166-year-old San Francisco luxury store threatens to close over “unsafe” street conditions

166-year-old San Francisco luxury store threatens to close over “unsafe” street conditions

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SF icon Gump’s writes open letter to San Francisco leadership slamming city’s current conditions


SF icon Gump’s writes open letter to San Francisco leadership slamming city’s current conditions

01:27

A San Francisco retail institution is warning it might have to close its doors after more than 160 years in business, blaming the Union Square store’s surrounding street conditions for its uncertain path forward. 

In an open letter to city leaders published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, John Chachas, the owner of luxury home decor store Gump’s, claimed rampant homelessness, public drug use and other conditions have made the city “unlivable for its residents, unsafe for our employees, and unwelcome to visitors from around the world.”

Tech Layoffs Mean Even More Empty Offices In San Francisco
A vacant retail storefront in the Union Square shopping district of San Francisco, California, US, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. San Francisco’s office-vacancy rate soared to a record 27.6% at the end of 2022, compared with just 3.7% before the pandemic. Photographer: Jason Henry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg


The letter, which ran as a paid advertisement, comes as some other businesses have pulled back or closed locations in San Francisco, citing safety issues and a falloff in customer traffic. Chachas implored San Francisco mayor London Breed, California governor Gavin Newsom and the city supervisors to clean city streets, remove homeless encampments and enforce local ordinances.

Return “San Francisco to its rightful place as one of America’s shining beacons of urban society,” he wrote.

The mayor’s office, the governor’s office and the city supervisors’ office did not immediately reply to CBS MoneyWatch requests for comment. 

“Destructive San Francisco strategies”

Chachas said that as a result of deteriorating street conditions, the store, located at 250 Post Street, may only be around for one more holiday season — its 166th. 

The issues Chachas cites, some of which arose from COVID-19 policies, have led other major businesses to pull the plug on their San Francisco operations.

“The ramifications of Covid policies advising people to abandon their offices are only beginning to be understood. Equally devastating have been a litany of destructive San Francisco strategies, including allowing the homeless to occupy our sidewalks, to openly distribute and use illegal drugs, to harass the public and to defile the city’s streets,” Chachas wrote in the letter. 

Earlier this year, Park Hotels & Resorts, one of the nation’s largest hotel real estate investment trusts, pulled out of two hotels in downtown San Francisco, saying it lacked confidence in the city’s ability to overcome “major challenges.”

Both hotels are located near the Moscone Center, a conference venue that prior to the pandemic drew throngs of professionals to the area. 

“Now more than ever, we believe San Francisco’s path to recovery remains clouded and elongated by major challenges,” Thomas J. Baltimore, Jr., the chairman and CEO of Park Hotels, said in a statement in June. 

Record high office vacancies have also emptied out formerly bustling parts of the city, and led to a rise in retail thefts.

In April, Whole Foods closed a flagship grocery store at Trinity Place less than one year after it opened over concerns for the safety of its staff members. 

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