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Popular pastry shop in San Francisco's Japantown enjoys post-pandemic uptick in business

San Francisco Japantown pastry business part of the neighborhood bounce-back
San Francisco Japantown pastry business part of the neighborhood bounce-back 03:32

SAN FRANCISCO -- Some businesses in San Francisco's Japantown say they have noticed an increase in sales this year as the city reports it is one of many neighborhoods trending upwards in revenue so far in 2023 compared to before the pandemic. 

"We love it here, most of our customer base is from around here so we want to make sure we stay around and keep serving them, that's important to us," said Kenji Yick of Yasukochi's Sweet Shop, a recently designated legacy business in Japantown.  

Data from the San Francisco Controller's Office shows that sales tax revenue is up in the Presidio, Western Addition, and Japantown this quarter compared to 2019. All this week, the CBS News Bay Area Morning Edition is highlighting how parts of San Francisco are bouncing back economically.

Yick says they made some changes to their workflow after reopening from the shutdown and noticed more customer orders. He says he currently has to bake more goods each week to keep up with demand. One item that remains popular as the shop prepares to celebrate 50 years in business in 2024 is their coffee crunch cake. 

"It came from a restaurant way back in the early 1900s called Blum's. He got the original recipe and my grandfather brought it over here and we started the business off of that," explained Yick.

The neighborhood has had its own unique challenges, in addition to taking on issues all communities in San Francisco face, like crime. But Yick says he feels safe, and his family business remains comfortable in this neighborhood all these years after his grandparents first opened the shop. 

Japantown businesses say the warmer weather is helping bring more people into the neighborhood, as is an increase in tourism. Many shops have unique products that kept customers loyal after the initial jump in interest that came earlier in the pandemic. 

"We actually saw an uptick in business," Yick said. He noticed the increase in business after the shop changed its hours and welcomed customers inside again after the lockdown. "Which was really nice, so very motivating just to know that people, they were waiting for us to come back, and they were excited for us to come back."

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