How entrepreneurs helped bring change to SF's Bayview during coronavirus pandemic

Lyanne Melendez Image
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
How SF's Bayview added 7 new businesses during COVID-19
A group of entrepreneurs in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood were busy starting new businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We all know restaurants suffered immensely during the coronavirus pandemic.

While many of them were trying to stay afloat, a group of entrepreneurs in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood was busy starting their new businesses.

RELATED: SF Bayview residents fed up with illegal dumping

The Bayview added seven new businesses during the pandemic.

Imagine starting a new venture right before COVID-19 began spreading. We asked Eleana Hsu, co-founder of "Shared Cultures," who left her job to start her own business, what it was like.

"'Ok, we're going to turn this into a real thing,' and then COVID happened in March," she explained.

VIDEO: 10-foot-tall concrete letters to be installed welcoming people into SF's Bayview

10-foot-tall letters spelling out "BAYVIEW" are being installed on Monday, April 26, 2020 in San Francisco, Calif.

Hsu and Kevin Gondo quickly pivoted, going from a retail model to selling their fermented products directly to consumers.

"Instagram has been, social media has been our most direct channel to get to know the customer," added Gondo.

These seven new businesses call the Bayview their home.

RELATED: 'Project Wreckless' refurbishes muscle cars and the Bayview teens who build them

San Francisco's Mayor London Breed met some of the new business owners, among them Ronnishia Johnson and Rheema Calloway. Both started "The Vegan Hood Chefs".

"You don't see Black women like us that come from where we are that are vegan, and so we entering ourselves into a culture that is predominately considered a white culture," said Calloway.

Most of these new businesses are led by women of color. The mayor toured the Bayview Makers Kitchen, which they all share at different times. Their funding comes from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

The funding received by the Bayview Makers Kitchen focused on two things -- building economic opportunities, even during COVID, and preventing businesses from leaving the Bayview

"We want to make it easier for our minority and women-owned businesses to start and to get going, and we have to make sure that there are places and that it's easy to do what it is they're doing," expressed Mayor Breed.

A picture with the mayor made it a reality, even in the hardest of times.

Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window. RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS: