It seems like only yesterday — actually three weeks ago — that the owner of trendy outerwear company Cotopaxi was proclaiming, as so many have, that San Francisco was unsalvageable and he was closing his Hayes Valley store for good due to rampant crime and "chaos." But it looks like some calming down and some attention from the city that was garnered from his viral post have brought him around.
Davis Smith, the Salt Lake City-dwelling founder and CEO of Cotopaxi (549 Hayes St.), would now like everyone to know that he's sorry, and he didn't intend to dive into the political fray with his viral LinkedIn post — which was picked up by local TV stations, etc. — because how could he have known that there's been a popular narrative on Fox News and elsewhere for years now that San Francisco is going to hell in a handbasket because Democrats?
"I recognize that with the emotions I was feeling that day, I used some harsh words to describe our experience in SF," Smith writes in a new post on LinkedIn. "I’m not someone who likes conflict or controversy, so for that, I apologize."
Smith goes on to say that Cotopaxi was only temporarily closed — though his original post made the closure sound permanent — and as the Chronicle reports, as of Thursday morning, the Hayes Valley store is back open.
Smith's original post had all the hallmarks of a "so long, smell ya later" essay about the city — a genre that SFist has noted in the past, and one that is always rooted in personal grievance more than data or big-picture realities. It opened with a proclamation: "It’s sad, but San Francisco appears to have descended into a city of chaos." And it went on to detail what were, no doubt, some annoying and harrowing experiences with retail theft in the store's first year of business.
In addition to the store being robbed a few times, Smith also talked about having a rental car broken into and things stolen out of a trunk while in town with his wife.
Because of the public nature of the post and the attention it received, Smith now sounds satisfied that the police and city have responded to his calls for a manager.
"Cotopaxi is pleased to announce that after productive and positive meetings with Hayes Valley Merchants Association, the Board of Supervisors, and SFPD, measures have been put in place to allow us to reopen our storefront once again," Smith writes. "We have also hired full-time private security." And, he adds, the company is continuing its partnership with Tipping Point, the nine-year-old organization dedicated to fighting poverty in the Bay Area.
A Cotopaxi spokesperson additionally tells the Chronicle that Smith provoked a "much-needed" dialogue with the city about the state of the neighborhood.
And, again, Smith had no idea how much publicity this would generate for his fanny-pack and light-jacket brand, while also getting some allegedly beefed up police patrols for Hayes Valley?
"We hope that if you’re in the Bay Area that you will come by our Hayes Street store and give our team a warm hello," Smith concludes. "They’ve been through a lot this last year, so I want to thank them for their resilience, leadership, and hard work to get this store open again."