More than 2,000 San Francisco businesses permanently closed since March, data shows: 'It's their life's work'

The new reality is answering this question: How can I pay the bills?

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Friday, August 14, 2020
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More than 2,000 businesses in the San Francisco, Oakland metro-area have permanently closed their doors since March, according to Yelp data.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 2,000 businesses in the San Francisco,Oakland metro-area have permanently closed their doors since March, according to Yelp data.

In total, 5,048 businesses in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro area closed from March 1 to July 10, per data analyzed from Yelp listings.

Data reveals 2,065 businesses have indicated they closed permanently during that time frame with 369 restaurants closed and 303 retail businesses closed.

"A small business is someone's dream," said Pete Mulvihill, owner of Green Apple Books. "It's their life's work and to see so many shuttered... it's awful."

Mulvihill said if business doesn't improve, the stores won't survive six more months.

RELATED: Bay Area small businesses face closure, uncertain future amid COVID-19 despite state resources

"We're living off inventory that we bought years ago," he said. "We're selling it to help pay for things."

The new reality is answering this question: How can I pay the bills?

Donna O'Leary, owner of women's clothing chain, Ambiance, is faced with that weekly.

RELATED: Boutique in SF's Mission District destroyed once by fire, now faces closure from COVID-19

"We're generating very little income," said O'Leary. "I've lost $2 million in sales." O'Leary leases four building spaces across San Francisco - three stores and a warehouse.

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Altogether, monthly rent is $50,000.

If rent isn't lowered, O'Leary will be forced to close all locations in four months. Joining at least 300 other area retailers that have permanently closed.

"I've already cut my workforce in half... yeah, not good," she said.

Meanwhile, Paul Robertson is barely holding on week by week.

"I'm going to pull back and wait. We did this in 2008, you pull back and wait," he said.

In total, more than 14,000 businesses permanently closed across the state. Around 15,300 businesses are temporarily closed statewide.

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