Just one year after opening, the Whole Foods Market store at 1185 Market St. is closing this week due to crime and public drug use.
“To ensure the safety of our Team Members, we have made the difficult decision to close the Trinity store for the time being,” a Whole Foods Market spokesperson told Epoch Times in an email. “All Team Members will be transferred to one of our nearby locations.”
“We have taken numerous actions to reduce security incidents in our store to avoid this outcome,” the spokesperson said, adding that it was no longer an option to “compromise the safety of our Team Members.”
The store, one of the largest supermarkets in Downtown San Francisco, shortened its operating time by three hours in October, hoping to reduce the amount of theft and “hostile” visitors.
At that time, the store had at least three guards on duty.
The store enforced new bathroom rules in November after syringes and pipes were found in the restroom.
San Francisco District Supervisor Matt Dorsey said he was “incredibly disappointed but sadly unsurprised” by the store’s shutdown in a Twitter thread posted Money afternoon.
Dorsey regrets that the neighborhood had to wait a long time to get this kind of supermarket. “But we’re also well aware of problems they’ve experienced with drug-related retail theft, adjacent drug markets, and the many safety issues related to them,” he said.
The District 6 Supervisor attributed the problem to decades-long understaffing of law enforcement. “San Franciscans have been denied the benefits of a fully staffed police department for nearly 30 years,” he said, adding that the situation “has never been worse.”
Last year, a SF Police Union poll indicated that 54 percent of police officers were considering leaving the department in the near future. Police cited bloated red tape, overly strict policing policies, and demoralization by endless circles of catch and release of criminals as the leading causes.
Dorsey announced that he was drafting new legislation (pdf) with former prosecutor and current District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani to get the SF Police Department fully staffed within five years.
According to the San Francisco Standard, San Francisco City Hall officials predict a budget deficit of at least $730 million.
The 65,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market store opened in March last year, offering over 3,700 products from Northern Californian suppliers, including local farms, bakeries, wineries, craft beer breweries, and cheesemakers.
Whole Food Markets proudly called the new location a “flagship store” when it announced its opening on February 17 last year.