May 23, 2011
Petco Barks, Will It Come Back To Bite?
The proposed ordinance prohibiting "formula retail pet supply stores" along Geary Boulevard didn’t just catch our attention in March, but the attention of Petco as well, the formula retail at which the ordinance was aimed:
Petco sent a letter to Mar and the City Attorney’s Office calling the proposal illegal. "We believe the proposed ordinance exceeds the city’s police power, infringes on the project sponsor’s equal protection rights and, if enacted, would be invalid under federal and state law," said the letter from Andrew Junius, of the Rueben and Junius law firm, which is representing Petco.
Despite Petco’s legal questions, the bill moved forward in the legislative process with a unanimous vote of support from the Small Business Commission on May 9. "I don’t know if it’s going to get all the way to the Supreme Court ... to find out if it’s legal or not," commission President Luke O’Brien said. "I don’t think that we are going to turn this down because we are afraid that it’s not legal. I think we’ll take our chances on that."
City Attorney spokesman Jack Song said of the proposed legislation that "we are confident that we will reach an outcome that is legally sound and in the best interests of The City."
First Published: May 23, 2011 7:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
B&B on Geary (great prices!) had a petition to block Petco. Being a long time supporter of B&B I signed it without blinking. I like local stores. They give neighborhoods character and flavor. The profits tend to stay locally. I have been advised not to use the "C" word. Oh, to hell it it. Charm. There. Local stores are charming.
Posted by: kathleen at May 23, 2011 9:01 AM
I also like small local stores and while I think that Petco should be able to open anywhere a "local" pet store is allowed to open I don't think that they will have much of a chance fighting San Francisco. If the courts have given the city the right to tell a poor old lady with some flats in the city how much rent she can charge and who she can evict they will probably let the city tell a big pet store chain where they can open.
P.S. I find it a little ironic that most people in SF that want higher taxes and more government services favor more local stores that (with rare exceptions) pay far less taxes than chain stores due to not declaring cash income and paying many employees cash under the table resulting is less tax revenue...
Posted by: FormerAptBroker at May 23, 2011 9:24 AM
If we're so enamored with local stores, why not let the Petco open and just subsidize the local store? Then we get the best of both worlds - I get a pet store with decent prices that actually has what I want instead of having to drive out of the city to get it, and you get your local overpriced store. And then...we could even price exactly how much it's costing the city to keep this "charm" that you speak of.
Posted by: anon at May 23, 2011 9:29 AM
Yes. Geary Blvd. That bastion of small businesses and local charm along a 4 lane, 85 foot wide, overtrafficked and horrid graphicked behemoth of roadway. Please. Keeping Petco off Geary won't make a dent in the chain store (walgreens, bofa, etc etc) mess it already is. This is just nimby exceptionalism. Either enact district-wide (or corridor stretching) controls -- or stop with this "charm" nonsense. Have any of these nimbies actually walked 4 blocks of this Geary they week to "protect"? Stick your heads back up your arses, pls.
Posted by: Raxel at May 23, 2011 10:11 AM
Hooray for Petco!
Kathleen. Most local stores give bad service at high prices (and then add parking and other issues related to getting to their little shop), especially in the pet supply category. If you like that, then don't go to Petco; but don't force me to subsidize bad service and high prices.
Posted by: grrr at May 23, 2011 10:11 AM
Ahh yes, the fast-food and pet store district. Which doesn't allow fast-food and pet stores. I doubt Petco will get anywhere on this, although the zoning here in SF does tend to be more discriminatory than elsewhere.
B&B must be better than the typical pet store I've been to in SF if kathleen's account is right. However, FAB also makes a good point re: cash businesses.
Posted by: sfrenegade at May 23, 2011 12:46 PM
B&B used to have unbeatable prices, until the current operator bought it. Under the previous B&B regime, they could sell some stuff lower than my friend (who ran a different pet store) could get it wholesale. I don't shop at B&B as often now, instead I'm shopping at an "evil" chain store (Pet Food Express) since they carry food the cat likes. I did not sign B&B's petition.
Posted by: formerly%whatever at May 23, 2011 1:19 PM
I have to admit, that since my dog got sick, all the pet food is home made. Why is it the default postion that local mom and pop stores pay their employees cash, and don't declare income and revenue? What is cash? Who uses it? Who shops with cash?
Posted by: kathleen at May 23, 2011 3:57 PM
> What is cash? Who uses it? Who shops with cash?
It is green stuff that a large amount of the population still uses quite a bit to buy things like coffee, beer and pet food.
A friend that is in the bar and nightclub busines has safes full of the green stuff (enough to live on for years)...
Posted by: FormerAptBroker at May 23, 2011 7:26 PM
"What is cash? Who uses it? Who shops with cash?"
Obviously you don't shop in North Beach, many of the businesses here are cash only.
As for the small local stores, they are the reason I started renting a zipcar to shop in the 'burbs and buy most other non-food items online. The inflated prices, limited selection and business hours that would make a banker jealous make it really hard to justify even bothering with them.
Posted by: Pica1986 at May 23, 2011 10:47 PM