The impact of bringing Formula Retail Chain Trader Joe’s to Hayes Valley is not being taken lightly by many long term businesses in the neighborhood, many of whom have shaped the character of the merchant corridor. Even more relevant to this topic is many of them have not been included in any of the discussions regarding Trader Joe’s. Here are just a few thoughts as we head in to Tuesday’s Pre Application Meeting.
There is a consensus that there is already an over allotment of Formula Retail Stores in the neighborhood. While some may argue that there is a need for a larger grocery store in the area, we believe Trader Joe’s isn’t the ideal excuse for one. Their profile is not exactly in keeping with the personality of Hayes Valley. We would rather see a focus on a local market with fresh produce rather than packaged goods and pre-made meal options.
Some other questions we pose include: how will Trader Joe’s, a national chain with a centralized supply chain respond to the dietary and cultural needs of the surrounding community, especially those in low-income housing? Why can’t the space at 555 Fulton serve as a food market or hall with smaller spaces/stalls reserved for local entrepreneurs and food vendors, or out-the-door style food stands for area restaurants? What an opportunity this space could potentially serve for incubator pop-ups for home kitchen chefs, or small businesses looking for a co-op spaces etc. Heck while we’re thinking big… an indoor farmer’s market would also be ideal. This would be much more in keeping with some of the more romantic urban visions we’ve heard tossed about for Hayes Valley and San Francisco in general. Bearing in mind all of the above, why is the Planning Department even considering a Conditional Use for Trader Joe’s under its stated mission? Why aren’t they working through existing formula retail legislation to reduce chain store foot print? What about traffic safety? We have concerns that this Retail Chain will attribute to further traffic congestion in Hayes Valley.
We encourage you to attend the meeting on Tuesday. Have a thought or concern on the matter? Want to get involved in preserving Small Business opportunities in Hayes Valley? Do you see the value in enforcing the Formula Retail Ban in Hayes Valley? If so, let’s connect.