Noe Valley is a shopper's paradise and boasts an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes and boutiques. Take a stroll down 24th Street and you will soon get a sense of the small town feel of this unique and cherished San Francisco neighborhood. Surrounding 24th Street are a mix of charming Victorian and Edwardian homes interspersed with gorgeous modern dwellings, all of which add to the culture and personality of the area.
Our hosts for the SFCDMA Noe Valley Mixer on May 11 this year were Rachel Swann - President of the Swann Group SF, Inc. and Noe Valley Merchants Association President, and Cameron Silva - Chairman and CEO of Chateau de Noir Holdings, Inc.
Co-hosting were fellow occupants of the same space - IS Fine Art & Design.
Our Secretary, Vas Kiniris, met with Rachel and Cameron to find out what attracted them to Noe Valley.
What helped you decide to choose to open in the Noe Valley?
Rachel: I’ve lived and worked in Noe Valley for almost a decade and wouldn’t have it any other way! The amazing weather and sense of community is unbeatable. I walk across the street to my office and see many familiar faces along the way. Being able to support the community is a wonderful feeling, but getting support in return from them feels even better.
What is your most memorable experience since opening?
Cameron: A few months back my partner, Sergio and I decided to have a “Noe Valley Day” which we spent walking all of 24th Street. We went into every single storefront from Church to Castro to get a sense of what Noe Valley really had to offer. We met so many awesome San Franciscans who were proud of their businesses; it really makes you feel good and gives you a sense of nostalgia to see hardworking people supporting their families and their community. One merchant who lived above her storefront even took us into her house for a glass of wine… talk about good neighbors!
What is your favorite restaurant, business or shop in the neighborhood?
Cameron: I’m biased, but my favorite business in the neighborhood is the Swann Group SF, whose new office shares the space with IS: Fine Art & Design on the corner of 24th & Vicksburg. Their gallery features fabulous local artists and boutique home products for sale. The space is something really unique for the neighborhood! Rachel is my rockstar real estate agent and she is the essence of a community pillar. She is larger-than-life character who exudes the best of small-town San Francisco. If she’s not selling houses, she’s busy as the newest President of the Noe Valley Merchants Association.
What makes Noe Valley different from other merchant corridors in SF?
Rachel: Noe Valley has a sense of community and a small town feel that is really unique for San Francisco. Despite the rising cost of rents, we’ve been able to retain a large amount of locally-owned businesses; many owners live within a few blocks proximity from their businesses! There is a real push for revitalization in the neighborhood, and it is an exciting time to be a merchant in Noe Valley. Groups like the NVMPA are assembling robust resources for business owners, and wonderful places like the new Noe Valley Town Square (the only town square in San Francisco!) are bringing community members and businesses together in a way that previously was unheard of in the neighborhood.
What do you hope for the future of Noe Valley?
Rachel & Cameron: We both hope that Noe Valley can grow and prosper while continuing to offer that small-town feeling. The neighborhood is on the cusp of a revitalization, and we hope to help it thrive in a positive way. Showcasing our wonderful businesses to tourists and residents from other neighborhoods is key for Noe Valley. We want to draw foot traffic to Noe Valley based on the quality and unique aspects our businesses and residents have to offer.