October 12, 2014

Eviction Notice Served To Independent Nature


It’s not just renters in SF that are getting ejected from their buildings – merchants are getting squeezed too (witness Global Exchange closing). This week we got this note from Susan Prentice, owner of Independent Nature on 1504 Church St:
I have just celebrated 5 years at this location. But my landlord, Dona Taylor, owner of When Modern Was, has presented me with a "notice to vacate." It was given to me by her husband, Bill Hoover, co-owner w/ Taylor of Gallery of Jewels. 
No reason was given for the notice...there does not have to be a "cause," unlike residential rentals. The space is perfect for a garden nursery and will be hard to replace. 
But even more upsetting is that when I opened in 2009, Taylor's store "When Modern Was," was struggling ... and by dividing her store and renting to me, she was able to survive. Now that the market is hot again, she is kicking me out to increase her profits. 
Thanks for your time. 
Susan Prentice 
Owner of Independent Nature
Another neighbor also alerted us to the eviction and remarked “Independent Nature is such a fun little place. Shame to see it pushed out.”

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry to hear this. I always thought it was a perfect little shop for Noe Valley. Small as it is, they always seemed to have what I needed, and the owner is just lovely. It's a shame that Ms. Taylor is booting this very nice woman and shop, especially given their shared history. Ms. Prentice, I wish you good luck and hope you and your business find another Noe Valley location with a less greedy landlord.

lizkarwags said...

Ruthless! this neighborhood doesn't need landlords or businesses like WMW. That's no way to support the community.

Anonymous said...

Shame. I've bought a lot of stuff from WMW. Although I hate this, business is business and it's not always pretty.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but this is terrible ethics. I will certainly never shop at WMW again and we definitely tell all my friends about what they've done.

Anonymous said...

Guess what people? it's about business, and making money. That's not illegal.

Ethics has nothing to do with this. If this small shop owner wants to stay in business herself, she will find another location and work to make a profit.

Anonymous said...

To the commenter above,

Nobody has said it is illegal. The post clearly states that it is legal and nobody is arguing with that.

However, your statement that ethics can't have anything to do with something like this because it is "about business and making money" is just illogical. There are plenty of legal, profit-driven decisions that can also be unethical/immoral. It's people who believe in the pursuit of profits at any cost who are wrong.

That said, I obviously don't know the specific reasons behind the termination of the lease so while it is possible that Taylor and her husband are being a bit merciless I agree with you that it's just as possible that they aren't acting that way at all.




Eihway Su said...

We need more small businesses that benefit the San Francisco community instead of corporate profit in some distant city. Also independent businesses give competition and more selection for the consumer.

Anonymous said...

Taylor owns WMW, Gallery of Jewels, and Buttons Candy Bar. She should give other people a chance instead of trying to take over Noe Valley. She does not need the income from another store, especially when she can rent to others and profit that way.

Anonymous said...

Taylor has the right to OWN as many businesses as she wants. And she has no obligation to give anyone a "chance".

Business is business. I wish her continued success.

Anonymous said...

Renting to someone outside of a lease agreement at below market rates equates to a landlord simply cutting a check (for the difference) to the business owner each month. Why would anyone expect a landlord to do this?

Iris Biblowitz said...

This is terrible news. Independent Nature is just the kind of business SF needs: small, affordable, quirky, with beautiful plants and flowers, dirt, and helpful advice from an expert gardener and landscaper. What will replace it? A precious business where you'd need a six-figure salary to buy a useless item? I'll take dirt, anytime.

Anonymous said...

Independent Nature, as a small business is certainly welcome here. The don't need to go "out of business". They just need to find another location, make their business profitable and move forward.

No whining. Best of luck to them.

Anonymous said...

I won't be shopping at WMW. Sad to see this wonderful business leave!

Anonymous said...

Yes, business is business. We are not Pollyannas.

But you can still be an astute businesswoman and have a heart.

Aside from keeping her heartlessness to Ms. Prentice in mind, I will be watching to see to whom she rents the space about to be vacated by Independent Nature. Will she turn her back on the community and attempt to rent to some chain whose profits will leave the neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

It normally takes a business 3 - 5 years to get established. Lots of blood, sweat and tears. People act as if its easy to just find another store. Not these days. Maybe one of Ms Taylor's landlords should show her what its like to go find another store. Maybe she'll have a little more compassion for other small business owners.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it, that the shop next door is expanding. This business has only been there 2-3 years. If the Taylor's needed more money why wasn't Susan approached first before they gave her space to the next door neighbors. No wonder why she was not given an explanation. They knew what they were doing was wrong.















Anonymous said...

I can do without shopping at the candy store and When Modern Was, but I really liked treating myself at Gallery of Jewels -- which, by the way, will no longer have my business.

Anonymous said...

Yes she can own how ever many businesses she wants, and no she is not obligated to anyone, but her actions show her character. As Prentice states, renting to her helped Taylor out when times were rough. But now that the economy has improved, Taylor couldn't care less about Prentice or her business. That's just greedy and immoral. Judging by the majority of the comments here, Taylor is making a huge mistake. But she doesn't care and won't care as long as she is profiting.

Anonymous said...

To the last poster:
YES! I am trying to rid my life of people like Taylor and surround myself with people who try to do the right thing.

Roger said...

So many 'Anonymous' statements help no one.

Anonymous said...

Roger, if you don't state your last name you are just as anonymous as the rest of us. None of these comments really make a difference regardless of who chooses to keep their anonymity. We are simply sharing our opinions. The difference will be seen when some of us make the personal decision not to patronize any of Taylor's businesses.

Roger said...

Using my name shows that I'm a single person. 30 'Anonymous' posts could be from 30 different people or all from the same one person. If each of these posts had different names on them, at least we'd know that there are several different people who take issue with this and not just one person who's going on a tirade. Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Prentice has revealed herself to be an uneducated boor. She benefited from the arrangement as much as the landlord. The landlord's prerogative is to do with her property as she wishes. This is what property ownership means. Landlords should have no obligation to make less money than they otherwise could. Looks like this gardner lady wants charity. A coffee shop would be better for the neighborhood than that gardening shop. Even another nail salon might be more generally useful.

Beth O'Connor said...

Got the sad news today, I love Independent Nature. I hope to continue to support this buiness in a new location!

Anonymous said...

Or maybe the WMW owner is trying to help an already struggling business go out with some decency as opposed to being a total mercenary. There were rumors that the store was closing awhile ago because it wasn't doing well. The timing is not ideal (after just celebrating the 5 year mark) but hey she wasn't served in the spring or summer during high planting/ busy gardening time. Seems the eviction notice was done with some degree of decency and regard for the store's busy time. Asking a struggling tenant to leave can't be an easy undertaking especially if the store is so linked to your own success. Like letting go of an employee who is underperforming. If WMW is also looking to maintain a thriving business that's their prerogative as a proprietor/ leaseholder.

The tendency to vilify and create drama is tempting and I can certainly appreciate the sadness and sense of loss around her store. But if the store isn't successful and she's having a hard time paying rent then that is not her landlord's responsibility. This is not the same as a residential eviction where a family is suddenly being ousted for pure money making ventures. Maybe there is a less expensive place for Ind Nat to open elsewhere. The victim mentality presented in the article doesn't present a solution or how people can help. Be useful. come up with a plan for people to participate in a meaningful way not by joining in the anger-fest or inciting negativity and drama. Is there a clearance sale where people can buy out inventory? Is there a way to help relocate or move? Use your community to help not hurl nasty comments. We want to show up and support you Ind Nat. Give us a way to do that!

Remember there is always more than one side in any story.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear the news about Independent Nature in Noe Valley. It is a lovey garden shop and the owner has always been friendly.
I have seen too many small businesses in the neighborhood, many owned by women forced to close. The landlords are greedy. We need Independent Nature, not another hair studio or nail business. If Susan is evicted, the landlords will certainly not have my business.

Eunhye said...

Independent Nature is a great store that is uniquely San Francisco! I can get gorgeous plants AND expert gardening knowledge from Susan. Why the eviction? Why didn't the landlords simply ask to raise rent like most have? Doesn't sound like "business as usual" as some have claimed in the previous comments.

Watching the face of SF crumble as we hear more and more horror stories like these sickens me.

Fran Taylor said...

I just got home from picking up some plants at Independent Nature and appreciated the wide selection and reasonable prices, not to mention the friendly, funky ambience and free advice. Too bad the space may be destined for some precious little excuse to throw your money away.