[Photos: Tamara Palmer]
For the past two years, Buyer's Best Friend (1740 Haight) has been established as a leading wholesale broker for emerging independent and artisan food businesses and has run an operation involving nearly 2000 different vendors (Droga Confections, House of Balsamic, Lucille's Bloody Mary Mix, etc.) out of a private Victorian home in the Upper Haight. Now, the wholesale component has moved to the heart of Haight Street, and the company has taken its first foray into retail with this new homegrown specialty boutique.
BBF had originally intended to be a tenant alongside a bakery called PicnicFare and an expanded Alembic in the future reconfiguration of the former Red Vic Movie House. But delays with the project prompted owners Adam Sah and Joyce Guan to jump on a nearby alternative they could realize much sooner— in the former Decades of Fashion space across the street.
The shop's inventory includes small regional brands from around the country, including items native to the Bay Area. Emmy's Pickles and Jams, CC Made, Bacetti, and Botanical Bakery are just a few of the hard-to-find items available in the beverage, confection, and condiment realms.
The sheer volume of the company catalog ensures that the boutique will constantly feature new and hard-to-find products. Stumptown Coffee, for example, is available by the bag or by the hot cup. Almost everything on the floor is available to be tasted or otherwise sampled. Prices are reasonable, and in many instances there are volume discounts of approximately 15-20% for buying by the case. There are also picnic lunch bags and boxes for sale alongside a rent-a-basket option.
Look for evening events to launch here in the future, and take note that Sah—a former Google engineer who leads a team that built BBF's own point-of-sale system—admits this new venture is only the "third biggest project" he and Guan are working on right now. Soon BBF might be behind food products seen in many popular places, but that's all he can say for now.
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