published : 2023-08-21

Decades-Old Retailer Considers Leaving San Francisco Due to City's Deteriorating Conditions

Gump's Owner Cites Deplorable Civic Conditions as Potential Reason for Relocating the Iconic Store

An exterior shot of the iconic Gump's store in downtown San Francisco, showcasing its distinct architecture, taken with a Nikon D850.

After over a century and a half of calling San Francisco home, cherished retailer Gump's may leave the city due to distressing living conditions, according to owner John Chachas. In a candid discussion on 'The Story with Martha MacCallum,' Chachas expressed his consideration of relocating Gump's, an iconic store cherished by customers for more than 165 years. Appalled by the city’s declining state, Chachas exclaimed, ‘It's a sad state of affairs.’

Sharing the plight of one customer who has been a regular for 50 years but no longer feels comfortable visiting due to the city's uncleanliness, he painted a grim picture of the state of San Francisco. Stating that the grim scene of needles, human waste, and lifeless bodies strewn across the streets presents an untenable environment for conducting business, he agonized over the state of his beloved city, invoking empathy and prompting reflection.

A portrait of Gump's owner, John Chachas, looking contemplatively out of a window onto the streets of San Francisco, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Chachas remains hopeful for a resolution. He expressed his confidence in the problem being fixable, but voiced concern that for change to occur, political leaders must reassess their respective stances. Chachas claimed to have reached out to San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Governor Newsom, though response from their offices was limited and general.

The challenge Gump's faces isn't isolated. According to Chachas, the hardships touch every small to medium-sized business within the city and are incompatible with successful business. Feeling a lamentable sense of defeat, he described the potential dispersal of businesses as ‘tragic’.

A blurred background image of a busy San Francisco cityscape, focusing on a 'Closed Store' sign prominently hanging in the foreground, symbolizing the departure of businesses from the city, captured with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

Addressing rumors about Gump's potential closure, Chachas clarified, ‘We are not planning on closing Gump's, we're considering relocating.’ He admitted uncertainty about the new location, should the need arise, but mentioned that Gump's services all 50 states, with devoted customers in numerous potential destinations. Yet, his heart remains in San Francisco, hoping for improvements that would allow the legacy of Gump's to continue in its native city.