One in an occasional series on people who live or work in Glen Park.
“I needed a broom,” Madison Hatfield told the Glen Park News while sipping a latte at Higher Grounds on March 6.
Hatfield, 22, arrived in the Bay Area in 2016 and began scouting San Francisco neighborhoods for a job when she began at City College of San Francisco.
That fall when she paid for her providential broom, she asked the hardware store manager: “Do you guys need help?”
For the past three years, Hatfield has worked 35 hours a week for the Chenery Street business. After finishing at City College she transferred to the Academy of Art University. In 2022 she hopes to complete her final year at college, majoring in in advertising and minoring in graphic design.
Shoppers have become familiar with Hatfield’s graphic work over the course of the pandemic, it’s on display in windows along Chenery and Diamond Streets in the stand-out sign she designed that proclaims GLEN PARK STRONG.
“The Glen Park Merchants Association distributed them,” Hatfield said. “They’re at Bird and Beckett, Critter Fritters, Pebbles, Destination Bakery and the Canyon Market.”
Hatfield’s March 2020 sign drew inspiration from an iconic New York counterpart. While the Big Apple sign, I LOVE NY has one heart, Madison Hatfield’s boasts three.
“We were all so scared a year ago,” she said. “I wanted to design an encouraging reminder that we have a strong community, that we could survive this crisis and that it will pass.”
Hatfield was born in Eastern Oregon and raised in Baker City, Oregon. It’s a town of 9,828 people that continues serving, as it has done since 1865, ranching, mining and timber economies. It lies 128 miles from Boise, Idaho, two hours distant and where former Glen Park News reporter and Glen Park native son, Zachary Clark, moved last October to take on a public affairs position with Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
The Oregon she grew up in couldn’t be any different than Glen Park, said Hatfield, who’s a descendant of Devil Hatfield of the famous Hatfield and McCoy feud in West Virginia.
“The sawmills, sheep and cow pasturage and the mining smells are worlds apart from the library coziness Bird & Beckett.”
She attended a high school that topped at 400 students and knew early on she wanted to study art. In high school she sold bicycle pumps, tire tube repair, duct tape and Allen wrench sets at her parent’s bike shop, an education that has held her in good stead while earning a living in San Francisco tending to Glen Park’s hardware needs.
“I’ve been working in retail since I was 14,” she said. “I really love small businesses that have a sense of community and where you get to know familiar faces.”
That’s what she told Glen Park Hardware management when she was called for an interview.
“Working in a hardware store is really no different than graphic design,” she said. “I’m a problem solver for customers, assisting them in simplifying their lives. It’s the same with graphic design. How will I help clients market themselves with web design, logos, branding, messaging and social media content creation.”
She started out living on the southern end of Rotteck Street, on the other side of 280 but has since moved out to the Sunset District.
“I hop the N-Judah, then transfer to the 44 O’Shaughnessy,” she said. “For me, a small-town girl, it’s a dream come true. It’s exciting to think I can make a name for myself, a small fish is a big pond.”
Anyone who knows Glen Park, though, knows the pond isn’t all that deep, and the small-town, friendly aura Hatfield brings to it fits well with the neighborhood’s village ambiance.
“Glen Park is so inclusive,” she said, “and to all walks of life. I’ve made friends, all extraordinary people.”
“There are these three elderly guys who come to Higher Grounds regularly,” she continued. “I overhear them gabbing about light bulbs, history and politics.”
She loves her job at the hardware store, which has been accommodating and flexible, allowing her to work around her class schedule.
Until she graduates a year from this June, those classes include visual design, visual communication, language arts and all sorts of computer skills necessary to navigate the digital age.
She routinely spends two hours a day glued to her laptop, perfecting all elements of design that include balance, symmetry, line, even gaining expertise in how to lay out a newspaper.
The neighborhood is slowly coming back to life as more San Franciscans are vaccinated after a year of being on hiatus.
“The neighborhood’s wide awake,” Hatfield said.
Three days earlier, her lunch break over, Hatfield returned her Higher Grounds glass mug, then ordered a bagel to go before returning to work in a hardware store that is always fully stocked and presents its merchandise on manicured shelves.
Before graduation, she hopes to land an internship in a City advertising agency, then a job. Like Glen Park Hardware, any business that has the good sense to hire Madison Hatfield will be a lot stronger for it —GLEN PARK STRONG.