The founder of a well-known clothing and gear retailer wrote a bitter goodbye letter to San Francisco saying that he was leaving because the city had “descended into chaos.”
Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith stated that near-daily brazen thefts, constant vandalism, and concerns for the safety of his employees made it impossible to close the store he had opened in “a charming shopping area” one year ago. He said that the city’s inability to address theft and safety made it impossible for him to manage the business.
Smith posted a long note on LinkedIn that stated, “Our team is scared.” They feel unsafe. They feel unsafe. Security guards are not helpful because the thieves know that security guards will not/cannot stop them. “It’s impossible for retail stores to continue to trade in such circumstances, even though we pay taxes in a higher state than any other state).
Smith wrote, “As of today we are closing our store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our staff.” “Our store is being targeted by organized theft rings several days per week. They enter the store brazenly and take thousands of dollars worth of products and then walk out.”
Many businesses have fled San Francisco after the city dropped the penalty for shoplifting less than $950 in goods. This was amid an increase in crime, homelessness, and public drug use. Numerous viral videos show shoplifters dumping store shelves into bags and then walking out of shops while security guards are watching.
Cotopaxi, which is named after an active volcano in Ecuador’s rugged Andes Mountains, is a competitor to Patagonia. It sells outdoor gear and clothing and boasts its commitment to the environment and global hunger. Smith, who established the Utah-based business in 2014, claimed that his company never had an opportunity in the City by The Bay.
The store at 549 Hayes St. was opened for the first week. During that time, thieves broke in and stole its windows. Smith claimed that he had to replace the windows four times before finally installing plywood. The store attempted to keep its doors locked during normal business hours so that only customers could enter. Smith claimed that organized groups would send in a woman disguised as a customer to steal from the store.
Davis Smith, CEO of Cotopaxi, said that near-daily brazen thefts, constant vandalism, and concerns for the safety of his employees led him to close the store he had opened in “a charming shopping area” one year ago.
Smith, who was born in Latin America, claimed that he and his wife had experienced firsthand the city’s descent into lawlessness. Smith described a recent trip to the city, where he claimed his car had been broken into. He said that he had parked on the street when he called the police.
He also wrote that another time, “a drugged-up person ran up to my wife and started screaming the most obscenities things I’ve ever heard.” She was terrified.
Smith wrote, “It’s tragic, but San Francisco seems to have descended into chaos.” “Many streets, parks, and other public spaces are overrun by drugs, criminals, homelessness, and it is because of inaction on the part of local leadership and law enforcement.”