Mission Loc@l had the bright idea to send a reporter out into the community to see what people are really saying about American Apparel. Julie Johnson is the reporter, and she came back with some great stuff:
A few doors north from the public notice announcing American Apparel’s application to open shop in a vacant storefront, Roger Ryan is surrounded by orange tags halving prices, and red signs that read, “Going out of business sale.” Ryan, who owns two storefronts along the business corridor, will close the doors of his flagship Z-Barn Interiors shop on the 900 block of Valencia Street for good on Saturday.
“If I’d known American Apparel was opening a store here, I would have kept my doors open longer,” Ryan said. “Right now, this block is actually a dead block.”
“I have no idea why they need to claim more land,” said Courtland Donaldson, 24, who has worked at Shoe Biz for more than three years. “If anyone wants to shop there they have three other locations.” Shoe Biz also has another location in the Haight.
Further north on Valencia, Jeremy Tooker posted “Stop American Apparel” signs in the window of Four Barrel Coffee near 15th Street, which he opened last August. Wearing a grey sweatshirt he bought at American Apparel, Tooker echoed many people’s views when he emphasized that he likes the company but doesn’t believe it fits in the Mission’s culture.
Many neighbors have never heard of American Apparel, including Laura Hopper, director of Psychic Horizons, a few doors down from the proposed store.
“I would prefer not to have chains, but if I’ve never heard of it, it can’t be that big,” said Hopper, who’s been in business on Valencia Street for about 11 years. “It’s always better to have the space filled.”
“In certain areas, chain stores are helpful in growing neighborhoods. But in this particular case it’s not necessary,” [Michael O’Connor, president of the Small Business Commission] said. “It’s not like the space won’t get rented.”