Elizabeth Skow interviewed Tunisia Boudreaux about her new business, Boudreaux's Café, then tried to describe what she heard. That proved harder than she thought. Part community meeting place, part coffee haunt, lunch spot and second living room...Bourdreaux's Cafe is hard to define.
Welcome to a hyperlocal world. Professionals choose between multiple business cards depending on who they are networking with. Nonprofits develop products while for-profits launch community-serving projects. Under-one-roof concept businesses proliferate, as do collective approaches to pretty much everything.
Boudreaux's Cafe, which is opening soon on 3rd Street at Quesada Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview neighborhood, faces a branding challenge advertising executives couldn't have dreamed of twenty years ago. But, as Elizabeth found out, the woman behind the business is up to the challenge.
Boudreaux knows that businesses on 3rd have had mixed experiences, some closing their doors for lack of traffic. She also knows that antiques alone are unlikely to draw enough customers. So she looked around her new commercial location with an eye for what services are missing.
New Bayview resident and entrepreneur Tunisia Boudreaux is a woman of many interests. But it was her lifelong love of antiques that led her to Bayview. For years she was a vendor at the Alemany Flea Market where she met a fellow antiques lover with a line on affordable commercial space on 3rd.
The business plan that resulted includes notary and fingerprinting services that the community needs, and a café and retail store that gives service-seekers a reason to stay. It's a unique mix, but Boudreaux puts a community focus on it all.
"I really want this to be a space that anyone can just walk in and feel comfortable, and where people know they are welcome," Boudreaux said.
She plans to offer sandwiches and salads, as well as the usual café fare. She hopes customers will drink coffee while browsing antiques and collectibles, and products in the community pop-up stores she hopes to host.
Boudreaux was influenced by her great-grandmother, a fiery woman who came from the Jim Crow South to Los Angeles where she made herself a small fortune in real estate, maintaining properties full of old things. In her great-grandmother's wake, Boudreaux became hooked on antiques. In high school, she started her own business making and selling jewelry, and learned it was possible to find creative ways to make ends meet.
Boudreaux came to the Bay Area to attend UC Berkeley, and has been here ever since. After years of following her antiques and flea market passions, she now has her sites set on opening her 3rd Street business in the next few months.
She can often be found working at the developing space located at 5030 3rd Street (next to the empty lot by the BofA), and invites everyone to "pop by" and say hello!