Supervisor’s plan to help grocery stores clears hurdle

A plan to reverse the trend of major supermarkets leaving The City received the blessing of the Small Business Commission this week.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is proposing an ordinance to help keep full-service grocery stores from leaving San Francisco in the wake of two Albertsons stores recently closing in The City and Cala Foods also vacating some of its locations. The supervisor’s proposed bill would remove grocery stores from The City’s definition of formula retail, which limits businesses with 11 or more locations from opening in certain neighborhoods in San Francisco or forcing them to go through difficult zoning conditions in others.

Jordanna Thigpen, the president of the Small Business Commission, said the commissioners unanimously supported Elsbernd’s ordinance after it was presented to them Monday by the supervisor, despite the fact that it seems counterintuitive for small businesses to support formula retail or chain stores.

“On its face, it looks like it would be bad for small businesses, but we don’t exist in a vacuum,” Thigpen said. “You need a mix for a healthy economy and a healthy city. You need a mix of small and large businesses.”

The point of the ordinance, which still has to be heard by the Planning Commission before it can be voted on by the Board of Supervisors, is to encourage supermarkets to reopen in buildings vacated by Cala Foods and Albertsons by making the permitting process easier for them and to also allow grocery stores to open up in neighborhoods that have a ban on formula retail.

“The point is to keep it grocery and your permit process will be easier,” Elsbernd said. “This is to prevent a big grocery store from closing and becoming six nail salons or a sporting goods store.”

While some residents who live near a vacated Albertsons near Alemany Boulevard support the supervisor’s proposal, others are not as happy. Gizelle Quezada, who used to shop at the Alemany location, said the ordinance does not directly help the communities that have already lost a supermarket and other low-income communities that have never had a full-service market.

“We are kind of a little bit on the tired side with presenting our issues and nothing is happening,” Quezada said. “I really do feel something needs to be done more effectively.”

sfarooq@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Income from Shared Spaces will provide financial resources to the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency, according to its director, Jeffrey Tumlin. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA director says Shared Spaces serves transit agency’s financial interest

$10.6 million price tag for program raises concerns among transit agency’s board members

A broad coalition of tenants and housing rights organizers rally at Stanley Mosk Courthouse to protest eviction orders issued against renters Stanley Mosk Courthouse on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Los Angeles, CA. (Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Federal judge strikes down CDC’s national moratorium on evictions

David Yaffe-Bellany, Noah Buhayar Los Angeles Times A federal judge in Washington… Continue reading

Most Read