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New York (WABNEWS) — The sprawling Whole Foods store in downtown San Francisco, which opened last year, is temporarily closing. The company said rampant crime in the area forced it to close.
The nearly 6,000-square-meter store located on Trinity Place, in the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood, closed its doors on Monday to “guarantee the safety” of its employees, a Whole Foods spokesman said. Although Whole Foods did not share any additional information about the conditions that led to the store’s closure, the spokesperson added that it was a “difficult decision to close the Trinity store at this time.” Affected employees will be moved to nearby stores.RELATED
The store on 8th and Market streets was not open Tuesday, according to the spokesperson. The store’s website is also down.
Billed as a “flagship store” upon opening 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 news release.
The San FranciscoStandard, An independent news website reported that this Whole Foods location had previously reduced its hours of operation last year due to thefts and changed its restrooms after employees found syringes and pipes.
Matt Dorsey, member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said on Twitter that he was “incredibly disappointed” by the closure.
“Our neighborhood has long awaited this supermarket, but we are also very aware of the issues you have experienced with drug-related petty theft, adjacent drug markets, and the many safety issues associated with them,” Dorsey wrote.
Property crime in San Francisco has grabbed national attention due to several striking 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 spikes in burglaries and thefts leading the rise, according to data from 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, an increase of 20% compared to the same period last year. In total, there were 56 homicides in San Francisco in 2022, which is the same number of homicides recorded in the city during 2021.
In recent months, national retailers have complained about theft affecting their stores. The chains took action by locking up everyday items like deodorant and toothpaste and adding additional security guards. However, a Walgreens executive recently admitted that the impact of the thefts may have been exaggerated.
A San Francisco Cotopaxi store temporarily closed in October 2022, citing theft and employee safety, and reopened in mid-November.
The CEO of Cotopaxi, Davis Smith, said then in a LinkedIn post that “large-scale robberies and robberies” endangered store employees. But he also lamented that the store’s closure became the subject of a political debate about crime in San Francisco and other cities.
“We had many who came to our support, some who were offended by my post, and a few who politicized our store closure (because these are the times we live in, unfortunately),” Smith wrote. “To be clear, I never imagined that our decision to close our Hayes Valley store would become entangled in political discourse.”
— WABNEWS’s Taylor Romine contributed to this report.