After a year of test stores and surveying various neighborhoods in our home state of California, we have finally found the perfect flagship store!
Thanks to all our loyal customers insisting over and over that we belonged on San Francisco’s famous Haight Street, we started to search the area in earnest. For months we combed Haight for retail spaces to no avail. Feeling it may be a lost cause to find a spot in this coveted neighborhood we branched out to search other areas. Until one day while stopping in for crepes on Haight, we found parking right in front of an empty store front with a sign on the window “FOR RENT.” It was the perfect little shop a few stores down from the legendary Haight & Ashbury corner. Serendipity!
“Back in the mid-1960s, this was perhaps the most famous intersection in the world, a place where young people came to from all over the world in search of love and peace. Some found it and some didn’t, but that was only one chapter in this neighborhood’s long and colorful history.”
Upon signing the lease our landlord gave us a world class tour of his property. It was amazing! The landlord has spent the last 30 years painstakingly restoring this beautiful building to its origins but careful to leave traces of its journey with mementos here and there throughout its restoration.
Originally it was a single family Victorian house built in 1903 with a backyard where our shop is now. After the 1906 earthquake the house was actually raised up to retrofit 3 commercial shops below. Later on that same year 3 more shops were built in place where the backyard was and the raised home was converted into a boarding house. For the next 108 years this building saw changes we can only imagine, including the explosion of the hippies and psychedelics. If those walls could talk eh? The building is also home to the 4:20 clock, a tourist photo destination. Now on the registry of historic places this building is definitely a San Francisco treasure.
To make this even more exciting we are taking over the shop space that once housed the famous Mnasidika store. The first hip boutique in the Haight back in 1964 owned by Peggy Caserta who was perhaps more widely known as Janis Joplin’s lover. Peggy was a fixture at the Haight and often lent/gave her hip clothes to aid struggling musicians.
“One person in the Haight who fell far short of the heterosexual standard was Peggy Caserta, the owner of the hip boutique Mnasadika. In the fall of 1966 she heard Big Brother at the Matrix and made Janis [Joplin] ecstatic when she told her how much she’d liked her singing. A month later Janis walked into Peggy’s store, sill looking pretty scruffy and funky in the same ‘dirty, faded, frayed jeans’ she’d had on the night at the Matrix. Peggy noticed her eyeing a pair of $4.50 Levi’s ‘as if they were made of the rarest silk.’ Janis was broke and offered fifty cents as a down payment. Peggy told her to take the jeans, because shed’ so enjoyed her singing. Janis was amazed at Peggy’s generosity and chutzpah and asked her worriedly, ‘won’t you get fired?’ It never occurred to her that Peggy owned the store… It wasn’t the first or last time Peggy would help struggling musicians. She lent the [Grateful] Dead hip clothes for their early promo shots and gave Peter Albin a snazzy pair of pants with silver stripes down the sides when she saw that the jeans he wore barely grazed his ankles.”
- Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin by Alice Echols
We are more than ecstatic that we get to be a part of such a rich neighborhood and to be in such a historic location. We could not have asked for a more perfect home for Fan Clothing. You know us and vintage, it doesn’t get any better than this!