A business like Avedano’s Holly Park Market shouldn’t need saving, says owner Angela Wilson — but with her landlord more than doubling their rent, it desperately did, facing closure by the end of June. Now the shop, which has operated on Cortland Avenue for 12 years, has been rescued. A wealthy new business partner, whose name Wilson does not plan to disclose, will ensure the business makes rent each month.
But it’s not the kind of solution that makes Wilson comfortable. “The plan shouldn’t be to have rich people save us,” she says.
First, Avedano’s will close for a few months for a building remodel, reopening in September. When it returns, “I wan to start fresh with new intention,” Wilson says, partnering with Off the Grid to reach more customers, for example. The queer-owned business is already known for its sustainable meat CSAs, panino sandwiches, butchery classes, and cheeky T-shirts that read “We put the butch in butcher” and “I like pork butt and I cannot lie.”
“I wanna show why what we do is different, and how supporting small farms is crucial,” Wilson says. “We’re in a fight for our food systems and Amazon is winning. And I wanna show why it’s important to fight.”
Wilson doesn’t blame Avedano’s new landlord for the rent hike: The building hadn’t been sold since 1955, so he’s just recouping the much higher property taxes that followed its sale. Instead, Wilson is frustrated with local government for not adequately protecting small businesses — and disappointed with San Franciscans who talk a big game about sustainable food, but buy commodity meat at cheaper prices.
“I want people to stop lying to themselves. If they want a convenience community, choose that. Say ‘we don’t want to choose small farms.’ I don’t give a shit if people eat meat — I think people should be vegans — but if they’re not gonna be, they should pay for [small purveyors].”
Going forward, Wilson would like to see the city consider bold solutions for small businesses, exploring options like commercial rent control. “We should be a model city,” she says — leading the way as more urban areas experience the wealth stratification tearing at the heart of San Francisco.
“Having a rich person save you is like the end of a Disney movie.... I’m frankly ashamed I got saved. You shouldn’t work 7 days a week for 12 years and need to be saved.”