Is Divisadero Street becoming the new Valencia? With the opening of Bi-Rite Market this week next to neighborhood stalwart Nopa, along with the recent opening of The Mill, the corridor seems like it might be this year’s “it” neighborhood for food-lovers.
We stopped in to the soft opening on Monday of the new Bi-Rite Market where as expected, lines of people were clamoring for the the goods that have made the store so popular. Owner Sam Mogannam said it was an easy decision to expand to Divisadero.
“I’ve always loved this neighborhood, especially being right next to Nopa,” he said. “I think this area has a lot of the same vibe as our store on 18th Street. There’s a real sense of community here.”
While the new store may seem a bit bigger, Mogannam said it’s actually only about 500 square feet larger than the original. It does feel wider and it will carry many of the same products, just with a bigger cheese area and creamery right inside the store.
While many other smaller grocers have struggled to stay afloat in San Francisco, Mogannam believes the philosophy they have carried out has been a huge part of Bi-Rite’s success. “The smaller mom and pop stores are always competing with each other, but they are all selling the same items. You can say the same about the larger grocery chains. We’ve always believed in selling products from great local producers and we make a lot of the food ourselves,” he said. “I think that uniqueness draws people in. And while most bigger stores are going to automated, with self-checkout machines, we overstaff our store. Customer service is a huge aspect of what we do. So we want to have enough staff on hand to be able to answer all of our customer’s questions in a timely manner.”
Bi-Rite on Divisadero is closed on Tuesday as they make final preparations for the grand opening on Wednesday, March 13. The store will be open from 9-9 daily. Bi-Rite Market is located at 550 Divisadero Street.