Skates on Haight rolled into the Haight-Ashbury 45 years ago, not long after the counterculture revolution. The shop’s skateboards and roller skates glided off the shelves. That’s far less true today. With people increasingly buying skates online, the store’s future is in question. Its survival depends on signing co-tenants to meet the cost of continuing to operate, in an area that is seeing more and more empty storefronts. “The Haight is my home, I don’t want to leave it after being here for more than four decades,” said Carol Sloan, whose family has owned the store since it opened in 1974. “I’m excited to have co-tenants, but the anxiety is I may not be able to find them.” Like other neighborhoods, the Haight is seeing fewer shoppers as e-commerce takes over. Vagrancy and construction have also hurt stores. And the area is having a hard time evolving: Younger residents are clamoring for more restaurants, but it’s hard to change a street that became synonymous with the hippie movement. Having lots of shops catering to tourists “was a great thing to do 20 years ago,” before the internet took off, said Haight resident and activist Steven Madrid, who’s also on the… Read full this story
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