San Francisco supervisor wants to regulate grocery store closures
On the heels of Safeway's decision to keep its Fillmore grocery store open until January 2025, one San Francisco supervisor wants to regulate grocery store closures in the city to ensure local communities are not blindsided.
Why it matters: The proposal is an effort to ensure food security throughout the city and is a direct response to Safeway's announcement and subsequent reversal of its decision to close its Fillmore supermarket, the only full-service grocery store in the neighborhood, in March.
What's happening: Supervisor Dean Preston plans to officially introduce an ordinance, dubbed the Neighborhood Grocery Protection Act, that would require grocery stores to provide at least six months' notice before closing, meet with community members before closure and explore replacement supermarkets in the area.
Flashback: In 1984, city supervisors passed an ordinance requiring supermarkets to do as much, but then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein vetoed the legislation, calling it "an unnecessary intrusion of governmental regulatory authority."
- In her written decision, she added that enabling any supervisor to "act as a bargaining agent" with a grocery store "would only serve as a disincentive for supermarkets" to run their businesses in San Francisco.
- Ahead of the city's decision that year, then-Safeway executive Robert E. Bradford expressed his opposition to the ordinance in a letter, saying its passing "could discourage us from building new replacement stores in the city."
- Axios has reached out to Safeway for comment on this new proposal.
What they're saying: "It was a good idea then, and it's an even better idea now – we need notice, we need transparency, community input, and a transition plan when major neighborhood grocery stores plan to shut their doors," Preston said in a statement. "Meeting the food security needs of our seniors and families cannot be left to unilateral, backroom decisions by massive corporate entities."
What's next: The city attorney's office is currently drafting the ordinance, according to Preston's office.
- Then, Preston plans to introduce the legislation at an upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting.
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