Mission De Flores, a flower shop whose storefront at 22nd and Folsom is usually bursting with colorful bouquets, is now empty.
Its owner, Steven Rubenfaer, confirmed that the business, including its online sales, has “totally closed down,” but declined to comment further.
In a recent — and very prescient — interview with the San Francisco Business Times, he talked about the death of brick-and-mortar retail: the ballooning costs of labor, space, and bureaucracy.
“There’s no future in retail in San Francisco,” he said in April. “It’s a very unfriendly environment.”
Yet in the interview, Rubenfaer said that the business was seeing success in online sales for deliveries, weddings and events, and he even mentioned plans to expand. “We definitely have expansion plans, but retail stores are not the answer in San Francisco,” he said.
That, apparently, didn’t work out.
Mission De Flores once had three locations: a small stand on Valencia Street, a shop on Mission Street in the Excelsior that took over the storefront of a longtime flower shop, and another shop on Folsom, its first store. Rubenfaer embraced the Mission District, showing up at events with floral backdrops so that potential customers could take Instagram selfies, and introducing himself to other businesses.
In April, the business had 11 employees.
But all of his work failed to translate into revenues. One by one, each of the locations shuttered. After the small stand closed on 22nd and Valencia by the V20 apartments, he told Mission Local, “It was horrible,” noting that the stand’s conditions only made business harder.
Then the main store on Folsom Street closed sometime in May.
Rubenfaer founded Mission De Flores with his business partner Ezekiel Steffens in 2013, but Steffens died a year later, and Rubenfaer had to grab the reins. Even as he opened the new locations, he found little success in an increasingly harsh retail landscape.
“Retail is slowly dying in San Francisco,” he told the Business Times.
Now, it all makes sense.