On Friday October 4th, 2002 around 2pm, we took the newspaper off of our windows and opened the doors to our store called Otsu at 3253 16th Street in San Francisco. It’s been a long and short ten years since then. Our business has gone through many permutations, from selling vegan shoes and bags and handmade goods and comics, to making artist t-shirts, to having two stores in two different states, to launching a paper goods line and changing our name, to running our store on Valencia from a state away, to being a publisher with just an online shop, to where we are now. Neither of us came from a retail/business background and it’s been a matter of organic turns and discoveries and flops and learning on the job. Every year that we celebrate an anniversary is a small victory in itself, but turning ten seems to be a more momentous occasion. It is humbling that we are able to do what we do and take these crazy chances that succeed more often than not–it is a bounty that we are genuinely thankful for.
And of course we would not be where we are today without the help and support of lots of people and we want to express our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the longevity of our little enterprise: all our customers, all the artists we’ve worked with, all our vendors, anyone who has ever written about us, our families & friends, George, Kirk, Amara, Alexa, Anna, Crystal, Kate, Lart (happy birthday!), Martine, Tony, Chi-hui, Tommy, Jennie, Dave C., Greg S., Amy & Richard (1984 Printing), Cindy (Favorite Printing), Pat & Aaron, Chad & Emiko, Phil, Yuri, Lauren, David C., Steve & Olivia, Sara O’Sullivan, Creativity Explored, Gabrielle & Andy, Eun-Ha & Karl, Alissa, Chris D., Dustin, Jason, Jill, Laura & Austin (Pinball), Rita, Kaori, Kristine, Claire, Helen, McSweeney’s, Andrew, Dave E., Vendela, Barb, Heidi, Angela, Jordan, Eli, Adam, Greg L., Laura, Chris Y., Brian, Giselle & Phurba.
We don’t know what the next ten years will hold, but we hope to keep sharing them with you. Thanks!