Noe Valley Voice June 1999


By Jim Christie

Storetrek is a regular feature of the Voice introducing new shops and businesses in the neighborhood. This month we present a homeopathy office, an international gift and clothing bazaar, and a pet supplies store offering special adventures for dogs.


1199 Sanchez St. (at 25th Street)


You might have noticed that for the past year and a half a small clinic has occupied the ground floor of a corner building at 25th and Sanchez streets. Then again, perhaps you haven't, because the only thing identifying it is the word "Homeopathy" stenciled in white in the window.

If you're wondering what homeopathy is, Noe Valley resident and professional homeopath Richard Pitt will be glad to explain. "Homeopathy is a system of health care that treats the whole person," says Pitt. "Homeopathic remedies stimulate the body's own immune system to respond to illness. Therefore the body cures itself. We consider the functions of mind and body to be intimately connected. We also try to understand the underlying reasons for illness."

Pitt hails from Bristol, England, and he began practicing homeopathy in 1984. He moved to San Francisco in 1989, where he helped start (and still teaches at) the Pacific Academy of Homeopathy, which offers two- and three-year professional training programs. He is also the president of the Council for Homeopathic Certification, a national organization that sets competency standards for people practicing homeopathy in North America.

At Homeopathy, the initial consultation focuses on learning about a client's current and past health issues and getting to know the person in general, Pitt says. Then the homeopath concentrates on designing the proper remedy.

The first visit usually takes an hour and a half, and costs from $150 to $210. Follow-up appointments, if needed, may occur once a month for 30 to 45 minutes, at a fee of $50 to $70.

Pitt welcomes calls from those interested in learning more about homeopathy, and he also recommends reading Dr. Timothy Dooley's book Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine (Timing Publications, 1995).

Also practicing at Homeopathy are Lyn Farrugia, C.C.H., and Corey Weinstein, M.D. Pitt and Farrugia work together. They shared offices near Dolores Park for two years before relocating to Sanchez Street. Farrugia learned homeopathy in the Bay Area and also lives in Noe Valley. She has been in San Francisco since 1989 and has been involved in health care for many years.

Dr. Weinstein has a separate practice in the same office. He has been providing homeopathic services in the Bay Area for 25 years and was one of the original practitioners who helped revitalize homeopathy in the 1970s.

Homeopathy is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Richard Pitt's number is 695-8200; Lyn Farrugia is at 643-4700; and Corey Weinstein can be reached at 824-4124.

Noe Valley Pet Company and Dog Walking Service

1451 Church St. (at Cesar Chavez)


The neighborhood's pooches were barking for joy last month as word spread of a new doggie hangout on Church Street. Noe Valley Pet Company and Dog Walking Service opened May 1 at the corner of Church and Cesar Chavez, in the space formerly occupied by Crystal Market.

Co-owner Paula Harris says she's seen dogs straining at the leash to get in -- the aroma of treats must be wafting out to the sidewalk. Indeed, walk by the store and you're likely to find dogs yipping for yum-mies (or at least the owners' Lab-Dalmatian mix, Tessa, grinning from ear to ear).

Harris and her partner, Celia Sack, used to offer a dog walking service from their home in the Castro, but now they've got the space to operate a full-fledged pet supplies company, too. Inside the store, it's bright and airy, with enough room for both people and pets to maneuver without traffic jams. "We really wanted a country store atmosphere," says Harris. The store has large storefront windows, blond pinewood-style floors, open shelving, and antique fixtures with pet themes (Sack is also an antique collector).

As for the merchandise, there's just about everything a dog or cat could want in the way of toys, food, collars, leashes, and home furnishings. (There's also a corner devoted to bird supplies.)

The dog food is competitively priced, with dry food ranging from about $6 for a 5-pound bag to $31 for 40 pounds. Canned food is a little over a dollar per can. You'll also find some of the best-known brands, like Nutro-Max, Nature's Recipe, and Iam's. For a snack, the Dixie premium dog chew cigars are trotting out the door, according to Harris.

The Rover and Snuggle pet beds cost $40 to $120, depending on size and material, and Kennel Cab carriers range from $32 for small to $80 for large. Collars are $6 to $8 and leashes are $5 to $15. Specialty collars by PetLa ($25 to $45) and the Australian firm Mutz & Mogz ($20 to $35) are quite popular, too.

The dog walking service is flourishing, but it should really be called a dog running service, because Harris and Sack allow their charges to cavort off-leash at places like Fort Funston and Stern Grove. (Sorry, they don't offer neighborhood leash walks.) The partners take turns driving groups of six or seven dogs for a one-hour romp, at $14 per dog. The dogs' time away from home is two to three hours. Harris and Sack are fully bonded, and welcome your call or visit if you're interested in a social outing for your pooch.

Also coming up -- "Treat Tastings." Every Thursday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., a gathering of canines will get to try out a special featured treat. (There will be human refreshments, too, but call to make sure the Treat Tasting is on.)

Noe Valley Pet Company is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cottage Industry Underground

3961 24th St. (between Sanchez and Noe)


As you descend the steps to Cottage Industry Underground, get ready to be overwhelmed. Exotic treasures from faraway lands are loaded into every nook and cranny of this almost hidden bazaar, lying beneath 17 Reasons on 24th Street. Among the nations represented are Indonesia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, Guatemala ... heck, pull out an atlas -- co-owner Bruno Guarini has traveled the world to acquire merchandise for his new store.

Cottage Industry Underground opened in March, then closed for a month while Guarini went on a buying trip, then reopened officially in April. From the looks of things now, he won't need to make another journey any time soon.

Colorful fabrics ($8 a yard), shirts and vests (around $30), pants ($24), scarves and belts ($17 to $27), jewelry, beads, wind chimes ($14), candles, incense, cloth bags ($18), and Buddha statuettes fill the shop's narrow caverns. And Guarini has added soothing music and burning incense to heighten the atmosphere. (You might be familiar with the shop's intimate confines -- the space was once occupied by Rumah Sorga, and before that, Chocolate Covered sold goodies there.)

Guarini, a native of Capri, Italy, lives in an apartment behind the store. His most immediate former residence in the U.S. was Florida. "I came back and forth from Miami a number of times, trying to find the best place to settle in San Francisco, and it turned out to be Noe Valley. It's the place that reminds me most of Europe."

He is happy to talk about his travels, and invites questions about the history and origin of his wares. (Get him to regale you with tales about searching for antiquities on the Tibetan plateau.)

If you'd like to meet his partner, Claudio Barone, you'll have to visit the original Cottage Industry store at 2326 Fillmore St. And if Guarini jokingly asks if you'd like to see his second floor, don't laugh. A second above-ground shop, also called Cottage Industry, is going to open on 24th Street in mid-June. It will be at 4068 24th St., in the old Classy Sweats location across from the post office.

"Since that shop has much more space and higher ceilings, we'll be able to have bigger items like lamps and furniture, but still a lot of gift items," says Guarini. "Come see the many beautiful things I brought back from India."

Cottage Industry Underground is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.