Historic San Francisco Department Store on the Brink of Closure Over City Conditions


Jaws is one of my favorite movies. I can recite it from memory and even the dialogue in real time. The story goes that during the filming of that movie, the huge mechanical shark did not work. Richard Dreyfuss talked about radios crackling all over Martha’s Vineyard saying, “The Shark is not Working.” Repeat: “The Shark is not Working.”

Californians need to acknowledge that the donkey does not work. Repeat: The donkey does not work.

Gump’s is a luxury department store with a long history in San Francisco. Gump’s calls itself a “Destination for Exceptional Taste” and that is no understatement. Picture frames cost as much as $525. A decorative double-ring nephrite Jade link costs $1,500. Lamps range from $275 to $1,890. Then there’s the jewelry. Gump’s has necklaces, rings, and earrings. They also have bracelets, hairpins, brooches, and other jewelry.

Evidently, I can’t afford to go there and you probably cannot either. The store is called a “luxury department store” for a good reason. Gump’s, a San Francisco institution for nearly 166 years now, may soon be closing. Big deal, you may say. You may say that it’s only for the rich. That’s true, but if, after 166 years, Gump’s is considering shutting its doors, the city fathers/mothers/whatever they identify need to pay attention. San Francisco’s landmark has been in business for 166 years.

Why will Gump’s most likely decide to close shop? It’s the same reason that other industries and retailers are leaving San Francisco. As I’ve said before, it is the Bidet By The Bay. That’s not exactly accurate. San Francisco is probably cleaner on average than the average bidet. The COVID-19 lockdowns in particular cleaned up downtown. The missing people and businesses were replaced with the homeless, illegal drug traffic, garbage, and human waste.

The San Francisco Standard reported the Gump’s owner, John Chachas took out a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday edition. The ad was in the form of a letter addressed to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and California Governor. Gavin Newsom. The article read, in part: “Gump’s is a San Francisco institution for over 165 years.” As we prepare to celebrate our 166th Holiday Season at 250 Post Street we are afraid that this could be our last season due to the profound erosion of conditions in this city.

In the letter, Chachas said that the city was “under the tyranny” of the majority. He asked Breed and Newsom for them to clean the streets, remove the encampments and enforce the laws. Chachas added that the city must be restored to its “rightful place as America’s shining beacons in urban society.”

Below you can read the whole letter:

Chachas, who spoke to the Standard about the advertisement, said that the response has been positive.

Nobody has ever told me: ‘Oh, my, you’re so uncaring towards the homeless.’ I got multiple replies saying, “Truth to Power,” “You are saying what everyone believes. It’s just no one is listening.”

Everyone knows the problem. London Breed and Gavin Newsom will not admit the problem.

Steven Spielberg, his crew, and their radios finally solved the problem with the shark.

San Francisco is on a crusade against Twitter/X, to the extent that they have even gone after the signs. It has also allowed conditions to deteriorate so much that a company that has been in San Francisco for over 165 years has decided to give up. One wonders if these problems can be solved, even if city officials want to.

One group even capitalized on the fate of San Francisco. The Standard reports that SF Anonymous Insider is hosting a walking tour in the city on August 26 to highlight the squalor there.

“The website for the event states that the tour will begin at City Hall and then continue through Mid-Market and the Tenderloin before ending in Union Square.” We will visit the open-air markets for drugs, abandoned tech offices, outposts of non-profit industry complexes, and deserted department stores.

The price is $30. There is no word on refreshments and God knows what souvenirs will be available.

San Francisco, your donkey doesn’t work if the latest attraction in the city is a tour through drug markets and empty, failed businesses.