As a marketing executive who does a fair amount of business traveling, I've had the chance to visit a lot of markets. New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles—they're all great markets, each with their own unique attractions and attributes. But for my money, there's no market quite like San Francisco.
Ah, San Francisco. How I love to visit the market by the bay, with its old-world charm and open-hearted people. I yearn for Frisco's beautiful skyline, dominated by the TransAmerica Pyramid and the sweeping majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge. And how can you beat having the charming little markets of Sausalito and Monterey so close by? Throw in its mild, business-friendly climate, and San Francisco might just be heaven on Earth.
Its residents sure think so. The people of San Francisco are a culturally and ethnically diverse customer base of 800,000 who hail from virtually every demographic you can name. From the middle-class leanings of the Mission District to the upper-mid conspicuous-consumption, alternative-lifestyle Castro to the shabby-chic stylings of the Presidio's catalog-order set, San Francisco is home to every type of consumer under the sun. And, as you'd expect from a market that both Mark Twain and Jerry Garcia called home, almost every person there is a unique character who marches to the beat of a different drummer. It's true what they say: There's no such thing as a median San Franciscan.
While we're talking neighborhoods, let's not forget Nob Hill. Last time I was in San Francisco, I met a lovely 35- to 44-year-old woman with a household income of $100K to $149,999 while strolling the Nob Hill area. We got to talking and, as it turned out, she grew up in the Dallas-Ft. Worth market, which is where I'm from. She gave me a tour of the various gardens around Nob Hill, and by the time we were through, I was convinced that it was just about the prettiest neighborhood in any market anywhere.
But this glorious market's charms don't stop there. People from sales regions across America flock to San Francisco to see Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf, where the seal demographic frolics in the waves. They flock to Pac Bell Park, where the native and the transient/recreational come together to root for the hometown Giants. They tour Alcatraz, San Francisco's most popular attraction among the 42 percent of Americans who fall into the "some college" category. And, with its countless theaters, galleries, and museums, San Francisco boasts more culture than any market this side of Paris.
Then there's the food. San Francisco is home to an endless array of restaurants, cafés, and bars that drive a surprisingly aggressive and successful upward-trending microeconomy. From crabs to crepes, from Ghirardelli chocolate to Napa Valley chardonnay, there's nothing you can't get in this market.
Yes, San Francisco is a unique intersection of the Far East, the Wild West, and Silicon Valley. Like no other market, it's the embodiment of the American dream, a place where hippies, Chinese immigrants, and dot-com millionaires shop side-by-side, exchanging ideas, durable goods, and services. You truly can do, be, or buy anything in San Francisco.
Someday, come hell or high water, I'm going to move to San Francisco. Dallas is perfectly nice, and I've enjoyed my years there, but it just doesn't compare to the world-class market that is San Francisco. I've been there probably a dozen times in my life, and I still love everything about it: the sights, the sounds, the white-collar professionals who make up 59 percent of its purchasing base.
I swear, I know the market so well, I feel like I network there already.