Valencia Businesses Launch Petition Campaign Opposing Jack Spade

With Adobe Books packing up their 25-year-old 16th Street location, evicted financially by their landlord on behalf of Liz Claiborne's Jack Spade label, the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association is petitioning to keep the luxury men's store from moving into the location.

The organization is hoping to repeat the success of their outreach campaign against American Apparel, which successfully swayed the clothing manufacturer from opening on Valencia in 2009.

“American Apparel made the decision to abort their efforts to open up a retail store in the corridor [in response to community backlash],” Jefferson McCarley of Mission Bicycle told us. “We are hoping that when Jack Spade sees how strongly the community feels about this, they will also decide not to pursue this location here.”

Jack Spade's lease of 3166 16th Street reportedly begins on June 15th, but their opening date remains shrouded in secrecy.  As their move-in looms, the VCMA feels they have exhausted all other means to sway Jack Spade.  The company has refused to engage the local business community, declining through a media spokesman to meet with the organization and discuss alternative locations in the city.  Neighborhood Supervisors Wiener and Campos remain ambivalent towards the the store, and the Planning Department will not host a public meeting on the company, as it ruled the company does not meet the city's “formula retail” definition on a technicality that only 10 of their 13 locations are in the United States.

As Eileen Hassi of Ritual Roasters tells us:

Jack Spade is clearly formula retail by the SF Planning Department's definition, but unfortunately the way the law is written, it's not until AFTER the 11th [U.S.] location that a business is required to have a public hearing.  Without a public hearing, we have to find other means of getting the public's opinion and sharing it with the business and the Planning Department.  What better way than a petition?  It will show that it's a diverse cross-section of the population of the Mission, and of San Francisco, that is opposed to Jack Spade opening on the Valencia Corridor.

She adds:

I'm a fan of the [Planning Department's] hearing process.  I think it works.  I'm happy to say it worked with American Apparel, it worked with the Starbucks that just tried to go in to the Castro, on Market at Sanchez.  It's frustrating that Liz Claiborne/Jack Spade has figured out how to game the process.  It's no accident that this is their 11th US location.  I think the very fact that this multinational corporation figured out the loophole and exploited it should be a very clear message to the Planning Department that the ambiguity of the law should be corrected.

Many have received that message.  Following GANT's controversial opening in Hayes Valley, Supervisor London Breed proposed legislation that would count all worldwide locations when considering a chain's formula retail status.  However, that legislation only applies to Hayes Valley and would not affect Jack Spade.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district includes the planned Jack Spade location, instead favors relaxing formula retail restrictions for the Mission District. Andres Power, legislative aide to the supervisor, has told VCMA members that Wiener would like to increase the allowable number of U.S. locations a store may have to 20.

Dema Grim from DEMA tells us that over 30 stores in the neighborhood are hanging posters promoting the petition in their windows.  At least 20 with host the petition on their sales counter.

The only public supporter the Liz Claiborne subsidiary has found is Phil Lesser of the Mission Merchants Association; however, Spade allegedly had to pay Lesser a hefty sum as a “permit expediter” to get his “blessing.”  The Mission Merchants Association is yet to take a position on the company, but their president, Casanova owner Don Alan, has reportedly told Jack Spade that “they would be unwelcome on the Valencia corridor” and “strongly suggested they look for alternate locations” in the city.

With so few legal options available to the VCMA, they hope that public opinion will convince Jack Spade to explore more commercial locations.

“I don't oppose Jack Spade,” Haley Lynn, manager of Five & Diamond, conceded. “I just oppose them moving into the Valencia Corridor.”

“The best part of San Francisco is all the different feelings in each neighborhood. Each neighborhood really identifies with a certain culture. That atmosphere is created by the merchants and residents in those areas. The Mission District is no exception: it is filled with so much rich, local flavor—people come here looking for a different vibe than they have experienced anywhere else. But if we have multi-national corporations like Jack Spade moving in to the Valencia Corridor, our neighborhood will lose its independent feeling.”

Mark Holcomb, a spokesman for Jack Spade, has not responded to our inquiries.

Comments (73)

Pretty sure Wiener would support a referendum to bulldoze the neighborhood and replace it with an indoor mall, à la Sunnyvale Town Center.

Yes, because wanting to increase the formula retail requirement to 20 stores is a crystal clear sign that someone doesn’t give a shit about your neighborhood.

Putting words in my mouth doesn’t change what I said. Look at the example I provided – do you honestly believe that the people who leveled downtown Sunnyvale to build a mall thought they would “destroy the neighborhood?” Of course not. But they did.

Thing is when you stamp out the local businesses and replace them with the same generic chain stores you can find anywhere, you have destroyed the neighborhood.

The Mission is not Sunnyvale. Is there an actual example of a single store that has 10 other US locations moving into a neighborhood resulting in that neighborhood being “destroyed?” Or a store that had no more than 20 other locations? I think we need some empirical evidence about what the number is that leads to “destruction.” The ordinance allows a chain with 8 stores to open, but not a chain with 12 stores. Why is the line drawn there? Maybe there is no real difference in allowing a chain with 8 stores to open and allowing a chain with 20 stores to open, as Scott wants to propose. Or maybe there is; we apparently don’t know.

I agree that, say, a Starbucks moving into the neighborhood would be an overall negative for the neighborhood. But I don’t think Jack Spade–a chain with 10 other US stores–can really be included in the category of “same generic chain stores you can find anywhere else.” If you think Jack Spade is quickly going to emerge as a Starbucks-esque chain, the law does not recognize such subjective, speculative beliefs. Hence the petition and the destruction fear-mongering.

“The Mission is not Sunnyvale. Is there an actual example of a single store that has 10 other US locations moving into a neighborhood resulting in that neighborhood being “destroyed?”“

Have you walked down Union Street lately?

No, I haven’t. Does that street have chains that, when they moved into the neighborhood, had no more than 10 U.S. stores?

Is there an actual example of a single store that has 10 other US locations moving into a neighborhood resulting in that neighborhood being “destroyed?

Again not what I’m talking about. This is more than an issue of a “single” store. Once we start welcoming these big companies, the floodgates are open and the Mission could easily become Union Square. Is that what you want for the neighborhood? If so, why not just move to Union Square?

As for whether or not Jack Spade has 10 or 11 locations currently, who cares? It’s just one brand of a conglomerate.

The floodgates do not open if Jack Spade comes in because of the formula retail ordinance. Just ask American Apparel. Macy’s is not coming to Valencia.

What seems like you’re actually proposing now is that it doesn’t matter how many stores are part of the chain, what matters is that your chain is not attached to a “conglomerate.” So again, the question is, why does that matter? In what ways does a non-formula retail chain associated with a conglomerate “destroy” the neighborhood? Any examples?

Go look at Union Square. Or any suburban downtown. Is that what you want for the Mission? Nothing but the same chain stores you can find anywhere else?

What’s wrong with saying no to chain stores? Why are you so dead-set against it?

You have to define chain stores, in the law. Ritual has, what, three locations? That’s a chain, no? But it is not subject to the formula retail ordinance because it doesn’t exceed the number of stores allowed under the law. For the *same reason* Jack Spade is not subject to the law. What you seem to define as a chain store is any store with more than one location that you don’t like. And that’s what I’m against. We have the law–not kings. Valencia merchants should not delude themselves that they’re kings.

Hey Erik,

Quick question. Is a new restaurant started by a group that has 11 or more restaurants welcome in the mission? How about if it was from the guy who started pasta pomodoro. Maybe we should get rid of beretta and starbelly because adriano paganini is such a slimy capitalist. oh wait, thats right you probabley eat at both of them but think they are “local” and unique and the profits are all going back to “local” investors not the private equity groups that back them (and also happen to back some of the largest retailers in the world). The problem with all you NIMBYS is you have no idea how the actual business world of retail actually works. All chains start out small, the grow, just like blue bottle, because people like them and become “a chain” that ruins neighborhoods, enslaves children and runs unfair practice. Doesn’t it seem unfair for valencia restauranteurs to get together to ban other restaurants from coming to the neighborhood. thats chain and non chain alike. And if you had any clue about zoning you woudl not height limits preclude anything remotely happening like union square. Maybe if more of the complainers actually started a company you woudl understand that foot traffic is the name of the game and jack spade brings in foot traffic that helps local businesses. Dont you think a customer buying a bag or a shirt is also going to go into a local place? Of course not, because your ideals are rooted in half truths and economic conspiracy bullshit. Valencia has gotten good restaurants because people have moved IN to the area. Oh and by the way , many of these people work for larger corporations but i am sure you tube or apple or google are not corporate behemoths with a environmental footprint 100x what jack spade is. the hypocrisy of the anti chain movement is so thick you can’t even see how ridiculous your position is. ignorance is bliss.


You said.
“Maybe if more of the complainers actually started a company you woudl understand that foot traffic is the name of the game and jack spade brings in foot traffic that helps local businesses”
And all those stores that put the sigsn in their windows against the new chain are publicly drinking cool aid in order to make their business fail because they are stupid never started a business and woudl no knowthing about business.

Betabrand put the anti-Jake Spade sign in their window too. Hilarious.

Keep reading… “Valencia has gotten good restaurants because people have moved IN to the area.”

In addition to this, I think its reasonable to expect the merchants who have fought like hell to not be perceived by many of you as “gentrifiers” try and blend in. Especially given that their storefront was vandalized.

I think the argument here is that you can’t have it both ways. You (we) all moved here for many reasons but is it fair for us to now state that its enough? I’ve been here 15+ years and I enjoy the ever changing landscape and more importantly the attention the area gets. Walking from 24th and Valencia down to 16th was never this nice – appreciate it! I feel safer and believe or not the area feels much cleaner. I shop locally but I also shop with big merchants albeit mostly online.

Does this mean we should allow Valencia to turn into Union Square? No. Should it go back to what it was in 1997? No. Is there a happy middle ground? Of course!

Correct. But it is consistent to want the 16th Street and Mission cleaned up, and also be against certain large formula stores. Personally, I don’t know zilch about Jack Spade. But when I hear that some have are fighting like hell against them, I think something might be there for people to feel so passionately and invested in what happens.

I take these comments and recent posts into context when reading and responding. The overall theme seems to be to stop what most of us would consider to be progress. Not everyone will like every storefront. Heck, I don’t like a lot of existing storefronts or the insane amount of coffee shops (aka office space) – big deal. Variety won’t kill anyone and people vote with their dollar not via vandalism and half-truths.

i am saying that they will benefit from more bodies. How about the city quantifies if sales drop when jack spade opens? is there a way to show they are damaged? People shop with their wallets. Its a ridiculous preposition to keep out what you “think” hurts and keep what you think “helps”. Do you think the old barber shops were happy when a new, cool, classy barber joint came in on valencia? why is that o.k. why don’t you stop that. You hear all the time, ” i dont mind jack spade, i just mind them on valencia.” that is complete horseshit logic that makes everyone lose in the end because at the end of the day EVERY SINGLE RETAILER THAT HAS COMPETITION has a right to bitch. in short, when mission bicycles, or betabrand, or missionplaidshirtsforhipsters starts to sell, do you really think they aren’t going to open more stores in other markets and become chains. The same stores that protest they are being run out of busines open in other cities next to other small businesses and take their market share. But hey, that is what this country is built on. Free enterprise. We are not fucking china. All you asshole NIMBYS are the same. You take away’s peoples right to choose because you lump every retailer with more than one store into WALMART and Target. that not the case. stores grow due to quality. If your shitty overpriced, underpaying bookstore closes, guess what, its because no one fucking goes there. There is no socially moral obligation to keep a retailer open due to favoritism and protectionism. Why don’t you care about teh Landlord who loses money, or the contractor who had the job to build the store or the electrician, or the plumber as well? oh thats right, they are all corporate stooges and pawns of corporate greed. understand economics, understand retail and when free markets function albeit with reasonable zoning, everyone benefits. have you ever wondered why there is artisan fucking coffee. It is because SBX not because everyone all of a sudden realized people will pay 8 dollars for a latte. You should fucking write howard schultz a letter thanking him for your overpriced artisan coffee.

Maybe we should get rid of beretta and starbelly because adriano paganini is such a slimy capitalist. oh wait, thats right you probabley eat at both of them but think they are “local” and unique and the profits are all going back to “local” investors not the private equity groups that back them (and also happen to back some of the largest retailers in the world).

Your ability to spell is almost as good as your ability to make shit up about people you’ve never met!

sometimes when compelled to set someone with there head so clearly up their ass you spell a bit fast. Make shit up? you mean like jake spade running everyone on valencia out of business. seems like everyone who comes to the mission from somewhere else needs to make shit up to stop new businesses from opening.

good on you though. ignorance is bliss.

Does Jack Spade have an online presence? If so, according to the Board of Appeals, that counts as a “store” in the USA. They just used it to keep a clothing store out of Fillmore Street a few weeks ago.

Looks like Jack Spade does in fact have an online store. You might be on to something here…

here we go again….

And again, and again, and again….

wtf. why does everyone in this city bitch about everything? seriously. this is economic progress. i enjoy the capitalist phase of history so fuck you.

Spoken like a true douche.

Me too. I’m tired of these Chapules.

I bet you also like date rape and not reading history. No, good sir. Fuck YOU.

Hopefully we can keep Jack Spade out. Fuck that chainstore bullshit.

“I’m a fan of the [Planning Department’s] hearing process. I think it works. [Because it has always resulted in the outcome I desire].”

“it worked with the Starbucks that just tried to go in to the Castro” except for the Starbucks that’s already in the Castro.

That’s one of the most friendly Starbucks in the City!

The Starbuck’s at 18/Castro is there because they bought out the previous coffee shop that already existed in that location. Apparently if a chain buys out a local merchant it can open in that location without going though the Conditional Use permit process. This has happened several times recently in the Castro, the Sunglass Hut (now closed) on Market Street between Noe and Castro was able to open because it bought an existing sunglass store. Another example is there is a new Walgreen’s pharmacy on Market between Sanchez and Noe because they bought out an existing pharmacy.

So if they closed the international locations we’d be cool with it because it’s no longer “exploiting a loophole.” Or is it really that you want the law to be public hearing for anything that’s not backed by someone who’s lived in the Mission for 20 years?

I’m too broke to pay attention.

Aaaaaaand the Vacant Storefront Preservation Society gears up for another major battle against anyone having the temerity to run a successful business in the Mission.

riiiiiiight, that vacant area around 16th and Valencia where no independent businesses are currently thriving

Right, because Adobe Books is an empty storefront.

I love my Jack Spade bag!

…But another location might be more suitable.

we get it….because you remind us every time Jack Spade is mentioned

Isn’t the bigger issue Greed.
Indie coffee and retail are making us all Sinners!

While I’m all about letting people do what they want to do, I think we’ve got something unique and special in the Valencia corridor. I hate to say this, but it’s almost museumlike, considering the SAMENESS just about anywhere else you go in the United States. Where else in this country can you go where there is a sizable thriving district solely made up of of small, locally owned shops, restaurants, and bars? I honestly can’t think of a single one.

you don’t travel much do you?

museumlike, hadn’t thought of it that way.
But , yeah we are lucky that we have something special.


– comment on uptown alamanac circa 1870

Ban Formula Blacksmithery!

Pre-1880 computers were all caps. not his fault.

I want to start a campaign to get the city to exercise its eminent domain power to take over La Rondalla.

Rumor has it the guv’ment is actually the ones fucking La Rondalla over. From what I’ve heard, their liquor license lapsed while they were closed for repairs or whatever, and ABC won’t give them a new one because of the liquor license moratorium.

I wonder about that, because my understanding is that the liquor license moratorium doesn’t apply to bar-plus-restaurant licenses, but only to bar-alone licenses. That’s why things like Hog & Rocks, Southern Pacific, Hi-Lo - the list goes on - have been able to open with full liquor licenses over the past few years. If the moratorium banned bar-plus-restaurant licenses, those places wouldn’t have licenses.

Now, that’s not to say there isn’t some other reason the ABC (or other permitting agency) is barring them. They strike me as a little crazy. Maybe that has something to do with it.


Tony T, you need to get out more!! There are thriving neighborhoods with independently owned businesses all over the country – in Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn … the list goes on. This strain of myopic SF snobbery about the rest of the country has GOT to stop.

Myopic is right.

Also Valencia St. has zero architectural value. It’s an enormous letdown when you first see it.

The merchants doth protest too much, me thinks. It’s perfectly fine that their businesses cater to–and can largely be afforded only by–those who work for some of the largest multi-national companies in the world, e.g., Google, Apple, Facebook. Employees of those companies are of course welcomed, nay courted, by all Valencia businesses (except Zeitgeist). Keeping out Jack Spade won’t preserve Valencia when Silicon Valley consumption is increasingly occurring in the corridor. (And if a drive against Jack Spade, where was the call to block a white table-clothed outdoor artisan pizza restaurant opening on the corner of 18th? That place seems pretty counter to the Valencia vibe the merchants tout.) The merchants start a petition against Jack Spade so we can reassure ourselves that its the non-formula-retail-but-really-formula-retail-c’mon store that is the threat to our neighborhood–not ourselves, our neighbors, and our visitors. On a personal level, I’m positive most if not all of the merchants care about the changing ‘hood–but they care about their bottom line more. Giant multi-national companies are fueling the boom in the neighborhood; the merchants are benefiting from that. Jack Spade is merely the merchants’ foil.

Speaking of white table-clothed artisan pizza restaurants, I’ve decided who is to blame for all this nasty gentrification. Pauline’s Pizza. They got the ball rolling 25 years ago. It’s their fault. Damn newbies, coming to the neighborhood and ruining it for all us OG’s. We’re all Mission OG’s, right? Right?

Valencia became what it is today because of relatively cheap rent. The existing merchants are worried that their rent will be tripled when their lease is up. Can’t blame them, but I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done. Look at Hayes Valley. Even if they keep the chains out, there are plenty of non-chains willing to pay big bucks to access to the new Mission demographic.

what a bunch of horseshit. jack spade a major corporation? they have 11 stores across the country. Will the mssion residents cry when the hipster single speed bike store becomes a chain? will they rule out the cool artisan coffee house that starts in a small neighborhood but then grows to ten stores? Hey assholes, it not YOUR city, its everyones and its not up to you as a resident to tell who where they can shop and what they can buy. Why do mission hipster dirtbags think they have the right to make decisions for eveyone else. one store selling mens clothes does not ruin the neighborhood it helps it. Valencia looks like shit. its not nice. its fucking filthy. get some actual retailers in there for nice storefronts. The hypocrisy is so thick with these people.

Not worth responding to.

Valencia looks like shit? Oh no! Did someone see a homeless person on their way to Tacolicious?

OK, Valencia is filthy. Jack Spade is a much better fit for Union St or Union Square.

maybe get rid of that payday loan check cashing place on the corner of 16th and Valencia first. Spade is fine by me.

How soon until Blue Bottle and the Four Barrels with different names are considered chains?

Blue Bottle Coffee has as many US stores as does Jack Spade, 11. And they’ve secured $20MM in their pre-IPO fundraising. Stay tuned Hypocrites.

So CHEVRON, STARBUCKS, BOULANGE, BLOCKBUSTER, SAFEWAY, KFC, 76 and MCDONALD’S are in but god forbid a “well knwo” brand clothing store wants in!? You hypocritical pieces of shit!!! Get over yourselves. You probably all buy your shit ONLINE AT AMAZON, SAFEWAY (or WHOLE FOODS) or TARGET in Serramonte anyway. Grow the fuck up. Get real.

I dare any of you to prove you don’t spend most of your discretionary income on large corporations anyway. Whether or not this store happens will change NOTHING for you.

I may not disagree with your underlying point, presuming I can tell what it is, but you do understand this is a question of the makeup of the neighborhood, right? Not the world, or even the city. None of the companies you list exist in this neighborhood. You should come visit!

Your toilet language does not make your point any clearer.


I thought “stuff white people like and I can’t afford” *was* the culture of the Valencia St corridor.

I remember when they first built Sunnyvale Town Center, also remember when it opened, and when it was the most popular. Use to hang out there, looked at the girls, played video games in the arcade. Shopped at Macy’s over Ward’s, use to buy clothes from Miller’s Outpost and ate at Hot Dog on a Stick. It was full of good stores, not all of them were chains but large number of them were those chain stores. Over the years they came and went, different tastes, different trends and different styles.

I remember when this mall started hitting its decline, was about the same time when Valley Fair, Stanford were upgraded and getting much more stylish stores. Even myself would shop at Valley Fair, must nicer selection of stores for men. Wards’ wasn’t ever a place to shop for me, but did love the Macy’s at Sunnyvale. Macy’s is till there.

Chain stores always have been part of the main street culture, either local, regional or national. In the case of the Valencia Street stores will come and go, tastes will change, trends, styles and shopping habits will change. One day you must see more baby stores, empty stores.

WELLS FARGO, CHASE, BANK OF AMERICA…infinitely worse than anything Jack Spade could ever be, yet firmly and profitably anchored to the Mission.