Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Retail & Industry
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Published on April 11, 2023
Whole Foods at Eighth and Market shuts down just one year after openingImage: Kevin Y via Yelp

The new “flagship” Whole Foods at the 1185 Market Street Trinity Place apartment building opened on March 10, 2022, with high hopes of bringing a retail renaissance to a neighborhood that had been battered by the Tenderloin Linkage Center controversies and the neighborhood's other long-persisting issues. But it only lasted for exactly 13 months, as the SF Standard first reported Monday that the mid-Market Whole Foods was closing, and would “shut down at the close of business Monday.”

Hoodline has confirmed that as of Tuesday, that Whole Foods has indeed closed. “Effective April 11, this location will be closed,” the grocery store’s phone number currently says in an outgoing message on their phone line. ”We look forward to continuing to serve the community at our other eight San Francisco locations and online.”

Further, we see that location has already been scrubbed from the Whole Foods store locator.

But is the closure permanent? “We are closing our Trinity location only for the time being,” a Whole Foods spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. “If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store, we will evaluate a reopening of our Trinity location.”

You'll notice they say “only for the time being.” NBC Bay Area picks up on whether the closure is only going to be temporary, saying that “A Whole Foods Market in San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood will be closing temporarily due to safety concerns,” and “ It's not known when the store will reopen.” 

As SFist points out, that Whole Foods was besieged by terrible streets conditions. Last November, the store implemented a policy where you had to show a receipt to use the restrooms, likely to curb down on drug use in those bathrooms. Weeks before that, the store cut back its hours, with an anonymous employee telling the SF Standard the hours were being cut back because of  “high theft and people being hostile.” 

The district’s supervisor Matt Dorsey responded by announcing he would introduce a “Charter Amendment to build a fully staffed police department.,” according to a Monday night announcement from his office. “I’m incredibly disappointed but sadly unsurprised by the temporary closure of Mid-Market’s Whole Foods,” Dorsey said in a press release. “Our neighborhood waited a long time for this supermarket, but we’re also well aware of problems they’ve experienced with drug-related retail theft, adjacent drug markets, and the many safety issues related to them.”

Mayor London Breed said in a statement to NBC Bay Area that “Over the last several months, the San Francisco Police Department and the Mayor’s Office have been working collaboratively with Whole Foods’ leadership to address public safety issues at their 8th and Market location. We will continue to engage with them about the future use of the site.”

There may be a particular incident that led to the sudden news and quick closure. And there could be more happening behind the scenes too. Dorsey’s announcement on the police department staffing amendment may be designed to win some trust with the grocery chain, perhaps persuading them to reopen the location. Hopefully, they’ll at least consider whether a Whole Foods Market can survive in mid-Market.