May 2014

Dr. Tacticool Opens in Bayview

Paul McDonald

A new business specializing in knives and survival gear has opened in a triangular space on Third Street, between Jerrold and Kirkwood. Dr. Tacticool — tag line: “A remedy for the modern day survivalist” — is the brainchild of 36-year-old Honolulu native Brandon Nguyen. Nguyen is a longtime outdoorsman, spending his summers on the Big Island of Hawaii hunting wild boar and camping out with his uncle and cousins. A self-described, “military brat,” according to Nguyen knives are tools, not weapons. He’s offended at the notion that his store sells weapons. 

Nguyen previously worked at a Haight Street vintage clothing shop, but felt there was an empty niche in San Francisco he could fill. He lives in Bayview with his wife, who is employed in high tech, and two kids, four and seven years old. After getting a feel for his neighborhood, including two nearby welcoming businesses—All Good Pizza and Flora Grub Nursery—he borrowed money from family and friends and opened his store last winter. 

Owner, designer — he created his logo—martial arts amateur, and one-time graffiti artist, Nguyen also weaves fabric handle casings for his tools and can make watchbands. His shop offers walking sticks, duffle bags, t-shirts, backpacks, and a myriad of knives, priced as low as $15 to more than $200. Two magazines are displayed in the well laid-out space: Blade and Tactical Knives, whose tag line is: “The tactical edge of survival”. 

Dr. Tacticool’s opening suggests that Bayview, relative to the rest of San Francisco, remains affordable to start-ups. 

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