Green Apple Books is expanding to SFO


SFO is still struggling to regain airline passengers, but four new shops, including longtime local bookstore Green Apple Books, are coming to Harvey Milk Terminal 1.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve leases with Green Apple Books and its partner Hudson Group, along with shoe retailer Johnson & Murphy and food vendors Culinary Heights Hospitality and Proper Food.

Construction is expected to begin in October 2023 and the store is expected to open in March 2024, though that could change depending on airport traffic, Green Apple co-owner Pete Mulvihill said.

The 12-year lease has minimum annual rent of $460,000 as long as airport traffic reaches 2019 levels for two months, or 8% of sales up to $2 million and 10% above $2 million.

An exterior view of the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport. Green Apple Books will open a location in the terminal.

An exterior view of the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport. Green Apple Books will open a location in the terminal.

Stephen Lam/The Chronicle

The expansion is a bet that San Francisco’s tourism sector will recover, despite SFO losing more passengers than any other U.S. airport during the pandemic, in part because of its status as a gateway to Asia, where the coronavirus originated. The airport expects full passenger recovery by 2023.

Construction of the space will cost a minimum of $1.5 million. It’s more than Green Apple, which was founded in 1967, could afford. But Hudson Group, which has around 1,000 store locations around the country, will be the majority owner and responsible for rent and paying staff, Mulvihill said.

“The way the deal is structured, with Hudson as our partner, Green Apple doesn’t have to make much of an investment upfront,” Mulvihill said. “We could have gone this alone. We felt this was the safest way to pursue an opportunity like this.”

Revenue projections at the airport location are much higher than existing Green Apple stores, justifying the higher rent, he said.

“It is a tiny margin business. The advantage of airport is volume,” he added.





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