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    Largest Gathering of Women Business Owners in the Castro, September 30, 2021

    The largest known gathering of women business owners and managers in the Castro took place on September 30 during the Divas & Drinks @ The Academy event at 2166 Market Street. The event, co-presented by the San Francisco Bay Times and The Academy, preceded the 2021 Castro Street Fair and was covered by NBC News.

    An unsung hero surprised with honors by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman at the event was Martha Asten, the matriarch of family-run Cliff’s Variety, which is marking its 85th Anniversary this year. Asten, Cliff’s CFO and a co-owner, was celebrated during her birthday week, in part, for helping to bridge the once wide gap that existed between LGBTQ-focused and owned businesses in the Castro with those that were not. With her husband Ernie (1947–2019) and Harvey Milk, she unified business groups in the 1970s, resulting in a unification that has lasted to the present.

    The women of the Golden State Warriors, represented by Alysha Lofton, were also celebrated. Loften presented information about the Warriors upcoming LGBTQ night and gave away t-shirts to attendees, who also received Divas & Drinks signature goodie bags and the latest in the collectible series of shot glasses by ellaprint commemorating historic lesbian bars and gathering places of San Francisco. This time, Whiptail Lizard Lounge was featured.

    Hosted by Donna Sachet and with music by DJ Rockaway of Olivia Travel, the event featured drinks curated by Bacardi Vice President Heather Freyer and her team, and food by Annie Flores and Sara McNulty of Marcello’s Pizza. Cliff’s Variety co-owner Terry Asten Bennett (Martha Asten’s daughter) led a roll call of the women business owners and managers in attendance, as well as related organizations whose representatives also came to the event. Several were with Legacy Businesses, meaning that they have operated in San Francisco for 30 years or longer and have contributed to San Francisco’s history and identity. Richard Kurylo, Manager of the Legacy Business Program, also attended the event.


    Castro CBD (Community Business District)
    Angela Aiello, Executive Director

    Castro LGBTQ Cultural District
    A. Sparks, Advisory Board Member

    Castro Farmers’ Market
    Mia Simmons, Manager

    Castro Merchants Association
    Haley Adams, Co-Vice President; Suzie “Zie” Jennings, Secretary

    Castro Street Fair
    Jenn Meyer, President

    City of San Francisco Office of Small Business
    Regina Dick-Endrizzi, Executive Director

    Golden Gate Business Association
    Dr. Krystal Drwencke, Vice President


    Alternative Mortgage
    Beth Hoffman, Owner*

    Anchor Oyster Bar**
    Roseann Grimm, Owner*

    Ascent Sports Chiropractic, Inc
    Dr. Krystal Drwencke, Owner

    Bangin Hair Salon 
    Diane Ramirez, Owner

    Beck’s Motor Lodge**
    Bethany Beck, Owner*

    BRIO Financial
    Joanne Jordan, Co-Founder; Shannon Kennedy, Director of Client Service
    Castro Day Spa

    Sandi Bault
    Castro Fountain

    Juliet Pries, Owner

    Cliff’s Variety**
    Terry Asten Bennett, Owner
    Martha Asten, CFO, Co-Owner

    Cove on Castro**
    Solange Darwish, Co-Owner

    Crusin’ the Castro**
    Kathy Amendola, Owner

    Crystal Way
    Linda Amburgey and Kathleen Carter, Co-Owners*

    Double Rainbow
    Taryn Segal, Owner*

    Duboce Park Café
    Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim, Co-Owners*

    Audry deLucia and Fran Herman, Co-Owners

    For Your Eyes Only **
    Kathleen Kennedy, OD, Owner

    Chef Melissa Perello, Owner*

    Giddy Candy
    Mary Mueller, Founder*

    Haley Adams Tattoos
    Haley Adams, Owner

    Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods
    Anna Koscielniak Thiel, Regional Manager

    Kasa Indian Eatery
    Anamika Kanna and Wendy Kawanda, Co-Owners

    Kokak Chocolates
    Carol Gancia, Owner

    La Méditerranée Noe**
    Alicia Vanden Heuvel, Owner*

    Lisa Hair Design
    Lisa Cam Ha, Owner*

    Local Take
    Jenn Meyer, Owner

    Marcello’s Pizza**
    Annie Flores and Sara McNulty, Co-Owners

    Mollie Stone’s Castro
    Taniesha Broadfoot, Store Manager

    Not Just Flowers
    Lisa Taylor, Owner*

    Now Sell Anything & Nosh’s Dirty Popcorn
    NaNoshka Johnson, Owner

    Olive This, Olive That
    Janell Pekkain, Owner

    San Francisco Bay Times**
    Dr. Betty Sullivan and Jennifer Viegas, Co-Publishers/Editors

    Scarpelli & Associates Physical Therapy
    Elizabeth “Liz” Scarpelli, Owner*

    Spark Arts Gallery
    Aviva Kanoff, Owner

    Spunk Hair Salon
    Suzie “Zie” Jennings, Owner

    Substantia Law Group
    Suzette S. Lin, Attorney at Law

    Sabeen Minns, Co-Owner*

    Tanglad Restaurant
    Jeannie Munez, Manager

    TIN Rx Pharmacy
    PJ Nachman and Dr. Christina Garcia, Co-Owners*

    Traci Hollander Insurance
    Traci Hollander, Owner*

    Trestman Chiropractic
    Dr. Julie Trestman, Owner*

    (* Unable to attend; ** Legacy Business)

    Published on October 7, 2021