San Francisco barbershop struggles to stay open after pandemic – NBC Bay Area

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A San Francisco barbershop is fighting to survive.

Blades Co. Barbershop, located in the city’s Financial District, said it’s still severely struggling from lingering effects of the pandemic.

The buzz inside the barbershop is if it’s going to be open next week.

“That’s sad to me because I think we’re losing kind of biodiversity across the culture in San Francisco,” said David Kwon, a regular customer at the business.

The barbershop opened in 2015 at a different space but moved at their current location near the Transamerica Pyramid after they needed more space.

Kwon is a just a handful of customers who returned to the office in the Financial District as the quiet on the sidewalks are excruciating for owner Susan D’Arcangelo.

“The saddest thing that I’ve experienced to watch. To build something and to know that like your passion, your heart your soul, everything is in it, everything is lying on this,” she said.

D’Arcangelo is trying to sell her personal assets to make the bills she can and pay what she can to the remaining barbers. Before the pandemic, they did more than 100 haircuts a day between seven barbers.

“Now, we’re doing anywhere from 15 to 30, maybe 40 if we’re lucky on a good day,” D’Arcangelo said.

Remote work has left commercial buildings in that area empty.

In the last quarter of 2023, office building vacancy in San Francisco hit an all-time high, rising upwards of 32%, according to the city. Real estate companies have that percentage even higher.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey, whose district has had its own challenges with vacant buildings, says that voters passing Prop. 3 ballot initiative will help.

“Streamlining and waiving fees for office-to-residential conversions, so that our downtowns aren’t so dependent on employment and offices. But there’s people who actually live there and go shopping,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we’re coming out of this, in the next year or two.”

But a city report released at the end of February said that conversion of office space to housing isn’t financially feasible right now and won’t close the gap.

So as time fades, D’Arcangelo opened a GoFundMe page to help pay for her expenses.

“It’s probably the last thread to hold onto my business for now,” she said.

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