Famed San Francisco retailer, Gump's, at risk of closing amid coronavirus pandemic

Saturday, June 6, 2020
EMBED <>More Videos

After a grand reopening last October, San Francisco's iconic Gump's is once again in jeopardy of closing.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Gump's says they will close their San Francisco store and business if they can't reopen by mid-June.

"I'd like to know why we're not open now, fully. I would like to know why people aren't back to work now," said John Chachas, whose family owns Gump's, a 158 year old San Francisco business that dates back to the Gold Rush.

RELATED: The Stud, SF's oldest LGBT bar, closing after almost 55 years in business due to COVID-19

Chachas bought Gump's out of bankruptcy in 2019 and reopened the store at its original Union Square location at 250 Post Street, where today, it's boarded up. Like other retailers, he closed up shop in March when the city gave orders to shelter in place.

"I have a couple weeks left of tolerance of this, then we won't have any choice but to close the business," said Chachas, who added, "Gump's survived the great earthquake, the fire, the great depression. It's survived so many things. It seems at this moment it can't

survive bad policy and that would be tragic."

Chachas cites data that he says shows San Francisco can reopen now. Some of that data is from Covid Act Now, which says COVID patients are using 16% of California's 7,900 ICU beds, 55% of which are unoccupied.

"There's plenty of hospital capacity, so the logic of running this process as though we were facing a giant tsunami of danger for the health care system quite frankly is a fallacy."

RELATED: Longtime Santa Rosa pie shop closes due to COVID-19 while other local businesses reopen

"We have employees that have worked for this company for many, many years," said Marc Capalbo, who runs operations for the store. If Gump's closes, they will have to lay off all 40 of their employees.

"And that's the hard part too, with what's transpired most recently with the tensions and all that, it just seems like everything else is so irrelevant. And at the same time, you're still dealing with all these employees that have families and lives, it's really hard," said


On Friday, Mayor London Breed's office said in store retail is scheduled to reopen on June 15th, but that they continue to look at public health data to see if that date could change.

"The economic health of our City is important and we are trying to move as quickly as we can but also as safely as we can because the last thing we want is to have a surge and have to shut down again. So while we're moving aggressively as we can, we can't ignore

public health entirely," said Jeff Cretan, communications director for Mayor Breed.

Chachas is concerned he won't be able to reopen on June 15th and that the City will postpone retail reopening indefinitely.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here