Cannabis retailer Castro Flore Store opens while historic café Flore

Castro’s newest cannabis retail store, Flore Store (258 Noe), is now open while the historic Flore neighborhood restaurant (formerly known as Café Flore) has been closed for two years.

Flore Store co-owner Terrance Alan told Hoodline the cannabis store officially opened on December 17.

“A short four and a half years in the making,” Alan said. “It’s a relief, and it’s weird because it’s my 25 year cannabis return to Castro.”

Flore Store is now open at 258 Noe St. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

Hoodline readers may recall that Alan and his co-owner Luke Bruner had been working on the Flore Store opening since 2018.

Alan originally planned to open Flore Store on April 20, the unofficial national marijuana holiday, but those plans have been delayed by local and state licensing issues.

While Flore Store is now open, the 48-year-old restaurant in the historic Flore district has remained closed since it closed in December 2019.

An active listing for approximately 1,000 square foot restaurant space, including an offsite prep kitchen, for rent at an undisclosed price.

Café Flore is currently listed for rental. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

Alan and his co-owner Aaron Silverman took over Café Flore in 2017, and despite the reduction in the café’s hours and menu, “we weren’t able to break even,” Alan told us last year. Alan also thought it might work better as a private event space, but that idea was dashed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alan tells Hoodline that he is currently in discussions with four or five potential operators, and that it is currently in the hands of the owner.

“The standards are very high,” said Alan. “We want someone who can breathe life into the 75 year old greenhouse, restore the fence and make the necessary upgrades to make the place last another 25 years.”

Alan is no stranger to the cannabis industry, he previously chaired the State Cannabis Legalization Task Force in San Francisco, where he advised the city on how to regulate the industry under of State Proposal 64. In 1996, Alan co-founded Californians Helping to Alleviate Medical Problems (CHAMP) whose offices were located at 194 Church Street (now Churchill) in the former home of the San Francisco Buyers Club of Dennis Peron.

He is also currently a member of the board of directors of Castro Merchants. But despite her qualifications, getting Flore Store approved was not easy.

Inside the Flore store. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

In 2019, the town planning department gave the green light to several conditions, including the painting of a mural on the wall. Alan and Bruner have agreed not to use any cannabis or drug related graphics or advertisements on its facade. “The mural will not be cannabis-themed,” Alan told Hoodline. “It will be about this link between cannabis, AIDS, wasting syndrome, cancer and chemotherapy.”

The members of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Group (DTNA) set several other conditions for the opening of Flore Store. On-site cannabis consumption is prohibited and on-site security will be required during normal business hours, as well as 24/7 video surveillance.

Flore Store is the Castro’s third cannabis retailer, alongside the long-running Market Street Apothecarium and one-year-old Eureka Sky adjacent to Jane Warner Plaza. A fourth retailer, Rose Mary Jane, was recently offered just three doors away from The Apothecarium.

Alan says he supports adding Rose Mary Jane to the neighborhood. “We compete to deliver the best of everything: price, product and everything that is freshest,” Alan said. “If you’re in competition, your pencil stays sharp and that’s good for clients.”

Selection of cannabis-based products at the Flore Store. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

Flore Store offers a variety of CBD infused drinks. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

Alan tells Hoodline that Flore Store stands out from the crowd with its exterior design by Levy Art + Architecture and interior design by Dav Studio.

Inside, guests will find that the flooring is organic hemp grown in Kentucky, and the cabinets were made with hemp by an Oakland-based LGBTQ + designer.

Flore Store offers its customers a variety of cannabis products, including cannabis flowers, edibles, pre-rolls, vapes, drinks and concentrates, with a focus on family farms.

A mural on the north side of the building, facing the Noe & Beaver mini-park, has already been installed and is expected to be unveiled at the inauguration on February 14, 2022 (Valentine’s Day).

The fresco will be unveiled next year. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

The new mural was designed by artist Dave Van Patten, who was selected following an international competition. Alan says they received 17 submissions, which were judged by local neighbors and art experts. The 35ft by 16ft mural has been digitally printed on vinyl and will be illuminated at night.

“This is the story of compassion around cannabis,” Alan said. “Where farmers in Humbolt would typically donate 10-20% of their harvest to Dennis Peron, CHAMP or other groups that allow compassion for cannabis to begin.”

“It really is a brilliantly told story of how Humboldt and San Francisco came together during a crisis,” Alan added. “But there is no cannabis in it.”

Flore Store is open 7 days a week from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

About Walter Bartholomew

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