Legendary San Francisco luxury store may close over 'litany of destructive' city policies, ad says

Owner of landmark SF department store says "Today, as we prepare for our 166th holiday season at 250 Post Street, we fear this may be our last," he warned in full page newspaper ad

San Francisco's crime, drugs, and homelessness crises have prompted a prominent businessowner to warn that his iconic luxury store may soon close due to deteriorating conditions in the city, for which he in part blames the local government.

John Chachas, the owner of the iconic luxury department store Gump's, which has operated in the city for more than 165 years, took out a full page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle begging Mayor London Breed, the Board of Supervisors, and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom to address the city's decline.

"Today, as we prepare for our 166th holiday season at 250 Post Street, we fear this may be our last," he wrote in the ad in the Sunday edition. "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," he continued. "Such abject disregard for civilized conduct makes San Francisco unlivable for its residents, unsafe for our employees, and welcoming to visitors from around the world."

"San Franciscans deserve better than the current condition of our city," he lamented. "Gump's implores the Governor, the Mayor, and the City Supervisors to take immediate actions, including cleaning the city streets, removing homeless encampments, enforcement of city and state ordinances, and returning San Francisco to its rightful place as one of America's shining beacons of urban society."

"As San Franciscans, we will continue to support the compassionate efforts of helping those in need," Chachas vowed. "But we believe failed public policies must be abandoned and a renewed focus must be brought to restore the city we all love."

Should Gump's close, it would be the latest in a steady stream of businesses to abandon the area, with stores like Nordstrom and mall operator Westfield announcing their departures in recent months, according to CNN reporting. "San Francisco is dying" read a headline from The Daily Mail, listing Crate & Barrel, CVS and Office Depot as abandoning the once-great city. 

The city has long attracted scrutiny for its handling of crime, homelessness, and sanitation. San Francisco became the butt of numerous jokes following the 2019 publication of a "poop map" that identified the locations of human feces on its streets.

More recently, a string of social media posts have shown footage of daylight robberies and the poor conditions in the city's homeless encampments.