To kick off my first episode in my way too long talked about, never happening …… ‘Better Know a Shopkeeper’ series…. I thought I would get to know the shopkeeper of my most frequented of Microhood businesses….Bartlett Market and Liquor. I love the happy jovial character who always works the lunch to midnight shift. His name is Michael. He has the kind of welcoming cheer you would want in a Microhood shop keeper. So I ventured down to the corner of 24th and Bartlett to get to know him a little more:
Niall: So Michael…where are you from?
Michael: I was born and raised in San Francisco, but my family and heritage is from the Middle East.
Niall: Ah I see…can you be a bit more specific?
Michael: Ah ok. Jordan. Wasn’t sure people would have even hear of Jordan.
Niall: Our readers are well educated and bright bunch. So when did you come to the Microhood?
Michael: It has been about a year or so now and business is going pretty well. My business partner and I (his name is Nimer) moved from a business I worked in downtown.
Niall: So quite a change of scenery then?
Michael: For sure.
Niall: And do you live in the Microhood as well?
Michael: No I don’t. I would rather not say where I live.
Niall: Ahhh…come on. Is it outside the city?
Michael: Urmm….no. It’s Pacific Heights.
Niall: Oh wow. Fancy. So DEFINITELY a change of scenery here in the Microhood then. So what do you think of it here?
Michael: I would say it is really cool. I really like owning a store in the Microhood, the people and place is really cool. When family and friends ask me about this area I always say it is cool.
Niall: By cool…do you mean Hip Cool, or Fonzy Cool?
Michael: Definitely Hip Cool
Niall: Soo..Have you met Uncle Paco yet?
Michael: Who is Uncle Paco?
Niall: The guy who stands in front of your store EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Michael: Oh yes…I didn’t know his name, but I know the guy you mean.
Niall: So he is not one of your regular customers then?
Michael: Alas NO. He stands out-front of my shop and around this block every single day. He is always here, never skips a day and hangs out here all the time. But he has never entered into this store or purchased anything.
Niall: You should introduce yourself to him someday! Sticking to the cool description…What do you think of those Anthony Cookies then?
Michael: I haven’t had those yet.
Niall: WHAT!? Your homework assignment for the week is to go try one of those. They are amazing. Cookies N Cream is phenomenal!
Michael: Ok, Ok. I will.
Niall: Is there anything that could be done to the Microhood to make it even cooler then Michael?
Michael: Well…I would clean up the sidewalks and streets a little. They are rather messy and dirty…..and it would be good if some of the less fortunate people, so to speak , at the BART station could be helped out.
Niall: Are you referring to the people who always puke in the same corner sitting on the concrete seat?
Michael: No…but they could use a different type of help 😉
Niall: What is the most interesting encounter you have had with someone in the Microhood?
Michael: Well., there was this one time when I got into a bit of a ‘confrontation’ with two people outside the shop. Let’s just say they came into the store to get some merchandise and forgot to pay for it.
Niall: So they shoplifted?
Michael: Urmmm….Yes. We got into an argument and confrontation out front of the store and it was really great that numerous people ran over from the other side of the street to back me up and support me. That was great and shows how cool people in the Microhood are!
Niall: Well. The previous owner of this store Rocky wasn’t so cool as too be honest…he couldn’t manage his inventory too well and therefore it was often empty. Are you and Nimer a lot different than him?
Michael: Oh YES!! No empty shelves anymore. When we took over, the place was empty and by empty I mean EMPTY. We have changed things a lot and we sell special craft brew beers now that can’t be gotten easily anywhere else in the Mission. Beers like Brother Thelonious and Three Philosphers from Ommegang. You can try to find them in the Microhood. I am sure you cant though.
Niall: I see you have added an ice cream machine in as well?
Michael: Ah Yes. The demand for smooth ice cream from the school across the street was massive so we wanted to tap into that demand. But it didn’t work out too well as it turns out you have to take a 7 week course and have a food service license to serve ice cream. We didn’t have time for that and so the ice cream machine just sits there now as we found this out AFTER we had bought the machine.
Niall: Whoops….so you got the quarter game drop machine instead for the kids?
Michael: Yeah…well not really but people still come in and use that.
Niall: Ok Michael…it was great chatting with you and it’s getting late. Where do you normally go in the Microhood when you shut up shop for a drink?
Michael: The Attic. I don’t really like it much, but its right across the street.
Niall: Have you tried the sausages at Rosamunde…maybe you would like that place better?
Michael: I did try that place recently and it was really cool. Good food.
Niall: Well….you have another homework assignment then, to go have another sausage this week as I think they are seriously tasty.
Michael: Ok Niall….but I better go now as I have to shut up the shop (its 12am now) and I have a wife and kids waiting for me at home.
Niall: Really…that’s great. How many?
Michael: two boys and one girl. 11, 7 and newborn.
Niall: Wow. Congratulations. Well I had best be going then. Say Hi to the family and don’t forget to check out microhoodsf.com