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Categories: CulturePacific Highs

Karim Mayfield Punches In with New Dispensary

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Karim Mayfield knows a thing or two about being a champion.

That’s because, earlier in his life, the native San Franciscan was a celebrated professional boxer. In total, he participated in 27 fights. In 2011, Mayfield first won the NABO Junior Welterweight title. Later, Mayfield would go on to train other boxers. It was during a conversation with a fight promoter that the 40-year-old Mayfield recalls being first approached about opening a dispensary.

“I went to an MMA match,” Mayfield says, “and the promoter knew who I was because I’d fought on HBO a couple of times. We exchanged numbers — my fighter was fighting on his card — and then, about a month later, he called and asked me if I knew anything about San Francisco’s equity program.”

Now, over three years later, Mayfield is at last expecting to open the doors of Authentic 415 by the end of January.

Located at 165 Mississippi St., Authentic 415 is the result of a partnership between Mayfield and the Shryne Group, who are also linked with several other Stiiizy-affiliated dispensaries throughout San Francisco. According to Mayfield, the support of his partners was crucial — especially when the onset of COVID-19 ultimately delayed his store’s opening by nearly a year.

He also emphasized that while the wait was significant, he doesn’t want prospective equity applicants to give up hope.

“I definitely want to put out there that this is a long process,” he said. “It’s taken three years for me to get to the spot where I am right now. But I want people to know that the Office of Cannabis has been doing a phenomenal job. Keep in mind: it’s just a couple of people in that office.”

After initially planning to open with a launch at San Francisco’s annual Hippie Hill festival on April 20, Authentic 415 was instead forced to delay their big day repeatedly as efforts to control the pandemic failed to yield progress.

However, as of Jan. 23, Mayfield will finally be able to refer to his dispensary in the present tense. When customers arrive, they can expect an aesthetic Mayfield describes as “boutique, almost like walking into a Gucci store.” There is also a new work from local muralist Maxfield Bala which depicts a black-and-white Mayfield in a boxer’s stance with the Bay Bridge stretching out behind him.

The visual choice is fitting, given Authentic 415 is but a mile from Chase Center, mere blocks from the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and directly off 280’s first inbound exit from Oakland.

Mayfield also spoke about his interest in integrating the local community into his business. Thus far, he’s hired several folks from the neighborhood for roles with Authentic 415 (“You want to go where everybody knows your name, right?”) and also confirmed his dispensary will showcase products made by Bay Area brands.

“The Authentic 415 experience will be true to the culture,” Mayfield continues. “What I mean by ‘culture’ is the San Francisco Bay Area from the time before all of these techies came in to just vacation or what have you. I was born and raised in San Francisco, so being ‘authentic 415’ myself, I’m looking to have the best products and to provide them at a great price point.”

In addition to his business aspirations, Mayfield also sees Authentic 415 as another platform to continue seeking justice for his late brother, Shaleem Tindle, who was fatally shot by BART police during a confrontation in 2018.

“With this new role as CEO of Authentic 415,” he says, “I have a position to speak to a wider audience. I believe that what happened to my brother was certainly unfortunate and definitely not a rare occurrence. I believe that the more I can speak out about it, the more people will become aware.”

By extension, Mayfield hopes that Authentic 415 will eventually be in a position, financially, to support causes and nonprofits that align with his vision for justice for his brother.

“I’m already out there stomping the pavement, trying to be a community advocate,” Mayfield explains, “but financially, it’s always good to be able to help. So, for me to be in a position to be able to give back to certain nonprofits and entrepreneurial programs? That’s a big opportunity too.”

Again, Mayfield is on the precipice of turning his plan into action with the announcement that SoulChamp — his boxing program for inner-city youth — has partnered with a Potrero Hill gym to offer sponsored classes.

“That was the Shryne Group again, helping me out to be able to take care of the community,” Mayfield noted. “We’re coming to the last bit — this last stretch — and I’m so ready to get going. I’m just so excited about this role. I’m a community ambassador. That’s my role now.”

Authentic 415. 165 Mississippi St., S.F. Opening for pick-up orders on Jan. 23.

(Editor’s Note: A print version of this article stated that Authentic 415’s opening date was Jan. 28. However, the store now plans to open earlier. The opening date is reflected above.)

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Zack Ruskin

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