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As APEC ends, impacted San Francisco businesses take stock, look toward holidays

After APEC, holidays expected to bring joy to the retailers
After APEC, holidays expected to bring joy to the retailers 03:42

SAN FRANCISCO -- A week of upheaval, protests, and street closures during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit has left local businesses in San Francisco feeling the impact.

Celine Nasser-Elddin, the owner of a business situated in the secure zone near the Moscone Center, expressed relief that the summit is over.

"I'm so happy it's over. We fully stocked the store for three weeks and we're still sitting on a lot of stuff so I hope after they leave we can get some business back in the city," she said.

Nasser-Elddin said her establishment faced a severe slowdown due to its location within the secure zone. She noted a significant decline in business activity throughout the week.

ALSO READ: President Biden departs from San Francisco after APEC meetings

"Wednesday was our slowest Wednesday since reopening after the pandemic, so it's been pretty terrible. Yesterday was also slow. Monday and Tuesday weren't as slow, and that's because more city people were still here," Celine expressed.

The struggles were shared by Steven Martinez, the manager at Bota in Union Square, who highlighted the challenges faced by the restaurant due to the street closures.

 "APEC for the restaurant itself was very quiet. We didn't get a lot of traffic through the restaurant but the hotel portion was sold out," remarked Martinez.

ALSO READ: More stories on the APEC Summit

Addressing the impact of APEC on businesses, Mayor London Breed acknowledged the difficulties faced by local establishments during this time of increased security.

"Thank you for your patience and your understanding because it was not easy to get around in the city. We have 21 leaders of 21 economies and it required lots of increased security like nothing we've ever experienced," Breed said.

However, Steven Martinez mentioned a positive change in the city ambiance due to the increased security during the summit.

"It is definitely cleaner and it does feel a lot safer. It is something that should've happened a long time ago and it will be nice if it stays that way," he noted.

While Breed acknowledged ongoing challenges in certain parts of the city, she also highlighted the positive impact of recent legal decisions that have aided in efforts to address homelessness.

As the APEC remnants are removed, signs of the upcoming holiday season emerge in Union Square with traditional window displays. Business owners are looking forward to the festive season, hoping for a resurgence in business activity.

 "Holidays are gonna start bringing people here shopping, restaurant eating, ice skating and we're doing some marketing with the skating ring," shared Steven Martinez.

Nasser-Elddin, echoing the sentiment, said "Holidays are exciting with people coming to San Francisco to look at all the decoration and go shopping…some of the best time of the year for us."

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