Team Bios

Team Biographies

Jonah Buffa
Owner, Fellow Barber
Director, VCMA

A long time SF resident and Bay Area native, Jonah started Fellow Barber in 2010 with his brother. He’s lived on and off in the Mission, bartended at a number of bars in the neighborhood and played music, touring in a few bands. He’s happy to be a part of the VCMA Board and serve the community and neighborhood.

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Manager, 826 Valencia
Director, VCMA

Caroline began working on the corridor at writing and tutoring nonprofit 826 Valencia while studying at the University of San Francisco. Her studies ranged from a degree in Comparative Literature to minors in Environmental Studies and Public Policy. A wide spread of interests and passions has continued to serve her well, managing the whimsical Pirate Supply Store since 2013 and opening 826 Valencia’s second and third storefronts in the Tenderloin (2016) and Mission Bay (2019). The Mission stole her heart first, though, and she’ll always be dedicated to the diverse community here — especially its families, artists, and small businesses.

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Tyler MacNiven
Owner, West of Pecos
Director, VCMA

Tyler started working in his parents’ restaurant, Buck’s in Woodside, when he was 13. He’s traveled the world making documentaries but has always come back to the restaurant business. Tyler and his brothers opened West of Pecos on Valencia in 2012, just two blocks from their home. The restaurant is an homage to their love for the southwest, particularly New Mexico, where they frequented on family road trips growing up.

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Jefferson McCarley
The Fixer, Ritual Coffee Roasters
Director, VCMA

Jefferson has managed Mission Bicycle Company since 2010 and has been actively involved with the VCMA since its inception. He’s a Mission resident for coming up on a decade and an advocate for the business community and the neighborhood.

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joshJosh Philippi
Mission Bicycle, Secretary, VCMA

After moving from New Mexico to SF, Josh decided to turn his love of bicycles into a career and started at Mission Bicycle Co. After 4 years he worked his way up from simple mechanic to General Manager and has enjoyed every minute of the journey. He currently resides in the Castro but the Mission district has always been a second home. He is very excited to be part of the VCMA Board and can’t wait to see what the future brings for our neighborhood!

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bio-pic-laika-jpJonathan Plotzker-Kelly
Owner, Heliotrope Skin Care (available at Acacia)
Treasurer, VCMA

Nice Jewish Boy from The Bronx packs up his NY neuroses, moves to SF, and makes it big in The Mission. After 30+ years of retail – both big and small – JP co-founded Heliotrope San Francisco, an all-natural, locally made skincare line. After working for years at Williams-Sonoma, Bare Escentuals, Restoration Hardware and Good Vibrations (another local favorite on Valencia), it was time to start something from scratch, and source everything locally. All of Heliotrope’s products are made in the SF Bay Area. In 2012, we moved our Noe Valley shop to Valencia St, joining forces with another local brand, Acacia – which offers well-curated home decor and accessories. JP lives nearby in Kite Hill (which you”ve never heard of) with his dog Laika (no, she’s not named after the camera, but thanks for asking). Laika makes a particularly good shop dog, and will welcome your visit.

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Sean Quigley Sean P. Quigley
Founder, Paxton Gate & Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids
President, VCMA

If Paxton Gate owner Sean Quigley had his way, it would be 1880. Hop on a horse, find land, stake a claim, build a house, pan for gold, and voilà. This might have something to do with growing up in a Northern CA town named Happy Valley. Though it sounds like a name dreamt up by an ad man working on Madison Avenue, it is a place where his family raised its own food and livestock, built barns and where kids were free to roam through woods for fun, literally miles from home.

He moved to the Bay in ‘89 and after graduating from SF State in ‘92 started his businesses, the original retail store and his design/build company, that same year. He spent the next 14 years working as a bartender at a number of Mission bars including Dr. Bombay’s, Casa Nova and Kilowatt while patiently building his company which he moved to Valencia in 1999. In 2008 he opened his 3rd business, Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids.

If you ask Quigley, he’ll say he was “strong-armed” into taking on the role of VCMA President in January 2012. In truth, founder Deena Davenport had dedicated over two years to the role and wanted to pass the torch to someone else. Seeing himself as more of a behind-the-scenes guy Quigley changed the organizational make-up of the VCMA and created the first board, distributing the duties previously held almost entirely by Davenport. Moving forward he endeavors to set up non-profit status for the organization, attain recognition city-wide for the VCMA’s merchant members, secure more exposure for the corridor, and continue to support the VCMA and its mission.

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eileenEileen Rinaldi
Founder, Ritual Coffee Roasters
Vice-President, VCMA

Eileen Rinaldi is the founder and owner of Ritual Coffee Roasters, a San Francisco-based coffee company with four retail coffee bars. Ritual at 1026 Valencia opened in 2005 and is responsible for putting San Francisco on the map for coffee. And as fanatical as she is about coffee, Eileen is just as passionate about small business.

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Bryant Sharifi
Owner, Perform for Life
Director, VCMA

After graduating with a Kinesiology Degree, Bryant was eager to begin his career as a Certified Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He found that the industry had not regulated qualifications and its values were not aligned with his. He was interested in cultivating his craft and building lasting relationships with clients. He followed his own path and began to create Perform For Life with his wife, Justine Sharifi. He believes that the fitness industry has a responsibility for trainers and coaches to have proper credentials and continue their education regularly along with building authentic relationships. Today, his dream is for Perform for Life to be at the forefront of the industry by fostering opportunities for trainers to build their professional careers. Through his leadership, his goal is to mentor a new generation of trainers and coaches who will bring outstanding professionalism to the industry.

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Benny Weiner
Owner, Benny Gold
Director, VCMA

Benny is an independent graphic designer and signature clothing brand. The brand started from just a simple sticker that was posted around town on his days off. Over the past decade it’s grown from a small side project into one of the industry’s most celebrated labels. As a brand, we emphasize the importance of staying true to your passions, growing up without growing old, and a strong DIY work ethic. He has lived in the Mission for over a decade and operated a retail store just a few block from his house for almost as long.

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