Improving Balboa Street
by Marjan Philhour
With the rise of the Internet economy, social media marketing, Yelp rankings, delivery
services and, apparently soon, delivery robots, local merchants are constantly trying to
figure out how to innovate and compete for customers. One of the motivations behind
coming together as a merchant community three years ago was that it became clear that,
by working together to market not only our businesses but our whole corridor, we could
increase the vibrancy of our neighborhood, strengthen the connection between
neighbors and merchants and appeal to more customers.
Over the past two months, the Balboa Village Merchants Association (BVMA) has been
exploring the idea of a “Balboa Village Passport,” a neighborhood loyalty program that is
offered on both Apple Wallet and Android Pay, as well as a physical card for individuals
who don’t use smartphones.
We’re in the process of talking to local merchants about how this service might work for
them to create a more cohesive shopping experience on Balboa Street. We’ll be unveiling
more details in the coming months as well as seeking input – we are looking forward to
offering both rewards to regular customers and to offering residents from other parts of
San Francisco an incentive to come support our local merchants.
Large crowd attends crime forum in December
The BVMA partnered with the SF Police Officers’ Association, Greater Geary and Clement
Street merchants’ associations and neighborhood organizations from the Presidio
Heights, Pacific Heights and the Marina District for a forum on crime and public safety,
which was held at the Jewish Community Center on Monday, Dec. 4.
Representatives from the Richmond and Northern police stations gave updates on the
latest efforts to curb car and property break-ins and the best practices to keep our
Almost 100 local residents attended the informative and engaging conversation.
We’ve heard loud and clear from both merchants and neighbors about concerns
relating to theft, car break-ins and general safety in our neighborhood, especially
along Balboa Street.
Members of the BVMA are looking forward to working with the Richmond District
Neighborhood Center (RDNC) and San Francisco Safety Awareness for Everyone (SAFE)
to establish a neighborhood watch program along the Balboa corridor as well as
If you would like to get involved, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
We are proud of so much that is going on at the Balboa Village, and I
hope you will join us for some of these events and activities in January:
• Creative IQ is hosting a Valentine’s art show called “Art to Choke Hearts,”
featuring their teachers and other local artists, which opens on Saturday, Jan. 13,
from 5-9 p.m.;
• The last week of Creative IQ’s winter camp will run Tuesday through
Friday, Jan. 2 to Jan. 5. Creative IQ will also have spring camps in March and April.
You can find more info. about both winter and spring camps online at the
website at http://www.creativeiqsf.com/camps;
• NOISE will be hosting the amazing local band BURNT on Saturday, Jan. 6,
beginning at 5 p.m. Matt Swagler is the bass player and a Richmond District resident.
They have released a two LP set and will be playing at The Independent on Friday, Jan. 5;
• NOISE will also be celebrating its second anniversary over the Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. weekend with live music from Friday, Jan. 12, through Monday, Jan. 15.
All ages are welcome! You can find them on Instagram (@noisesanfrancisco),
Facebook/noisesf or the website at www.sanfrancisconoise.com.
We are proud to work with neighborhood partners
We are proud of all of our merchant and neighborhood partners, including the
Richmond District Neighborhood Center, which sponsors the Home Delivered Groceries
program as an extension of two SF-Marin Food Bank-supported pantries.
Working in partnership with the Richmond Senior Center, RDNC connects local
volunteers with senior participants who have mobility issues, making it difficult to
transport groceries. Generous volunteers deliver fresh groceries, share conversation and
serve as a friend and set of eyes in the community, looking out for those in need.
The program takes place on Tuesdays, from 3-6 p.m., at Lafayette Elementary School
(36th Avenue, between Balboa and Anza streets), or Thursdays, from 2:30-6:30 p.m., at
RDNC (30th Avenue, between Cabrillo and Balboa streets).
If you’d like to volunteer to make a direct, positive impact right here in our
neighborhood, please visit the website at http://rdnc.org/food-pantry/food-security.
As always, we welcome your feedback on ways to improve Balboa Street.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org orvisit us at the website at
On behalf of BVMA, we wish all of our Richmond neighbors all the best for a
wonderful, neighborly 2018!
Marjan Philhour is president of the Balboa Village Merchants Association.