Castro sex shop Chaps shuts down; space up for lease

Chaps at 4047 18th St. is now closed. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
By Steven Bracco - Published on March 06, 2019.

The retail environment in the Castro continues to suffer, as Chaps (4057 18th St., between Castro and Hartford) recently departed the neighborhood after 25 years.

The adult store was owned by businessman Imad Bitar, who also owns neighboring smoke shop Smoke Plus (4059 18th St.), its sister smoke shop Puff 'n Stuff (504 Castro St.), and another sex shop, Phantom (516 Castro St.) 

A "for lease" sign has gone up in Chaps' window, and the space has been cleared out.

Inside now vacant 4057 18th St. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

Hoodline reached out to Bitar, who confirmed he has closed the store.

When Bitar first announced Chaps' closure in November, he told Hoodline he planned to hang on to the space and transform it into another concept. Now, he said, he's decided it's no longer worth it. 

"I thought about my options, and between the city regulations and the rent, I can't make it work," he explained, noting that the space rents for $6,600 per month, a number his landlord declined to negotiate. 

"Good luck to the landlord," he said. "Watch, it's going to [be] vacant for a long time."

Inside Chaps while it was open. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline

In the fall, Bitar told Hoodline that sales at all four of his stores had dropped over the past couple of years. The biggest factor, he said, was the passage of Proposition E last April, which made it illegal for San Francisco stores to sell menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping liquids.

He also cited changing neighborhood demographics, the rise of Amazon and other ecommerce outlets, and persistent issues with homelessness and break-ins. 

We'll keep you posted on what might be next for Chaps' former space.

Jan 16, 2021
San Francisco Castro

Castro Bank of America prohibits memorials from being affixed to the building [Updated]

Castro residents are up in arms after Bank of America (501 Castro St.) installed signs last week alerting residents and community members that posters, signs, and other materials could no longer be placed on the building — after decades during which the corner of the building at 18th and Castro has been a communal space for memorials to the recently deceased. Read More

Jan 15, 2021
San Francisco Castro

LA-based deli Heroic Italian opens pop-up in Castro with delicious sandwiches and salads

Los Angeles-based sandwich outfit Heroic Italian recently got its feet wet in the Bay Area, launching a pop-up in mid-December inside wine and spirits shop Swirl on Castro (572 Castro Street). With online ordering available, it's a quick and delicious lunch or dinner option — and if you pick it up yourself rather than opting for DoorDash delivery, you can snag a bottle of wine too. Read More

Jan 14, 2021
San Francisco Financial District Union Square

Marshalls store in the Financial District to close on January 30

SF’s only Marshalls location has its days numbered, as the discount apparel retailer will close its Market Street store. Read More

Jan 13, 2021
San Francisco Bayview Hunters Point Polk

Two new homeless Navigation Centers announced for Bayview and Polk Gulch

Supportive housing for more 115 people is coming to a Bayview parking lot, while 43 beds will be available at Post and Hyde Streets.] Read More