A Take on Recent Merchant Breakins in Hayes Valley

A recent post in Public Comment SF about merchants being hit hard with breakins made our eyes roll a tad due to the outspokenness of a few chairmen of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA). Side note, we think it’s unfortunate the piece did not carry the view of small businesses on the corridor, but we recognize timing isn’t always on one’s side when stories are compiled.

The following comments stand out in this piece:

“With no tourist cars to break into, criminals need other places to steal from,” added Robert Barnwell, chairman of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association Public Safety Committee. “Now they are switching to commercial and residential burglaries, like garage thefts and so forth.”

Bob citing a shift from tourist car break ins to commercial/residential burglaries is a bit tone deaf if you speak to residents and businesses in the neighborhood who have been dealing with this matter for quite some time both preCOVID and during. HVSafe sees a correlation in crime/breakins as direct result of the rise of social inequalities – not tourism.

“Chain stores have the staying power and deep pockets, while smaller independent retailers do not,” said Lloyd Silverstein, chair of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association Merchants group, noting that only one chain store in Hayes Valley, Alternative Apparel, had closed during COVID.

LLoyd is inaccurate with his citing of only one chain store closing during COVID as there were a number that did in fact close: e.g. Alternative, B8ta, Urban Remedy, Hill City (Gap) and A Cote. Also worth noting, Lloyd has been advocating for a modification of the Formula Retail Ban because he’s deeply motivated in bringing in stores to the neighborhood ‘with deep pockets’ – this is very contradicting to the fabric of which our merchant corridor was built on. Many long term businesses in HV take serious issue with his vacillating positions that seem to seep out in articles like this.

Interestingly enough, LLoyd does circle back around with a truth as contradicting as it is to his aforementioned point…

“Hayes Valley …was built on the backs of many small businesses …..current vacancies provide really unique opportunities where we can try to bring in small maker businesses, which is how this neighborhood was founded.”

Because small businesses have withered the storm of COVID at a greater percentage than chains, you bet your bottom dollar we’ll be right here continuing to advocate for small business 😉 and for the opportunity for new ones to be established in our neighborhood 🙂

You can read the entire post here.