Castro Yankee Clipper Travel named SF Legacy Business

Last month, the San Francisco Small Business Commission added travel agency Castro Yankee Clipper Travel (4115 19th St.) to the city’s Legacy Business Register, which recognizes “long-standing businesses in the service of the community ”that have established themselves in neighborhoods across the region for at least three decades.

Currently there are 275 small businesses across the city on the registry. Yankee Clipper Travel is the first travel agency to be honored.

In the Castro, Yankee Clipper Travel joins the ranks of Anchor Oyster Bar, Beck’s Motor Lodge, Castro Country Club, Cliff’s Variety, The Cove on Castro, Courtney’s Produce, Dog Eared Books, Eros, For Your Eyes Only, GLBT Historical Society, Marcello’s Pizza, Moby Dick, Rolo San Francisco, and Ruby’s Clay Studio & Gallery have all received Legacy Status since the registry began in 2016. The LGBTQ newspaper, the San Francisco Bay Times, also received Legacy Business Status on last month.

“I really appreciate the legacy business status because I’m starting to get a ton of referrals who didn’t even know there were travel agents in San Francisco anymore,” owner Kirk Dalrymple told Hoodline. “I hadn’t realized all the added benefits that would come with it.”

Kirk Dalrymple, owner of Yankee Clipper Travel. | Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

Yankee Clipper Travel was originally opened by James Boin in Los Gatos in January 1987. The company was named after the great baseball player Joe DiMaggio, a San Franciscan native born and raised in North Beach. The Hall of Fame has played his entire 13-year career with the New York Yankees. DiMaggio’s nicknames were “Joltin ‘Joe” and “The Yankee Clipper”.

In 1991, the company moved to Noe Valley. Dalrymple bought the business in 1999 and moved Yankee Clipper Travel to its current location at 4115 19th St in 2017. At the time, Yankee Clipper Travel briefly shared its space with Now, Voyager after its owner Peter Greene passed away. in 2016. (Now Voyager closed in April 2019.)

“Yankee Clipper serves the LGBTQ community for all aspects of travel across the globe,” said Dalrymple. “The agency is proud to offer its clients a superior and rewarding travel experience.” Yankee Clipper represents a number of LGBTQ cruise and tour providers and is also a proud member of the Signature Travel Network.

Current clients include Armistead Maupin, author of Tales of the city; and Mark Leno, former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California Assembly, and California Senate.

“Yankee Clipper Travel is the only LGBTQ travel agency in the Castro District of San Francisco and the company works diligently to ensure that customers can visit safe and welcoming places,” District 8 supervisor Rafael wrote. Mandelman, in a letter naming Yankee Clipper Travel.

Dalrymple says he is proud of his commitment to the Castro community as a member of the Castro Merchant Association and the Castro / Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association (EVNA). Yankee Clipper also attended the annual Castro Street Fair.

Yankee Clipper was the official travel agency for Gay Games Australia 2002 and Gay Days 2003 at Disneyland. Each year, Yankee Clipper donates a vacation package to the AIDS Legal Referral Panel for their annual fundraising event.

The past year has been particularly difficult for small businesses in the travel industry. “The past year has been absolutely horrible,” said Dalrymple. “I haven’t had a salary for 13 months.”

According to Dalrymple, business has started to improve. “Now all of a sudden we’re gangbusters,” Dalrymple said. “As soon as the vaccine came in and people started getting vaccinated.”

Because Dalrymple works alone outside of the office and only has five independent contractors working for him, he was unable to seek help from the Paycheck Protection Program.

“I applied for unemployment and got help for about six months before it was cut off,” Dalrymple said. “I used my savings and negotiated with the owner of the building to lower the rent so I could afford to stay.”

Photo: Steven Bracco / Hoodline

Dalrymple says he’s grateful to owner Joe Chavez for being accommodating and understanding to all businesses in the neighborhood, including Spunk Salon, Spike’s Coffee & Teas, Castro Village Wine Company, Castro Village Cleaners, and ZGO. “I think he realized he could get all of these stores emptied if he wanted to, charging full rent, and what would that be for,” Dalrymple said.

“Yankee Clipper Travel has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the travel industry among the hardest hit of any industry,” Mandelman said. “This leaves Yankee Clipper Travel in danger of impending closure and needs immediate assistance.”

Over the next year or so, Dalrymple said: “I can’t wait to get back to normal if there is such a thing.”

“I’m only here because I’m very passionate about selling travel, especially to Hawaii, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific,” said Dalrymple.

“I kept thinking that sooner or later it would come back,” said Dalrymple. “I just put all my eggs in one basket and now it’s starting to come back.”

Willie R. Golden