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San Francisco Mission District businesses feeling optimistic after busy holiday weekend

San Francisco Carnaval, Memorial Day give Mission businesess a bump in sales
San Francisco Carnaval, Memorial Day give Mission businesess a bump in sales 03:01

SAN FRANCISCO – The bustling energy of Carnaval has settled at Baobab restaurant in the Mission District, leaving a sense of calm after an incredibly busy weekend.

The Senegalese and African restaurant, owned by Marco Senghor, saw an overwhelming turnout during the festivities.

"We had food outside, street food, which is fantastic because we were in contact with the people walking by, and honestly, we didn't plan it, and we got overwhelmed, super busy. So that's a big push for us because the economy is not the best and we know how the Mission is suffering right now," said Senghor.

Bissap Baobab, located on Mission and 18th Street, found itself right on the path of Carnaval 2024. Senghor described the day as one of their busiest since before COVID-19, with non-stop activity from morning until night.

"And people didn't want to leave, it was 11 p.m. We started at 10 in the morning until 11 p.m. People wanted to dance, and they said we want more, and more so you can imagine that energy level was low but business-wise we did pretty well. That was fantastic," he added.

The Carnaval celebration, coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend, has given Senghor hope for a successful summer season. To accommodate the anticipated influx of customers, he has already opened the restaurant's patio.

"We had the grill outside, we had the fridges out here, we opened the gates, and it was unbelievable, like a new life for Baobab. Customer after customer would come in and say 'Oh my God, look at the food.' People from the street teach you sometimes don't forget your values," Senghor reflected.

According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, restaurants can see up to a 20% increase in sales during the summer months compared to other times of the year. The combination of warmer weather, longer days, and an influx of visitors exploring the city's vibrant neighborhoods boosts dining out, especially in areas rich with cultural events like the Mission District. 

Senghor shares this optimism.

"I really believe, honestly, that it was a demonstration that entertainment and allowing people to show their culture are the solutions to changing this economy. I wish it was more than Carnaval. I wish it was an Afrobeat festival and way more things happening outside," he said.

With the unofficial start of summer bringing a wave of activity, Marco Senghor and Bissap Baobab are ready to welcome the crowds, hoping for a season filled with vibrant culture and booming business.

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