One of the downright adorable aspects of living in San Francisco is the abundance of colorful small corner markets in each neighborhood. J&W on Pine Street, for example, is one of our personal favorites. As is Fog Hill Market, the 800-square-foot grocery store on Telegraph Hill. Or rather, was one of our favorites.
After a lengthy battle, the tiny market at 1300 Kearny succumbed to the new San Francisco, where conformist shopping—i.e., Safeway, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s—is the new normal. Add to that the popularity of Airbnb, which has aided in adding an influx of short-term rentals while subtracting San Franciscans—and you have the now infamous formula for a cherished retailer closing its doors.
In August, the 110-year-old building, which has two residential units above, was sold for $1.66 million.
The owner of Fog City Marker, Hanna Chedyak, was as loved as his little shop. "Everybody loves Hanna—sometimes I just walk in to say hi," beamed one Yelp reviewer. "So lucky to have this helpful corner store near my home!"
"This is the best market in all of San Francisco. You can find literally anything you need here," wrote another reviewer.
At this store, locals could find a myriad of sundries within its 800 square feet. Soda, beer, sandwiches, pre-cut fruit, cat supplies, the London Review of Books—almost anything.
Why, even the "Who Cares" clock above the register was a bit of an iconic local itself.
The end of the Fog Hill Market did not come suddenly; it’s been ailing for some time, like a beloved friend who has a fatal disease. Not so long ago, Chedyak said he could count on 300 customers a day, but it began to drop steadily. By spring it was down to 140 or so and in the last few days it dropped even more.
In March, the old landlord told Chedyak he wanted to increase the rent from $3,600 a month to $5.000. Chedyak said that was too much; he decided not to pay the higher rate. The situation drifted for awhile, but it was clear that the little store’s days were numbered.
After twenty years, the store closed its doors in early September.
Here are some scenes of the tiny Telegraph Hill shop.
Come out! Come out! Join my neighbors and I rally once again to keep Fog Hill Market from closing. I am very sad and pissed to find out my grocery store a few houses up is being forced out. The owner Hannah spoke candidly about the city and its ridiculous taxes and fees imposed on his small business. He has worked his whole life to make his American Dream a reality and now due to skyrocketing fees imposed on his business and high rental property his dream is being jeopardized. He is the most honest, hardworking and sweetest man you'll meet. Let's help him! #rally #savefoghillmarket #foghillmarket #smallbusinesssaturday #help #supportsmallbusiness
Hanna Chedyak himself: