The letter below was written by Eileen Hassi, owner of Ritual Roasters, to alert her customers, neighbors, and friends why she doesn’t want American Apparel on Valencia Street, and to inform them what they can do about it.
Hey friends, neighbors, coffee-drinkers,
American Apparel has announced its plans to open at 988 Valencia St, between 20th & 21st.
If you already know this and want to know what you can do, skip to the bottom of this email.
My business, Ritual Coffee Roasters, would likely benefit in the short term from such a popular place opening less than a block away. And in these more trying economic times (yes, people are drinking less coffee!), it would be maybe easier to cave into the desperate measure of allowing this to happen.
However, I’m extremely opposed to allowing a formula retail (chain) store onto Valencia St.
I frequently have people come to Valencia St to check out Ritual and have a coffee. Out-of-towners then ask what else they should do while they are in the neighborhood. I take pride in directing them to the many unique offerings this neighborhood has: check out the bizarro furniture at X-21, stroll down to Paxton Gate and visit the taxidermied mice, stop into 826 for an eye-patch, cross the street for hand-made books, meander over to Dolores Park etc. Having an internationally recognizable store in the midst of it would definitely take away from our distinctive neighborhood.
This isn’t an attack on American Apparel. But as far as City Planning is concerned, once a neighborhood has allowed one formula retail to open, it must allow others. After the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 22nd St closed its doors, another fast food chain tried to take over the space. My neighbors here fought a long, hard battle to make sure that didn’t happen.
We must send a message to City Planning that we want to keep Valencia Street as it is now, a corridor of outstanding independent businesses.
OK, OK, likely if you’re on this list, I don’t actually need to convince you of anything, just tell you what you can do about it:
1. Come to the planning meeting tonight:
We’ll be having a STOP AMERICAN APPAREL meeting this Thursday, January 22nd, 7pm, at The Makeout Room.
Please come by. We’ll have full color posters for you to take with you as well as petitions and postcards. You can help stop American Apparel from moving in at 988 Valencia (it’s not too late!). If you have any questions we’ll try to answer them. If you have concerns this is the place to raise them.
The meeting is free and the posters and postcards are free. Everybody’s welcome.
2. Write a letter to the Planner in charge of this case:
Subject: 988 Valencia – Case No. 2008.0720C
M. Pilar LaValley
Preservation Technical Specialist/Planner
City & County of San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
3. Come to the hearing, Thursday February 5th
Case No. 2008.0720C
Call 558-6422 after Monday the 2nd for a more specific hearing time
4. Join the Google group for email updates: