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San Francisco CVS that locked up soda will close; customer says thieves hit store daily

Security cameras affixed to corner building exterior
A San Francisco CVS store on Haight Street—where soda is kept behind locked doors—will close in January. | Source: Joe Burn/The Standard

CVS is shutting down its location in San Francisco's Lower Haight neighborhood, the pharmacy chain said Wednesday.

The store at 499 Haight St. will close on Jan. 11, Amy Thibault, a spokesperson for CVS Pharmacy, told The Standard. Employees are being offered other roles at the company, and prescriptions will be transferred to the CVS at 701 Van Ness Ave., around one mile away.

The closure is part of a broader effort announced in November 2021 to reduce CVS's national retail footprint by about 900 stores as customers buy more online.

"Maintaining access to pharmacy services in the communities we serve is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions," Thibault said in an email. "Other factors include local market dynamics, population shifts, a community’s store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community."

Thibault did not answer questions about whether property crime or theft was a factor in the decision to close the Haight Street location, where cans of Red Bull and other drinks are kept behind a locked refrigerator door. But customer Danny Teixeira, who works nearby at Sparc, a marijuana dispensary, said he sees people stealing from the store every day.

A locked refrigerator with soda inside
CVS customer Danny Teixeira said he sees people steal paper towels, chips, cereal and other food items from the Haight Street store. | Source: Joe Burn/The Standard

READ MORE: Here’s How Long It Took To Buy Locked Up Basic Items in San Francisco Stores

"It sucks, man. I know exactly why it’s closing," Teixeira told The Standard Wednesday. "The robbers know in the morning the security is not out here, but I don’t see [security] show up until the middle of the day."

Teixeira lamented the process of having to press a buzzer and wait for an employee to unlock store shelves to buy certain items.

"It does get annoying," he said. "You press the button, then somebody else presses the button, and you're like, 'Wait, I was here first!'"

Man in zip-up hoodie wearing backpack stands on sidewalk outside CVS store
Danny Teixeira, a manager at nearby Sparc, says he sees people stealing from the CVS on Haight Street every day. | Source: Joe Burn/The Standard

Still, Teixeira said he'll miss the store when it closes. He’s worked in the Lower Haight for four years and worries the closure will affect local businesses due to a possible loss in foot traffic.

With the Lower Haight location's closure, San Francisco will be left with 12 other CVS stores, as well as a walk-in clinic at its 1900 19th Ave. location. The pharmacy chain also provides a prescription home delivery service. Staff at the Haight Street store declined to speak with The Standard.

The San Francisco Police Department launched a citywide program in October to combat organized retail theft by conducting undercover enforcement action, known as "Blitz Operations," at city stores.

Stephanie K. Baer can be reached at
Joe Burn can be reached at