San Francisco Small Business Owner Blames City Leaders for Failing to Keep the City Safe

Mark Sackett, a longtime owner of multiple businesses in San Francisco, faces financial ruin due to the city’s deteriorating conditions and lack of support for small businesses.

Mark Sackett, a prominent small business owner in San Francisco, is sounding the alarm on the city’s failure to maintain a safe environment for businesses to thrive. Sackett, who has owned a building in the South of Market area for almost two decades, is now on the verge of financial ruin. He attributes this dire situation to the rampant drug use, violence, and unsanitary conditions that have plagued the neighborhood, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As Sackett’s businesses teeter on the brink of closure, he criticizes city leaders for their lack of action and support.

Deteriorating Conditions and Financial Struggles

Sackett’s building, which houses a printmaker, antiques shop, and events venue called the Box SF, is facing foreclosure as he struggles to refinance a $2.5 million mortgage due in February. The worsening conditions in the South of Market area have made it nearly impossible for him to address the loan. Sackett blames the prevalence of drug use, violence, and filthy streets for his inability to secure refinancing. He describes the area’s condition since the pandemic as the worst he has ever experienced.

A Grim Picture of Criminality

The San Francisco Chronicle paints a grim picture of the criminality surrounding Sackett’s area. A drug sobering center next door has attracted drug users who smoke fentanyl at his building’s loading dock. Sackett’s staff has had to use pepper spray to fend off individuals attempting to break in, and he himself was attacked with a knife last year. The neighborhood’s deteriorating state is evident in broken windows and the constant need for repairs. Despite Sackett’s efforts to beautify the area with murals and planters, the presence of needles and feces persists.

City Leadership’s Failure to Help

Sackett places the blame squarely on the shoulders of city leadership, accusing them of neglecting small businesses. He laments the lack of response from officials, stating that they do not return his calls. Sackett claims that the city prioritizes initiatives such as bike lanes, nonprofits, and safe injection sites, while ignoring the needs of small businesses. The frustration is palpable as he highlights the stark contrast between the restrictions placed on business owners and the leniency shown towards the homeless population.

Supervisor’s Acknowledgment and Slow Recovery

Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who represents the district, acknowledges the worsening problems in the city since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. He cites the proliferation of shelter-in-place hotels, open-air drug markets, and public drug use as significant challenges. Although Dorsey expresses optimism about some progress in the neighborhood, he admits that the recovery has been too slow for many businesses like Sackett’s.

Financial Losses and Perception of Danger

Sackett estimates that he has lost nearly $250,000 in revenue this year due to cancellations and clients declining to book events at his venue. The perception of the neighborhood as unsafe has deterred potential clients from engaging with his business. Sackett’s struggle highlights the impact of the deteriorating conditions on the local economy and the perception of San Francisco as an unsafe city for businesses.


Mark Sackett’s plight as a small business owner in San Francisco sheds light on the city’s failure to maintain a safe environment for businesses to thrive. The rampant drug use, violence, and unsanitary conditions have pushed Sackett to the brink of financial ruin. While city officials acknowledge the challenges faced by businesses, the slow recovery and lack of support have left many owners struggling to survive. The stark contrast between the restrictions placed on businesses and the leniency shown towards the homeless population further exacerbates the frustration. As San Francisco grapples with these issues, it must find a balance that ensures the safety and prosperity of all its residents and businesses.






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