After a five-year effort by chain-wary neighborhood activists to keep it off the grand hippie boulevard, megachain Whole Foods opened at Haight and Stanyan streets early this year. It furthered the neighborhood's fitful transmogrification into Fancy Town (or Ashbury Valley, the 'hood's new NoPa-like real estate agency-created moniker), but Haight Street Market is rising to this market-share challenge. With shifts starting before the crack of dawn, the 30-year-old family-owned shop has stepped it up, adding a high-quality butcher counter, a deli, the least pricey and most diverse beer selection in the Upper Haight, and a buffed-up coffee selection. If only all small businesses could up their game in the face of corporate claims.
1530 Haight, SF. (415) 255-0644, www.haightstreetmarket.com