Sofia Lopez, Santo Hermano Pedro Boutique

Owner: Sofia Lopez
Business: Santo Hermano Pedro Boutique
Address: 24th Street BART station @ Mission St.
Category: Retail
Type: Purses, belts and more

Back in Antigua, Guatemala, Sofia Lopez had a small business selling items like pocketbooks, belts and wallets on the vibrant main square. She had always wanted to run such a venture and was achieving success … until violence compelled her to leave her homeland a decade ago.

Now residing in San Francisco’s Bayview, Lopez initially cleaned houses to make ends meet, but a nagging feeling left her wanting to run her own business once more.

That became a reality once Sofia attended workshops, where she learned how to run a small business in the States — a country with different rules than those in Central America.

Sophia had the goal of renting a retail spot. Finding a reasonably priced commercial space being the challenge that it is, the Mission Street location turned out to be on an inside corridor, despite the $1,200 a month rent. This meant a lack of foot traffic; some days not a single customer came into the store.

Knowing that being on a square in Antigua had translated to success, the new idea was to get a permit from the City and the police department so that Sofia could set up business each day in the heavily trafficked southwest corner of the Mission’s 24th Street BART station. After a few months’ process and payment of an annual fee, Santo Hermano Pedro Boutique found its new home on the plaza, under a colorful tent to provide aegis from the noonday sun. Business immediately picked up.

“I hope to see my business grow. To expand. That is mi sueño,” states a zealous Lopez.

Let’s help make that happen: shop local on Mission Street.