Thursday, November 21, 2013

Richard Gervais' Bayview business

The Richard Gervais Collection, which contains enough antiques and collectibles for several stores, is now part of a community of small businesses that includes Living Green, Samana, Ariasia, and Gil’s Upholstery.  Together, in an unassuming building on Custer Avenue just off 3rd Street, these businesses have turned nearly 20,000 square feet of warehouse space into a unique world where art, home, garden and landscape merge.

"I’ve been in business a long time, and I love it,” Richard said.  “But it’s nice to share the space with other businesses, and it creates more business activity for everyone."

You won’t believe how many fascinating objects from faraway places are on display at the Richard Gervais Collection.  The entrance opens onto a cavernous space that is alive with statuary, furniture, light fixtures and plants.  Another spacious room toward the back of the building streams with sunlight, and holds more precious objects and greenery in every corner.  And you haven’t even made it to the mezzanines or garden yet.

Approached from the back, the art and antiquities complex has an air of mystery.  Recently installed iron gates seem protective while old train tracks slip underneath to points unknown.  A large-scale mosaic wall hanging has been installed on one corner of the building’s exterior where it moves with the breeze and keeps watch over a wraparound garden.  Massive carved stones and statues poke from behind greenery.  The curved rail tracks, remnants of another era of industrial use at the site, have been incorporated into the garden’s design, and define a unique walkway.
Richard is a hands-on owner of the anchor business in his name, and is as affable and animated a gentleman as you are likely to find anywhere.  He is also a creative thinker when it comes to business development.

"There are several similar businesses nearby, and we are always referring customers to each other,” he told me.  “It’s more collaborative than competitive."
“Oh, yes!  In the ten years I’ve been here, Bayview just keeps getting better and better,” Richard said when asked if he was “Bullish on Bayview.”
He referenced the growth of Mission Bay just to the north, the launch of the T-Third Light Rail Line as evidence.
When he heard I was part of Quesada Gardens in Bayview, Richard was especially animated.  The compatible garden-related businesses clustered in the neighborhood represent opportunity, too, he told me.  He listed Flora Grubb, SF Foilage and Bay Natives, nearby businesses that together create a garden business district if only by their presence and willingness to work together.
Much of Richard Gervais’ collection comes from Southeast Asia, and is of particular interest to collectors and designers of interiors and landscapes.  Richard has been in business since 1970, and maintains a second “by appointment only” location on Natoma Street.
Open Monday through Friday 10am 5 to 5pm, and Saturday 11am to 4pm.
For more information: call 415.642.1056, email, find Richard’s business online, or visit at 1465 Custer

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