Crime forces closure of Whole Foods' San Francisco flagship store

Drug use and an increase in homelessness were reportedly other factors that led the supermarket chain to close the store a year after it opened.

Amazon-owned, Whole Foods Market has announced the temporary closure of one of its flagship stores in downtown San Francisco as crime in the city has affected the safety of its workers. A company spokesperson commented to The San Francisco Standard:

We are closing our Trinity location for the time being only. If we believe we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate reopening this location.

Deteriorating street conditions in The Golden City, in terms of drug use, extreme poverty and the increase in homelessness were other factors in the chain's decision to close what it called its "flagship store," which opened just over a year ago.

The closure of the flagship store

The Whole Foods store on Market Street had already taken steps last year to deal with the city's crime crisis. In October, it reduced its customer service hours due to the "high rates of theft" and hostile visitors. In November, it changed its rules for restroom use after syringes and drug pipes were found, one of the managers reported.

Board of Supervisors member Matt Dorsey noted in a tweet that he was "incredibly disappointed but sadly not surprised" by the store's temporary closure:

Our neighborhood waited a long time for this supermarket, but we are also well aware of the problems they have experienced with drug-related retail theft, adjacent drug markets and the many security issues related to them.

An almost $800 million deficit in the city's budget

Since 2017, the San Francisco Police Department has lost more than 330 officers and its staffing level of about 1,500 officers is far short of its goal of 2,100. City officials are also forecasting a shortfall of nearly $800 million in the city's budget.

Dorsey announced that he will introduce legislation to fully staff the city's police department within five years:

The Whole Foods closure, along with many other safety-related challenges we've seen recently, is Exhibit A for why San Francisco can no longer afford NOT to solve our understaffing crisis in policing. The people of San Francisco, or at least those I represent in District 6, demand solutions, and they have a right to expect that from us at City Hall. I hope my colleagues will support this effort. We owe nothing less to our residents.