Future Formula Retail Test on Valencia?

The Aesop perfume store is planned for the space on the right and a Chrome bag store is planned for the space on the left. Photo by Lydia Chávez

The Aesop perfume store is planned for the space on the right and a Chrome bag store is planned for the space on the left. Photo by Lydia Chávez

The next battle over chain stores on the increasingly gentrified Valencia Street has likely arrived. Aesop, an upscale Australian perfume retailer, and San Francisco messenger bag company Chrome Industries, confirmed to Mission Local that they plan to move into a vacant Valencia Street storefront early next year.

If recent history is any indication, it’s the Aussie company that’s in for a San Francisco treat — and it sure isn’t Rice-A-Roni — in opening what would be its 12th U.S. store — putting it squarely within the definition of chain stores in the San Francisco planning code. Merchants on Valencia have now famously stopped two formula retail projects from moving in over the years — Jack Spade and American Apparel.

Zoning restrictions in the Mission require chain stores — defined by the city as any company that has 11 or more brick-and-mortar locations in the United States — to get a special permit. Since Aesop is over the threshold with its dozen locations nationwide, including two locations already in San Francisco, the Planning Commission would hold a public hearing before granting approval.

City planner Richard Sucre said the department did receive an application for a certificate confirming that Aesop’s planned façade matches the aesthetic requirements of the Liberty Hill historic district. That application has not yet been approved. Yet the company has not yet filed for a conditional use permit.

It was during this conditional use process when some Valencia merchants quashed American Apparel’s bid to open in 2009. The planning commission has approved other chain stores in the Mission including Pollo Campero, AutoZone, Fresh & Easy and AT&T.

Then came Jack Spade. The Valencia Corridor Merchants Association successfully quashed a seven month-long campaign to stop the luxury mens clothes retailer from moving into the former location of Adobe Books at 16th Street and Valencia streets. The shop owners argued that Jack Spade should be considered formula retail because it is owned by parent company Fifth & Pacific, which also operates Kate Spade stores.

Former city supervisors Matt Gonzales and Tom Ammiano, who were the architects of the formula retail law, wrote letters to the city’s Board of Appeals, arguing that Jack Spade fell within the type of chain stores targeted by the law — those that can absorb higher startup costs and rent. The Board of Appeals voted to rehear the appeal, and Jack Spade appears to have abandoned its bid.

Aesop likely does not know the NIMBY hazing that may lie in its future. The opposition to Jack Spade appeared to be news to Aesop’s New York-based spokeswoman Victoria Del Rico when Mission Local talked to her Monday. “We’re not trying to gentrify the neighborhood,” she responded. “We like to have small stores that go with the neighborhood.”

Del Rico compared Aesop stores to 19th century apothecaries peddling compounds for medicinal purposes. Aesop is certainly an upscale iteration: with its $100 body balm and $90 perfumes, the store was an easy fit for tony Pacific Heights and the Marina, where they opened earlier this year.

About the Mission, “We are not in a hurry to open,” she said. “We want to get to know the neighborhood.”

Aesop and Chrome plan to move into two separate storefronts at 956 Valencia St. — between 20th and 21st, next door to Mission Creek Café — which has been vacant since July when The Touch, a furniture store, moved to Mission Street after the landlord tripled the rent. This week, the store was vacant with construction workers inside. The Valencia property owner, a limited liability company named after the building’s address, didn’t respond to an email.

Chrome wouldn’t be considered formula retail under the definition of the planning department. The Valencia Merchants Association approves of Chrome, a San Francisco-founded company known for its American-made messenger bags selling for $80 to $200 and cycling accessories. Its merchandise is already carried by Mission Bicycle, the general manager of which was one of the main opponents of Jack Space.

The proposed Valencia Street location would be Chrome’s fifth store nationwide, and its second San Francisco location. At 1,500 square feet, the Valencia store would be smaller than it’s SoMa headquarters, said Steve McCallion, the company’s president, yet was lured to the Mission by the substantial foot and bike traffic.

“We have a lot of business friends there, Benny Gold, Betabrand, Four Barrel — all amazing local brands that we cherish and admire,” he said. “We spend so much time there we might as well spend more time there.”

Over the past years Valencia Street has become a destination corridor for tony restaurants and boutiques, making other businesses in the area nervous about rising rents.

Yet Philip Lesser, a consultant for businesses that want to move into the Mission, including Jack Spade, says the wealthy clientele is still attracting the retailers despite the street’s track record of opposition.

“It’s no secret that high-end retailers want people with high disposable income,” he said, “and they are living in and frequenting the area.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Aesop had already obtained a certificate of appropriateness. We regret the error.

83 Comments

  1. sjg

    Here we go again….

  2. BellaDancer

    It’s not just Valencia Street merchants who oppose formula retail, and opposed American Apparel, Jack Spade and Ohana Hawaiian Barbecue. The residents of Liberty Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods have been strong supporters of our local businesses and have opposed chain stores whose ownership is elsewhere and whose profits follow them out of town.

    • neighbor

      please keep 956 Valencia sensitive, cruelty-free and fragrance-free

      • Meems

        Aesops appears to be environmentally friendly, vegan products, not tested on animals, and not everything is $100. As far as fragrance free- this corner often smells like pee, so maybe it’s a good improvement.

  3. John Q. Citizen

    Whoa. Does anyone do fact checking anymore? This is more of an opinion piece than an article, and there are so many errors.

    “The next battle over chain stores on the increasingly gentrified Valencia Street has likely arrived.” -really? This doesn’t sound like covering a subject “fairly and thoroughly” as stated in the About Us.

    There is discussion to be had around these topics, but this article feels very biased.

  4. ThatGuy

    Only Google Ventures-funded “local” coffee shops should be allowed on Valencia!

  5. The term NIMBY is getting thrown around pretty loosely here. When a majority of the community doesn’t want chain retail, it’s not NIMBYism to try to keep chain retail out.

  6. chalkman

    that would be a much better spot for a video arcade!

  7. Meems

    Aesops appears to be environmentally friendly, vegan products, not tested on animals, and not everything is $100. Looking at their website it seems the author selected expensive items on purpose for shock factor. Why are we fighting this again? I feel manipulated by missionlocal. I’m new to SF, but still care about this neighborhood.

    • pam

      You’re new to SF. You don’t know the neighborhood or the neighborhood history, which is why you totally don’t get this. Of course, you’re new to SF and already telling those of us who’ve spent our lives here how you would remake the city to better fit your worldview. Nice.

      • ThatGuy

        Pam, this isn’t YOUR MIssion and it isn’t MINE. So why don’t you quit telling the rest of how to make/keep/remake the Mission? Thanks.

    • MissionLoca

      We’re fighting this because we don’t want to look like Anywhere, USA. People love living in the Mission BECAUSE there isn’t a Starbucks and Jamba Juice on every corner, which there would be if these regulations didn’t exist. This neighborhood values its individuality. We don’t want to look like a generic upscale shopping mall. We want local businesses owned by local businesspeople. If you care about this neighborhood, rather than jumping right into the politics, why not sit back and observe for a while, learn about the place you live before you start casting assertions.

      • Rp

        I don’t technically live in the mission anymore but was around 10 years ago for some odd years and still know the spirit of it and I would think a boutique like Aesop would seem appropriate despite some of the hefty price tags. I happen to love Aesop products and anyone else who might try them most likely would too, so why try to fight something that can enhance your neighborhood hippie aromas? Smells like fancy hippie stuff is really what it is. Maybe people should get familiar with Aesop before deciding that they don’t want it in this neighborhood. It’s still a small boutique and isn’t like a Clinique or Mac or something you would get at the mall or a department store. When being compared to giants like Starbucks and Jamba Juice, it is hardly even close to being comparable.

      • Chris

        First, since Aesop’s has just started the processing of considering a space, you didn’t know about it, so you aren’t “fighting this.”

        Second, a high-end soap apothecary with only 11 existing U.S. locations is not something one finds in “Anywhere, U.S.A.” It seems like perfect, snooty little sort of store to fit in with all the existing high-end “local stores” on Valencia. Go to Carmel, CA and see Valencia’s future, very few chains (and of the few, mainly only expensive ones) but plenty of extraordinarily expensive “locally owned” boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. It’s just economic homogenization and makes for an “Anywhere, Rich People U.S.A.”

    • sjg

      It is opposed because Valencia Street doesn’t need to be a reincarnation of Stonestown Mall.

      • John

        Except that there would never be a Spade or Aesop store in Stonestown mall.

        High-end, low volume stores like that are well-suited to an eclectic street like Valencia. It’s the Home Depot’s that we need to keep out, on interesting little boutiques.

      • ThatGuy

        Idiot. Have you even been to Stonestown?

  8. Kaliman

    It’s hard to take the “we are not trying to gentrify the neighborhood” statement seriously when they plan to sell body balm for $100. Please go to Union Square (if you’re not already there).

    And how exactly will you be getting to know the neighborhood?

    No, No, NO!

    • Meems

      If you look at their offerings you will see that the reporter chose the most expensive products ignoring all the regular prices, also this place is not a fancy perfume shop. Back home their stores are architectural masterpieces and their products are great.

      • MissionLoca

        Great! If you like these stores so much, why not return “back home”? Here in the Mission we’d like businesses that reflect local flavor and character, local entrepreneurs, and don’t want our neighborhood to look like a clone of your neighborhood back home!

        • pete

          You mean just latino businesses, don’t you?

        • Glad I'm not John

          What a hateful message. I bet you typed it on you mass made laptop while sitting on your mass made furniture and drinking from your mass made coffee mug wearing your mass made clothes. How dare you. You want a neighborhood with only what and whom you choose. The definition of #NIMBY it’s exactly you who is ruining this neighborhood.

      • Glad I'm not John

        You are welcome in our hood Meems! Thanks for speaking up.

    • Chris

      A little late for the anti-gentrification argument. Why do you think a store selling $100 soap would want to locate on Valencia? Because it is full of working-class or middle-class folks? No. They want to be on the street that already has high-end “locally owned” boutiques, expensive restaurants, and multi-million dollar condos, which is the EXISTING Valencia street. The only way to “gentrify” the neighborhood would be to open a store where everything was priced at $300,000 or more.

  9. C. Russo

    Rather than frame this, Chron-like, as a store plan sure to upset some residents, why not ask, who actually WANTS this store here?

    • John

      “who actually WANTS this store here?”

      I would imagine that any store considering opening a new location first has to perform it’s due diligence to determine if they will get enough paying customers to sustain the store and justify the investment.

      So I’d be fairly confident that they have assessed that there will be a critical mass of people who want the store there enough to actually buy things and make the store viable.

      What you appear to be saying is that the people who would not in any event shop there should have the decision instead. And have the right to stop others who would like to shop there from doing so.

      And I think that’s the real problem here. You can boycott any store you don’t like by simply not shopping there. But why seek to deny that option to those who do want to shop there?

      I don’t like Rainbow foods, but I certainly would never wish to deny you the ability to shop there if you feel differently. If I can tolerate stores I don’t like or frequent, why can’t you?

      • C. Russo

        Stores are people, my friend. Right JJ?

      • two beers

        John, Jesus-like, suffers the existence of Rainbow foods in the neighborhood he hath moved to, so it is only fair that we tolerate the unaffordable international chain boutiques that raiseth the value of his nearby properties. He hath truly shown us the way, verily I say unto thee!

        John rightwously tolerates the poor, homeless, and needy. Likewise, we need be righteous and tolerate the devastation of our community, the devastation John abets and benefits from.

        After all, we are all tolerant, peace-and-beads hippies here in San Francisco, so it would be hypocritical of us not to tolerate everything John espouseth.

        Am I right, John? Say Hallelujah!

        • John

          You’re the one stereotyping people and seeking to convince others that some classes of people are more important than other classes of people.

          I was merely asking for a little tolerance towards people, things and stores that you personally may not like.

          Explain to me exactly how an Aesop store would harm you. Or anyone.

          • two beers

            It has nothing to do with “liking”: they might be perfectly nice people, who simply have the wrong business for the location. See, I don’t dislike you, either, even thought your simplistic, Ayn Rand-based attitudes are atrocious: you might also be a perfectly nice guy whose business interests are simply diametrically opposed to most of the long-term residents of the neighborhood he has bought into, and who now stands to make out like a bandit for having bought in at the right time.

            You’re right about some classes of people being more “important” than others. Workers are absolutely indispensable, but coddled, spoiled, and sociopathic CEOs drinking at the government teat are a dime a dozen: they are an unnecessary waste of resources, the cause of great disruption to the functioning of a healthy productive economy beneficial to all, and extremely deleterious to the society they exploit and pillage.

          • John

            Everyone with a job or a business is a worker. If your point is that we need people with jobs more than people without jobs, then I’d agree with you.

          • two beers

            Your kindergarten sophistry is amusing. I like how, in order to divert the conversation, you always try to redefine the language used by those you disagree with.

            You damn well know what the difference is between a worker and a CEO. A CEO might have a job that has a lot of power, but his function is utterly dispensable and superfluous.to the company. Without the workers who actually produce a good or provide a service, the company ceases to function.

            As the Fed’s continual monthly gift of $85 billion to Wall St demonstrates, CEOs are an inefficient drain on resources.which could otherwise be put to actual productive use, instead of artificially boosting asset values.

          • John

            CEO’s have a far bigger influence on the bottom line than some burger flipper somewhere.

            Folks who get paid more typically create far more value.

          • two beers

            “If your point is that we need people with jobs more than people without jobs, then I’d agree with you.”

            This is an offensive, anti-social tautology. You blame the unemployed for the lack of jobs caused by Wall St’s continued asset-driven Ponzi scheme which sucks the economy dry of demand and capital stock.

            If people without jobs (“useless eaters, ” in your world) aren’t needed, than why are CEOs who outsource jobs needed? Or CEOs who swindle investors and are then indemnified by the government? Or CEOs who loot their company’s assets and are then pumped full of taxpayer dollars to keep them afloat? Why are these sociopaths (useless eaters, in my world) needed?

          • two beers

            Wall St CEOs create no value, unless you mean that they use family connections and Ivy League old boy networks to get massive bailouts and favorable laws from Wash DC. which artificially boost their stock’s value and deplete resources from what could be a productive economy.

          • John

            Jobs are outsourced because American workers are paid too much compared with those who do the same job in other nations.

            Same reason we have immigration, and the same reason we import, and the same reason the US dollar is structurally weaker.

            Our labor costs are too high.

    • Chris

      Seems to be plenty of people posting here that are generally supportive of the store.

      Also, stores don’t open up where they don’t expect to have a large enough base of customers. A high-end soap apothecary on Valencia isn’t going to appeal to tourists, or at least no one is going to make a destination trip to Valencia to buy freaking soap, and people who come to Valencia from other neighborhoods tend to come at night for the restaurants and bars.

      So, the store is counting mainly on the local residents to shop there, you know the same “anti-gentrification” folks who live in the area but drop big bucks at the expensive “locally owned” boutiques and restaurants and who live in condos/homes costing a million dollars and up.

  10. Meems

    “The planning commission has approved other chain stores in the Mission including Pollo Campero, AutoZone, Fresh & Easy and AT&T.” Wow. But let’s fight a tiny little company selling human-friendly products. Amurrrrrica!

    • pam

      Pollo Campero was approved because this has been a traditionally Latino neighborhood and it was something the neighborhood wanted. Fresh & Easy was never actually opened — which you might know if you weren’t a self-confessed newcomer — and was approved to replace a supermarket that closed, a supermarket that is still empty and is sorely missed. Your “Amurrrica!” sarcasm is absurd in context, which you might realize if you actually bothered to learn something about the city you’ve chosen to live in.

      • MissionLoca

        Thanks, Pam. I agree whole-heartedly with what you’ve said. Meems, you sound a little bit angry and a-lot-a-bit ignorant. Please don’t make fun of this country or this neighborhood, especially since you’re new here and don’t really know what you’re talking about.

        • Glad I'm not John

          “Especially since you’re new here and don’t know what you’re talking about.” WTF? *facepalm* I swear. Ignorance must be in fashion.

      • John

        So Pollo Campero is OK because it favors one particular race? But Aesop isn’t OK because it targets a different race?

        A race-based zoning policy?

      • Mission local

        Pam, by your logic, in a few years, the Gap will be welcomed because the area will be full white preppies. The law should be clear. If you have 11 stores or less, you’re in, if more than 11 you’re out. Simple and does not discriminate.

        • sjg

          Actually the restriction needs to be expanded to include a company’s international locations and different divisions. It’s easy for a company to slip into a neighborhood because of that loophole. Examples; gant store in Hayes Valley and the new Illy coffee shop in Castro.

          • Mission local

            agreed.

          • John

            Why? If there are 10 stores in Japan and they want to open their very first US store here, why is that a problem?

            I get the idea of not wanting chains tores (although Mission dwellers seem sanguine about WalGreens and BofA).

            But a dozen stores is really a very small business and should not be included in the same category as WalMart.

          • Mission local

            John, that may be valid, but in San Francisco, people get so angry all the time it may cause more peace if every corporation/store was treated equally with no room for wiggle room. If there are no loopholes, people wouldn’t be able to complain. As long as AT&T, walgreens, Pollo campero, etc… are able to be there, other big retailers can argue they should be included as well. Then we have the comment section like this where people start hating on each other. It’s when certain stores are favored over others that creates the anger.

          • Glad I'm not John

            But SJG where would you bank? Buy groceries? Get your iPod fixed? Have a $7 espresso? You don’t use any of the larger chains ever? Where’s your furniture from? Bedding? Ever been to target? Do you shop at Anthropologie? Is your television artisinally crafted from the finest reclaimed materials? Get a grip.

        • Chicken John

          Actually, that’s not entirely true. 11 stores or less and you don’t trigger a planning commission hearing. 11 stores or more, you trigger a planning commission hearing where 7 commissioners say weather or not it goes. So if you have 11 stores you’re not “out”. You are just at the mercy of the planning commission. And if the community is screaming about it, they will show up to the planning commission hearing. And will decimate you. Personally, I don’t have a problem with this perfume shop. And wouldn’t fight to stop them from coming in. They are not billionaire finance giants. They are not the evil side of formula retail. They also sound like they are willing to talk and participate, unlike American Apparell or Jack Spade who did total radio silence. I’m sure we will talk more about this in the near future. But I look forward to better legislation so I don’t have to whip up a fucking brute squad every time a billionaire wants to open a shop on Valencia.

          • John

            The problem isn’t just that people show up at these hearings and scream.

            It’s that there is typically an asymmetry between the people who oppose something like this and those who support it.

            More specifically the people who oppose it make a lot of noise and get very emotional. whereas the people who are happy to see the store probably do not feel as impassioned about it, and probably wouldn’t bother to show up at a hearing.

            The odd time I’ve been to a public hearing the crowd has been much more left-wing, vociferous and opinionated than a random cross-section of voters.

            IOW, there is an intrinsic bias in these situations that can lead to unrepresentative decisions.

            FWIW, I claim to see the same thing about the Google shuttles, Ellis evictions and other topics. The people who oppose such things feel much more strongly about them than those who are OK with them.

          • backtothesuburbs

            “the crowd has been much more left-wing, vociferous and opinionated than a random cross-section of voters.”

            welcome to SF John! time to read up on your history!

            perhaps that is exactly the point, that SF newcomers these days are not passionate at all about civic or community issues. maybe that is the cost of being ‘high-value’ and materially affluent?

            BTW ‘random cross-section of voters’ is a statistical sample used for surveys and not what you would expect at a local community meeting.

          • John

            Ah, so you agree that those who attend community meetings are not “what you would expect” from society as a whole?

            I thought you might try and deny that.

          • two beers

            “The people who oppose such things feel much more strongly about them than those who are OK with them.”

            Excellent point, John!

            The victims of crimes and abuse typically feel more strongly about what has been done to them than the perps do.

          • John

            But in the end we all get just one vote.

            So if there really were more “victims” than “perps” then the left would win every election.

            And they do not.

            Which is presumably why they resort to things like activism and advocacy – trying to achieve through aggression and intimidation what they know they cannot achieve through the ballot box.

          • two beers

            The “left”? What “left”? What country do you live in? Or do you think Obama and Feinstein are “left”?

            We have two parties in the US:

            Party A, which is zealously pro-corporate and advocates austerity, low taxes, deregulation, government spying on its citizens, revocation of habeus corpus, and is generally anti-Bill of Rights, but doesn’t vigorously oppose abortion or gay marriage;

            and Party B: the Republicans.

            There is no left left.

            But pretending that there is suits your hysterics.

          • John

            twobeers, nationally I would agree with you that the left is ineffectibe and discredited.

            But in SF and a few fringe college towns elsewhere, there is most definitely a left. They prefer to call themselves something like “progressives” (ironic because they usually just oppose things) but their policies are essentially the same tired socialist policies that Europe tried and then rejected.

            Tax, borrow and spend bug government types are hardly thin on the ground around these parts.

          • two beers

            John, you are certainly a wealth of received wisdom and cliche.

            What you describe as socialist policies in Europe were imposed on them by the US after WW2 to minimize suffering, speed up recovery, and defuse the allure of even more redistributive policies. The US was afraid western Europe would reject capitalism altogether, so we imposed a kinder, gentler version that you erroneously call socialism. The system we imposed was wildly successful, but after full recovery, international capital wanted its full control back, and thus the neo-liberal austerity regimes of Thatcher and Reagan. The perilous global economic situation is a direct consequence of the Thatcher/Reagan/Ayn Rand deregulatory austerity policies that now reign supreme, and which you fetishize. That these policies have failed time and again is no problem to people like you: you’ll always find another oppressed and dispossessed sub-segment of society to blame for the failure of finance capitalism to do anything other than rape and pillage the people and resources of the world.

          • John

            twobeers, if you think the modern policies of the US and Europe are a “failure”, then where would you point to that is a success (in your rather strange definition of that word)?

            Venezuela? Cuba? North Korea? Albania?

          • Glad I'm not John

            Chicken John is awesome.

      • ThatGuy

        Lol! Wtf do you have against Australians you racist piece of shit

  11. two beers

    Wow, are you twisted. Activism and advocacy — which a very small segment of society use to try to fight the perpetrators of economic violence you worship — are aggression and intimidation? They is Bizarro Worldm where up is down, left is right, and up is down. You have mastered Newspeak; were you trained in Big Brother’s communications department? Wouldn’t your time be better used fighting for the Lord in the War on Christmas?

    • John

      Not at all. I believe in democracy i.e. one person, one vote. I’ll take my chances at any election.

      But activism and advocacy is one person trying to have more than one vote.

      No activist ever asked me what I want. He (or she) prefers to tell me what I should want.

      • two beers

        John, it’s very valiant and brave of you to stand up to unorganized, unfunded, untrained, unconnected, ad hoc local community “groups” consisting of a couple dozen people at most. How about standing up to the tens of thousands of corporate lobbyists and their highly organized, well-trained, and deeply-connected lobbies, who spend billions of dollars in Wash DC, the 50 state capitals, hundreds of country seats, and thousands of cities around the country, to further their specific economic interests which are diametrically opposed to the vast majority of the citizenry?

        One person, one vote is charming when you apply it to grass roots community movements, but you love your Chamber of Commerce, Realtors, landlord associations, AMA lobbies, etc., so you’re a hypocrite.

        • John

          TwoBeers, is your point that lobbying is OK as long as only your side does it?

          And let me guess. You’re OK with unions funding campaigns and candidates, but not business?

          My point was simply that i don’t like to see a small, whiney, loud minority prevailing over the silent moderate majority.

          • two beers

            “silent moderate majority”….hmm, where have we heard that before?

            There you have it, ladies and gentlemen: John is really Richard Nixon!

          • John

            Nixon coined the phrase because it fits. Even you appear to agree with him because you claim that the number of activists and lobbyists are small.

            That leaves a majority in the center who do not make much noise, but still have opinions, usually not extreme in either direction.

            That’s why Ed Lee can have a 73% approval rating even while everyone you read and hear claims to hate him.

  12. missionite

    Its about choice. Thats why its not banned and goes to the planning commission where people could decide or not. In San Francisco most people don’t like chain stores and its been like that for a long time. Some commercial cooridors just ban them out right, like on Hays Street. I think with the current state of evictions and affordabilty issues not just in the Mission but San Francisco, I say keep them out. I hope other like mided folks see the bigger picture and stop them.

    • John

      What does a chain store moving into a commercial space have to do with a residential tenant being evicted?

      How many residents were displaced by the WalGreens and the BofA at 16th and Mission?

      • Deke

        John!
        Excellent point but the person may have meant that local businesses have seen rents increase which in effect “evicts” them.
        To everyone else:
        I personally don’t like chain stores but find it hard to understand why there are two McDonalds in the mission but a perfume store warrants so much hatred.
        Also you should ALL be complaining that the reporter picked the most expensive items and mislead people. That’s terrible reporting and designed to push people’s buttons, not cool.
        Finally, there’s a crap load of “local” businesses in The mission that sell expensive wares already, it’s not like local always means low prices.

        • John

          SF doesn’t have commercial rent control, so rents are always a matter for the free market anyway.

          It’s not unusual for a business to move to get a better deal on their rent, so the concept that you raised of a constructive eviction doesn’t seem right to me.

          Also bear in mind that commercial leases are much longer than residential leases, often 7 years or more. Rents can only go up when the lease ends.

          Finally, how about some consideration for the commercial landlord here. It must be very frustrating to constantly be looking for a tenant because long drawn-out hearings reject all your choices. The cost of that helps drives up rents.

        • neighbor

          love it or hate it, mcdonalds is a restaurant with affordable meals, and for many it is also a reliable sense of community. and so until some generous soul opens a spot that serves locally sourced organic macrobiotic chakra-customized meals for $1.99, i’ll probably put my peta outreach brochures on the shelf and be the hypocrite that i am and go to 24th with my organically fed kid for shake and fries. it would be great for a community discussion about development on valencia etc to be held at mc d’s for a change. foreign cinema you are gorgeous but even this has limitations. we’re all missing something deeper that no fragrance nor accessory or arrangement of vegetables can substitute for.

  13. two beers

    I appreciate that you — someone who apparently doesn’t work and who spends all day on a community blog, throwing sand in the air to shut down community-oriented discussions he doesn’t like — speak for the great, oppressed silent majority.

    • John

      Why do you think I don’t work? Do you think I cannot multi-task?

      I am not shutting down any discussion. I am just prescribing the limits of government by yelling mob.

      I do not trust activists any more than you trust corporate lobbyists. As I always say, no activist ever asked me what I wanted.

    • ThatGuy

      This ain’t a community, two beers. This is a platform for some loud mouth, closed minded fuckers trying to drive an agenda down our throats. It ain’t your Mission.

      Sit down.

  14. Glad I'm not John

    Does nobody else have an issue with how out of balance this story is?

    Where is the author and where in the world is the editor?

    I am ambivalent about this store coming to my block. Literally MY BLOCK. But I am NOT OK with the story being so wrong. A quick fact check of this article by even the laziest stay at home mom uncovers that this author must have a bias. The reporting is not balanced and if the facts were told appropriately this would not even be a story.

    This is disgusting and paints all Valencia residents as pitchfork-wielding.

    The store that was here befor was crappy. The owner was not friendly and he was selling junky furniture for huge prices. I only ever saw 3 people working. Now there’s a chance for new stores, more jobs, and the article doesn’t focus on that and instead announces that the newest fight is here.

    Try reporting the news, not making the news by reporting in such a terrible fashion.

  15. Glad I'm not John

    Just for giggles, let’s play editor… (Until somebody erases this.)

    The next battle over chain stores on the increasingly gentrified Valencia Street has likely arrived. -According to the opinion of the reporter and what else?

    Aesop, an upscale Australian perfume retailer- wrong. Small Australian skin are company that only sells 2 “perfumes”

    …plan to move into a vacant Valencia Street storefront early next year. -bringing how many new jobs to the area?

    If recent history is any indication, it’s the Aussie company that’s in for a San Francisco treat — and it sure isn’t Rice-A-Roni — corny. Really corny.

    Aesop likely does not know the NIMBY hazing that may lie in its future. The opposition to Jack Spade appeared to be news to Aesop’s New York-based spokeswoman Victoria Del Rico when Mission Local talked to her Monday. “We’re not trying to gentrify the neighborhood,” she responded. “We like to have small stores that go with the neighborhood.” -was this the full quote? Did you inquire as to what they meant or their plans for the small store for Valencia?

    Del Rico compared Aesop stores to 19th century apothecaries peddling compounds for medicinal purposes. Aesop is certainly an upscale iteration: with its $100 body balm and $90 perfumes, the store was an easy fit for tony Pacific Heights and the Marina, where they opened earlier this year. -the Filmore store has been open since last year. Found that out with one phone call. The average price seems to be under $40 most of the balms were $25-35 and they only do 2 fragrances. Did you even bother to ask questions, Rigoberto?

    About the Mission, “We are not in a hurry to open,” she said. “We want to get to know the neighborhood.” -did you inquire more deeply? Have they started partnerships? Are they bringing anything positive to the neighborhood? Was it too inconvenient to ask because it didn’t fit your agenda?

    Aesop and Chrome plan to move into 956 Valencia St. — between 20th and 21st, next door to Mission Creek Café — which has been vacant since July when The Touch, a furniture store, moved to Mission Street after the landlord tripled the rent. This week, the store was vacant with construction workers inside. -it’s not a store if it hasn’t been built yet.

    Damn. Maybe once I get this kid potty trained I should start a journalism career. Can’t do any worse than this hack job.

    • two beers

      Dude, did you know that Mission Local is a non-profit and that the writers are students, or you are just a really mean person? They need volunteers; why don’t you go down and help?

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