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Grand Showcase

[whitespace] Grand Design Duo: The husband-and-wife design team Keri White and Pedro Olmo of Grand keep the store's doors open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights with neighbor Fife to host local music/fashion events.

Grand, North Beach's best-kept secret, is a showcase for owners Keri White and Pedro Olmo's designs, as well as other local designers

By Jenny Shears

San Francisco's North Beach may be renowned for many things, like its Beat history, Italian cuisine, literary cafes, bookstores and bars, but not many people know about its clothing boutiques. Hidden on one of North Beach's less-traveled streets is Grand, a clothing store befitting its name and well worth a visit despite the area's obstacle course of tourists and beckoning maître-d's.

Grand opened three years ago, financed by a group of five friends and then business partners. Last year, husband-and-wife design team Keri White and Pedro Olmo bought the other three out and became sole proprietors. From the beginning, Grand has promoted and sold designs by local talent, including its own line of clothing.

"We had a hard time getting our stuff into stores and really wanted to have an outlet for our gear," British-born White says. "That's why Grand has and always will be a showcase for ourselves and other local designers."

The store's KPP line (Keri & Pedro Productions) hangs in the spare, open space with other locals such as Penelope Starr, Wyt, Sunhee Moon, Carol Tsang T-shirts, Naomi accessories and Ubiquity CDs.

Despite the general preference for name clothing from established fashion centers such as New York or Los Angeles, and because of the high quality in both cut and execution of Grand's suppliers, the regional scope has becomes a draw rather than deterrent.

"When we started the shop three years ago, most of the companies were, like ourselves, really new. They've matured with us and are all doing better and better," White explains.

White and Olmo's involvement in the local scene is not just relegated to cutting and sewing, though. The pair also teamed up with neighboring store Fife to host local music/fashion events. Their most regular happening is "Retail," when the two keep their doors open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. "We get a totally different crowd at night, so it's our advantage to be open," White says. With or without DJs, the evening events follow the spirit of North Beach's lively weekend nights.

Check out Grand's fall line.

Grand, 1535 Grant Ave.; 415/951-0131.

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From the October 5-18, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

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