2011 Small Business Awards - Page 8

The Guardian's annual small business awards celebrate the entrepreneurs who keep this city lively

The La Cocina crew: Daniella Sawaya, Natalie Conneely, Caleb Zigas, Margarita Rojas, and Matt Skov

Gialina's small business award pick: "I would say my friends Kris Hoggerhyde and Anne Walker at Bi-Rite Creamery," Ardiana says. "I have just been blown away by the response of their customers. They work tremendously hard to make really great, delicious products." (Donohue)

2842 Diamond, SF. (415) 239-8500, www.gialina.com




Staffers at Chloe's Closet: Molly Tyson, Andrea Mejia, Keyko Ruiz, Zulekha Azam, Jane McIntyre. Photo by Ben Hopfer

"One of the things I always noticed was that second-hand kids' clothes were a little expensive," says Molly Coogan Tyson, owner of Chloe's Closet in Bernal Heights. Tyson opened the in 2003 when her two kids were four months and two years old.

Opening her store was a response to feeling cooped up at home and a desire to fill the need for a no-frills used children's clothing store. "I really didn't want Chloe's Closet to be picky about what clothes we would buy and sell. I just wanted to facilitate the trade of goods for people who have young children because I know that kids' sizes and interests change quickly."

Her shop's original location has been open for eight years and continues to grow steadily — there's also a Chloe's No. 2 in the Sunset. All Tyson's stores sell clothes on consignment. When clothes are purchased, the original seller receives 50 percent of the sale price, a generous cut.

But giving back is the main goal, Tyson says. "My husband has suggested that I take up a nonprofit status," she says, referring to the minuscule profit margins that a community-oriented store like hers must sacrifice in exchange for giving young parents a break on clothing prices.

Chloe's donates all overflow clothes that can't fit on racks to churches that serve low-income families and other organizations that can sell the clothing at fundraisers. She even makes HR decisions based on her community's needs.

"I was approached by mom of four who, due to religious beliefs, wears a full burka. She really wanted to work, and she said no one else would hire her. We didn't really need extra help, but I hired her because I was touched by her story."

Chloe's Closet's small business awards pick: "I would want to recognize Heartfelt gift shop. They have a rotating stock of interesting gifts and the owner is Darcy Lee of the Bernal Business Alliance. She does a lot for the neighborhood." (Tepper)

451 Cortland, SF. (415) 642-3300; 616 Irving, SF. (415) 664-4611. www.chloesclosetsf.com