A beloved, iconic downtown toy shop one of the last independently owned toy stores in the city is being forced to close next month after a steep rent hike. Used as an inspiration by Pixar illustrators when they were first drafting Toy Story in the early 1990s, and thought to be the first store in the U.S. to carry Legos in 1973, Jeffrey's has held a special place for downtown SF shoppers for five decades, but now the landlord is looking for a five-fold rent increase. As CBS 5's Mike Sugarman says, "Rent could go up five times to $40,000 a month. It’s an old story in San Francisco."
As of last month, owner Mark Luhn, 66, whose family has been in the toy business for over 60 years, was seeing the writing on the wall according to the Chronicle, however the new landlord at the time had verbally agreed to keep Jeffrey's at its current rent, despite an expiring lease. He also said at the time that he was contemplating other locations, and saying he had no intention of retiring, even though Market and Third was by far superior. "It's the best location, there's nothing like it," Luhn said.
Still offering a wide selection of stuffed animals, Legos, comics board games, and collectible figurines, Jeffrey's is now doing a clearance sale in anticipation of closing in April.
Yesterday, apparently, was the last day of new shipments for comics. It remains to be seen if Jeffrey's will manage to relocate, but stay tuned.
Below, some Twitter reactions from local fans of Jeffrey's.
Last pull day at Jeffrey's Toys & Comics pic.twitter.com/TVntxYtlsm— Jordan Staniscia (@jordanstaniscia) March 26, 2015
Today in super bummers. Jeffrey's Toys on Market St. will close after landlord quintuples rent. http://t.co/Djd8bvoKPt— Erika Hall (@mulegirl) March 25, 2015
JEFFREY'S TOYS ON MARKET IN SF IS CLOSING BECAUSE WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS IN THE CITY ANY MORE http://t.co/sdUB9jmLEw— Dove Prosper (@ThatWorstMan) March 25, 2015
Noooo Not Jeffrey's! I go here to dream.-- Congrats Greedy A-holes, And AWFUL mayor Ed Lee, you ruin San... http://t.co/3F9Y3okDTs— Marga Gomez (@MargaGomez) March 25, 2015