SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The founder and CEO of a retail chain that recently closed a location in San Francisco took to LinkedIn to blast the city, saying it had “descended into a city of chaos.” Davis Smith, founder and CEO of Cotopaxi, an outdoorsy lifestyle brand popular with tech workers, announced that the store’s Hayes Valley location would be closing due to “rampant organized theft and lack of safety” for store employees.
“Our first week there, our windows were smashed and thousands of dollars of product was stolen,” Smith wrote. “We replaced the window, and it immediately happened again (four times). We replaced the window with plywood as we waited for a month+ to get a metal security gate installed.”
Smith said the Hayes Valley location, which he described as being in a “charming shopping district just blocks away from the famous Full House home,” has been hit by organized theft rings several times a week. The thefts, he said, are not just limited to break-ins after hours.
“They brazenly enter the store and grab thousands of dollars of product and walk out,” he wrote. “We started keeping the door locked and opening it only for customers, but even then, they’ll have a woman go to our door and then hiding individuals rush into the store as soon as the door opens.”
Workers at the store were “terrified” and felt “unsafe” Smith said. “It’s impossible for a retail store to operate in this circumstances,” he added.
Smith accused city leadership and law enforcement of enabling the lawlessness through inaction.
KRON On is streaming live news now
“The city recently announced a reduction of police presence in this neighborhood, despite mass-scale crime,” he wrote. “It makes me sad that I’m now avoiding San Francisco, a city I used to love.”
“I grew up in Latin America and spent much of my adult life there, and I never felt this unsafe there. Something has to change in San Francisco,” he concluded.
The Cotopaxi location in Hayes Valley, which is on Hayes at Laguna, still has a four-year lease on the retail space.