San Francisco’s cherished Cole Hardware, a fixture of the city since the 1920s, is closing its South of Market location, adding another shuttered storefront to downtown’s growing list. This has left many pondering: Is it the rise of Amazon, the shift to remote work, or simply the decrease in foot traffic due to increased homelessness and crime in the area? Or could it be that San Franciscans are finding it more difficult to venture out into the chaos of city streets?
Cole Hardware’s Chief Financial Officer, Rick Carp, acknowledged the harsh reality that his store’s business has never stopped declining since the onset of the pandemic. While other San Francisco branches have seen a recovery thanks to larger residential populations and more foot traffic, the 9th Street store couldn’t fight the tide. Interestingly, this specific location isn’t in a residential dead zone but instead a zone where locals may fear to tread. It’s not so much that people aren’t shopping; they’re just choosing safer, less chaotic places to do so.
Sadly, the closure led to two layoffs, though most employees will be transferred to other stores. As for the 9th Street location? Well, it’s set to become expensive storage space until its lease is up in three years. It’s a hard pill to swallow for the community, but a testament to the times. San Franciscans may have to get creative and reconsider their hardware shopping destinations, but at least three other Cole Hardware stores stand ready to welcome them.
#ColeHardwareClosure #SanFranciscoStreetCrisis #OnlineShoppingImpact
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