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Should We Protect SF Businesses Against Predatory Corporations?

Photo of the SoHo store via <a href="http://stevensclaroff.com/portfolio/commercial/jack-spade-soho/">Steven Sclaroff</a>
Photo of the SoHo store via Steven Sclaroff

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The formula retail saga continues with the SF Planning Commission considering proposed revisions to the regulation, which limits the number of chain stores allowed in certain parts of San Francisco. The changes would likely allow more chain stores to move into neighborhoods including the Mission and Hayes Valley. Critics worry that work over the past decade to help local small businesses thrive by restricting formula retail might be undone. The SFBG writes:

Corporations can be wily and predatory as they seek to endlessly expand into new markets, and if San Francisco's nationally recognized controls are to have any relevance, they'll need to adapt to changing circumstances. That means we need to strengthen and not weaken them.

As an example, SFBG points to Jack Spade and its ultimately unsuccessful attempt to open in the Mission. Jack Spade had just 10 stores across the country, while SF's formula retail limit is 11. But since they are owned by a much larger corporation, the same one that owns Kate Spade, a neighborhood organization argued Jack Spade should be kept out. The company finally cried uncle, but with slightly more lenient regulations, the situation could have ended in Jack Spade's favor. The Guardian believes that without stricter provisions, corporations will create endless subsidiaries and spinoffs to bypass the formula retail controls."
· Don't weaken protections against chain stores [San Francisco Bay Guardian]
· SF Nabes Could Double How Many Chain Stores Are Allowed [Racked SF]