166-year-old luxury retailer in San Francisco warns its customers
Gump’s San Francisco owner, John Chachas, wrote an open letter urging Governor Newsom, Mayor London Breed, and the Board of Supervisors to address the city’s deteriorating downtown conditions.
Today, as we prepare for our 166th holiday season at 250 Post Street, we fear this may be our last,” Chachas wrote in a paid ad in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.
Chachas acquired Gump’s, which sells luxury furnishings and jewelry, after the retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2018. One block away from Union Square in San Francisco, the high-end retailer was born out of the famed California gold rush in 1861.
“We are still learning about the ramifications of Covid policies advising people to leave their offices. “San Francisco has engaged in a litany of destructive strategies as well, including allowing the homeless to occupy sidewalks, openly distribute and use illegal drugs, harass the public, and defile city streets,” he wrote.
In 2010, Chachas ran for a US Senate seat as a Republican in Nevada, arguing that current conditions make San Francisco “unlivable for its residents, unsafe for our employees, and unwelcoming to foreign tourists.”
A request for comment from San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, and the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, went unanswered.
In recent years, many retailers in San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood have closed their doors, including Gump’s.
Chain stores like Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Office Depot, and CB2 have also ceased operations in the city’s downtown since the pandemic began. According to Coresight, a market research firm, over 39 retail stores in San Francisco’s Union Square area have closed since 2020.
Several retailers have recently announced plans to leave the city in response to the complaints raised in Chachas’ note.
The shopping mall operator Westfield announced in June that it was giving up control of its San Francisco mall due to “challenging operating conditions in downtown San Francisco, which have led to declines in sales, occupancy, and foot traffic.”
Nordstrom, one of the mall’s biggest retailers, had announced one month earlier that it would close both of its San Francisco stores, citing the “dramatically” changing downtown.