Just to Clarify


This is not about being for or against American Apparel. It’s about keeping big box chain stores out of a unique neighborhood. You can get American Apparel anywhere in the country and if you want to shop a chain store you can do that in Union Square. There are already three American Apparels in San Francisco in the Haight, The Marina, and Union Square. An  American Apparel on Valencia would establish a beachhead for big box chain stores which would undoubtably be followed by Gap, Banana Republic, Starbucks, etc. – Stephen Elliott


10 Responses to “Just to Clarify”

  1. Arthur Digby Sellers Says:

    Following is reasoning that is circular, but may nonetheless help those who are on the fence about this protest sleep at night.

    If the Mission is unique, American Apparel will move in, nobody will shop there, and it will be forced to move out; a tail-between-its-legs walk of shame.

    But. If a relatively pricy store such as AA moves in and survives, during a period commonly referred to as the greatest economic crisis since the 30s, and in a neighborhood noticeably pocked w/ homelessness and drug problems (even though the past decade has done much to “mask” those problems via the influx of the college-educated and comfortably-homed, neither of whom would ever shop at an over-priced t-shirt vendor) then the Mission is still unqiue — just no more so than Union Square, the Marina, and — for shame! — the Haight.

    Btw, this logic requires no donation, though I’ll happily allow any restless soul to buy me a drink at the Make Out Room, or a less sell-outy bar of your choosing.


  2. Robert Says:

    Does American Apparel qualify as a “big box chain”? The Gap has about 3,000 store, I think American Apparel has just over 100.

  3. raimondo Says:

    I think this is really misguided – AA employs Americans in Los Angeles to make clothing that is usually outsourced to sweat shops overseas. Take a careful inventory of almost every other store on Valencia Street and tell us which one can make the same claim? none. This is the limit of single issue politics – while it might satisfy a simple, single demand it fails to live up to the spirit of the political ideal behind it.

  4. Steve Says:

    Sorry, but American Apparel in no way, shape or form qualifies as a “big box” retail chain. Big box retail stores are places like Wal Mart, Home Depot, etc. that have 50,000 square feet or more of space, and present unique problems due to their size and purchasing/employment power. You should get your nomenclature straight, because at the moment you seem way off base in your assertions.

  5. someguy Says:

    I disagree. There are already big box stores such as sketchers, bank of america etc. American Apparrel is in no way a big box store, plus it puts Americans to work.

  6. julie Says:

    Their clothes suck, their advertising sucks even worse. Haight St. is close enough. Valencia’s quickly becoming for the tourists, lame.

  7. David K Says:

    raimondo… it’s a bit of a stretch to call illegal aliens “Americans…”

  8. totally Says:

    Has anyone looked into the formula retail section of the planning code? Isn’t it designed to prevent this type of thing from happening?

  9. Isaac Says:

    Those stores are on Mission street; and it’s a shame chains are so prominent there (goes to show you what can happen). For now this is about trying to protect small business owners and rent controlled living families on Valencia street. We’ll have more numbers on just how big American Apparel is soon.

  10. neigh -bor Says:

    I’m not sure. AA is a ‘good’ company but remember that Body Shop was a ‘good’ company when it started and now it is a plastic infested chemically odor den that is located in every airport, mall, and town.

    I don’t want AA in my neighborhood because I like little locally owned shops – large corps. can pay higher rents, they raise the rent expectations of landlords and make the unprotected commercial tenants vulnerable. Also I can just go ten minutes to the Haight or downtown if I have an urgent need for brightly colored cotton made in LA.

    Neighborhood serving retail, the neighborhood needs that – bakeries, restaurants, hardware stores, butcher shops, produce stores, the kinds of things that you need in your daily life. Also a vibrant commercial corridor like Valencia needs something to attract people from other parts of the City – we’ve got bars, some galleries, 826, some restaurants, some boutiques, etc. American Apparel does NOT match our niche – it is not the market we are going for. It would change the character of our commercial corridor – and frankly mute it to another hip teen shopping dump. We don’t want people rushing to our neighborhood for cotton tee-shirts, we don’t need cotton tee-shirts in our everyday life, so the only benefit of the store is the money AA will make by cornering another market. But the risks are a total change in the character of our neighborhood commercial street.

    Formula retail is tricky wicket – the City tried to define it – but it doesn’t always have measurable characteristics. The City’s threshold is 11 locations in the nation – but it doesn’t apply to all kinds of things like Banks. As has been said about porn and sprawl, you know it when you see it. AA has a simple formula that does not adapt to neighborhood character.

    The point of the formula retail restriction is to let San Francisco maintain its neighborhoods’ unique characters in the face of a global franchise mess. We were pretty successful in resisting the temptation to fill our City with freeways, let’s resist the ‘everyone else is doing it’ logic here too.

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