Saturday, May 05, 2007

Changes in the 'hood

One of the great pleasures of urban life is that we have real neighborhood corner stores. If you need a quart of milk or just about anything else, in the genuinely citified parts of San Francisco, you can just go down to the end of the block to the local hole in the wall. There's no parking and the shelves tend to be crammed to the bending point, but most of what people need in everyday life is there, marked up a little, but convenient.

The owners of these places are vital to the fabric of the neighborhood. They know us all and the smart ones are friends to all, from the local drunks to the snootiest yuppies. Their stores create foot traffic that makes neighborhoods safer (see the work of Jane Jacobs.)

Recently the storeowner on our corner retired after about 30 years and sold off his business. Like most of our storeowners, he was a well-educated, sophisticated Palestinian. The new owners are young Palestinians, far more Americanized in their basketball jerseys and workout pants. They've made some changes.

In most of the little local stores, the candy rack looks like this:

They still have one of those, but next to the cash register, the new guys have added this:

They tell me this display of yuppie chocolate sells well. Interesting. It has taken a long time for rising San Francisco land values to impinge on the immigrant, impoverished character of the Latino Mission, but the success of this new product line tells me a lot about how the 'hood is changing.


sfwillie said...

All of a sudden I crave a Forever Yours.

Leigh said...

This is a cool post. Found you through Ezra Klein! Long live Jane Jacobs!

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