As we round the corner to our launch event tomorrow at Betabrand, we’d like to introduce you to VCMA’s Vice-President, and Founder.
First Up: VCMA Vice President
While Valencia Street has faced threats (most notably evictions, rising rents, too many cars, and the threat of formula business moving in), there have been a lot of positive changes happening too. As VCMA Vice President and General Manager of Mission Bicycle Company Jefferson points out:
“Valencia has changed so much in the last few years. There are more wonderful quirky shops. The sidewalks are wider and easier to navigate. We love the Day of the Dead ironwork around the new trees. We love the love that the city has refreshed the Mission Playground. The merchants in the corridor are more unified and effective than ever.”
These are some of the reasons why he says Valencia is worth fighting for and why he explains:
“It’s still my favorite neighborhood in the world. It will have to change a lot more for me to want to go anywhere else.”
So how do we keep Valencia one of the most interesting residential and small business corridors in the country?
“I think for us, evolving needs to come in the form of efficient communication, developing partnerships, building coalitions and working together. These are the kinds of things that will enable us to grow and thrive.”
Last and certainly not least: VCMA Founder
No one understands the creative spark at the heart of Valencia St more than VCMA founder and Glama-Rama owner Deena Davenport. Deena explain why she was drawn to Valencia:
“In the early nineties, I had a theatre group that practiced at 21st and Valencia, and I had a weekly club that my pal and I hosted at the Casanova called Baby Judy’s. Valencia was the place that was queer friendly, but simultaneously all inclusive; a nice change from the Castro and the Haight. There was this bar called the Crystal Pistol, that also drew young queers, and the Epicenter, which housed punks, queer or not. The Lexington worked really well with the vibe too, and the community of businesses that gravitated toward Valencia, was a community I wanted badly to be a part of!
Deena is committed to maintaining the street’s character. As she explains,
“[When I moved my business to Valencia,] I heard that there wasn’t a merchants association, so I immediately started one when I arrived. A lot has happened since then. There was the flood of restaurants, and then the flood of evictions. We are fighting hard to help our people stay, with what little spare time we have! What hasn’t changed is the hard working nature of the small businesses on Valencia. We are a tough breed, because we love what we do, and our businesses are like our children. We need to nurture and protect them!”
Her top priority is to keep formula businesses out.
Join us to celebrate Valencia Street’s diversity and the official launch of VCMA tomorrow, Thursday January 23 6-9pm at Betabrand (780 Valencia, between 18th and 19th).