Tuesday, May 9, 2017

pancakePROFILES: Perch SF

Perch 654 Chenery Street

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It's been a while since I've done a pancakePROFILE series on the blog, but just in time for Mother's Day, I wanted to introduce you all to the owner behind the sweetest little shop I was invited to, in hopes that you'll make time to visit him and his store, too. If you're not familiar, my profile series is where I interview local folks in the San Francisco area who are doing some cool things (like starting or growing their own business) and making the city a richer place because of it. Truth be told, I encounter so many rad people doing amazing, inspirational things on a day to day basis through my blog, that I'd love to spend more time telling their stories again. Thus, I'm brining this long-too-dormant series back and truly hope that you guys enjoy it. So, let's get started shall we?

pancakestacker blog x perch glen park san francisco
First thing's first: meet Zoel, the owner behind Perch. Zoel started his career in retail at the age of 16, working at Jay Jacobs (which happened to be a cool and hip clothing store at the time). He spent 20+ years working on and off at Gap and its associated brands, before he was eventually presented with the opportunity his own shop. Given his years of experience in retail, it was a no-brainer. Zoel recounts, "Working in retail was a great experience, and I learned what to and not to do if I ever opened my own shop." Zoel was inspired to be part of a community and wanted to contribute to it and its local customers and supporters. "When the chance to open a space was offered, I jumped." Thus, Perch came to life.
pancakestacker blog x perch glen park san francisco
pancakestacker blog x perch glen park san francisco
Perch, located in San Francisco's Glen Park area, is a quaint home and gifts shop that carries everything from cards and jewelry for mom to candles, cook books, and stationary sets for you. You can walk in and encounter a unique painting or poster that you didn't know you needed, or find the perfect gift that you've been searching for, but didn't know where to find. Perch has it all.

But, if you're like me (carless, lol), making it to a different neighborhood can sometimes be challenging. Of course, distance is all relative, but, naturally, I still had to ask Zoel, "Why Glen Park?"

When we bought our house in the Sunnyside neighborhood, Glen park was our closest “downtown.” It was a part of the city we never knew existed. Our next door neighbor owned a shop in Glen Park and I had told him, I had always wanted to have my own shop. When an existing store decided to move he called me and told me they were looking for someone to open another store. Within two weeks we were signing the lease and Perch was born.

Of course, even before asking Zoel why the area, I could see the reason for myself. Glen Park is charming, with a community-centered feel. I even told my boyfriend who accompanied me on my visit that it reminded my very much of Bernal Heights.
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After wandering the different sections of the store, I couldn't help but find item after item of things I never knew I needed: prints of the city, amazingly scented soaps and candles, and even a stuffed sloth in the kids section that I had to convince myself I did not actually need. Seriously. I was impressed with the amount of curation and detail that had to go into stocking the shelves. So, I asked Zoel what his inspirations were for curating his shop.

Living my life. I am always exploring, traveling and checking out design blogs. It is amazing what you can find in the oddest of places. I always have my eyes and ears open. I also use a variety of online tools to source new local products such as Indigo Fair where buyers can purchase all their items on consignment.

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The most unique item Perch currently has in stock? (I say it's the stuffed sloth, but just in case you are looking for something mom will use...)

Right now we are carrying a line of bowls and serving plates by Jered of California. He is a local potter who also creates dinnerware for many restaurants (even some Michelin Star ones!). I attended an event where I was introduced to his work. A year later I was out to dinner at Rich Table checking out a bowl a dish was served in and it was Jered’s. I took it as a sign and contacted him.

And, if you still need convincing that mom will like anything you get her from Perch, guess whose Zoel's first sale was?

My very first sale was my Mom. We were a week behind opening the shop because we all got sick. As a surprise, my brother drove my parents up from Southern California. There was a knock on the door, I opened and found a potted orange tree and no one was there. A few minutes later there was another knock and there they were. I put them to work and my Mom purchased a purse she still uses to this day.
pancakestacker blog x perch glen park san francisco

Visiting Perch and meeting Zoel was such a pleasure. Just after 5 minutes of being in his store I could tell how much love and dedicated has been put into it, which I think is one of the key ingredients that makes any business successful - true passion. I asked Zoel to share some words of advice for anyone who may want to start their own business:

Talk to as many people as you can, have a solid business plan (we did not) and make sure you can picture yourself doing this job for a long period of time. It is amazing how time flies, we have been open for 9 years already. Surround yourself with a good support system and know that everything will get done.

So, there you have it. Perch, the next place to put on your to-visit list. Truly hope you all enjoyed this post, as I plan to have a few more in the months to come. If you're new to this series, then I must tell you that the last question I like to ask everyone who takes part in my interview the most important question of all: favorite pancake, of course! Zoel's pick?


I am a classic pancake kinda guy. I have a great friend, Andrew McWhoter who makes the best pancakes I have ever tasted!

Okay, now you truly know everything you need to know about Zoel and Perch! Thanks for reading - and special thanks to Zoel and the Perch team for their time! 
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