July 22, 2013

The Formula For Success Or Protectionism In San Francisco?

In 2004, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors adopted San Francisco’s first “formula retail” use controls, adding Section 703.3 (“Formula Retail Uses”) to San Francisco’s Planning Code to establish a definition of formula retail and a regulatory framework “to protect a diverse retail base with distinct neighborhood retailing personalities comprised of a mix of businesses.”

The Ordinance established the existing definition for formula retail as “a type of retail sales activity or retail sales establishment which, along with eleven or more other retail sales establishments, maintains two or more of the following features: a standardized array of merchandise, a standardized façade, a standardized décor and color scheme, a uniform apparel, standardized signage, a trademark or a servicemark.” This first identification of formula retail in the Planning Code provided the following controls:
1. Mandated Neighborhood Notification for most permitted uses in Neighborhood Commercial Districts (NCDs); 2. Required Conditional Use (CU) authorization for operation in specific blocks and lots in the area of Cole and Carl Streets and Parnassus and Stanyan Streets; and, 3. Established a prohibition on all formula retail uses within the Hayes-Gough Neighborhood Commercial District.
The 2004 Ordinance established a precedent for formula retail controls; a number of amendments in quick succession added districts in which formula retail uses require CU authorization, including: 2005 amendments that added the Haight Street NCD and the small-scale NCD along Divisadero Street between Haight and Turk Streets, and a 2006 amendment that added the Japantown Special Use District (SUD). In addition, a 2005 amendment added a prohibition on formula retail uses in the North Beach NCD. In 2006, Section 803.6 was added to the Planning Code, requiring CU authorization for formula retail uses in the Western SoMa Planning Area SUD.
In 2007, formula retail controls were further expanded when San Francisco voters approved Proposition G, the so-called “Small Business Protection Act,” which amended the Planning Code by adding Section 703.4, requiring CU authorization for formula retail uses (as defined in the Code) proposed for any NCD.

The passage of Proposition G set the stage for a series of further amendments to the Planning Code that have further limited formula retail uses in a range of zoning districts, through CU authorization requirements and prohibitions, as mapped above (click map to enlarge).

In 2007, a study by Ridley & Associates compared the economic impacts of "local stores" vs. "chain stores" and established three major findings:

First, formula retailers provide goods and services at a more affordable cost and can serve as retail anchors for developing neighborhoods. Second, these formula retailers can also attract new customers, and offer a greater selection of goods and services. Third, conversely, independent businesses generate a higher investment return, and overall economic growth, for the local economy in comparison to formula retailers…because they tend to pay higher wages; purchase goods and services from local businesses at twice the rate as chain stores; and employees and owners tend to live in the local area, therefore returning their earnings back to the local community.

In addition to seven other proposed or pending modifications to San Francisco’s formula retail controls which are already in the works, this week San Francisco’s Planning Commission is slated to consider a draft Ordinance from Supervisor Cohen to create the Third Street Formula Retail Restricted Use District along Third Street from Williams Avenue to Egbert Avenue and require Conditional Use authorization for any new formula retail use within said District.

With Formula Retail defined as more than eleven (11) locations, keep in mind that Blue Bottle Coffee, which now has six locations in the Bay Area and five in New York, would be prohibited from opening up a store on Third Street between Williams and Egbert without a hearing and special authorization from the Planning Commission.

First Published: July 22, 2013 12:45 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

The best way to keep out the bad retailers is to mandate a living wage and other strong worker protections. The businesses that are willing to abide by those conditions should be welcome.

Posted by: Adam at July 22, 2013 1:26 PM

I think “formula retail” use controls are a good thing.

Not that I condone protectionism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 22, 2013 1:36 PM

Looks like the map leaves out West Portal and Ocean Ave, both of which I believe require CUs. Not that they (or any of the Westside) really matter much to the city.

Posted by: Joel at July 22, 2013 1:45 PM

Completely ridiculous. This is a choice that should be left to consumers, and city government has no place whatsoever protecting any business from competition. The net result of formula retail restriction is diminished consumer choice and higher prices. It is astonishing how SF keeps doubling down and such an utterly misguided, wrong-headed policy.

Posted by: zzzzzzzz at July 22, 2013 1:55 PM

And as a result you can't get a decent espresso in the so-called Italian neighborhood of North Beach.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at July 22, 2013 2:12 PM

Agree 100% with zzzzzzz. If you don't like formula retail, don't shop there. "Formula retail" draws people to a neighborhood giving the smaller shops a better chance of getting more customers. Furthermore, just because someone wants to open a store doesn't mean they should. If you can't compete, if you don't have something you're confident is a winner you shouldn't be there to begin with.

Bottom line, ALL retail is "formula"; if you don't have a formula, you'll fail. The government should not be encouraging failure by discouraging success. Quite simply, "Formula Retail" is Newspeak for success.

Posted by: Let It Grow at July 22, 2013 2:44 PM

I feel that our chosen representatives should decide what is best for us. I have full trust and faith in our government. Just ask American Indians how they like it.

Posted by: temporary shortage at July 22, 2013 3:18 PM

Sorry - I'm all for these controls. I'd much rather have unique neighborhoods rather than all of them having the same formula retail everywhere.

Posted by: S at July 22, 2013 3:29 PM

Ideally, there would be a healthy mix of both chains and independents. However, given the high expense of SF real estate that's becoming more difficult to maintain as mom and pops are edged out.

In the end it comes down to three camps: those who love chains, those who hate chains and those who don't give a crap.

Posted by: Mark at July 22, 2013 3:54 PM

what is the one place where it is expressly permitted? 16th & Potrero shopping center? That one green spot looks so funny on the map.

I don't have such a problem with formula retail controls as a concept, although it's clear it fails a lot in the execution. The reality is that the intent is to keep out certain TYPES of formula retail (fast food, starbucks, etc), and a hammer is used rather than a scalpel, because a scalpel wouldn't be legal. But the likelihood of anyone seriously opposing a small local chain like blue bottle is low, but it will definitely add time and money to blue bottles cost for the 12th location.

Posted by: curmudgeon at July 22, 2013 3:55 PM

I'm mildly for the controls, although they are certainly not perfect.

I notice that one of the major benefits for SF: increased traffic, does not apply to many of the places that the controls exist. Those places are already high traffic, which was developed over decades by the mom and pops. The formula retail controls prevent the majors from coming in and pushing out the businesses that helped build those areas.

The other benefit: More diverse products, is a red herring in my opinion. While the individual stores may provide more diverse products, that is only when compared to a single store. Overall with mom and pops you get a much more diverse product offering throughout the entire city.

If the U.S. were built to support small business over mega corporations we wouldn't need these restrictions. But since big corps get far more benefits than small businesses, I support this regulation.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 22, 2013 5:45 PM

We have a loophole in the formula retail regulations. The Hayes Valley NCD expressly prohibits "chains", but La Boulange is owned by Starbucks and should be considered a chain. This loophole could easily be used by any chain wanting to open new locations in the City.

Posted by: SF Citizen at July 23, 2013 5:59 AM

La Boulange has about 15 stores, so there isn't a loophole where it is owned by Starbucks it already is a chain all by itself. The Hayes location pre-dates the 11th store and is therefore grandfathered in would be my guess.

[Editor's Note: That's correct.]

Posted by: sparky*b at July 23, 2013 8:08 AM

Speaking of chains, there is a proposal for a new McDonalds on the corner of Market and Larkin/9th Street where Ananda Fuora, the vegetarian restaurant is currently located. That would be a horrible loss for the neighborhood.

Posted by: 94114 at July 23, 2013 8:13 AM

How often do you eat there? Successful popular restaurants generally don't get shut down to make way for McDonald's so something tells me this isn't such a "horrible loss" for the neighborhood. And it's not that I approve of McDonald's.

As far as La Boulange and being owned by Starbucks, if Starbucks decided to open a location that wasn't in their "formula" (none of the standardized name, appearance, offerings, etc.) then they wouldn't be covered by the ban. I'm sure there would still be resistance though, because as we all know this nonsense is really not anti-chain, it's just anti-capitalism and anti-success.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at July 23, 2013 8:32 AM

anti-chain, it's just anti-capitalism and anti-success

Nope, it's pro small-business.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 9:05 AM

Actually I eat at Ananda once a week AND I should have said that their lease was going up dramatically and that is why they are being forced to move. I don't think we need another Mcdonalds in a neighborhood that is trying to make some sort of comeback.

Posted by: 94114 at July 23, 2013 9:05 AM

And Ananda is packed at lunchtime during the week, so it seems quite successful.

Posted by: 94114 at July 23, 2013 9:09 AM

Lets not ignore the unintended consequence of these protectionist policies - take a look at the prices of goods at cole hardware.
A simple bolt at cole in most instances will cost 5x what that bolt would cost at home depot or lowes.
I dont know why people are saying that mom and pops have a greater variety of goods. I find the mom and pops sell a smaller variety at a higher price - almost like the decision on what brand to purchase has already been made for you.

Posted by: Joe at July 23, 2013 9:11 AM

I can see the appeal of non-chain restaurants and other service establishments, but I just don't get it for retailers. In a place where I'm just going to buy something I really don't see the value. If I'm actually using a service or buying something that has to be made-to-order, I get it, but hardware stores? Grocery stores? Drug stores? Etc, etc? No.

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 9:17 AM

anon at 9:17...exactly. There are sectors where chains so predominate that distinguishing between chain and local hardly makes sense. Drugstores, which are absolutely dominated by Walgreens are a good example. Hardware is another...there are small local hardware stores, but they have to live with the fact that Lowes and Home Depot are going to get any major purchase, and they need to focus on convenience over price. (Coles Hardware lobbying against Home Depot on Bayshore years ago was just embarrassing).

But I love having local retail stores. Cliff's is probably my favorite store in the City because it has always stayed on top of what the neighborhood needs, whether it's a hammer, or a teapot, or a neon pink wig. A national chain is never going to do that.

Posted by: curmudgeon at July 23, 2013 9:31 AM

/soapbox/

Up in West Marin and Western Sonoma County, there are still a number of dairy and beef farms taking care of the land and animals in a way that makes the feed lots of I-5 look irretrievably inhumane. Many of these family farms are still owned and operated by 5th and 6th generation Italian-American families who have lived this hard way of life since the turn of the last century.

Once the cows get milked, that milk need to go somewhere to get into the food system. One of those places is the Petaluma Creamery. I took a creamery tour up in Petaluma yesterday with my kids and learned a lot. Along with the dairy ranching process, this is a real, Jobs In America, good food (grass fed dairy, not huge corn feed lots) product kind of place which IMHO(!) thoughtful people should be rooting for. I recommend the tour.

Guess who is the biggest customer of this salt-of-the-earth, honest, good food creamery? Whole Foods? Nope. Alice Waters? Nope. (See where this is going?...) It is your favorite Mexican Formula Retail Chain, none other than CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!!!! Chipotle buys the good cheese. Chipotle puts the good cheese into your burrito. Big bad Chipotle helps keep all of these family farms going.

I love Taqueria Cancun in the Mission but I am 100% sure they are not putting the fancy Marin cheddar on my burrito...

This for me is a great illustration why all of these policies made in the name of ‘local economies’ are so short-sighted. We live in a economic region with lots of interrelated moving parts. It is shortsighted for planners, supervisors, what have you, to assume that because a big business is involved, there are no little people along the way being helped.

/soapbox/

Posted by: soccermom at July 23, 2013 9:38 AM

Such a rule would discourages thoughtful policies for larger scale businesses. Why bother pursuing these:

http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/fwi/animals/animals.aspx

http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/fwi/environment/environment.aspx

If your retail restaurant will get lumped in with Costco?

Posted by: soccermom at July 23, 2013 9:55 AM

"Formula retailer" Blue Bottle and other similar middle road casual food purveryors should be welcome with open arms to outer 3rd Street. Of course they won't be. Some may call it gentrification while I see it as progress for a growing diversified residential base. Having worked here for more than 40 years I have seen significant improvements - we should remove roadblocks vs using planning code to halt retail progress.

Posted by: pro bayview biz at July 23, 2013 10:11 AM

I'm converted, thank god for Chipotle, we'd never have local farmers without them.

The reality is that the local farmers exist due to small businesses that have been buying from them for decades. It's good that large corporate chains like Chipotle are now using some locally sourced goods, but they do it because the small mom and pops have been doing it for decades and they have established customers who demand it.

Being the biggest buyer doesn't make you better, it just makes you bigger.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 1:13 PM

"Being the biggest buyer doesn't make you better, it just makes you bigger."

tell that to the farmer who depends more on his biggest customer. I grew up on a farm. WE love our local customers and small businesses but they were not driving our operations.

Posted by: jill at July 23, 2013 1:25 PM

"I dont know why people are saying that mom and pops have a greater variety of goods."

Probably because nobody has said such a thing.

What I said is that in aggregate they have more diverse goods, not any single store. This is because each store has a single individual deciding what to stock. On the other hand a chain has a single person deciding what to stock for all stores, and they often have a single supplier.

So while a single store may have less variety, all of them together have more variety than chains.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 1:28 PM

"tell that to the farmer who depends more on his biggest customer."

Many businesses depend on their biggest customer. In fact there are many companies that base their sole existence on Walmart or other mega corps. Every so often Walmart finds a better deal, and the original supplier quickly goes bankrupt. A diverse customer base is far more secure than a single dominant customer.

Corporate interests are a large part of why the small farmer is a dying breed. They are large and they prefer to deal with large partners. Large farms can then compete more effectively and drive out small farms. They then buy up the bankrupt small farm for peanuts, and the farmer who once owned their own farm is now at best a farm hand. This has been going on for decades.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 1:43 PM

The reality is that the local farmers exist due to small businesses that have been buying from them for decades. It's good that large corporate chains like Chipotle are now using some locally sourced goods, but they do it because the small mom and pops have been doing it for decades and they have established customers who demand it.

Do you have any proof of this? Most small businesses I know are just as likely (if not more) to buy from big outfits. Their profit margins are thinner, so they're likely to search out the cheapest price, which usually comes from larger food distributors.

I find it very, very unlikely that the small grocer or restaurant is more likely to buy from the small farmer - UNLESS - they're specifically marketing themselves with that information ("we buy locally" etc).

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 1:59 PM

On the other hand a chain has a single person deciding what to stock for all stores, and they often have a single supplier.

I believe you have now outed yourself as someone who has never worked in retail at a large chain. One of Walmart's biggest breakthroughs of the 90s was figuring out that local stores needed local buyers for around 15% of product.

That's why you'll find a fair amount of different stuff in stores even only a few miles apart (remember that 15% of a Walmart's merchandise is ~10-15,000 different SKUs).

Additionally, Walmart (along with Target and Kroger) have created sophisticated recommendation engines to the local buyers and store managers that use nearly as much machine learning as a Google or Amazon to piece together items sold at other stores that are likely wanted at their store.

I've never understood why SF will embrace technology like this for a Google or Facebook but not for bricks and mortar retail. My guess is that it just doesn't feel as quaint?

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 2:16 PM

So who is buying from local farmers? Is it your contention that big corporations are more likely to buy from local farmers than small ones?

Local restaurants tend to buy from local suppliers, who tend to buy from local farms. This isn't 100% true, but that doesn't make it false.

On the other major chains tend to buy from a single major supplier. For example: McDonald's AND Walmart get the vast majority of their beef from a single supplier: Lopez Foods. Now that doesn't make it evil, and the actual cows come from all over the place, but the point is that they are not concerned about local suppliers, or supporting small businesses.

I can tell you from my anecdotal experience that every small grocery I've shopped at buys a good portion of their meat and produce, and a noticeable amount of their dairy and organic products, from local farmers. While the major groceries, like Safeway, also buy some from local farms, it is a much smaller portion of their overall goods for sale.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 2:28 PM

"I believe you have now outed yourself as someone who has never worked in retail at a large chain."

Right, I've never worked in a large retail chain. But that doesn't make me wrong.

In some cases (but definitely not all!) it's a bit of a simplification to say there is only 1 person deciding. But there is still a single person making decisions for a large number of stores. Even if it's not for all the stores in the company it's a single person making a decision that would be made by dozens, of not hundreds of people if they were small businesses. My point is still 100% valid. The net result of a place like Walmart moving in is an overall reduction in product (and job) diversity.

"needed local buyers for around 15% of product."

So conversely 85% is not. Thanks, I think you just made my point.

"I've never understood why SF will embrace technology like this for a Google or Facebook but not for bricks and mortar retail.

There's 1 target in SF, another on the way, dozens of Walgreens, and many major chains. So no, SF is not rejecting technology, just protecting small businesses in certain parts of the city. Despite all the FUD your camp is spreading, these rules do not stop chains from coming in, nor does it prevent competition. They just ensure that areas that have been built up over years by local small businesses do not get overrun by chains in a short amount of time.

I find it hilarious that you are using Walmart as a reason NOT to support small business protection.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/28/1197622/-The-Walmartization-of-the-American-food-chain-is-making-communities-poor-and-poorly-fed

Some select quotes:

"Walmart has a 25 percent share of the grocery market; back in the 1940s, A&P never got above a 12 percent share because of an antitrust case."

"Walmart talks about buying local, but that mostly means buying from big producers in the same state, not buying from small farmers in the immediate community."

"Four meatpackers slaughter 85 percent of the nation's beef. One dairy company handles 40 percent of our milk..."

"A study ... found that each [Walmart] store caused a net decline of about 150 jobs (as competing retailers downsized and closed) and lowered total wages paid to retail workers."

Walmart is the poster child of why rules like these exist.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 3:01 PM

This is a misuse of the term 'protectionism' which is defined to refer to international trade.

This type of thing really annoys me and is very characteristic of folks in the free market / libertarian camp: absorb terms that are value laden and use them in a way that skews the implicit values in a debate. Here 'protectionism' has a 'that's bad' connotation that dates from the Great Depression when it was associated with the collapse of trade during a slump. To use it in relation to these local zoning issues is ridiculous and manipulative.

Anti-govt people have to deal with the big 'D' : democracy. If the people don't want formula retail, just get over yourselves and live with it.

Posted by: lark at July 23, 2013 3:06 PM

So who is buying from local farmers? Is it your contention that big corporations are more likely to buy from local farmers than small ones?

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Whole Foods, Safeway, dozens of restaurant chains like Chipotle all have one thing in common - they market HEAVILY on the fact that they buy many items from small farmers. There have actually been quite a few studies on this - the recent move into locavorism has pushed many large companies into local sourcing, which has had the effect of driving up the price of local sources, which has further pushed small companies to buy from larger distributors who mostly buy from large farms.

Now...I'd say that this is a net good for small farmers, but it has changed the calculus of "buy from a small restaurant, get product from a small farmer."

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 3:18 PM

So conversely 85% is not. Thanks, I think you just made my point.

I see that you ignored my next sentence, where I mentioned that 15% of an average Walmart's product is the equivalent amount of product to dozens of local stores. So, no, I didn't make your point.

I'm not defending Walmart's practices - I'm all for enforcing or changing things on the national (or even state) level.

I've stated before that I'm fine with either of these tactics to promote small businesses:

1. Completely ban chains from certain areas - no chance of review, no chance of "conditional use" (aka bribes)

2. Charge different tax rates based on the size of the chain (number of stores, revenue, however you want to define it), with local places possibly even having negative tax rates if you like.

The process we currently have is like walking into a third world country - just figure out who to pay off (either as a small business looking to prevent competition or as a chain looking to ahem, get around the "rules").

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 3:27 PM

lyqwd, you may be describing the bay area, but you are way off elsewhere.

having lived on a small farm that produced soybeans, cotton, canola and cattle, we sold more than 80% to corporate suppliers, and we made mroe profit on that. We basically gave it at cost to local companies to support them. The buy local movement is bigger here than other places. Small grocers in the south and midwest buy mostly non-local because consumers do not demand local and non-local corporate supplies are cheaper for struggling local grocers.

Posted by: jill at July 23, 2013 3:31 PM

I was in downtown Walnut Creek on a recent Saturday night, and it made me so glad I lived in SF. Almost all formula retail, surrounded by full parking garages. Not what I want here in SF!

Posted by: Dan at July 23, 2013 3:40 PM

The net result of a place like Walmart moving in is an overall reduction in product (and job) diversity.

I don't believe that you've shown this. Unless you can show that local places do not overlap in their goods carried and overall have a higher number of goods than a Walmart or Target, not sure I'm buying it.

My place is flanked by two different local pharmacies, for example. They both have a couple aisles of goods, most of which are identical to what the other offers. If I need toothpaste, I can go to either one and have five choices (the exact same five choices, because both places have figured out that those are the most popular - they don't have space on the shelves to carry products that are not the most popular).

Walgreens down the street, on the other hand, carries 30 different kinds of toothpaste, because they have more space and are able to buy in bulk across multiple stores, offering not just the five most popular, but the 30 most popular. This same dynamic happens across thousands of stores across the city.

The only way that selection is increased is if we're talking about VERY unique stores. Those places are great, and are something special. Those are also not typically competing directly against Walmart, Target, etc. The way that you encourage those types of stores is through zoning that limits the size of certain retail units. Not allowing developers to combine a bunch of spaces keeps these spots open for the eccentrics.

Posted by: Boris at July 23, 2013 3:40 PM

"you may be describing the bay area,"

Yes, and this is an SF topic.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 4:05 PM

@anon

You think Starbucks and Chipotle can't out bribe small mom and pops? There's no credibility to that claim.

I don't support an outright ban of chains, but I like the tax idea. Like I said above, I'm mildly in favor of this, but perfectly happy with other approaches that accomplish the same goal. If there's better ways to get there then I'm all for it.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 4:09 PM

You think Starbucks and Chipotle can't out bribe small mom and pops? There's no credibility to that claim.

Large chains have less incentive to do so. Mom and pops do it to survive, large chains have more to lose if we're talking illegal bribes. If we're talking quasi-legal bribes, then chains simply have less to gain. A mid-level manager making a location decision is more likely to not care all that much compared to a local chain that depends on rent-seeking to eek out a living.

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 4:17 PM

"I don't believe that you've shown this."

That's fine. Like I said above, it's my opinion, and I'll admit I'm stating it contrary to an actual study. I presented what I'm basing my opinion on, but I could be wrong.

I will point out that your example does not contradict my theory. I'm not suggesting that two small businesses on the same block serving the exact same small market are going to have more selection than the much larger Walgreens a block or two away.

What I'm suggesting is that those small pharmacies, combined with other small pharmacies all over the city, combined with all the other small drug stores, and groceries, and camera shops (since Walgreens is not simply a pharmacy) will have more combined variety than all the Walgreens in the city.

It's certainly pure theory, and while I believe it's a rational argument, it is completely unsupported by any solid evidence.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 4:25 PM

"It's certainly pure theory, and while I believe it's a rational argument, it is completely unsupported by any solid evidence."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness

Posted by: soccermom at July 23, 2013 4:42 PM

"they market HEAVILY on the fact that they buy many items from small farmers"

And Chevron markets that it's an environmentally conscious company, yet they have done far more damage than benefit to the environment, and most of the benefit they do is just cleaning up a portion of what they've already damaged. Companies have been known to stretch the truth in their marketing.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 4:46 PM

really soccermom? Your argument is entirely based on a single tour of a single dairy farm, and your 100% certainty that Taqueria Cancun does not use fancy Marin cheese.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 4:54 PM

And Chevron markets that it's an environmentally conscious company, yet they have done far more damage than benefit to the environment, and most of the benefit they do is just cleaning up a portion of what they've already damaged. Companies have been known to stretch the truth in their marketing.

If you have proof that Chipotle or Whole Foods or Safeway are lying about buying from small farmers (a much easier lie to prove than Chevron's nebulous claims about being "environmentally friendly"), please do show us.

I'm certainly not defending or sticking up for anything that these companies do, I just don't see any rational reason to believe that small companies would buy more from small farmers. There just isn't any logical reason to believe that this is true, as it would be very much against the financial interests of the small companies, especially in this area where small farmers can charge a premium quite easily.

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 5:01 PM

Sorry anon, but there's absolutely no credibility to your bribery claim. The mom and pops don't need to bribe, they already have the law and neighborhood organizations on their side.

If were were to oppose everything because of the possibility of bribery there would be no government.

If a better solutions comes along, then I'll happily dump the formula retail regulations, but I'm not going to worry about boogeymen in the meantime.

It's not perfect, but right now this is what we have and it's better than nothing.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 5:02 PM

When I say "bribe" I'm not literally talking about bags of cash. I'm talking about things like what happened on outer Geary with Petco being denied - four Pet Shop owners (all financial contributors to the local supervisor's campaign) banded together to convince the local supervisor to speak out against Petco, and then coincidentally funded almost the entirety of his next campaign.

A similar story on the other side happened in the Sunset District, where a supervisor was actually convicted of corruption after an investigation by the FBI. His crime? Greasing the wheels for a chain to be able to open.

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 5:12 PM

I didn't say lying, I said stretch the truth. They could buy one thing a year from a local business and then their marketing is not lying.

I've provided a number of links above, but here's some more reasons why local businesses would buy more local than major corporations:

1) They are local, a small business owner might actually care about the local economy
2) They are more concerned about relationships with their suppliers.
3) They are not focused on only the bottom line
4) They cannot buy from many of the major suppliers as they are too small to be worth it (kind of like how you can't buy a car directly from Ford, you have to go to a local dealer)
5) They are part of the community and might want to support the community
6) They care about the product they provide and it's much easier to check on the quality of a local supplier

And here's some reasons why big companies are less likely to buy local

1) Simplicity: buying from a single supplier is easier, less management hassles
2) Cost: Big centralized suppliers can benefit from economy of scale, so can provide lower per unit prices than small local companies. Not to mention that things generally cost more in the bay area than elsewhere.
3) Control: They have much more ability to control the product they are receiving when it comes from a single source

And let's me be clear, I'm not talking about only farms, I'm talking about ALL local businesses. Every reason that would cause a local business to NOT buy local is only that much more true for a large company headquartered elsewhere.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 5:14 PM

Oh, and businesses like Whole Foods and Chipotle are exceptions, not the standard. Even they don't source nearly as much locally sourced as Bi Rite, or many of the restaurants in SF that source almost their entire menu locally.

Bi Rite operates 2 farms in the north bay and actually has an apiary IN San Francisco!

I guarantee that for any major chain that does some local sourcing I can find a local competitor that does way more local sourcing.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 23, 2013 5:28 PM

kind of like how you can't buy a car directly from Ford, you have to go to a local dealer

Um, this is because of a federal law, not because Ford wouldn't sell to you. Hence the current battles going on in several states over Tesla selling directly to consumers.

I guarantee that for any major chain that does some local sourcing I can find a local competitor that does way more local sourcing.

As you mention above in other points, it's about scale. Chipotle sourcing 5% of their products locally has more impact than dozens of smaller places sourcing 100% of products locally.

As I've stated numerous times, I don't have a particular problem with tipping the scales to local companies, but it should be transparent and applicable to everyone.

Posted by: anon at July 23, 2013 10:40 PM

"banded together to convince the local supervisor to speak out against Petco, and then coincidentally funded almost the entirety of his next campaign."

OK, so you use the word "bribe" when you don't mean bribery at all. That's simple politics, and ugly as it may be, the majors are doing that on a much larger scale. They've already changed the rules enough in their favor that stuff like formula retail controls are just a drop in the bucket of getting close to balance.

"Um, this is because of a federal law, not because Ford wouldn't sell to you"

There may be a law, but Ford isn't interested in direct to the public. Just like 99.9% of wholesalers and manufacturers are not interested in selling direct to the public. The only ones that are generally operate in small niche markets where there is no real distribution chain. A few majors do sell direct, the VAST majority do not.

"Chipotle sourcing 5% of their products locally has more impact than dozens of smaller places sourcing 100% of products locally."

No evidence to support such a claim, but it doesn't really matter, since as I pointed out above Chipotle is the exception not the rule, these regulations are formula retail regulation, not Chipotle regulation, and Chipotle is only a tiny fraction of formula retail. So even if your unfounded claim that Chipotle sources more locally were valid, it would still be irrelevant.

Naming a couple major business that are decent at local sourcing doesn't come anywhere near to showing that major chains source more locally than small businesses. As I said above, there are many small locals that are far better at local sourcing. Any single example of a major can be countered with numerous examples of locals doing much better.

Tons of studies show local businesses have a bigger impact on their local economies than major chains do.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 10:28 AM

I'm talking about things like what happened on outer Geary with Petco being denied - four Pet Shop owners (all financial contributors to the local supervisor's campaign) banded together to convince the local supervisor to speak out against Petco, and then coincidentally funded almost the entirety of his next campaign.
So what?

In the United States, citizens have the constitutional right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, and because State and municipal governments can't contravene the constitution, they also have to abide by this.

The same amendment of the Bill of Rights addresses the rights of elected officials (or anyone else) to speak out against Petco. Or in support of it, for that matter.

As Mitt Romney so eloquently reminded us a couple of years back, "Corporations are people, my friend". Petco not only has the ability to spend just as much as the small business owners, it in all probability has the wherewithal to spend more, which is yet another reason why formula retail controls are important in an economy like San Francisco's.

And btw, if I were to cast aspersions on some permit application that was applied for by Petco by posting here that the district's supervisor was obviously corrupt and taking payoffs from Petco, you'd be the first one to quote a single line from it and respond "where's your evidence of this happening?"

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 24, 2013 11:43 AM

I notice neither of you addressed the Sunset District issue.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 12:08 PM

There may be a law, but Ford isn't interested in direct to the public. Just like 99.9% of wholesalers and manufacturers are not interested in selling direct to the public. The only ones that are generally operate in small niche markets where there is no real distribution chain. A few majors do sell direct, the VAST majority do not.

No one wanted to sell computers directly to the public until Dell started doing it. Now most computers are sold directly to consumers.

If "Ford doesn't want to", it makes me wonder why the law exists in the first place. Also makes me wonder why auto dealers associations are spending millions to defend and expand similar state-level laws.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 12:12 PM

I've stated before that I'm fine with either of these tactics to promote small businesses:

1. Completely ban chains from certain areas — no chance of review, no chance of "conditional use" (aka bribes)

…The process we currently have is like walking into a third world country — just figure out who to pay off (either as a small business looking to prevent competition or as a chain looking to ahem, get around the "rules").

Posted by: anon
The process was currently have for a conditional use permit can be found on the planning department website and the same is true of all third world countries that I've visited with a reasonable internet access infrastructure. I can't claim to have visited most, or even a lot, of third world countries, however.

Some third world countries may or may not have a similar process, but the one in San Francisco does not revolve around figuring out who to pay off, that's just an unsupported appeal to cynicism.

And even if a business owner were to pay a supervisor off, so what? The conditional use permits are first heard by the planning commission, and depending upon the date of elections and when that hypothetically paid off supervisor took office, that hypothetically paid off supervisor might not even be able to change a single vote on the planning commission, much less sway a majority.

If for some reason the application gets in front of the full board, then the hypothetically paid off supervisor would have one vote on whether or not to grant the permit.

We're not perfect, but we do have reasonably robust checks and balances in the U.S., unlike a lot of third world countries.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 24, 2013 12:25 PM

^Amazingly enough, groups of people can be bought off, no just supervisors. Under the current process, this is most often the neighborhood groups, as without their opposition projects sail through (even if the "neighborhood groups" represent the views of a very small percentage of the neighborhood).

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 1:42 PM

"No one wanted to sell computers directly to the public until Dell started doing it. Now most computers are sold directly to consumers."

This is about brick and mortar, not online sales. Complete red herring.

But even if you include all internet sales it's irrelevant as it only makes up 5-10% of goods sold.

Don't like Ford? I don't need them to make my point. How about General Electric, Samsung, Hitachi, Intel, Gucci, Proctor & Gamble, Firestone, General Mills, Kraft, LG, Sony, Pfizer, Nestle, Panasonic, every single large corporate farm, most small farms, all kinds of other manufacturers and wholesalers. A few top brands have showrooms here and there, but it's marketing, not a distribution channel or profit center. You think there' going to be a bunch of Foster Farms retail stores anytime soon?

I'll repeat: A few majors do sell direct, the VAST majority do not.

I don't even know how this is relevant to this topic. I put a bunch of reasons that local buys local, you pick one example (which is true by the way, Ford doesn't sell direct) and act like that's the actual issue.

Formula retail protections are good because they protect local businesses. One of the reasons protecting local businesses is good is that they support the local economy more than retail chains. They aren't perfect, and when a better alternative comes, I'll support it over the current method.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 1:46 PM

"Under the current process, this is most often the neighborhood groups, as without their opposition projects sail through"

OK, so you are back on the "bribery" thing now. Feel free to show some evidence. If you can, then I'll happily go with you to the police to get some people thrown in jail. If you can't, then you are just a conspiracy theorist.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 2:00 PM

How about General Electric, Samsung, Hitachi, Intel, Gucci, Proctor & Gamble, Firestone, General Mills, Kraft, LG, Sony, Pfizer, Nestle, Panasonic, every single large corporate farm, most small farms, all kinds of other manufacturers and wholesalers. A few top brands have showrooms here and there, but it's marketing, not a distribution channel or profit center. You think there' going to be a bunch of Foster Farms retail stores anytime soon?

Most of these are component makers, not producers of end products (like Ford). I have no idea why you included Gucci and Firestone in this list, as both obviously have hundreds of standalone stores that are more than just marketing.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 2:03 PM

I don't even know how this is relevant to this topic. I put a bunch of reasons that local buys local, you pick one example (which is true by the way, Ford doesn't sell direct) and act like that's the actual issue.

You can believe that it isn't relevant, but many of the chains that have been rejected are clothing stores (American Apparel, Polo) that obviously do sell their own products directly to consumers.

I called out Ford because you claimed it was proof that large companies don't want to sell directly to consumers, even though the real reason that they don't sell directly to consumers is because of a law telling them that they can't. Well, darn it, ya got me!

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 2:08 PM

Again, it doesn't matter if some sell direct. It is irrelevant, because

1) it's simply not the topic of conversation.
2) As pointed out several times now, the VAST majority do not

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 2:23 PM

"Most of these are component makers, not producers of end products"

General Electric, Samsung, Hitachi, Intel, Gucci, Proctor & Gamble, Firestone, General Mills, Kraft, LG, Sony, Pfizer, Nestle, Panasonic,

Every single one of those above make end products, most of them make lots of end products.

The only one that's borderline is Intel, but even it definitely sells chips as end products outside of computers, but does not sell them direct to consumer. It does on the other hand market directly to consumers, even though it sells very little end products, and nothing direct.

Back to the topic:

Formula retail protections are good because they protect local businesses. One of the reasons protecting local businesses is good is that they support the local economy more than retail chains. They aren't perfect, and when a better alternative comes, I'll support it over the current method.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 2:30 PM

As pointed out several times now, the VAST majority do not

I don't believe that you've shown proof of this.

The vast majority of clothing stores do sell direct. Large chunks of many of our retail shopping areas are clothing stores. Very, very few local clothing stores are selling locally sourced clothing.

Also, not sure why this isn't part of the topic of conversation.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 2:32 PM

Formula retail protections are good because they protect local businesses. One of the reasons protecting local businesses is good is that they support the local economy more than retail chains. They aren't perfect, and when a better alternative comes, I'll support it over the current method.

My version:

Formula retail protections are bad because they hurt local consumers by increasing prices, and limit consumer choice. Hurting consumers is worse for the local economy than protecting a very small group of local residents, because it impacts everyone.

If the desire is to protect local retailers at the expense of end prices, we should do this through transparent methods - ban any and all chains or tax chains differently than local places. I'd support either one of those options (I'm totally fine with crafting markets based on democratic wishes - I don't believe that we're doing that in this case, for the same reasons that I don't think that ballot initiatives are net good for democracy. Both are too easily controlled by small special interests at the expense of the populace as a whole).

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 2:38 PM

"I don't believe that you've shown proof of this."

perhaps not, but I've shown a whole lot of evidence to support my theory, and shown your statements to be wrong, here's another:

"The vast majority of clothing stores do sell direct"

Nope, wrong again, name one clothing store that sells manufactures what it sells. I'll name 20 that don't.

"Also, not sure why this isn't part of the topic of conversation."

This is your tangent, if you don't know the reason for it, then I guess there's no more need to discuss it.

"Formula retail protections are bad because they hurt local consumers by increasing prices ..."

Price isn't the only factor in hurting or benefiting consumers. As my link way above shows, Walmart lowers prices, but lowers incomes even more. It increases poverty in the areas it enters. It's easy to come to the wrong conclusion when you ignore important factors.

Local businesses have been shown to strengthen local economies, which helps local consumers. So if your concern is consumers, you should support these measures.

"... and limit consumer choice."

You've not shown that allowing chains without restrictions will limit consumer choice.

"If the desire is to protect local retailers at the expense of end prices,"

It's not, it's to improve the local economy, which is supported by studies, just a few of which I have linked to in prior comments.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 6:03 PM

Nope, wrong again, name one clothing store that sells manufactures what it sells. I'll name 20 that don't.

Um, American Apparel. Isn't that one of the companies I cited in the post directly above?

Local businesses have been shown to strengthen local economies, which helps local consumers. So if your concern is consumers, you should support these measures.

Numerous studies indicate that the fewer small businesses that you have (talking developed countries here), the wealthier the society. Hence the reason for higher incomes in the US, northern Europe, etc, compared to Greece or Italy.

Source: http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/small-business-2009-08.pdf

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 6:12 PM

The American economy is not the same as a local economy.

We are talking about formula retail restrictions in SF.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 6:34 PM

So you're claiming that what is bad for the American economy is good for the local SF economy. I suppose I'll remain unconvinced.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 6:42 PM

Would you also assume that the SF economy would be better if all areas around the US replaced Gap, Williams-Sonoma, Gymboree, Levi's, Benefit Cosmetics, Bare Escentuals, etc, etc with local places and we closed the HQs here?

Or is your argument simply a NIMBY-style argument - you take our chains, but we dang well don't want yours!

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 6:46 PM

The paper also doesn't say that reducing small businesses improves the economy. It could easily be that the large companies exist as a result of the good economy, not as the cause. So basically your study says nothing relevant to this topic, no surprise there.

And of course your comments about about other cities doing it are irrelevant because that's not the topic.

It helps SF overall to have a better economy in SF, so not NIMBY. Small businesses have a positive impact on their local economies when compared to chain stores, which is what this topic is about.

You can try and change the topic all you want, but you have completely failed to disprove that, or support your cliams of "bribery".

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 8:08 PM

Here are the upcoming Planning Commission meeting details:

http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=3535

Here is the ordinance about the proposed 3rd Street 'Restricted Use District':

http://commissions.sfplanning.org/cpcpackets/2013.0852TZ.pdf

The proposed map of the new 3rd Street Restricted Use District is near the end of the document.

The area encompasses 3rd Street in the Bayview. Here's a Streetview link:

https://www.google.com/maps?q=3rd+Street+and+Armstrong+Avenue,+San+Francisco+CA+94124&ll=37.726194,-122.393832&spn=0.005439,0.010922&sll=37.727030,-122.393653&layer=c&cbp=13,19.14,,0,14.6&cbll=37.726996,-122.393668&hnear=3rd+St+%26+Armstrong+Ave,+San+Francisco,+California+94124&t=h&z=17&iwloc=A&panoid=Ob3SovPmudaOPWdKESy1uQ

The change serves to restrict the ability of owners of PDR (Production Distribution Repair) zoned properties from using Formula Retail in their buildings. Office and residential are already expressly prohibited in PDR properties.

The planning analysis was written by Aaron Starr.
Here is Aaron's bio from LinkedIn

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/aaron-starr/8/41/36

Aaron is a 2003 graduate of Cal Poly SLO. Aaron was supervised by AnMarie Rodgers.

www.linkedin.com/in/anmarie

AnMarie studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Michigan until 1998 and Outdoor Recreation at Iowa State until 1991.

Posted by: soccermom at July 24, 2013 8:11 PM

"So you're claiming that what is bad for the American economy is good for the local SF economy."

Nope, wrong again. Stating that two things are different is not the same as saying what's good for one is bad for another.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 8:19 PM

Here's your list:

H&M
Walmart
J.C. Penney
Bennetton
The Gap
Calvin Klein
Adidas
Old Navy
Van Heusen
Abercrombie & Fitch
Kohls
Banana Republic
Mango
Marks & Spencer
Adidas
Disney
Garanimals
Dress Barn
Primark
Cato Fashions
Joe Fresh
Children's Place
Bebe

That's more than 20

And this is worth more than any list of individual companies:

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/news/research/swinney_fashion.html

"Most companies in the fashion industry are firmly entrenched in a business model that involves outsourcing production and distributing..."

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 8:22 PM

I get it, you'd be happier if we want back to a time of significantly lower living standards where half the population toils in sweatshops making clothing by hand. Economies of scale are lame.

And I think we were talking about different things. Old Navy sells directly to consumers, regardless of whether or not they outsource their production. You can't buy Old Navy products anywhere else. Your entire list of end product makers engages in at least some outsourcing.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 9:24 PM

"I get it, you'd be happier [blah blah blah]"

You can't support your argument, so instead you attack your opponent and intentionally misrepresent. Not really surprising, and pretty consistent with your "bribery" conspiracy theory.

Old Navy buys what they sell from other companies that manufacture the clothes, so is entirely consistent with what I've said all along.

I'll be moving on now.

Posted by: lyqwyd at July 24, 2013 9:46 PM

I'm only connecting the dots for you, instead of your maneuver of saying "You're wrong", then typing something that really has nothing to do with what you claim I'm wrong about.

"Consistency" lol.

Posted by: anon at July 24, 2013 9:57 PM

Seems to me the burden of proof (of what's good or bad for the economy, etc.) should be on those who favor restrictions, i.e. intervention in the free market. I'm not a free-market libertarian ideologue by any means; I favor many market regulations, but I do demand evidence that the market, if left unregulated, would lead to a suboptimal outcome (pollution, exploitative working conditions, price fixing, etc.) I don't see that evidence here.

The market includes the consumers who (can) vote with their wallets. I do that myself. I have never EVER purchased anything from WalMart, for instance. I have not and will not shop at the Target in the Metreon. But I also don't eat greasy burritos from roach-infested Mission dumps when Chipotle tastes fresher and better and offers more consistent quality. And I do choose Starbucks over those horrible nondescript coffee shops in the Financial District whereas in my own neighborhood (Pot Hill) I'll go out of my way to hit Front for coffee. I haven't been back to In-N-Out since I first noticed those Bible references on the bottom of the cups (I don't mind Christians but I do mind proselytizers). I've been trying to boycott businesses who employ illegals but unfortunately that includes every restaurant in SF and every winery in California so that one is harder. But given the information and the choice...

My point is, I trust San Franciscan consumers to be intelligent enough to make informed consumption decisions. I don't trust bureaucrats to decide for me what consumption decisions shall be available to make.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at July 25, 2013 7:58 AM

"My point is, I trust San Franciscan consumers to be intelligent enough to make informed consumption decisions."

I agree entirely and I find it even more galling when the neighborhood in question is in the BayView.

I didn't see anywhere in the planning report in which there are any citizens saying, "Yes, I want it to be more difficult for Old Navy or Target, or Subway, or Chipotle to move into my neighborhood. I would prefer that these industrial buildings stay mostly empty or set up auto body paint shops than for me to be able to take advantage of the kinds of businesses people at my income level have access to across California."

This area is in the CTIP1 census tract, where the city's lowest scoring schools are located:

http://rpnorton.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/fullsize_ctip.jpg

If you live in this neighborhood, the city school system already acknowledges that you have some chips stacked against you. Why are we limiting shopping choices here?

Is it the planning department's job to protect these citizens from Target? From Quiznos? Shouldn't these citizens be able to derive the benefits of lower priced quality goods in a convenient location?

What's more, the restricted use only serves to calcify the industrial (PDR) use of these buildings. Do residents really want or need another machine shop on a main thoroughfare like 3rd street? Did anyone ask them?

Posted by: soccermom at July 25, 2013 9:54 AM

My point is, I trust San Franciscan consumers to be intelligent enough to make informed consumption decisions.

My answer is Marilyn Hagerty.

"Marilyn who", you ask?

An 85-year-old North Dakota woman who caused a storm in the twitterverse this past march because she wrote a serious restaurant review for her local newspaper, the Grand Forks Herald, praising Olive Garden as a Italian restaurant.

Lots of social media snarking came up in response, because The Olive Garden, which is owned by Darden Restaurants, belongs to the same family of chains as Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse and a few others.

Now before you get your "San Franciscans are snobby" hackles up, I'm not passing judgement on Ms. Hagerty's credentials to judge a restaurant. What I am saying, however, is that Ms. Hagerty is not a San Franciscan, but when it comes to chains, she gets to make "consumption decisions" on the same level as people who are.

What chain restaurants do, and what FDON isn't acknowledging in that comment, is that chains take retained earnings (and supply chains, and staffing, and operations expertise, etc.) from remote markets and use them to unfair advantage when entering new ones. Local restaurants can't do this.

So it's not just a matter of me and soccermom voting with our dining-out dollars whether La Taqueria or Chipotle serves better mission-style burritos. If were limited in that way, FDON would have a valid point.

But because Chipotle gets to leverage profits derived from consumers in places all over the country and probably the world who have never had an authentic mission-style burrito and who think that Chipotle is best because it's the only place in their town that serves mission-style burritos, period, it's not at all a level playing field for the restaurants when it comes to S.F.

Olive Garden is the only even-close-to-Italian restaurant now operating in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Does that make Marilyn Hagerty "intelligent enough to make informed consumption decisions?" No.

I will grant that she's intelligent. But she isn't informed, because she has nothing to compare Olive Garden to. San Franciscans who have dined at an establishment run by someone other than Darden Restaurants do. San Franciscans have a better way to judge a taqueria that someone in Podunk where Chipotle is the only choice.

So it's not "just" a matter of restaurant consumers "voting with their dollars", because some of the people "voting" have one choice, and yet their "votes" go into the same ballot box and count the same as someone who can choose between a local place and a chain outlet.

The S.F. Board of Supervisors wisely recognizes this phenomenon, and made the choice to try to counteract it, albeit in a small way. That's why limited controls on formula restaurants are a good thing.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 25, 2013 6:43 PM

County supervisors are not expected or elected to choose what sort of food is available to purchase on the street.

County supervisors are not expected or elected to choose what sort of clothing is available to purchase on the street.

The decision to limit external competition from chains unfairly harms the vast majority (who will have fewer, more expensive choices) and favors a few (who will have a net advantage by being able to charge higher prices in an absence of real competition.) The poor will lose, a few small retailers might do better. More buildings will stay vacant.

While supporting "local retailers" makes a strong campaign platform, it is simple interest group politics played out to the detriment of the public.


Posted by: soccermom at July 25, 2013 8:26 PM

Brahma, we're a metro area of 7 million people, not a metro area of less than 100,000. Also, Olive Garden is not the "only" Italian restaurant in Grand Forks. Here's a nice local place, among others:

http://www.giuseppesingrandforks.com/

Local restaurants can't do this.

Sure they can, and when they're successful they'll take their show on the road. My father attended the University of Washington in the 70s. You know what his favorite local burger place was? Red Robin. Yes, that Red Robin. Started in the U District in Seattle, now hundreds of locations and based in Denver. What a tragic story...lol

Posted by: anon at July 25, 2013 11:10 PM

Most of these chains don't own their own locations, the franchisees do. They don't have the deep pockets to simply outcompete local businesses, and even if they did consumers still get to make a choice.

I guess I just don't understand the totalitarian mindset that's required to think that (a) corporations can exercise mind control over consumers, and (b) bureaucrats should decide what's tasteful in architecture and Italian food.

Posted by: Onan at July 26, 2013 9:20 AM

I read this as the 3rd Street RUD discussion being tabled until further analysis of the city-wide formula-retail study is complete:

http://d10watch.blogspot.com/2013/07/third-st-formula-retail-restricted-use.html

Though I haven't seen any meeting minutes reflecting that information.

Posted by: soccermom at July 29, 2013 9:36 AM

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