Cotopaxi CEO says apparel store won't return to SF until city creates solution for break-ins

ByTim Johns via KGO logo
Thursday, October 20, 2022
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"A city in chaos," is how the CEO of apparel brand Cotopaxi described San Francisco, after having to close its location in Hayes Valley due to dozens of break-ins. Now he's waiting for a solution.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- After operating in the city for only a year, Cotopaxi - a high-end outdoor clothing company - has decided it's had enough of San Francisco.

The main reason?

The company's Hayes Valley store being the target of repeated break-ins.

"Within the first couple days of being open, we come in the morning and see that our entire front window is smashed in and they've looted our store," said CEO Davis Smith.

WATCH: Videos show scope of Bay Area's weekend of organized retail robberies

Smith spoke to ABC7 News' Tim Johns Wednesday night from Utah, where the company is headquartered.

He says over the past 12 months, his San Francisco store has lost money.

His complaints against what he calls "a city in chaos," described in a now viral post on LinkedIn.

"Dozens and dozens and dozens of instances. It happens multiple times a week," Smith said.

MORE: Census Bureau: SF metro area sees mass exodus during pandemic; More consider leaving

Smith says he has family in the city and is familiar with many of the problems facing San Francisco.

But, despite experiencing crime on previous visits to the city, he says he was excited to open a local store and was shocked by what's unfolded.

"Did we expect to open up a store where the window gets smashed in the first few weeks, where there's just organized crime? We didn't expect that. I never would've imagined that that would be the case," said Smith.

And Smith's experiences aren't isolated feelings.

MORE: EXCLUSIVE: East Bay family that moved out of CA after string of crimes targeted again

Rufus Jeffris works for the Bay Area Council.

He says crime is one of the top issues local businesses worry about.

"The general perception of things, whether it's homelessness, whether it's the cleanliness of the streets, whether it's crime, it all kind of conflates and creates this perception that things are in chaos," Jeffris said.

Smith says his company will support Bay Area groups that help provide support for those most in need.

But, he says, until something changes in San Francisco, he doesn't know if or when his store will open once again.

"The store is closed today, and we don't know how long it will be closed. It depends on how long it takes to create solutions for this problem," said Smith.

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