AFTER PAYING $25,000 a month rent for seven months on a key corner location at Fillmore and California streets, the New York-based fashion retailer Rag & Bone finally on February 20 got the blessing of the city Planning Commission to open a store there.
By a 4-3 vote, the commission decided that while Rag & Bone may technically qualify as a chain store in San Francisco, it nonetheless will be a good addition to the neighborhood.
The city’s formula retail ordinance defines a chain store as any company with 11 or more retail outlets in the U.S. Currently Rag & Bone has 12 stores and leases on four more locations.
Local residents and merchants lined up to testify that there are already too many chain stores on Fillmore and an overabundance of fashion boutiques. Others said Rag & Bone was unique and would be a good neighbor, especially given its vow to support a local school and set up a loan fund for independent businesses.
“I don’t think it rises to the level of some of the other formula retails we’ve seen,” said commissioner Rich Hillis, who voted for Rag & Bone.
“The street looks great right now,” said commissioner Rodney Fong, another Rag & Bone supporter. “It’s alive. There’s a good mix.”
Commissioner Hisashi Sugaya disagreed. “I used to live on Webster Street back in the ’80s,” he said. “It was really different then. It’s rapidly turning into an apparel and cosmetics and restaurant row.”
Rag & Bone has enlisted a local design firm to help build what it promises will be a special store worthy of its prominent location. It opens this summer.
Filed under: Retail Report