer said customers have come to appreciate the store as “a hidden gem.”

“I like that too, but it limits the amount of exposure we can get,” Meyer said.

Local Take’s new space, adjacent to the Collingwood Street car park behind Walgreens, is larger and has two storefronts. Meyer said this will allow passers-by to look directly into the store and see what they have inside.

“I feel like I’m doing something safe and close to home by opening up my concept, but just doing it in this cool new space,” Meyer says. “I love the Castro so much, I’ve been here almost a decade and I don’t want to leave.”

Meyer said customers can expect the same experience at the new store, but with the convenience of its selection. A large wall at the back of the store will be dedicated to large format art. Meyer said local photographer Gooch will be the first artist to exhibit his work on the wall.

Navigating the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic has not been easy, and Meyer said survival was made possible by a variety of factors. “It was so many different things,” Meyer said.

“We had an amazing customer base. We had a lot of loyal customers who bought gift certificates and shopped online.” Meyer said Local Take was strong heading into the pandemic after a successful holiday shopping season in 2019.

Inside the local outlet on 17th Street. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

In addition to a great clientele, Meyer said her owner was very accommodating. “Our landlord immediately said ‘What do you need and how can I help you?’ My landlord continued to support us for two years.”

Meyer said her landlord forgave six months’ rent and worked with her to gradually increase payments until Local Take could afford each month.

Meyer also applied for all the grants she could find and received several, including city and federal grants. In the end, she received two Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.

“It was huge,” Meyer said of the SBA’s PPP loan. “If any of those things hadn’t happened, it could have been a different story.”

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman (left), Mayor London Breed (centre) and Local Take owner Jenn Meyer (right). | Photo: Rafael Mandelman/Facebook

“Every help I’ve received from the community, the city, the government and my landlord has contributed to our survival over the past two years,” she says.

While it was difficult to operate a retail store during the pandemic, says Meyer, “there was never a time when I didn’t have to decide if I was going to continue. It was always a solid foundation “.

As Castro gears up for Pride Month in June, Meyer said she’s started noticing more shoppers in the neighborhood, with “more tourists…and people traveling more.”

“The Castro seems livelier over the past month,” Meyer added. “You can feel the energy ramping up in the Castro.”

Laura J. Boyer