After 35 years of running his dental practice, Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez, a.k.a. Dr. Rock, is going through the process of registry to the San Francisco Legacy Business Program with the help of Calle 24’s Business Liaison, Gabby Lozano, and Kerry Young of SF Heritage. In the 60s his father purchased the property on 2720 24th Street in an auction. The building would serve as the family’s shoe store business, and years later as Dr. Gonzalez’s dental practice. For the last three decades, Dr. Gonzalez’s work has extended beyond his dental office, contributing to the historical and cultural memory of the community.
In 1981, under the oversight of the 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association, Gonzalez helped organize the 24th Street Fair later known as Fiestas de las Américas. Following the sucess of the fair, he joined Roberto Hernandez, then director of RAP (Real Alternatives Program) and other community organizations to create the Mission Economic Cultural Association or MECA.
MECA took over the organizing of the 24th Street Fair and Cinco De Mayo festivals, which at that time were run by Gonzalez and Mission Neighborhood Centers. Later, Gonzalez became president of the organization and ran it from 1990-1992. In 1983, after completing his studies at UCSF School of Dentistry, he opened his practice: Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez III Dentistry.
While fulfilling roles of dentist and community organizer, Gonzalez also became involved in the music industry. He worked as security staff for Bill Graham Presents, rubbing shoulders with iconic bands like The Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones and others.
In 1985 Gonzalez became the manager of Malo, the Latin Rock band that produced the hit “Suavecito.” In this position he worked with rock legends like Bill Graham, Jerry Garcia and Carlos Santana.
During this time Gonzalez’s office served as a place for music gatherings, and today the space encapsulates this history as a makeshift museum of Latin Rock, displaying awards, posters, guitars, photos and other gems from Gonzalez’s time in the music industry that capture his unique and lasting contributions to the Latin Rock scene of the Mission District.
Gonzalez’s dental practice has served three generations of families in the district and has always offered bilingual services to provide access for monolingual Spanish-speaking families. Some of the services provided include emergency dental services, routine exams, and family and child dentistry.
Dr. Gonzalez became “Dr. Rock” when a patient, Arturo Carrillo, came in for dental work. Upon seeing all the rock memorabilia on the office walls, Carrillo started calling him Dr. Rock, and the name stuck as the two worked together organizing Carnaval for many years. From this came the name Dr. Rock & Latin Rock, inc.
Under the SF Legacy Business registry, Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez III Dentistry will be recognized for its community-serving cultural assets and contributions to the city of San Francisco.
To qualify for the Legacy Business Program, a business or organization must be 30 years or older; it must be nominated by a board of supervisors or Mayor; and proven to have made a significant impact in the history or culture of the community through a board hearing. To apply, qualifying businesses must complete a legacy business application and pay a $50 fee.
The registry is a tool for providing educational and promotional services to Legacy Businesses to encourage their success. The Office of Small Businesses provides business licenses and permits, access to capital options, oversees ADA requirements
and compliance, offers legal resources on mandates and labor laws, zoning and land use, and building permits, among other resources. All of these are readily available through appointments or through their website https://sfosb.org/ In the past 10 years the Mission District has seen 10,000 Latino families displaced, and while there are some laws that protect tenants, no laws exist to protect businesses. As the Mission District continues to face skyrocketing rent costs, San Francisco’s small businesses and organizations need as much support as possible, and the SF Legacy Business Registry is an important resource.
Dr. Bernardo Gonzalez III Dentistry will join other registered legacy businesses and non-profts in the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, including Acción Latina, Instituto Familiar de La Raza, Galería de la Raza, Pop’s Bar, Saint Francis Fountain and Casa Sanchez. The Legacy Business Registry will ensure that these community hubs remain a vital part of our neighborhoods for years to come.