With over 30 vacant retail spaces along the Castro and Upper Market retail corridor, the area's vacancy rate — 8% — is nearly twice the city’s overall average. That's prompted a new 200 page Castro Retail Strategy report, an $87,000, year-long collaborative effort administered by the neighborhood’s Community Benefits District and guided by merchants and community leaders, city officials, technical consultants, and property owners.
Dissected recently by Socketsite, the report gives a green, yellow, and red light to various potential new businesses. Coffee, as SFist has noted, really need not apply as the area is already caffeine-saturated. The report also explicitly suggests a Trader Joe's — who could complain! — and, according to SF Weekly, casts a side-eye on adult stores, which it suggests might be a deterrent to some shoppers.
With about five adult stores in the neighborhood, a February broker focus group noted that the sex shops "can be a turn-off to family-focused retailers and larger brands concerned about their corporate image." It's a remark that made its way into the report, though James Smith, manager of porn-and-dildo spot Rock Hard, says such peddlers are "important for people's sexual needs."
Jane Lloyd, who owns the Viking Barber Shop on Sanchez and 17th Street, told Hoodline that the empty storefronts “seem to be an intractable problem.... it's been this way for 20 years or more." Lloyd didn't seem persuaded that the report would be too revealing. "I suppose acknowledging and trying to analyze it can't hurt. Probably won't help, to be realistic."
There is the more obvious problem that more people go to the Castro to drink than for any other purpose, and drunk people don't really shop. Except maybe for porn and dildos.