Hooker’s Sweet Treats, known for crafting handmade salted caramels, announced that it is taking steps to close its cafe after a nine-year run in San Francisco.

Owner David Williams made the statement on Facebook late last month but didn’t say when the official closure date would be. Williams said that the cafe would remain open through October and possibly though the end of the year, though that may change as more details are known in the future.

As with many business closures of 2019, Williams mentioned that the termination of their lease and staffing issues were among the reasons to shutter. Another issue though was the “ongoing problems with the neighborhood,” according to Williams' Facebook post. Hooker’s Sweet Treats is located in the Tenderloin at 442 Hyde St.

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"This past year has been the worst year," Williams told SFGATE. "It's unbelievable the amount of drug dealers that are around our block now, whereas back in the day when I opened, occasionally you would see one on our block. Now you see three, four, five of them. That's what pushed me more than anything."

Historically, the Tenderloin neighborhood has dealt with high crime and drug use. In a news conference in August, David Anderson, U.S. attorney for U.S. District Court in San Francisco, announced an initiative to arrest and charge drug dealers with a focus on the Tenderloin neighborhood, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“The Tenderloin has become a magnet for retail drug trafficking to an extraordinary degree,” Anderson said.

Hooker’s Sweet Treats is not the first business to tie a San Francisco neighborhood to its business closure. Max Young, former owner of the now-shuttered Mr. Smith’s nightclub located in Mid-Market, said that widespread drug use and dealings outside his business led to his own closure in August.

Williams also said other neighborhood issues like drug use and defecation outside his shop were other factors he considered when deciding to close.

"It's rather difficult to deal with day in and day out," Williams said. "A lot of customers complain that they love my product but they really don't like coming into the neighborhood."

Hooker's Sweet Treats has an online presence where they sell its products and that's something  Williams hopes to keep running. He has interest in selling the brand though.

"The main thing we're doing now is shutting down the cafe part, and we will stop production at some point. Obviously, we won't have a place to produce, but we're hoping to reset it after we close."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the owner's response.

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Susana Guerrero is an SFGATE digital reporter. Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @SusyGuerrero3