Ferry Building welcomes new businesses; 5 owned by immigrants or people of color

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Yes, Maison Verbena at the Ferry Building has a visually-beautiful appeal. But what really draws customers in is the smell.

Its fragrant soy candles are the most popular, followed by its Goat Milk soaps. Everything is made by hand.

The company started 10 years ago as merely a passion project. Its owners never imagined they'd now be selling their products in a storefront at one of San Francisco's most iconic buildings.

"Luckily, that we've been given an opportunity by the Ferry Building, we've been doing better than ever," said Derek Jin, owner, and co-founder. "We're really proud to say that it started from humble beginnings."

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Jin has been in San Francisco's Ferry Building location for about one year and has done well despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We get a ton of people from around the world, but also a lot of natives coming through," said Jin. "So you see this huge mix of people, and you get a lot of exposure to really what everyone around the world might want to see. And if you stick there, then you know that you're offering something that people really want".

Soon, even more Bay Area small businesses will have their own stores in the Ferry Building.

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"We're really excited to welcome a handful of new businesses to the Ferry Building," said Lillian Brauner, head of programming and marketing at the Ferry Building.

Of the new businesses, five are owned by immigrants or people of color.

Cholita Linda, a Latin American eatery, has been tapped to join the space, along with Grand Creperie, Obour Foods with gourmet dips and spreads, sustainable caviar producer Tsar Nicoulai, and tantalizing Yes Pudding.

"We feel the Ferry Building needs to represent the Bay Area community as a whole," said Brauner. "So having immigrant-owned or Black-owned businesses is such an important part of representing the Bay Area. We're thrilled that businesses like Red Bay have been so popular lines out the door every day, and I think that really speaks to what people want to see and what's important to show."

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Maison Verbena hopes their new neighbors will share their story of success, with the help of the San Francisco icon.

"Everyone needs that luck," Jin says. "Nothing comes super easily. But you need to be prepared and you need to be hardworking. And once that luck hits, you'll take off."

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