Hoodline - San Francisco
By: Teresa Hammerl
Hoodline tipster Natalie D. alerted us that clothing and surfboard brand Aviator Nation is coming to 520 Hayes St. (at Octavia).
The company's owner and founder, Paige Mycoskie, said her goal is to open in time for the Outside Lands music festival, which will run from August 9 - 11.
Formerly home to the bar Place Pigalle, which vacated after a battle with the landlord over sewage leaks, the space at 520 Hayes is one of Hayes Valley's most notable vacancies — it's sat empty for more than four years.
It will become Aviator Nation's second San Francisco store; the first is in the Upper Haight. Based in Venice Beach, the '70s-inspired lifestyle brand sells hoodies, sweatpants, swimwear and other apparel for men, women and kids. Most of its outposts are in Southern California, but it also has locations in Colorado and Texas.
The Hayes Valley store will be Aviator Nation's 10th location, allowing the brand to just sneak under the wire of the neighborhood's formula retail restrictions. Shops with 11 or more locations worldwide are typically barred from Hayes Valley.
"The Haight-Ashbury store is ... one of my favorites," Mycoskie said. "This is a big city with lots of people, and I’m excited to now have multiple experiences in this town."
Mycoskie has a personal connection to the neighborhood: when she first started Aviator Nation, she visited Hayes Street on a road trip to San Francisco.
"This was back when I was selling the clothes out of my car," she said — until the now-closed Nomads, at 556 Hayes St., became one of her earliest customers.
Ever since, she's hoped to open a shop on Hayes Street, waiting for years for the right spot to become available.
"As soon as I saw the space, I knew it was the perfect fit," she explained, noting its huge skylight and abundance of natural light.
The space still had lots of old bar elements from Place Pigalle, she said, and almost everything had to be torn out. She also designed some murals for the space, and is currently working with her team to paint the walls.
"I want this to be a space that celebrates the past, while bringing inspiration to the future," she said.
As at the Upper Haight location, she plans to host monthly events that give back to the community and raise awareness for local issues.
"I feel like people that live around here are activists that care about nature, family, community, music and the arts," she said. "People around here love to be outside, enjoy the park and take part in local activations."
For updates on the opening, follow Aviator Nation on Instagram.