Kit and Ace has won its battle to open a store in the Hayes Valley area of San Francisco.
The store, which already is partially built-out, is expected to open at the end of October.
According to JJ Wilson, word of the victory came Wednesday evening following the conclusion of the hearing before the City Board of Appeals.
The company ran into a problem with locals over the issue of “formula retail.” The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association had objected to the store opening. Essentially, the definition of “formula retail” refers to any operator of 11 or more stores. At the time the permit was filed for the build out, Kit and Ace’s store count was under the 11-store rule.
According to JJ Wilson in a telephone interview, he started a Web site called notkitandace.com as an information vehicle to showcase how the Canadian apparel firm is not the typical retailer. Specifically, the site served to educate locals about how Kit and Ace works with local craftspeople to work on its stores and routinely uses the store for neighborhood networking events. In addition, part of the Kit and Ace retail framework is to highlight the work of local artists on a rotating basis.
The City Zoning Administrator had already determined that Kit and Ace didn’t qualify as “formula retail,” but the local neighborhood association still tried to keep the Canadian brand out.
Now that’s all water under the bridge after Wednesday night’s two-and-a-half-hour hearing.
Wilson said the whole process has been a “learning experience.” There are other shopping locales, primarily in California, which have a similar approach for what type of retail formats are allowed in the neighborhood.
“Part of the reason I didn’t want to back down was because I wanted people to know what we’re about,” he said.
But if the question comes up again, he’ll be better informed on how to educate the locals before applying for construction permits, Wilson said.