Cannabis retailer Castro Flore Store opens while historic Cafe Flore


Castro’s Newest Cannabis Retail Store, Flora Store (258 Noe), is now open while the historic district restaurant Flora (formerly known as Café Flore) remained closed for two years.

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

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

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

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

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

While Flore Store is now open, the 48-year-old historic neighborhood restaurant Flore remains closed since its closure in December 2019.

A active list for the approximately 1,000 square foot restaurant space, including an offsite prep kitchen, for lease at an undisclosed price.

Cafe Flore is currently rented. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Alan and co-owner Aaron Silverman took over Cafe Flore in 2017, and despite the cafe’s reduced 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 shattered 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,” Alan said. “We want someone who can breathe some life into the 75-year-old greenhouse, restore the fence and make the necessary upgrades to keep the place going for another 25 years.”

Hoodline readers will recall that this isn’t the first time Alan has said Cafe Flore could reopen. In June 2020, Alan said they were looking for a new leader, but those plans never materialized.

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

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

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

In 2019, the planning department gave the green light to several conditions, including painting 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.”

Members of Duboce Triangle neighborhood group (DTNA) has 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, along with 24/7 video surveillance.

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

Alan says he supports adding Rose Mary Jane to the neighborhood. “We compete to bring the best of everything – price, product and whatever is freshest,” Alan said. “If you’re competing, your pencil stays sharp and that’s good for customers.”

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

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

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

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

Flore Store offers 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 tentatively scheduled to be unveiled at the grand opening on February 14, 2022 (Valentine’s Day).

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

The new mural was designed by the artist Dave Van Patten, 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 was digitally printed on vinyl and will be illuminated at night.

“It’s the story of cannabis compassion,” Alan said. “Where Humbolt farmers would typically donate 10-20% of their crop to Dennis Peron, CHAMP or other groups that allow cannabis compassion to begin.”

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

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


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