San Francisco Excelsior District businesses to improve storefronts with help of AI design – CBS News

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SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — Businesses in the San Francisco Excelsior District hope to get more customers in the neighborhood with the help of a community design project.

Leaders of the initiative chose one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city as the next place to continue the work that has revitalized shops in other parts of San Francisco and in Spain. 

“I wanted to settle and lay roots in a foundation for myself, as women of color, a multiracial background, and I have kids now,” said Lea Sabado, the owner of Excelsior Coffee. 

Sabado owns the business with her husband, which will celebrate five years in the neighborhood this August. They saw an opportunity to add a coffee shop on the block that could celebrate their multicultural family with roots in the Filipino, Black and Mexican communities. 

“If we don’t do it, someone else might. At least we can represent the cultures where we come from and do it our way,” she told KPIX. 

In an effort to maintain the character of the Excelsior District, business owners welcome the opportunity to get a new storefront that makes their shops or restaurants more inviting for anyone passing by their street. Sabado points out that the facade of a business can tell their story, and if someone does not have a website, it may be their best chance to connect with new customers. 

“To have a beautiful storefront or assets that help cultivate that brand, it’s only going to uplift other people and garner attention and curiosity,” Sabado said. 

Freepik is an image bank website founded in Spain. The company’s neighborhood design project has already supported businesses in the city’s SoMA neighborhood and in the city Freepik was started, Malaga.

Independent designers had the chance to participate in the project to help create a new look for stores along Mission Street in Excelsior with the help of artificial intelligence generated content. 

“We love it, it’s a very vibrant neighborhood, tons of families here, and this is super diverse group of people,” said Katie Thrash, a resident in the neighborhood who was one of the first customers at the coffee shop. 

The love for this community from neighbors and workers helped to fuel the desire for the Freepik Neighborhood Design Project.

Sabado said it is an old, underrepresented neighborhood that is underappreciated, but its history and diversity are worth celebrating and preserving. As she looks to expand her business into roasting and adding more food and drinks to the menu, she wants to see the Excelsior thrive for years to come. 

“I feel like this is a neighborhood that’s the last of the real San Francisco,” she said. 

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