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Union Street Scoop

It’s time to spring it on

Out with the old ....

First you see it. Then you don’t. The number of stores that have recently closed on Union Street is significant, though not surprising. We may have said bye-bye to corporate stores Armani Exchange, Bebe, and Rugby, but perhaps it was time for their leave. Maybe they became dinosaurs in a neighborhood that needed new ponies.

We are getting a whole new crop of stores on Union. Individually, they are appealing, but together they reflect a lifestyle change, one that caters to health and well-being, whether you’re a wanna-be health enthusiast or the real thing. All three of the stores are opening on the 1900 block of Union, where the build-out of Equinox at the old Metro Theater is thankfully under way. In the Armani spot, we’ll have an Australian brand athletic wear company called Lorna Jane. Like Lucy and Lululemon (some kind of health message in the ‘Ls?), Lorna Jane caters to active wear. It is designed for women by women, and has been the number-one fitness and fashion label in Australia for years. They offer a wide variety of product for every sport, but more than that, they offer a “way of life.”

Across the street, in the Bebe spot, will be Soul Cycle, an indoor cycling studio designed for a full-body workout in an atmosphere that is fun and challenging. The company was started by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler in New York City, where it became a huge enough hit to open other locations. Great music, low lighting, and inspired well-trained coaches come together at Soul Cycle to hopefully create a new bunch of dedicated riders. And finally, cycling of a different sort takes the location at 2078 Union. Here, Contrada Bikes will make its name as a locally owned full-service bike store dedicated to quality in all things bikes.

Other news of new on Union includes the yet-to-be-named Peruvian restaurant that began construction at 1851 Union Street. In-bankruptcy, long-time Italian restaurant owner Luisa Hansenalong with tenant Notte shuttered their doors and windows with barely a word. Though the plans are still in the hush-hush stage for the new restaurant, it’s nice to see the beautiful location getting a good cleanup.

It’s time once again for our annual Easter Parade and Spring Celebration. This is our 22nd year hosting this free and fabulous event, and it is truly a spectacle worth seeing. Known as the “Biggest Little Parade in San Francisco,” Union Street’s cultural tradition is always on Easter. This year it comes early on March 31 from 10 a.m to 5 p.m., with the parade at 2 p.m.

It is at heart a family event with nearly everyone a participant one way or another. Thousands flood our streets (which are closed to vehicular traffic) to take part in one or several activities, including Easter Bonnet contests, a petting zoo, pony rides, face-painting, balloon-making, and wall climbing. Musicians and jugglers will serenade us in the street, classic cars will be on view, and outdoor cafes are the perfect way to view the scene of colorful outfits and hats ranging from elegant to outrageous.

Then there’s the parade, a wonderful conglomeration of homemade floats, roller-blading cows, classic and art cars, the official S.F. Yorkie team, and a whole lot more. For the third year, our District 2 supervisor, Mark Farrell, will be the grand marshall of the parade, leading the procession alongside his family and the S.F. Police Department Mounted Unit.

Traditionally, it has been neighbor Everett Price and his lovely wife Alice who have shepherded in all of the grand marshalls (and Christmas snow queens) in all of our parades in his spectacular 1935 Packard Roadster. Regrettably, Everett recently passed. He will be sorely missed for his endless spirit, good nature, and in the kind and elegant manner in which he treated all of us.

For more information about the Easter event, go to www.sresproductions.com.

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Leslie Drapkin is a co-owner of Jest Jewels on Union Street. E-mail: leslie@marinatimes.com