Small business owners, retail and grocery workers, community organizations and labor unions spoke at the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development committee to discuss the negative impact corporate chain stores pose on the San Francisco community. They cited such concerns as lowering job quality and the possibility of shutting small businesses.
“We found that in some areas, that when a store came in, in three years, almost 47% of retail sales (of other stores) fell as a result,” said Steven Pitts, labor specialist at UC Berkeley. “We are not saying that formula retail stores should not come into San Francisco. We are just saying when they come, they need to be good neighbors, and they need to be good neighbors by providing respectful jobs with good wages and benefits,” said Conny Ford, vice president for political activities.
Some small business owners say those big box stores would not contribute back to the city like local businesses do. Rick Karp, one of the small business owners says instead, they bring the money they earn back to their headquarters. He adds, “Once you let one in, all their cousins want to come. San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods and wonderful community shopping districts. And as people migrate more towards the big boxes, you will see those community businesses start to suffer.”
In order to protect local businesses, Supervisor Eric Mar says he wants to set some regulations for the corporate chain stores to follow in the future. For instance, asking them to pay salaries which can support daily lives, instead of paying minimum wages to their employees.
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