Thursday, February 19, 2009

25% Discount

988 Valencia

The little square storefront at center is where American Apparel wanted to open a store in the Mission. The San Francisco Planning Commission voted 7-0 not to allow this store, even though American Apparel had already negotiated a multi-year irrevocable lease. There was a huge amount of press coverage, much of it sarcastic, about the Mission hipsters who organized to block the store. Several columnists and bloggers pointed to the fact that Valencia has about two dozen vacant storefronts, and is soon likely to have many more in the face of the New Big American-Generated Worldwide-Depression. These arguments sounded pretty cogent in print, but seemed much less convincing this afternoon in the sunshine when Valencia was hopping and shimmering in its own grungy idiosyncratic & endearing fashion.

Michael Pozner of American Apparel left a giant-sized letter pasted to the inside of the display window after his company got rejected: The hearing hosted in the Mission last week was a real eye-opener for us, making something we've been thinking about for a long time much more tangible. Seeing this strong public reaction to our potential effects on a neighborhood forces us to pay even more attention to the issue of gentrification and the impact of our new stores. Maybe we're not right for the Mission, but we love the neighborhood and are glad there are people out there this passionate about protecting its character.

And then there are a couple of paragraphs describing American Apparel's good intentions, and requesting anybody who wants to take the lease off their hands to get in touch.

Finally, we'd like to invite everyone from the Mission to any of our SF locations between now and March 15 to get a 25% discount on anything in the store. Just bring something official with your name and address on it and show your ID and you're good to go.So everybody wins. The Mission kids kept AA out, but can continue religiously to wear it. And that 25% discount is not the same desperate discount other retailers are constantly offering these days. I read online someplace quite recently that American Apparel has continued to increase its sales and profits (just like McDonald's has) even while the rest of the economy continues to slide down the drain.