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By Olivia Boler
Store Trek is a regular Voice column profiling stores and businesses in Noe Valley. This month we feature a 24th Street gift store with an artistic flair, and a color-full hair salon that has moved into new digs on Castro Street.
4107 24th Street
Over the past two months, if you've waited in line for brunch at Miss Millie's, you might have noticed a lot of activity in the former Blackbird Arts storefront, on 24th Street near Castro. First, Blackbird's taupe-colored exterior was repainted in an eye-popping shade of yellow-orange. Then, a pink and green neon sign, glowing with the words "Wink SF," was hung above the door.
"The paint is called Tangelo," says Teresa Hagiya, who along with partner Marcy Alexander Israel opened the gift boutique in late February. "People who stop by say they really like it."
Customers also like the Wink logo, which "is a little tongue-and-cheek--my partner and I are both photographers--but basically we wanted it to be warm, open, and light, to fit in with the neighborhood."
Wink's interior is also lighter and more spacious than the former frame shop's. The windows have been uncovered above the transom, and the walls, which used to be a dark forest-green, are now white with a hint of pink. "We named it Wink Pink," says Hagiya with a smile.
Hagiya and Israel see their store as a kind of art gallery, a place to showcase the toys, jewelry, ceramics, handbags, clothes, and art objects they like, particularly ones made by local and little-known artisans. "We look for things made by small independent companies, and we mix them with pop culture items," says Hagiya. Good design is the key, she adds.
The owners' eclectic tastes range from dog toys made in Venice, Calif., by Bodhi (a squeaky lotus is $16); to laptop bags by the Australian company STM ($99); to hand-thrown pottery by Ohio artist Jill Rosenwald (a large bowl is $299). Wink SF also carries a line of Japanese wind-up robots called the Knockman Family ($22), which the Hagiya and Israel discovered on a trip to Paris.
Other unusual gifts include Argentinean desk phones made in the 1960s ($185), Koziol snow globes ($15 to $25), and retro Fisher-Price toys ($37). For those looking for creative greeting cards, there's a whole wall of them, as well as baby hats by Urban Baby ($12), T-shirts by Spicy Brown ($22 to $26), and tote bags by Angry Little Girls ($39).
Although Hagiya describes her taste as "more modern" and Israel's as "more classical," the two complement each other. They met 12 years ago while studying photography at Cal-Poly, San Luis Obispo. They co-own another business, I Do Photos (www.idophotos.com), which specializes in portrait and wedding photography.
Israel currently lives in San Luis Obispo and runs a gift shop called Full Circle, but hopes to move to San Francisco soon. She's been driving back and forth between the Central Valley and the Bay Area, spending half a week in each place. Hagiya, by contrast, lives in the Mission. "I can walk to work," she says with glee.
Both say they appreciate the community feeling in Noe Valley. "Everyone in the neighborhood has been really welcoming and supportive," says Israel, "especially the other merchants."
She and Hagiya invite the neighborhood to stop by April 16 and 17 for a weekend open house with refreshments.
Wink SF is open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Trends for Hair
1600 Castro Street
The popular hair salon Trends for Hair has been a fixture on Church Street for more than 20 years. But this spring, owner Evert Grobbelaar decided it was time for a change. In early March, he packed up his scissors and combs and moved the salon to a new Noe Valley location at the corner of Church and Clipper streets.
Grobbelaar, who was accompanied by hairstylist August Ayers and Trends' office manager Lyn Mitchell, says the main reason for the move was the cost of lease renewal at his old location. However, he really likes the new place, which is across the street from a laundromat and kitty-corner to James Lick Middle School. The storefront was formerly occupied by a real estate leasing office.
Grobbelaar, a San Francisco resident since 1980, is originally from South Africa. He trained as a stylist in London and San Francisco. Before that, he was a flight attendant, traveling around the globe. He now lives "on the cusp of Noe Valley and the Castro."
The Trends menu features haircuts, coloring, perms, and up-dos. Prices start at $50 for a cut. "If you have hair, we'll do it," quips Grobbelaar. He says the specialty of the house is coloring hair, from simply "covering gray, to pink with orange polka dots--if that's what you want."
After 20 years in the business, Grobbelaar and the salon have built up a loyal customer base of all ages, hair colors, and styles. Therefore, it's best to make an appointment. However, drop-ins are welcome, as are new customers.
The interior in the new salon is a work in progress, Grobbelaar says. Besides adding some new furnishings, he is going to redo the ceiling and lay down a painted canvas floor that will be covered in Varathane. "It'll be a work of art, but because it's sealed, we can get [hair] color on it and it won't be damaged." On the walls, he plans to hang artwork done by his sister, who lives in South Africa.
Trends is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.