After 67 Years In SoMa, Adolf Gasser Photography To Close Shop

After 67 years in SoMa, Adolph Gasser Inc. is closing. The store’s owner, John Gasser, is retiring.

The announcement was brought to our attention by tipster Tyler D. and confirmed by Gasser himself.

Initially opened in 1950 as the Hobby Center—a retail shop that sold model trains and airplanes alongside camera and art supplies—the business became Adolph Gasser Photography in 1976.

It has continuously operated out of 181 Second St. ever since and has been a staple in San Francisco’s photography scene (although there was a scare in 1989 when it survived a fire). 

“The store has been under eminent domain for 17 years,” said Gasser, when asked about his retirement. “In another 17 years, I’m gonna be dead. I didn’t want my family to have to take over and try to take care of all these things.”

Photo: Andrew D./Yelp

Gasser, who plans to do some traveling with his retirement, said he’s enjoyed serving San Francisco’s photography community over the years.

“It’s been very good memories. For longtime customers, thank you for the business you’ve given us and for keeping my workers employed.”

The Adolph Gasser building is part of a family trust, and conversations regarding a new tenant are already underway, he said. “I don’t know the final details, but they’re working to find a new tenant for the building.”

“We’ve watched a number of changes go through the city,” Gasser said, “so I guess this is another change in San Francisco.”

As Gasser prepares to close shop, the store is offering discounts on all of its goods, including rental gear. He expects to keep the doors open until March 31st.

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After 67 years in soma adolf gasser photography to close shop