Gump’s is a luxury American home furnishings and home décor retailer, founded in 1861 in San Francisco, California. Except today, Gump’s is under siege. Homeless drug addicts, thievery, ramifications of COVID policies, harassment of the public and the defiled city streets, together with bumbling incompetent city leadership, the company just published a full page letter warning they may have to close if the city doesn’t immediately reassess its “failed public policies.”
“San Francisco now suffers from a ‘tyranny of the minority’ —behavior and actions of the few that jeopardize the livelihood of the many.”
My mother-in-law, a 1934 Cal Berkeley graduate, took a job right out of college at Gump’s as a hat designer. She would be heart broken today at the vast decline of San Francisco.
“In an astounding full-page open letter in the San Francisco Chronicle, a venerable San Francisco business that’s been open for 165 years warned it may have to shut down because of deteriorating street conditions, crime, and inept city leadership,” Golden Gate Media reported.
Crime, homelessness, a lack of foot traffic, and lawlessness have plagued San Francisco’s recovery from a long COVID shutdown. And San Francisco’s elected class seems either incapable or disinterested in addressing the plague in its city.
Gump’s CEO John Chachas ended his letter assessing where the blame belongs: “But we believe failed public policies must be abandoned and a renewed focus must be brought to restore the city we all love.”
From the closure of San Francisco’s flagship Whole Foods supermarket, to Walgreens closing more than a dozen store closures, outdoor clothing company Cotopaxi, outdoor brand Decathlon, to the Gap, which closed their flagship store in the city in 2020, myriad reasons have led to the departure of many businesses. As the Globe reported, record low office occupancy, tens of thousands being let go from Bay Area tech firms, open drug use and sales, more workers deciding to work from home, high rents, and the escalating crime wave have all led to these business departures.
In February, when San Francisco Mayor London Breed gave her annual State of the City address, she outlined her latest plan to save the Downtown area of the city:
- An economically diverse and resilient job engine
- A welcoming, clean, and safe environment
- A dynamic destination active at all hours, every day
- A world-class transportation experience
- An equitable economy that supports full participation by all
Breed’s slickly produced marketing plan thus far is just words and pricey photos, and clearly the result of lots of brainstorming sessions, and roundtable meetings with affected PR flaks free associating strategies…
San Francisco, as well as all of California’s cities cannot have vibrant and thriving business districts while catering to the drug addicted, mentally-ill homeless, and criminals. How many more generational businesses have to close or move before Mayor Breed and California’s politicians choose to act?
Mayor Breed shut the City completely down during the COVID pandemic, ordered residents to lockdown while wearing masks, and ordered all San Francisco City employees take the COVID vaccine. It’s not a stretch to believe she and other politicians knew full well the economic devastation that would occur. And if she didn’t, she should be replaced.
“San Francisco downtown as we know it is not coming back. And you know what? That’s OK,” said Mayor Breed in February. “It’s a call to action, to reimagine what our future holds.”
Tell that to Gump’s Mayor Breed.
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