Noe Valley Voice May 2011

Store Trek

By Karen Topakian

Store Trek is a regular Voice feature profiling new stores and businesses in Noe Valley. This month we introduce the Urban Chair, a hair salon on the eastern edge of Noe Valley, and Tango Advanced Nutrition, a distributor of herbal formulas and supplements on Church Street.


Office manager Giovanni Navarrete explains the herbal remedies on hand at Noe Valley’s Tango Advanced Nutrition.    Photo by Pamela Gerard

Tango Advanced Nutrition
1311 Church Street at 25th Street

Rows of white plastic bottles labeled AllerPhase, GastroCalm, and Sleep Cycle stand shoulder to shoulder on the shelves at Tango Advanced Nutrition. “We sell a line of advanced herbal formulas based on traditional Chinese medicine,” says Tango co-owner Jim English.

“If you ever go to Chinatown, you’ll see those huge paper bindles. They’ll say go home and cook this and concoct it and drink it,” says English. “That’s what’s in each of these capsules. That’s what makes us so different. It’s that quality and that concentration, which is why it can be kind of expensive.”

Tango opened 11 months ago in the former home of Uncivilized Elegance, Mabel Chong’s jewelry studio on Church Street near 25th Street. “This is not, strictly speaking, a store. It’s more of a showroom and an office,” says English, but “we’re more than happy if people want to come by and ask questions.” Though Tango sells the bulk of its formulas from an East Bay site, it stocks and sells samples of all of its products at the Noe Valley location.

English, who started the company in 2004, says he sells products worldwide. “We’ve just taken over a distribution of a line of traditional medicine by Hyla Cass, M.D., a psychiatrist and leader in the movement, who was looking into safe alternatives to prescription drugs without side effects.”

According to English, Tango’s best-selling product, AllerPhase, addresses a common health problem: sensitivity to dust, pollen, and dander. A bottle of 30 capsules sells for $39.95.

Tango also sells ArthriPhase, which he describes as a natural joint support formula that promotes healthy joint and circulatory performance. A bottle of 60 tablets goes for $39.95.

The company promotes its products through a catalog and through Nutrition Review, a bi-monthly newsletter, which is available in the showroom or online. English authors many of the articles, along with his business partner, John Steinke, an herbalist and licensed acupuncturist specializing in sports medicine.

A medical illustrator by training, English began his career in the health field in 1991, when he founded Smart Products. “I was a big player with the anti-aging smart drink nutrient movement. I spent the next 15 years as the head research writer for Life Extension magazine and Vitamin Research News, and probably published close to 1,200 papers and articles.”

English says Tango’s products can help young and old alike but he is especially interested in serving his peers in their 50s and 60s. “We’re all starting to have degenerative health issues. We all have the same struggle, to try and be healthy in an unhealthy world, in a stressful world.”

The Church Street location, managed by Giovanni Navarrete, is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store’s website,, takes orders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Carla Beyer, who formerly worked at Hair Play, is pleased to have her own salon, the Urban Chair.    Photo by Pamela Gerard

The Urban Chair
3650 24th Street at Fair Oaks Street

Perched on the edge of Noe Valley, at the corner of Fair Oaks and 24th Street, sits the Urban Chair, a hair salon for men, women, and children.

Carla Beyer, stylist and shop owner, decided it was time to open her own salon after working for more than five years at Hair Play.

“I really wanted to stay close to the neighborhood,” says Beyer, who unveiled her Urban Chair in April of 2010. “And I do love the area because it offers great restaurants, a little bit of shopping and good parking. I think that’s everything a client could ask for.”

In a month, Beyer says, she transformed the former Studio 3650 into “my own little Zen space.” She played up the abundance of light pouring in on two sides of the 300-square-foot space by adding a window seat on the 24th Street side. “I did some research on feng shui and I remember them saying that orange is a great sort of stimulator for producing or helping to cultivate happy relationships,” says Beyer, who painted one of the walls a deep coral.

The Urban Chair offers a full array of hair-care services. In addition to wedding dos and event hair, Beyer does coloring, styling, trimming, and texturizing. Most of Beyer’s clients, however, want haircuts, which cost $65 for women and $55 for men. The cost of young people’s haircuts depends on their age.

Beyer acknowledges she has become a big fan of children, because “you can never start too young to teach proper hair care.” She has also gained inspiration from some of her younger customers. “There’s a lot of ‘kitchen hair’ that happens in the Mission. You see so many kids who do such great work in the kitchen, working on each other’s hair.”

Over the years, Beyer says, she has developed a following. “I’ve become known for being successful with textured hair, with curly hair. I’ve had a lot of curly-hair clients who’ve had disastrous experiences and so they’re kind of looking for someone to listen to them.” Beyer likes to keep her approach simple. “Style it to an individual’s lifestyle because I think that’s more important than anything. People should feel good about their hair all the time and not be frustrated.”

To commemorate her one-year anniversary, Beyer will hold an open house on Sunday, June 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. She invites the neighborhood to stop by for wine, appetizers, and a special performance by singer/songwriter and Noe Valley resident Scheherazade Stone.

When not cutting hair, Beyer volunteers with Reading Partners at Sanchez Elementary School on 16th Street. Beyer says that since the school lacks books for students in grades one through four, she has developed a plan. “I am offering 10 percent off services to anyone who would donate a children’s book so that these enthusiastic students have more resources to help them in their quest to learn to read.”

The Urban Chair is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday and Friday from noon to 8 p.m. All appointments can be made online at