It may not be the biggest or the best, but it is the oldest shopping mall in San Francisco. People in the Sunset, Ingelside & Oceanview areas very rarely go downtown to shop, they go to Stonestown which opened up in 1951 to serve the shopping needs of those living away from downtown.
Originally, it was a smaller open air mall anchored by the Emporium. Some of the biggest draws in the old days besides the Emporium were Brooks Brother’s suits, Summer and Kaufmann shoe’s and Blum’s an ice cream shop that sold chocolates and candies. Those were at least the shops my family would frequent and usually in that order. Brooks Brother’s didn’t come into play until I got my first job and then of course in those days, I needed a suit.
All of these stores are gone now, though I still have a couple of plastic sealed candy easter egg diorama’s from Blum’s. that date back to the 60’s. In the early 80’s shopping malls all became upscale by adding the word Galleria to the end and in the early 80’s it became the Stonestown Galleria. Old timers like me still refer to it as Stonestown.
What I didn’t realize was that when it was built the area known as Parkmerced was included so that there would be housing for people who would then frequent the shopping area. These started as apartments and then moved on to townhouses as Stonestown became more popular. When it moved over to the Stonestown Galleria in the 80’s it became an enclosed space with underground parking and gained a second level so that the shopping experience would become denser. The problem was that an upscale shopping district didn’t fit with the blue collar middle class that shopped there. The stores started to leave because they couldn’t afford the rents and were replaced eventually by upscale chain stores. Nordstroms moved in and Brooks Brothers went out. Godiva Chocolates moved in and Blum’s closed and Sees candy downsized [I still like Sees candy better].
You’ll find all of the same stores that you would find in any upscale mall around the country just on a smaller scale now. The Stonestown Galleria seems to still be trying to find it’s niche to fit in with the community. The Apple store is still the one store that no matter what time of day you go in it’s always busy. If someone had a coffee stand outside they would make a mint so people wouldn’t have to go upstairs to the food court to get a sampling of the typical mall food.
Stonestown Galleria is the place we all go when we need something more than what we can get closer to home. San Francisco isn’t really a mall type of city and you’ll notice that when you first drive in and see a sign that lists the Stonestown Galleria Code of Conduct. Really? They’re telling you how to behave at a mall? Apparently they are, but I haven’t seen a guard around to enforce it.
Beer, Booze, Beef and Chips. That’s pretty much what I found missing yesterday at my local Safeway grocery store. Now I don’t know why we would have thought it would better to go during the beginning of the Superbowl pre-game show, but I’ve now learned why the grocery stores are so crowded on Super Bowl Sundays. The shoppers are of three types of people.
- The die-hard Super Bowl fan: They’re up and out early in the morning to get all the supplies for the day’s festivities early so they can go home relax and probably be drunk and passed out into the first half hour of the game.
- The “intellectually challenged” Super Bowl fan: THey probably figure they can rush out right before the game because no one will be there because they’re all home watching the game or maybe they forgot something or just wanted their fried chicken hot out of the fryer.
- The “I don’t care about the Super Bowl” types: I have to admit, I fall into this group except when the niners are playing it. I could give a rat’s ass who wins because if it ain’t going to be us then it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately all of us think that everyone will be watching the game so they decide to go shopping at the same time as the #2’s.
Well, it was packed and the aisles of alcohol, chips and meat looked like they had been picked over like some of the photo’s I’ve seen of back east during the blizzard. Empty shelves everywhere and the people were lined up down the aisles. People were complaining about all the people there yet these were the people with a six pack of beer in their hand or a loaf of bread. If you didn’t like all the people did you really need to go shopping on one of the worst days to go grocery shopping? If you need a six pack of beer why not walk down the street to the liquor store and pick it up and pay an extra buck for the convenience?
Well that wasn’t the worst of it. My wife when to pick up a box of rice and beans only find it all spilled out of the back of the box through a hole that had been chewed there. She grabbed another than hadn’t had been rat-shackled and continued shopping. Then as we’re standing in line my wife made a comment to the guy standing behind her. I didn’t know what they were talking about at first, but then realized that along with his groceries he had brought up a bag of hot dog buns that had cleared suffered from rat infestation.
Great, San Francisco has rat infested grocery stores?!?!? Well I guess so since I’ve begun to notice that Safeway stores [who are based in the Bay Area where they started] have started to have a rat trap need their elevator entrances [the rats take the elevator?] on the roofs or their front doors. Now there are sometimes two or three rat traps there. I don’t see them at any other grocery store I’ve been to in San Francisco, only Safeway. I dropped the two words “Safeway” and “Rats” into google and look what it gave me back. Not exactly giving me much reason to go back to shop there. The cashier even admitted to man with the rat chewed bag that they had been having a hard problem with the rat infestations. I really felt like telling her that it wasn’t just her, but every Safeway in the city that you’ll find rat traps outside, but she’s nice and knows me so I’d rather say it to her in a place not as open and public since saying something like, “Your Safeway is infested with rats” in a crowded Safeway may not be good for business and I wouldn’t want to get trampled by everyone running out the door.
This is a sign though that the Board of Health needs to be notified. I know I’ve got a lot of readers in San Francisco so I’m hoping at least one of the 5000+ readers in SF works for the Board of Health or hopefully one of the 50,000+ readers in California works for the state Board of Health and give someone a kick int he butt. When I purchase food I want to be non-rat involved. I know there’s all these weird government guidelines about how many rodent hairs can be allowed into certain food produces, but still when you’ve got obvious evidence a rat problem that you and the guy behind you in line discovered, more people are going to find out about it.