Merchants – Marjan Philhour

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

neighborhoods safe.


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

adjacent streets.


If you would like to get involved, please e-mail us at


Upcoming activities

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;

• 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


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


As always, we welcome your feedback on ways to improve Balboa Street.

Contact us at 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s