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Mayor Mark Farrell Announces Activation of the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund in Response to Fire on Union Street

Fund to Provide Emergency Capital for Businesses & Merchants to Resume Operations

In response to a four-alarm fire in North Beach on Saturday night, Mayor Mark Farrell has activated the Small Business Disaster Relief Fund to assist seven local businesses affected by the incident.

“When these devastating events impact our small businesses, the City must act—and act quickly—to support our local merchants,” said Mayor Farrell. “Neighborhoods such as North Beach are special because of their unique blend of homegrown businesses—the communities would not be the same without them. We want to ensure that these businesses are back up and running as soon as possible.”

The fund will allow the seven locations that were impacted to access up to $10,000 in funds for inventory replacement, equipment purchases, security deposits for a new lease, employee salaries and other expenses to stabilize cash flow. It is designed to provide businesses with capital as they assess damages and compile resources to safely and effectively reopen. The fund was created following a fire at 22nd and Mission in 2015 by the late Mayor Edwin M. Lee. It has provided financial assistance to more than 18 businesses citywide.

More than 50 employees were impacted from the fire at seven businesses. The seven active businesses that suffered fire and/or water damage:

  • Coit Liquors, 585 Columbus Avenue
  • Ferry Plaza Seafood, 653 Union Street
  • Tuk Tuk Thai Café, 659 Union Street
  • The Salzburg, 663 Union Street
  • Rogue Ales Public House, 673 Union Street
  • Jack Lee Fong Insurance Agency, 577 Columbus Avenue
  • Michelangelo Caffe, 579 Columbus Avenue

“North Beach is a community that prides itself on taking care of our neighbors,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “We’ve already seen the North Beach Business Association step in to help place displaced employees with other neighborhood small businesses. We will need the City’s laser focus and support in the coming months to ensure that the 500 block of Columbus Avenue remains intact. I’m looking forward to partnering with the team at OEWD and the impacted property owners to safeguard the future economic success of this tightknit community.”

The immediate weeks after a disaster are critical for a business to determine whether it can resume operations in San Francisco. While many businesses may receive insurance proceeds or have the ability to access a traditional or disaster loan, the delay in receiving these funds can take weeks or months. Managed by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), the Small Business Disaster Recovery Fund is part of a comprehensive assistance package from the city that includes resources and services aimed at helping small businesses and their employees recover as quickly as possible. Workforce services include job search assistance, access to unemployment information, small business loans, and guidance concerning licenses and permits and other small business and employee services.

“We as a members of the North Beach community are extremely grateful for the Mayor’s support of our impacted small businesses, said Daniel Macchiarini, President of the North Beach Business Association. “We want our merchants and their employees back on their feet as quickly as possible, and these funds, together with community support, will provide some immediate and welcome relief after this tragic event.”

OEWD staff was on site along Union Street to assess the damaged businesses and provide direct assistance to affected small businesses and impacted employees. Staff will continue to assist these businesses and coordinate response efforts with partners and city agencies.      

“The Office of Economic and Workforce Development responded to the Union Street fires before the flames had been extinguished and provided support to these small community serving businesses,” said Todd Rufo, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “The Small Business Disaster Relief Fund and technical assistance will provide immediate support to our small businesses during these times when they need it the most.”

The Small Business Disaster Relief Fund is led by OEWD in partnership the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). More information on the fund is available at oewd.org/disaster-relief.