Sacramento is hipster heaven, study finds

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A big data and marketing firm has counted up the number of independent coffee shops, thrift stores, record stores, microbreweries and tattoo parlors in Sacramento and declared the city a hipster hotbed.

Infogroup of Omaha, Neb. – a city not on the company’s hipster list – has declared Sacramento the fourth most hipster city in the country, behind only Portland, Seattle and Denver. San Francisco is ranked ninth, and San Diego sixth. Grand Rapids, Mich., placed right behind Sacramento at fifth.

The company defines a “hipster” as someone who is cool and connected. Citing UrbanDictionary.com, the firm says “hipsters are mainly men and women in their 20s and 30s who dislike anything mainstream, have progressive political ideas and enjoy indie rock and art.”

Alison Cullen, an employee at Freestyle Clothing, a place where people can buy, sell and trade their clothes, said Sacramento, especially midtown, has changed into a hipster-friendly place in the past five to 10 years.

Cullen said a big part of the “hipster” movement is being able to go to local, independent stores by bike and by walking. Midtown offers just that.

“My friends and I go around on our bikes from bar to bar, eating food or getting a couple drinks,” Cullen said. “There’s just a lot of charm here. Everything’s just close and hip and local.”

The study from Infogroup concluded that the three top businesses of interest for hipsters in Sacramento are thrift stores, coffee shops and tattoo parlors.

To conduct the study, Infogroup used a business database with more than 15 million records, according to its website. After eliminating all chains or corporations such as Nordstrom, Starbucks or Macy’s, Infogroup compiled a list of business that provided products appealing to hipsters.

The study then determined the number of hipster-related businesses per 10,000 residents. Sacramento has 2.58 such business per 10,000 residents, a number Infogroup says has earned it the nickname “the new Oakland.”

Sacramento resident Ian Price sees Sacramento rising to the level of Portland or Seattle.

“It’s not quite there yet,” Price said. “But it’s definitely getting up there.”

Sacramento did finish above San Francisco, which finished ninth on the list. San Francisco was by far the largest city on the list, which may have contributed to its relatively low ranking.

Cullen agreed, saying that the small community feel of Sacramento – and midtown in particular – makes it more hipster-friendly than San Francisco.

“(Sacramento) is kind of like San Francisco, but a lot smaller,” Cullen said. “It brings the community together without having to go too far to get around.”

Eddie Cervantes, the owner of Lucky Rabbit Tattoos on L Street, said he’s seen the effects of hipster culture firsthand.

Cervantes said he serves many hipsters in his tattoo parlor. They ask for different tattoos than other customers, he said.

“They don’t get sleeves or anything,” Cervantes said. “They just get random little tattoos that are meaningful for them. It doesn’t mean anything to anyone else, but it means something to them.”

As he was sipping on an iced coffee at Temple Coffee on S Street, Price said he hopes that the proliferation of the “hipster” culture continues in midtown.

“In midtown, people don’t really care what others think and that’s created a culture,” Price said. “I think it’s a good thing.”

Thomas Oide: 916-321-1009, @thomasoide

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