San Francisco’s Small Businesses Grapple with Crime, Homelessness, and Regulatory Challenges

Downtown San Francisco has witnessed the departure of major retailers, and now even small business owners are contemplating relocating.

The negative impact of crime, homelessness, and burdensome regulations imposed by the city government is becoming increasingly evident.

One such business affected is Tacorea, a popular Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant located in Lower Nob Hill. Owner David Lee is seriously considering shutting down his establishment, expressing his weariness with the situation.

His recent frustration stems from new regulations regarding the parklet he had set up during the pandemic. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) provided him with an extensive list of requirements to meet post-pandemic standards.

While the parklet had been crucial for his business in previous years, he made the decision to dismantle it after encountering a troubling incident.

Lee recounts how he instructed his staff to keep the parklet open overnight prior to the dismantling. To his dismay, he discovered an individual without pants inside the parklet as the contractor began removing it, which he captured on security camera footage.

Lee attributes his decision to factors such as ongoing issues with homelessness, public drug use, and crime in the neighborhood. Earlier this year, his shop was broken into, resulting in the theft of his cash register and an iPad used for orders.

Although he did receive a $1,000 small business vandalism grant from the city, he feels he has reached a breaking point.

The exact number of small businesses that have closed in San Francisco since the start of the pandemic remains unclear, according to the San Francisco Office of Small Business.

However, they mention the availability of additional grants that could potentially assist struggling businesses and offer support in navigating the city’s bureaucratic processes.

In the Mission District, Scuderia, a motorcycle and scooter shop, will also be relocating. However, the owner, Greg McCord, states that they are moving to a larger space in the Dog Patch neighborhood.

McCord highlights the efforts made by city hall to address issues in the Mission neighborhood, including homelessness, drugs, and crime. He acknowledges witnessing improvements in the past six months and expresses hope that the entire city continues to progress.

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