A pair of Spades wins


A strong showing by small businesses and activists concerned about chain stores and gentrification in the Mission won over a 3-2 majority on the Board of Appeals on Aug. 21, but their appeal of a city ruling that Jack Spade isn't a formula retail business was denied anyway because it needed four votes.

The Valencia Corridor Merchants' Association challenged the Planning Department's June decision to issue a building permit to Jack Spade, a men's clothing chain moving into the old Adobe Bookstore location on 16th Street. Officials ruled that chain has fewer than 11 locations, so it wasn't required to go through the conditional use hearing required of "formula retail" businesses.

Though it indeed has only 10 locations, Jack Spade "has a complete imbalance of power and resources, which is exactly what the formula retail legislation aimed to remedy in the first place," Mission activist Kyle Smeallie told the Guardian. Jack Spade is owned by Fifth & Pacific (aka Liz Claiborne), which also owns the Kate Spade women's clothing chain. "We're going to make the case that, since it's named Spade, it has benefitted from the association with Kate Spade," Smeallie explained. "Legally, we have a case to say a Spade is Spade and they should be considered one and same."

Local business owners fear that an influx of chain stores will drive up commercial rents in the Mission and force them out of business. "I'm strongly opposed because of its potential to destroy the culture of this area," Michael Katz, owner of Katz Bagels across 16th Street from the site, told the Guardian. "If they start allowing chains to come, it will be one chain store after another."

Activists say they're considering their options and not yet ready to give up.


I can cite dozens of locations in the Mission that have far more locations than that. Heck, there's a KFC there.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2013 @ 12:36 pm

Jack and Kate Spade are the same company. Kate Spade has close to 100 stores nationally and 150 internationally. It's patently obvious that the men's line and women's line of the same brand, with their 100+ stores combined, constitute a chain, by any reasonable definition of the term.

Melissa Xides, the woman who flew in from the Kate/Jack Spade HQ on Park Avenue in NYC to speak on behalf of the company was the "Vice President of Global Sales and Retail." But she flew across the country to let us know that Jack Spade is a "small business." Hmmm.

The multi-billion-dollar parent company of Kate/Jack Spade, 5th and Pacific Inc., has an article on its website bragging that Jack Spade is in "Expansion Mode" more than tripling it's store count in one year and with the expectation of doing $100 million in annual sales. But with a straight face, Xides tells us there are no other stores "in the pipeline."

Yeah, with their $1,000 man purses, they fit in perfectly with the character of the neighborhood, right next to Idol Vintage and in the place of SF institution, Adobe Books, which they had booted out of that storefront after 25 years.

Posted by Andy on Aug. 29, 2013 @ 2:03 pm

By that argument, SFBG is part of a major chain and so should not be allowed in SF?

Posted by anon on Aug. 29, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

The $1000 man purse will look perfect while riding my $3000 bike.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

Success in SF makes you a pariah, at least among the little people (*) who don't matter.

(*) Apologies for the plagiarism from the late Leona Helmsley.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 29, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

That is a fact, the story is really nice, I like it so much! Great job for the author!

Posted by Bavaria 40 Cruiser on Feb. 10, 2014 @ 1:38 am

Mayne they will win, but it will be a short victory!

Posted by Dave on Feb. 10, 2014 @ 5:24 am

Legally, we have a case to say a Spade is Spade and they should be considered one and same

Posted by Tech on Feb. 10, 2014 @ 5:34 am

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