Press Release: City Celebrates the Opening of Churn Urban Creamery, A New Ice Cream Shop in the Portola Neighborhood

For Immediate Release

Contact: Gloria Chan, (415) 554-6926,


City Celebrates the Opening of Churn Urban Creamery, A New Ice Cream Shop in the Portola Neighborhood

The business received assistance from OEWD to start their business and open their first location in San Francisco.

San Francisco, CA (March 22, 2019) —Today Mayor London Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) together with the community celebrated the grand opening of Churn Urban Creamery, an ice cream shop in the Portola neighborhood. Churn received support from the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), OEWD’s Open in SF program (Small Business Acceleration Program), and SF Shines Storefront Improvement Program.

Prior to assisting Churn with opening their first storefront, OEWD worked with the Portola Neighborhood Association and the owners of the historic Avenue Theater property to restore the façade and re-light the theater’s neon marquee signage. In 2016, OEWD awarded the PNA $250,000 of a nearly $300,000 renovation. The remaining funds were crowdfunded by PNA with support from neighbors who wanted to see the sign restored to the highest historic preservation standards. The restoration was completed in 2017 and quickly attracted Churn to sign a lease in the vacant storefront space.

Through small business support program, Open In SF, Churn was able to navigate the permit process rather quickly. However, negotiations with the property owner, finding qualified contractors, and the owner, Rica Sunga-Kwan, having a baby contributed to the year and a half time it took to open their doors. While the main storefront space is now occupied, the theater space is still awaiting a tenant that meets the needs of the community and the property owner.

In 2016 Open in SF was launched, a first of its kind pilot program that provides direct free assistance to individuals seeking to open brick and mortar businesses in San Francisco, and guides them through the permitting process. To establish small businesses, owners must navigate a complex permit process through various departments. Permitting for restaurant and food businesses is especially complex, requiring up to 24 permits from 11 city departments and 3 state or federal departments. Churn worked with the Open in SF team to find the perfect location and navigate the City permitting process for their new business. The program has worked with more than 200 businesses since its launch in November 2016.

Churn received assistance from SBDC in creating a business plan, applying to receive a small business loan, and marketing their brand new business. Business advisors worked one-on-one with the owners to help them access $350,000 in private capital and low-interest loans. The San Francisco SBDC mission is

to provide business owners with information, training, and specialized one-on-one consulting. SBDC exists to help local businesses succeed, and, through that success, help stimulate our local and regional economy.

Churn also received a storefront improvement grant to update its storefront through the SF Shines program. SF Shines provides grants, design assistance and project management to improve storefront façades and business interiors. The SF Shines Program is an economic development service of the Invest In Neighborhoods initiative that provides focused, customized assistance to help small businesses thrive, increase quality of life, improve physical conditions, and build community capacity. Churn received a construction grant of $40,000 that went towards new signage, storefront windows and doors. In addition to the construction grant, Churn received project management assistance to execute the construction and specialized historic neon sign design services.

“There are so many obstacles to opening a small business including permits, paperwork, fees, and navigating multiple agencies,” said Mayor London Breed. “We are working with businesses and City departments to remove redundancies and barriers, as well as provide one-on-one case management to business owners. This type of customer service is what our small businesses deserve when they are willing to invest so much in our communities. Churn is a perfect fit for the Portola neighborhood and we are committed to growing programs that are able to make this a reality for other businesses.”

“The Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s mission is to grow, start, and keep small businesses in San Francisco,” said Joaquin Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “I am delighted to welcome Churn to the Portola neighborhood. Small food and restaurant businesses are key to the City’s vibrancy. They generate important employment opportunities and local character for San Francisco neighborhoods. OEWD’s programs are key in helping our small food businesses open their doors more easily and timely.”

“I am really grateful for all the support from SBDC and OEWD. The OEWD team was able to walk us through the process of starting a small business and work closely with us to get Churn open--helping to reduce the time it takes to open our doors. It made a huge difference and I want to extend my gratitude to the Mayor and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for their commitment in working with small business owners like ourselves,” said Rica Sunga-Kwan, owner of churn.

For information about the Small Business Development Center, go to:

For more information on the Small Business Acceleration Program, go to:

For more information on the SF Shines Storefront Improvement Program, go to:

About the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD)

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development's (OEWD) mission is simple – to create shared prosperity in San Francisco. OEWD provides city-wide leadership for workforce development, business

attraction and retention, neighborhood commercial revitalization, international business and development planning. For more information, go to:


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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.