Gump’s San Francisco, a luxury department store that has proudly been in business for 166 years, has issued a warning that this could be their last year. The store’s owner, John Chachas, penned an open letter to the Governor of California, the Mayor of San Francisco, and the city’s Board of Supervisors to describe how San Francisco’s unbearable conditions may mean the end for his longstanding business.
Gump’s, which was founded in 1861, has managed to survive natural disasters, the Great Depression, financial strain and the global pandemic, but the luxury retailer may actually go under due to San Francisco’s unsafe environment and floundering economy. Motivated to do something to save his store from going under, Chachas took out a paid ad in the San Francisco Chronicle to express his concerns to California’s top lawmakers.
The luxury furnishings and jewelry retailer was purchased by John Chachas in 2018 after the company filed for bankruptcy. Gump’s, which was founded amid the California gold rush, only has one brick and mortar location situated just one block from Union Square.
In an open letter addressed to Governor Gavin Newson and Mayor London Breed, Chachas pleaded for change. “Today, as we prepare for our 166th holiday season at 250 Post Street, we fear this may be our last,” he wrote. The distressed store owner went on to describe the horrible reality of what San Francisco has become, saying, “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, who once ran for a U.S. senate seat in 2010, continued his impassioned letter by telling state officials that San Francisco is “unlivable for its residents, unsafe for our employees, and unwelcoming to visitors from around the world.” Gump’s potential closure would be one of many for San Francisco. The city has seen a number of retailers back their things and part ways with the area due to a lack of law and order. Criminal activity has soared to new heights, with police being prohibited from doing anything about it.
Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Office Depot, and plenty of others have moved out of San Francisco, with more than 39 retailers running as fast as they can to get out of Union Square. As Chachas’ open letter hit newsstands, dozens of other businesses are already planning their escape. There is no denying that San Francisco has devolved into an undesirable city with a seemingly endless amount of robberies and unaffordable living conditions. As San Francisco’s economy continues to plummet, more companies will seek refuge in other states – or just go out of business altogether.