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Is Maintaining a Locavore Approach to Lifestyle and Commerce Hurting Business in San Francisco and the Bay Area?

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Image via Food GPS

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The locavore movement isn't just about sourcing and consuming only local food anymore. In San Francisco and the Bay Area, the philosophy extends to commerce and retail—but is banning brands like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters from setting up shop in areas such as the Mission District hurting the local economy?

"Retail stores are just catching up to the food world and the whole know-your-farmer, local eating movement," a Mission-area shopkeeper Cassie McGettigan told the NY Times. "It's about making sure you know where your stuff comes from, and that every place you spend your money has an impact."

The idea, of course, is a close relation to the local-food movement whose influence is omnipresent in the region. These days, it is rare for a Bay Area restaurant not to list the farm that grew the kale or made the goat cheese on its menu. But now, particularly in neighborhoods like the Mission, it is just as common to read that a dress was sewn in San Francisco.
But while local merchants have joined forces to barricade their commercial areas against mainstream brands, the Times story notes that many storefronts in the trendy Valencia area in the Mission District remain empty, many are boarded up, and the street was virtually empty of foot-traffic on a weekday afternoon.
Sunhee Moon, a clothing designer who has had a store in the Mission for eight years and manufactures her crisp cotton blouses and skirts nearby, is one of the few local business owners who is fine with chain stores opening nearby.

“Business is good for business,” she said, pointing out that two newer stores on her block have brought more foot traffic. “If my customers have another two or three places to shop, then fabulous.

· In a City That Eats Local, a Push to Keep Shoppers Close to Home [NYT]