Complete Meals closes San Francisco flagship retailer after one yr, citing crime

A San Francisco Whole Foods store closes a year after it opened. (whole food market)

By Jordan Valinsky | CNN

A giant Whole Foods store in downtown San Francisco that opened just last year is temporarily closing. The company said rampant crime in the area forced it to close.

The nearly 65,000-square-foot Trinity Place location in the city’s Mid-Market area closed its doors Monday to ensure “the safety” of its employees, a Whole Foods spokesman said. Although Whole Foods did not share any further information on the conditions leading to the store’s closure, the spokesperson added that it was a “difficult decision to close the Trinity store for now.” Affected employees will be transferred to surrounding branches.

The 8th Street and Market Street store will not open on Tuesday, the spokesman said. The store’s website has also disappeared.

Announced as a “flagship store” after it opened in March 2022, Whole Foods was one of the largest supermarkets in downtown San Francisco. The store sold 3,700 local products and was designed with “nods to classic San Francisco,” according to a press release.

The San Francisco Standard, an independent news website, reported that this Whole Foods location cut operating hours and replaced its toilets after workers found syringes and pipes last year due to theft.

Matt Dorsey, a member of the San Francisco board of directors, said on Twitter that he was “incredibly disappointed” by the closure.

“Our neighborhood has been waiting for this supermarket for a long time, but we are also aware of the issues they have had with retail drug thefts, adjacent drug markets and the many security issues that come with it,” Dorsey wrote.

Property crimes in San Francisco have garnered national attention through several attention-grabbing videos of thieves in action. Though still well below 2017 levels, the city saw a 23% increase in property crime between 2020 and 2022, with an increase in burglaries and theft leading the way, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

Meanwhile, violent crime statistics in San Francisco have remained relatively stable in recent years. Preliminary police data reports 12 homicides in San Francisco this year, up 20% from the same period last year. Overall, there were 56 homicides in San Francisco in 2022, which is the same number of homicides the city recorded in 2021.

In recent months, nationwide retailers have complained of theft at locations. Chains responded by locking up everyday products like deodorant and toothpaste and deploying additional security guards. However, a Walgreens executive recently admitted that the impact of the thefts may have been exaggerated.

A Cotopaxi store in San Francisco was temporarily closed in October 2022 due to theft and employee safety, and reopened in mid-November.

Davis Smith, CEO of Cotopaxi, said in a LinkedIn post at the time that the “large-scale theft and raid” put the store’s employees at risk. But he also said he regrets that the store’s closure has become the subject of political debate about crime in San Francisco and other cities.

“Many immediately gave their support, some were offended by my post and some politicized the closure of our store (because sadly these are the times we live in),” Smith wrote. “To be clear, I never expected our decision to close our Hayes Valley store to become a political discourse.”

The CNN Wire
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