Wednesday, March 19

Darn Good Grubb.

I took a trip recently out to Flora Grubb Nursery in the newly reinvented Bay View/Hunter's Point area of San Francisco. It was a warm sunny day, so I drove with the top down. It was a beautiful day and I was in search of some nature within the confines of city limits. Flora Grubb is just massive, and so, so pretty, in a funky industrial kinda way. I quite like it.

Mixed in with eco-friendly plants that don't require mass quantities of of precious water, are some pretty cool furniture finds. I love the colorful folding chairs hung sky high from barnsiding - I wouldn't want to take them down, they looked so good up there.



Flora's seems to be a bit of a hangout for its shoppers as well. Not only do they serve up Ritual Coffee, there's a cosy little patio out back where all kinds of people were basking in the rays and chatting each other up, coffee in hand. A very civilized and stylish nursery, indeed. I'm not sure what the old neighborhood thinks of it, it is a bit expensive, but I think Flora Grubb's goal is a good one - to infuse a growing bay side neighborhood with an investment in it's future, hopefully, with respect to the neighbors and people who have lived there for years. I modified this post, it's true. A reader pointed out to me that I was a bit glib about my interpretation of my visit there, and rightly so. I was profoundly disappointed in myself for my lack of sensitivity and hopefully will think better about the picture I paint for y'all in the future. Thank you reader, for your gentle insight and thoughtful words. I do apologize.







20 comments:

Katherine said...

goodness--every time i see an article or photoragphs of the place i tell myself i HAVE to get out there and this is no exception! everything looks so gorgeous.

maris.bueller said...

hello hello! I came across your writing about a month or so ago- I've been on the search for other blogs that are Bay Area-oriented. Loves it!
I read about Grubbs in an issue of Dwell a few months back- I've been dying to check it out but I'm guessing the price tags are a bit scary. May I inquire as to the cost range of this gorgeous stuff?

<3
maris.bueller

Anonymous said...

Wow, this place looks so fun. What are those round chairs called or any idea who makes them? I love them! I'm in LA and can't just pop in, I wonder if I can find them here. Thanks! -K

Carla said...

I patronized the former Flora Grubb when it was just down the street from my home on Guerrero, so when the lovely new shop opened I began to patronize it as well, and with coffee I knew from my neighborhood would be delicious--sold! However, to suggest that it "seems to be a bit of a neighborhood hangout" is ludicrous. That neighborhood is predominantly African American, but aside from myself (and occasionally my little sister, who lives a stone's throw away) I've never seen another African American there. To characterize a visit--in a private vehicle, no less (Muni stops less than a block from FG)--as risking your life (perhaps you were only talking about the danger of driving a convertible) in a neighborhood that you describe as "a bit sketchy," perpetuates the worst kind of divide in this city which is supposedly the bastion of something progressive. What is your motivation here?

Yours is a lovely site and reveals much to desire about San Francisco in particular and design in general, but I have found myself increasingly wondering why there's so little diversity reflected here--not even the books and artists your interviewees cite as inspirations, let alone your individual posts, reflect a world as complex and diverse as the one in which we actually live. I've enjoyed this site so much, but, compounded by the fearmongering within this post, more and more it's a profound disappointment.

logan said...

I don't think that's a very fair statement to make though you're certainly entitled to your feelings.

A blog is a person's own experience and reflection. Should Victoria seek out certain demographics to please certain people? I think not - or this blog would not have the same feel that it currently does.

I too am afraid when driving through HP and the Bayview in my private vehicle. Why should I be afraid to say so to a larger audience if it is true? I've also been assaulted on the J-Church during broad daylight.

For Victoria to stifle what she truly means to say to please certain readers would do the blogosphere a disservice and turn this into a different kind of site all together.

Anyway, cheers to this kind of debate and have a wonderful day.

Lisa said...

Oh, I could spend many, many hours here! Thanks for sharing.

robyn said...

So glad you did a post on this, I was there a few weeks ago and loved how Flora designed her store. She used a decomposed granite in gold tones as the hardscape to showcase her plants on. It's a great suface, after seeing it with clients, they decided to let me install it in their back yard, in gray DG. Great pics. : )

angeliaa said...

Thank you so much for posting people bringing there business to new parts of a community, and trying to create positive change. I have opened a shop in a redevolopment town in south east Virginia. It is hard for people to come back to a town and see that is can be good. Flora's looks lovely, I hope I am able to visit the area some day. A

anahata said...

Wow. I find this post and it's reply very interesting indeed. A healthy dose of reflection.
Thank you Carla, Logan and of course Victoria.

Everyone's perspectives have given me food for thought.
And hooray for Flora Grub! Another great review of this place!

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked this was Victoria's blog. Not mine and not yours. To bring up the lack of "diversity" is absurd, it just isn't your own brand of diversity. I seem to recall many posts from all over the world, why does everything have to hark back to the color of our skin? And by the way, that neighborhood and many others are downright scary this is an urban city get used to it. I'm glad you can run around feeling so safe.

sfgirlbybay said...

Thank you all, for speaking out about this topic. It is truly a delicate one, and honestly the color of any body's skin never entered my mind when I initially wrote it. The neighborhood just has a bad rap, regardless of the color of anyone's skin - there's just crime and that comes of bad people, not color. But it's also a neighborhood that is hopefully changing for its residents, as well as its visitors. I gotta say, that if you checked my list of best friends, you would find diversity of culture, country and color. I don't think much about it so the controversy startled me, I must admit. But, to Carla's point my original comments were glib and gave cause for misinterpretation. She gave me cause for thought and I am grateful to her for it.

John said...

Well Victoria, I think you have hit on a topic -- gentrification -- that touches on many sensitive issues. I think everyone on this site respects one another, that's why we feel comfortable challenging one another, discussing issues like this. I agree, Flora's prices seem very high -- for any neighborhood -- so it makes it seem all the more jarring next to Kentucky Fried Chicken. It is great for Flora to say that she is really active in the neighborhood, but then you go to the store and it's all white hipsters hanging around, drinking espresso, and buying very expensive garden furniture. I'm not judging (I'm one of those white hipsters), I'm just commenting.

As for lack of diversity on this site, how about some more content aimed towards your male readers?? Oh well, it is your blog, you can do what you like. :)

sfgirlbybay said...

john - i have been thinking hard about having more content directed towards my male audience, or just not only towards women. thus all the artist posts. i will be working harder towards that. thanks much for reading and commenting. it makes me happy to know guys are reading, too!

Anonymous said...

I have very mixed feeling about Flora Grubbs. For the gentrifiers moving in it will be a hang out and no doubt a way they can be the neighborhood while still not interacting with the neighbors. The business could do so much more to actually be a part of the neighborhood but like you they let their fear and misguided beliefs influence thier views on what is actually reality. It' would be even nicer to see business owned by people that actually come from the area and the community or at least even see employees that live in the neighborhood working there.

Anonymous said...

Also please don't ever use the "some of my best friends are black" as anexcuse. You live in the US, if you haven't had noticed the colour of people's skin, it's never had a negative effect on you as a white person.

sfgirlbybay said...

Look, Anon...you don't know me, you don't know my friends. So please don't insult them here. They know who they are and I didn't say black, I said all different cultures, colors, although yes, since you mentioned it, my best friend going back 25 years is black, but we don't talk about it, we just are. We're just friends. I can't make this my private proofing ground. You either trust me on this one, or just don't read me. I am trying to be the best person I can. I acknowledged a lack in judgment about the way I expressed some fear I felt. I am not an idiot, of course I think about race, but not in terms of fear. I can't go on about this, it's too much. I'm voting for Barack on the same principals - why do we always have to find a reason to point out color? Can't it just be, simply a color? He honors our country and I stand behind him 100%. I don't know what your motivation is here. But if you don't like me or my posts, just take the negativity elsewhere. Seriously.

anahata said...

Good for you Victoria. Needles are always somewhere in a haystack. People will see only what they want to see. And clearly this isn't your gripe. I had to come and check on you with this one. Last year I posted an excited post about Papel Picado, traditional mexican paper banners and I caught hell from a hispanic reader. I was devastated and confused. I remember how I felt so I had to drop by and see how this was going.

sfgirlbybay said...

Thank you Anahata, for checking in and for your support. It means a lot to me. :)

carla said...

Thanks, Victoria, for your thoughtful response. I continue to enjoy your beautiful blog and the perspective you bring. And thank you for maintaining an open forum. I assume like all of the commenters who expressed their opinions that that's what blog comments are for!

Bacchus said...

Wow, I missed the whole controversy when I read this the first time. I came back today to talk about my visit to Grubb because of your photos and write up.

I really headed out there to take a look but fell in love with the quality of the plants and the friendly, knowledgeable service. These guys took as much time as I needed to explain the plants. They also went to get a wagon to help me carry my choices, an 8' bamboo.

Having said that the prices on the hard goods were really high even compared to places like Sloat, etc.. but some of them were so beautiful that I may have to go back for them anyhow.

Thanks for sharing this!