Ever since Maire Rua Salon closed its doors way back in 2009, the retail space on the corner of Haight and Scott has remained an empty storefront, leaving us to wonder what it will become — and when.
Recently we caught up with Fawzi “Ameen” Swalim, owner of New Santa Clara Market across the street and lessee of the Maire Rua space, to get the scoop.
Swalim is the former owner of the now-gutted Divisadero Farmers Market at 550 Divis, which is soon to house the new Bi-Rite Market. So he’s no stranger to the demand for organic produce in the neighborhood.
His plan for 798 Haight Street has always been to open an organic food store that, unlike your average corner market, won’t sell alcohol or cigarettes.
“Everything food,” he says. “Vegetables organic, grocery organic, cheese organic, deli organic.”
Unfortunately, Swalim has encountered some setbacks, including pesky electrical issues and the unexpectedly high cost of supplying power to the refrigeration units. He hopes these issues will be resolved soon though, and says we should be enjoying the fruits of his neighborhood market by the end of December.
While we were at it, we asked Swalim about the perpetual graffiti that graces the Scott side of the building. Perhaps a mural at the site would thwart future vandalism?
Swalim said he has declined several artists’ offers to paint a piece, but would eventually consider a mural if it both represents his store and helps generate business.
As per usual, we’ll keep an eye on the space, and will let you know of any developments!