A beloved bookstore in San Francisco is shutting its doors - and not for the reasons you would think. Borderlands Books managed to fight off the recession, the rise of Amazon, e-books, and more, but a hike in the minimum wage was the last straw.
According to Free Beacon, the increased labor costs coupled with the books having a set price with no room for adjustments left owner Alan Beatts with no other choice but to shut his business down.
In a statement on the store's website, Beatts claimed that 2014 had actually been there most successful year ever. They had no debt, the store was turning a small profit, and all operations were running smoothly.
But, through all those challenges, we've managed to find a way forward and 2014 was the best year we've ever had. The credit for that achievement goes to the fine and extraordinary group of people who have come together to work here. Their hard work, combined with the flawless execution and attention to detail provided by Jude Feldman, Borderlands' General Manager, is the reason we've succeeded for these past 18 years.
Throughout the years we've managed to plan for the problems that we could predict and, when we couldn't plan for them, we've just worked our asses off to get through. Overall, Borderlands has managed to defeat every problem that has come our way. At the beginning of 2014, the future of the business looked, if not rosy, at least stable and very positive. We were not in debt, sales were meeting expenses and even allowing a small profit, and, perhaps most importantly, the staff and procedures at both the bookstore and the cafe were well established and working smoothly.
The new minimum wage law meant his payroll would go up by 39% and his operating expenses by 18%. Beatts would need to increase profits by 20%, something he didn't feel was possible given the current climate for stores like his in San Francisco.
Beatts was critical of the way the minimum wage increase has been applied to small businesses like his. He said, "They could’ve tried reducing our taxes or maybe implementing a separate minimum wage for small businesses."
Nevertheless, he ultimately philosophically supported the law in his statement. "Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it's possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco -- Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage," he wrote.
"And while this might be good for San Francisco," Pat mocked. "Really? Is it really? They're sticking to those Progressive principles right to the end, even as it's shutting down their business. It's amazing."
"If you remember that movie, You've Got Mail, which was the evil big box store that came in and shut down this poor little beloved back store. It is the same story, except with a government influence this time shutting down the store. Not by someone doing it better, but by government edict ruining their business," Stu said.
"It's really incredible. And it goes to exactly what we said. The small businesses can't afford to do this. And what did they say? What did we say? Who is going to pay for this? Everyone says well minimum wage increase. Yeah, but who is going to pay for that? The businesses will. No, they won't. Who pays for that?" Glenn said.
"The businesses are not charitable organizations," Pat said. "They are not going to take a 39% increase and an 18% overall increase in their operating expense, then just do business at a loss. Why would they do that? They are there to make a living as well as I'm sure, help people enjoy good books, but they've got to at get something out of it. Otherwise, why do it?"
"Here's the amazing thing. We said that it would hurt small businesses. Small businesses would close. Lose more jobs than you would gain. And raise your cost, at any place that stays open. This letter verifies all of those things," Glenn continued.