San Francisco Bookstore Closing Due to Minimum Wage Increase

Owner: ‘It’s bullsh**’

February 6, 2015

San Francisco's Borderlands Books will be forced to close as the city increases its minimum wage, and its owner Alan Beatts is tired of being criticized for talking about it.

"Most critics say 'how dare you blame the minimum wage increase for you closing,'" he told the Washington Free Beacon. "It's bullshit."

"They're either calling me a liar or chastising me for telling the truth."

Borderlands is a specialty bookstore that has been able to carve out a niche in San Francisco for the past 18 years. It has been able to support a staff of five, most of whom have been working together for more than a decade.

Beatts said he made a mere $28,000 in gross salary last year.

With the added labor costs the city's new minimum wage will eventually impose on the business, and the fact that books come pre-priced leaving no room for price increases, Mr. Beatts sees no way it can survive.

"At this point the business is doing fine but I look down the road and the business is losing $25,000 a year," he said. "It's going to put me out of work."

He is more concerned about how the store's closing will affect his employees though. "We're all friends," he said. "In some ways this is harder on the employees than me."

"For some of them book selling is the only thing they've ever done."

Mr. Beatts isn't just fed up with those who've attacked him for speaking out. He's also upset with the city for raising the minimum wage in the way it did and with the media for oversimplifying the issue. He doesn't see it as about whether there should or should not be a minimum wage, but about how the minimum wage is applied.

He blames the city for implementing a one-size-fits-all approach to the minimum wage hike without attempting to offset the damage it would do to small businesses. "They could've tried reducing our taxes or maybe implementing a separate minimum wage for small businesses," he said. "I'm not an economist, I'm just a guy who sells books."

"But I know that nothing was done," he said. "It was applied in a thoughtless manner."

Published under: Minimum Wage