SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — San Francisco’s Union Square is losing another major retailer with DSW — the Designer Shoe Warehouse — becoming the latest business in the neighborhood to close up shop for good.

“Things that I used to know, they’re not here anymore,” said Linda Hill, who was visiting from New Jersey.

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“It’s a lot sadder than it was before COVID,” said Judy Keith, a visitor from Texas.

Marisa Rodriguez, the new executive director for the Union Square Alliance — formerly known as the Union Square Business Improvement District — is hoping to change that perception.

“It’s always disappointing when a cornerstone of our community has to shut down. I understand they’re shutting down more than just their location here in San Francisco,” said Rodriguez.

She agrees there’s an issue with the image of Union Square, which she attributes mainly to the pandemic and the toll it took on tourism and the retail industry. It is Rodriguez’s goal to tackle the image problem.

“That perception will soon be gone,” she said. “Union Square is ready and waiting for visitors. There’s so much that we have to offer.”

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The the holiday season has already kicked off with the return of the traditional Christmas Tree and ice skating rink to Union Square.

“It’s going to be lit up on Nov. 18,” she said. “People love the ice skating rink. Unlike last year, when everything was shut down, it’s open.”

She also noted that as some businesses leave, others are moving in.

Omega, the watch shop, just opened up in Union Square, one of nine upcoming openings and re-openings, according to Rodriguez.

“These range from restaurants, wine bars, retail establishments – we even have a mattress store coming,” she said. “We’re really excited about all of that.”

The perception won’t change overnight. But Rodriguez thinks it will continue to move in the right direction as people venture back out into the world and experience Union Square once again.

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“I think they’re going to come down here, be surprised to see just how activated, how beautiful, and how clean and safe it is,” she said.