Small business has always been a vital part of urban economies, but bar-owner Ben Bleiman says San Francisco is doing its best to bury it in fees, taxes and regulation.
Joni Mitchell once sang, “Don’t it always seem to go…that you don’t know what you got, til it’s gone.”
Imagine your favorite San Francisco neighborhood without small business. No bakery. No taqueria. No pizza parlor. No book store. Just dead storefront after dead storefront lining your community like tombstones.
I’ve owned ten bars and restaurants in SF for more than a decade, and I need you all to hear me: We are dying. North Beach has 36% storefront vacancies. In the Castro entire blocks are nearly empty. Three major restaurants closed their doors in South Beach last month. Walk down once bustling Union Street on a Thursday night at 8 pm and it’s as creepy as a zombie movie.
How’d things get so bad? It’s a boomtime, right? People blame greedy landlords and Millennial buying habits, but I don’t. I blame City Hall.