The iconic boss of San Francisco’s Gump department store has challenged Mayor London Breed to swap jobs with him for 180 days so he can fix the spiral of homelessness in the crime-ridden city.
CEO John Chachas, 59, compared the Golden City to Gotham – saying he thinks its Democratic officials are at a “critical juncture” in terms of their ability to turn things around.
The multi-millionaire’s call to action comes after he paid for a full-page ad in the city’s most widely read newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle, to run a scathing open letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Breed.
He accused politicians of neglect of duty, citing rampant homelessness and theft that have become a feature of the city’s streets – and which now threaten the existence of his historic 166-year-old store.
On Monday, he said he wouldn’t let his longtime luxury home furnishings shop become the latest victim of the so-called ‘retail apocalypse’ without a fight – even offering to take Breed’s job for six months to fix the problem.
John Chachas, 59, CEO of San Francisco’s iconic department store Gump’s, has challenged Mayor London Breed to trade jobs with him for 180 days so he can fix the spiral of homelessness in the city by prey to crime.
Luxury furniture and home decor retailer Gump’s has been around for 166 years – its only physical location being just a block from Union Square in San Francisco – the core of the city’s crime and homelessness problems
Chachas accused the politicians of neglect of duty, citing the rampant homelessness and theft that have become a feature of the city’s streets – and which now threaten the existence of his historic 166-year-old store.
Gump’s has been a Bay Area staple for decades, its only physical outlet being a block from the old Union Square — now the hub of the city’s homelessness problem.
“What motivated me to write the letter was the belief that until public opinion is discussed publicly, we will see no change in the behavior of elected officials,” Chachas said. FoxNews.
“And so I decided that since I had the money and the ability to do it, I would help try to clear that up for them.”
“I have a wonderful business with great people who are deeply committed to it – but we live in a city that doesn’t work.”
“I would probably trade jobs with Mayor Breed for 180 days,” he added.
‘I’m going to let her run Gump’s for 180 days, she can let me run the town for 180 days and we’ll see how we do…you’d see a lot of change in 180 days, I can tell you that.’
Chachas said the situation was “getting worse and worse”, but Newsome and Breed are “either unable to understand it or unwilling to make the necessary policy changes”.
“I’ve decided that I’m going to swing,” he said. ‘Gump’s will survive and we will move elsewhere if needed.
‘I don’t really want to do that, but it’s kind of crazy to live in an environment where you go to work every day, or people go to work, and customers can’t come into your store – that’s not is not a normal operating environment.’
Chacha’s call to action comes after he paid for a full-page ad in the city’s most widely read newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle, to run a scathing open letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor from London Breed.
Newsom and Breed have overseen a sharp decline in San Francisco since the pandemic
Filth and squalor at the junction of Jones and Eddy streets in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, a few blocks from the department store
He added that officials needed to act now to stop the city from looking more like Gotham – a fictional dystopia from the Batman movies.
“I think we’re at a critical moment,” Chachas said. ‘It can be reversed. This can be corrected. It won’t be solved by pretending the problem will go away.
“Functioning business districts are incompatible with these two terrible pillars of empty offices on one side and giant swells of unmanaged homeless people on the other. You won’t have a functioning center of town.
“Go watch the Batman and Gotham movie – because that’s where you’re headed if you don’t turn things around.”
In his letter published Aug. 13, Chachas said he fears his store’s 166th holiday season “will be its last” due to what he called the “tyranny of the minority” jeopardizing the “livelihoods of the greatest number”.
Chachas, who unsuccessfully ran for the US Senate from Nevada as a Republican in 2010, blamed the ‘ramifications of Covid policies advising people to abandon their offices’ by elected Democrats for the acute deterioration of the center -city.
Gump’s, specializing in luxury furnishings and jewelry, was founded in 1861 and the Chacha family bought it in 2019.
The company has only one physical location – on Post Street, just a block from San Francisco’s old Union Square, which is now the hub of the crime crisis.
A woman passed out in front of a children’s playground. Even upscale areas such as Russian Hill, which is part of the cable car route along Hyde Street, and tourist hotspots like the Golden Gate Bridge have been affected.
The luxury retailer is said to be the latest in a long list of stores to leave town as politicians have failed to tackle the stubborn crime and homelessness seen since the pandemic
The dire situation has led to a mass exodus of retailers from the area, with at least half of the neighborhood’s stores closing since the start of the pandemic.
Brooks Brothers, Ray Ban, Christian Louboutin, Lululemon and Marmot are among at least 95 retailers who have packed their bags and left town for greener pastures.
That number continues to grow – Williams Sonoma, AT&T, Nordstrom and Banana Republic recently announced that they will also be pulling their downtown stores in the coming months.
The last stores standing, like Target, have resorted to enclosing all of their inventory behind glass to deter shoplifters.
Industry groups have noted there is a problem with theft, with the National Retail Federation saying organized retail crime costs stores about $100 billion a year, according to a 2022 survey.
In 2021, retailers saw a 27% increase in thefts committed by organized criminal networks, according to the survey. To solve the problem, they invested more money in safety and security measures to protect employees, customers and goods.