When it came to light in December that Aesop, an Australian luxury cosmetics chain, was moving into 20th and Valencia, it seemed all-but-certain that there would be another Jack Spade-level anti-chain protest against it. And as predicted, the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association—the same group that successfully defeated Jack Spade’s Mission expansion—emailed Aesop the next day expressing their concern.
Over the next two and a half months, the VCMA struggled to have a dialogue with the retailer, but nevertheless formed a task force to strategize an opposition campaign. However last week, while attempting to contact Aesop again, Jefferson McCarley was able to reach a spokesperson for the company, who acknowledged the company was abandoning their forthcoming Valencia Street location next to the newly opened Chrome Store.
Jefferson writes us over email:
Aesop confirmed with me that they have decided not to open a store on Valencia. The head of public relations said that they have decided to support our efforts.
So you can imagine how thrilled we are that Aesop has decided to support us.
This means we won’t have to host fundraisers, make posters, walk door-to-door to speak to merchants on our mile-long street, spend long nights at City Hall, pay huge filing fees, write multiple 12 page briefs, solicit letters of support, reach out to politicians, and spend every other Tuesday night in a conference room, after a a long hard day of work.
We can get to go back to the work that we prefer to do:
- Working with the SFMTA on bringing bikeshare to Valencia
- Helping to bring a cool new music festival to Valencia
- Helping to bring the Cinco de Mayo festival to Valencia
- Keeping the street vibrant during the day (by minimizing retail conversions to restaurants)
- Organizing a sidewalk sale
- Developing new resources and a sense of community for Valencia corridor merchants.
Oh yeah. And running our own businesses.
956 Valencia St. is now available for lease to a local independent small business.