166-year-old Luxury Store Could Close Due to San Francisco Crime

Rampant homelessness and drug abuse could force an iconic San Francisco luxury department store to close after 166 years, according to the store’s owner.

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John Chachas, owner of Gump’s, wrote an open letter to California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Democrat Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and said the city “now suffers from ‘a tyranny of the minority.’ “

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Chachas’ letter was published as a full-page ad Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Gump’s has been a San Francisco icon for more than 165 years,” Chachas wrote. “Today, as we prepare for our 166th holiday season at 250 Post Street, we fear this may be our last because of the profound erosion of this city’s conditions.”

Chachas’ letter suggested that some of San Francisco’s problems derive from “advising people to abandon their offices” during the COVID pandemic.

“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 said.

“Such abject disregard for civilized conduct makes San Francisco unlivable for its residents, unsafe for our employees, and unwelcoming to visitors from around the world.”

Chachas asked the government officials to clean city streets, remove homeless encampments, and enforce city and state ordinances. Doing so, he said, would return San Francisco “to its rightful place as one of America’s shining beacons of urban society.”

“San Francisco deserves better than the current condition of our city,” he said. “Gump’s implores the Governor, the Mayor, and the City Supervisors to take immediate action.”

Chachas, who acquired Gump’s following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, told The San Francisco Standard that he had received nothing but positive feedback for his letter.

“No one’s told me, ‘Oh my, how uncaring you are toward the homeless,’ ” he told the Standard. “I received multiple responses saying ‘Truth to power,’ ‘You’re saying exactly what everybody believes.’ It’s just that no one listens.”

Chachas told the outlet that one customer said, “I love your store. I love your product. I’ll buy something online. I don’t want to step foot into that city.”

The Chronicle reported that San Francisco had more than 7,754 homeless people, approximately 4,400 of whom slept in the streets or inside a tent or vehicle, in 2022.

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