Ambiance closes its original Haight Street store after 37 years

Ambiance closes its original Haight Street store after 37 years
Photos: Alisa Scerrato/Hoodline
By Alisa Scerrato - Published on January 06, 2020.

Several tipsters reached out to us on Friday to let us know that Ambiance's original Haight Street location (at 1458 Haight St.) would be shuttering.

The women's clothing store, which first opened in 1983, shuttered today. But it will open its doors one more time next Friday, January 17 for a closeout sale, which will include all of its fixtures and vintage decor.

Owner Donna O'Leary says Ambiance's three other locations in the city, in Noe Valley (3979 24th St.), Cow Hollow (1858 Union St.) and the Inner Sunset (756 Irving St.) will remain open.

O’Leary said she decided to close the Haight Street store because she feels it's no longer relevant to the Haight's retail mix, which has evolved since she first moved in. While the neighborhood has great vintage, tourist and head shops, she said, out-of-towners just aren't shopping at Ambiance anymore. 

“Our tourist business used to be fantastic," she said. "But now the tourist is not looking for clothing, just small SF mementos."

Over the past five years, the shop has seen notably lower sales than Ambiance's other three locations in San Francisco. In 2016, O’Leary closed shop for a few months to update the space, giving it an open, airy feel more like the Noe Valley and Cow Hollow stores. But ultimately, it didn't move the needle. 

The store in 2016, before the renovations. | Photo: Amy Stephenson/Hoodline

O'Leary expressed regret over departing the Haight, which has struggled with the loss of several longtime businesses in the past year. 20-year-old X-Generation and Braindrops both called it quits in 2019, and the Haight Ashbury Music Center is on the cusp of winding down after 40 years.

“We loved being in the Haight and adored the history and eclectic character of the neighborhood," she said. 

In the meantime, she encourages neighbors to stop by for the sale on the 17th (it starts at 10 a.m.) and to visit the store’s other locations, which she says are all still doing well and thriving.

Thanks to tipsters Karen L., Denny G. and Geri K.! See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll try to find out what’s going on: (415) 200-3233.