"It's sad, but San Francisco appears to have descended into a city of chaos. Many streets and parks are overrun with drugs, criminals, and homelessness, and local leadership and law enforcement enable it through inaction," Smith noted.
"We opened a retail store a year ago on Hayes Street, the charming shopping district just blocks away from the famous Full House home. Our first week there, our windows were smashed and thousands of dollars of product was stolen. We replaced the window, and it immediately happened again (four times). We replaced with window with plywood as we waited for a month+ to get a metal security gate installed (demand for those gates is creating huge delays). As of today, we are closing the store due to rampant organized theft and lack of safety for our team. Our store is hit by organized theft rings several times per week. They brazenly enter the store and grab thousands of dollars of product and walk out. We started keeping the door locked and opening it only for customers, but even then, they'll have a woman go to the door, and then hiding individuals rush into the store as soon as the door opens," Smith wrote.
"Our team is terrified. They feel unsafe. Security guards don't help because these theft rings know that security guards won't/can't stop them. It's impossible for a retail store to operate in these circumstances, especially when cities refuse to take any action (despite us paying taxes well above any other state we operate in). The city recently announced a reduction of police presence in this neighborhood, despite mass-scale crime," he continued.
Smith has indicated in comments on his post that the company has not experienced this type of crime problem at its stores located in other parts of the country.
"To be clear, my post doesn’t say the entire city is like this. That said, I have family living in SF, and I've spent years visiting their home and neighborhood. This is not isolated. This also isn’t the same in other cities. We have 10 stores, including in Seattle and Portland. Not one other store has had a window or door broken. Not one other store has had mass theft. Not other store has been vandalized. Hayes Street didn’t go more than a couple days before it was broken into the first time. There have been dozens and dozens of incidents in the first 12 months," the CEO noted in a comment.
In addition to the San Francisco store which is listed as "Temporarily Closed," the Cotopaxi website lists eight other stores that are located in states including Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — there is also a Boulder, Colorado, location that is listed as "Coming Soon!"
Smith also noted in the comments on his post that the company hopes to be able to open the San Francisco location again in the future.
"We're working with other businesses on the street to hire security and convince the police and city that we need help. Hopefully we can have the store open again. Fingers crossed," he wrote.
In his LinkedIn post, Smith also noted that when he and his wife last visited the city in 2020, someone on drugs shouted obscene remarks at his wife.
"Last time my wife and I went in 2020, a drugged up person ran up to my wife's face and started screaming some of the most obscene things I've ever heard. She was terrified. During a previous trip, my rental car was broken into and everything was stolen out of our trunk. When calling the police to report the theft, they let us know this happens hundreds of times per day in the city and said it was our own fault for parking in the street. I grew up in Latin America and spent much of my adult life there, and I never felt this unsafe there. Something has to change in San Francisco," he noted.
The company's website states that, "Giving is core to who we are. We tie our earnings to impact by allocating a percentage of annual revenues to the Cotopaxi Foundation, which then provides targeted grants to nonprofits dedicated to eradicating extreme poverty."
"I remain committed to seeing extreme poverty eradicated in my lifetime," Smith noted in a video from 2020.
Cotopaxi: A Note From Our CEO Davis Smithwww.youtube.com