Iconic San Fran ‘Toy Story’ toy store closes after 86 years due to ‘perils and violence’

Crime and homelessness in the once-glorious City by the Bay has claimed yet another much-loved business.

Jeffrey’s Toys. reportedly the inspiration behind the “Toy Story” franchise, announced this week that the family-run business, which opened in San Francisco 85 years ago in 1938 as a variety shop, will close “in a couple weeks.”

“As we make our way to the Finish Line ( in a couple weeks ) we want to Thank ALL of you wonderful people who’ve been apart of Jeffereys Family [sic],” the store said on its Facebook page as it advertised a clearance sale.

“We’re heartbroken,” co-owner Rosie Luhn told the San Francisco Business Times‘ Alex Barreira. “We held on until we can’t anymore. Everyone left the city. San Francisco always comes back but it will probably take another three years.”

“The store will be closing next month,” Ken Sterling, an attorney for the Luhn family, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The store has been struggling for a number of years, due to the perils and violence of the downtown environment, inflation, the decrease in consumer spending and the demise of retail across the world.”

“The family is saddened it has come to this and we’ve explored all other options to try and keep the business going,” Sterling said. “The leadership of the City of San Francisco and the Downtown Association have their work cut out for them on how to revitalize what was once a vibrant and fun downtown experience. We are working through this complex situation with the landlords and creditors and at this time, I’ve advised my clients to not be interviewed by the press.”

(Video: YouTube)

In mid-December, Matthew Luhn, who co-owns Jeffrey’s with his dad, Mark Luhn, and stepmother, Rosie, told SFGate that the city’s oldest toy store was struggling.

“We want to stay in business, but we need a healthier relationship with the city,” he said. “We’re putting our money in, we’re putting our hard work in, and we’re putting our love into it. But, in the relationship we have with the city, that’s not being returned.”

Foot traffic has plummeted in recent years and Matthew and his father have been dipping into their retirement funds to keep the store alive.

“My dad and I, we’re not quitters — we just don’t come from a quitter family,” Matthew said. “Every year we say we’ll hold on one more year and then we keep taking money out of our own retirement accounts.”

“We’re one of the oldest family-run stores in the city, but all of them are slowly disappearing,” Luhn told NBC Bay Area in December. “I hope things will change, but I know that we just can’t keep covering the loss every month without help from the city.”

As BizPac Review has reported, several San Francisco businesses have found it impossible to compete with the revolving door of thieves and homeless drug addicts who plague the city.

Last August, Nordstrom closed its flagship store in the now-shuttered Westfield Mall.

In October, despite the pleas and flees of San Francisco business owners — and amid warnings from economists that San Francisco was in a  “doom loop” spiral — progressive Mayor London Breed called on city departments — including police and public health — to propose a staggering $206 million in budget cuts.

“San Francisco’s economic reality remains challenging,” Breed told department heads at the time. The cuts, she said, are “imperative… to ensure we can meet the needs of our residents while also being financially responsible.”

Melissa Fine


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