Bernal Bucks: Neighborhood Economics in San Francisco
Created in 2010 by Bernal neighbors, Bernal Bucks was a local initiative in support of our vibrant neighborhood economy, keeping it local.
Using a unique debit card, Bernal Bucks has worked as a shared loyalty program, maintained by volunteers and sponsored by small businesses. Since the beginning, this “typical Bernal” initiative has caught national media attention beyond our hill.
As people and shops now use new payment and loyalty tools, the Bernal Bucks Rewards rode into the sunset after 10 years. While the program facilitated over a million dollars in local spending, the real value has been in supporting the spirit of “The Buck Shops Here.”
The spirit of “The Bucks Shops Here” remains very much alive!
Amid delivery trucks roaming the streets these days, many neighbors are fiercely committed to loyal patronage of the local sources. Neighbors have shifted more spending to stores like the Good Life Grocery and pick up take-out from the family restaurants.
Over the 10 years, the neighborhood has welcomed new businesses. And some have seen beloved shops closed or moved on, like Heartfelt or Hillside Supper Club. Anybody remember Rock Candy Snack Shop?
For those who keep it active, the beloved Bernal Bucks debit card will continue to work for payments, just without the Bernal Bucks rewards. The wonderful local credit union Self-Help FCU maintains the accounts. They are a great alternative to the Wall Street banks!
To check or refill the card balance, members now use the online banking of Self-Help.
Special gratitude to:
Guillaume Lebleu, Adalbert Wysocki, Arno Hesse, Lester Zeidman, Darcy Lee, Ken Shelf,
David Campos, Sheila Chung Hagen, Jessica Lozoya, Maritza Rivas