On and Off Chestnut

Keeping it small in the new year

Tiny Dynamo Donuts on the Little Marina Green Photos: courtesy S.F. Recreation and Park

by jim maxwell

Now that we’ve all survived the end of the Mayan calendar and the excess of the holidays, it’s time to reflect on what makes our neighborhood on and off Chestnut Street so magical. It’s the endless variety and bounty that we find just blocks from our homes – whether on Chestnut Street, Fillmore Street, or Lombard – featuring something for every fashion taste or whim. It’s the wonderful restaurants with cuisines that span the globe but bring us closer over a shared meal with family and friends. It’s the countless shop owners, many of whom you know by name, that greet you with a smile every time you walk through their doors. They know your story, your family, your pets, and your preferences. You take a moment to have a real conversation with a human being, and maybe learn a little more about their backstory too. In this age of constant contact – however remotely via our endless technology – that person-to-person encounter is still the one we remember at the end of the day.

That’s probably at the heart of what made Thanksgiving weekend’s Shop Small Saturday campaign such a success. Between the chaos of Black Friday and the impersonal conquests of Cyber-Monday, U.S. consumers spent over $5.5 billion with small independent merchants across the country according to American Express, the key sponsor of the event. The amazing thing about shopping at small, locally owned businesses is that every dollar spent gets recycled thru our local economy an average of three times. That’s three times the revenue for the city to support community services, plus local jobs that keep families right here in the city.

The more people are aware that the choices they make with their money have a greater impact beyond just that one point of sale, the more sustainable our economy and our lives become. So for the future of our small neighborhood business corridors, make a resolution this year to Shop Small all year round and not just one Saturday a year.

A perfect example of small and sustainable is the latest addition to the neighborhood down on the Little Marina Green, where Dynamo Donuts & Coffee has recently opened their second location in the tiny kiosk at the west end of the harbor. Dynamo is the brainchild of Sara Spearin, a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont who honed her pastry skills at some of the top restaurants in San Francisco, including Postrio, Hawthorne Lane, Stars, and Foreign Cinema. Sara had a vision of opening her own quaint neighborhood bakery, and while on maternity leave, she realized the importance of a well-crafted donut and the utter lack thereof in San Francisco.

Staying true to her artisan-baking background, Dynamo uses Clover organic milk for both coffee and donuts, and each donut utilizes organic, sustainable and local ingredients whenever possible. Handmade daily by Sara and her dedicated staff, a rotating selection of 7 to 10 donuts per day is offered so quality and freshness can be guaranteed. And for those caught up in the current craving for all things bacon, everyday is Bacon Donut Day! Lemon pistachio, cornmeal rosemary cherry, candied orange blossom, apricot cardamom, spice chocolate, and molasses Guinness pear are just a few of the creative flavors Sara has created. Stop by for a donut that is sure to brighten your day. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dynamo Donuts: Baker Street at Marina Boulevard (along the Marina Yacht Harbor sea wall),

Another tiny Marina venture just got a bit bigger, as Hand Touch Nail Care recently relocated across Chestnut Street into a larger space. Their newly renovated shop offers a stunning and peaceful setting to enjoy their caring and personalized service. Thuy Do, the manager, says they have a loyal following of clients, but are welcoming many new customers in their latest location. Open Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.
to 7 p.m.

Hand Touch Nail Care: 2371 Chestnut Street, 415-447-6015

Remember to think globally and shop locally in 2013! Wishing you all a joyous and prosperous new year.

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