Another Business Owner Speaks Out


Below is an open letter written by Sean Quigley, owner of the Valencia Street business Paxton Gate, to Pilar LaValley of the planning commission. Want to write your own letter? Click here to learn more.

Dear Ms. LaValley,

I am writing regarding the proposed opening of American Apparel on Valencia Street.  I moved my business to Valencia Street in 1999 knowing that the area was not yet a shopping destination.  Many of my neighbors – Dema, Therapy, Ruby and others – had already started to create the unique feel that Valencia Street has become.  My businesses and others have added to that flavor and together we have created a collection of creative and unique companies that are independently and locally owned.  When I moved my business here I canvassed many neighborhoods and selected this one because I wanted to help create a neighborhood rather than move into an already established one.  I would hate to see that work go to waste.

By allowing American Apparel to open on Valencia Street we will set a precedent that will be hard to argue against in future hearings making it likely that other chain stores like The Gap, Starbucks, and Banana Republic will follow.  The hard work that we have accomplished in creating a unique shopping experience will be lost and this shopping district will be like others.  Customers and tourists will have no reason to venture to the Mission District when they can do all of their shopping at the same stores downtown, on Union Street or Fillmore.

This is not about American Apparel; I have nothing personally against them.  This is about chain stores and changing the flavor of a unique neighborhood.  I strongly oppose this proposal and I hope that my thoughts and those of my neighbors will be respected.


Sean Quigley
Paxton Gate, Inc.
Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids
One Inch to the Left, Inc. — Landscape Design-Build
(all located on Valencia Street)


One Response to “Another Business Owner Speaks Out”

  1. David Marks Says:

    attached is a copy of the letters i sent as a valencia business owner. i couldn’t figure out where to submit them, so here they are.

    M. Pilar LaValley
    Preservation Technical Specialist/Planner
    City & County of San Francisco Planning Department
    1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    January 27, 2009

    Dear Planner LaValley,

    I moved to San Francisco from Austin, Texas a year ago with dreams of opening my own store. I researched the different shopping districts and neighborhoods and it quickly became clear that Valencia Street was where I needed to be. The local flavor, the small-scale charm and personal-touch at every shop was exactly what I was looking to be a part of. When a space became available at 20th and Valencia I jumped at the chance. I opened my business, Room 4, in July and am proud to have joined all the other owner-run shops and sudios in the neighborhood. Valencia is desirable to shoppers and business owners because it is all about one-of-a-kind shops run by the people that own them. Personal ventures full of real people, not big-box stores / national corporate chains run by people in offices in Los Angeles.

    Please register my opposition to the proposed American Apparel store on Valencia Street. There is a place for chain stores, but it is not on Valencia Street. Please also keep me informed of any public meetings, hearings, or comment periods regarding this issue.

    Thank you,

    David Marks

    Room 4

    904 Valencia

    San Francisco

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