What could possibly cause a native Sacramento resident with a thriving business, beautiful home, and many local friends and family, to close the business, sell his home and move to Texas?
Mark Snyder is the owner of William Glen, “Sacramento’s best Kitchen and Gift store. Family owned and operated since 1963!” Snyder is the son of the original co-founder Bill Snyder, who together with Glen Forbes opened a small 500 square foot decorator studio in 1963.
Mark Snyder said in a Globe interview that they grew the business into a 50,000 square foot beautiful, high quality home goods emporium, “a collection of family owned and operated stores that focus on quality, value and style. From Christmas to Kitchen, we excel.”
Known over the years for beautiful gifts (Lalique crystal), high-end yet practical kitchen cookware, bridal registry, holiday collectables and trimmings, electrical appliances, kitchen linens, and much more, William Glen was the go-to home goods emporium in the region.
Not long after Bill Snyder passed away in 2010, Mark Snyder and his sister Amy Guthrie found themselves in a snafu with Snyder’s spouse. The original location eventually closed and the siblings reopened William Glen in a new Sacramento location, which remained a brick and mortar store until February 2020, when Gov. Gavin Newsom locked down the state over the coronavirus.
Snyder and Guthrie had also opened a successful sister store, Christmas & Company and Chef’s Mercantile in Old Sacramento in 2010 following their father’s death. Guthrie then opened her own home staging business.
Snyder has also had an online store for 16 years, which he said never overtook the physical store sales. But four years ago Snyder started to notice an uptick in online sales.
With Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide lockdown of all “non-essential” businesses in March 2020, Snyder said he was forced to lay off all of his employees. Snyder went to the Old Sacramento store daily, and ended up doing the daily online order fulfillment, which grew significantly.
But Mark Snyder has been vocal about the huge increase in crime, theft and shoplifting, vandalism, homeless drug addicts, violence and harassment to his stores as well as to all of the Old Sacramento merchants. “Old Town is the homeless freeway,” Snyder said. “We’ve been here fighting this fight for 11 years with other merchants.”
“It’s been interesting watching the degradation of life in Old Sacramento, Sacramento and the State of California,” Snyder said, who was born and raised in Sacramento. “It’s just become hopeless. Is Sacramento and California in a post-hope period?” he asked. “It is when you live in a one-party state.”
Snyder noted, “Private industry and churches are the most effective at dealing with them [homeless].” The Globe had a lengthy discussion with him about the many private organizations in Sacramento successful with dealing with the drug and mental health issues the homeless suffer, including Loaves and Fishes, which Snyder said his father helped support for decades.
Snyder says he’s constantly battling broken bottles, drug paraphernalia, localized fires, bicycle gangs, motorcycle gangs, and drug addicted homeless vagrants ravaging the city and Old Sacramento. Snyder said the Sacramento Downtown Partnership has been working tirelessly to assist businesses, and trying to keep downtown clean and safe, but to no avail. The downtown homeless epidemic is bigger than even pro-business groups, which need City Council support.
And it’s only gotten worse, not better, which led to Snyder making the decision to leave California.
Snyder is moving to Weatherford, Texas, just outside of Fort Worth, population 37,000. He already opened a 6,000 square foot fulfillment center there.
“Do I stay and fight? How long do I put off my dreams and what matters?” Snyder asked. “I’d pay higher taxes if we got more for our high taxes – like good schools and highways. But not in Sacramento or California.”
“Texas has a part time Legislature,” Snyder noted. “California has the full time Legislature, as well as too many laws. We need to get back in California to fewer laws and part time lawmakers. And anything they do with preferential treatment: LGBT, race, gender, sex, needs to stop. No preferential treatment.” Notably Mark Snyder is openly gay, and a Conservative Republican, so he knows what he is talking about.
As for his own native city of Sacramento, Snyder said, “City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela doesn’t realize just what the entrepreneurs have to do to keep it together,” especially in the face of the governor’s lockdowns, draconian local and state regulations, the anti-police movement, and the City Council and Mayor, totally ineffective in dealing with the homeless, he explained.
“Katie Valenzuela sees herself as the AOC of the West Coast – as if she cares about workers,” Snyder added.
These are quality of life issues, Snyder said. “We usually see 20% local and 80% tourist clientele,” Snyder said. “Last year it was zero tourists.” He said if tourists have to deal with the drug addled homeless vagrants in Old Town Sacramento, “it is off-putting to our customers.”
“The silencing of conservatives, especially here in California, is just terrible,” Snyder said. “The Republican Party has become the Party of the worker and the working class. But the California GOP needs to be focused on fighting the culture war, especially in California.”
Snyder described how careful Californians have to be in their daily speech. “We are being targeted and made to feel uncomfortable. It’s the intimidation factor,” he said.
Snyder has many Eastern European friends who have been warning of “California’s goose-stepping march toward Communism.”
“How do we educate the young?” he asked. “The totalitarianism is on the left, entirely. The left has to put everyone in a box and pit them against each other.”
Snyder described “the sociopolitical shift in our country when people are moving where they are alike.”
“We as Conservatives build to leave something to our families and communities,” Snyder said. “The disregard for independent business communities and companies – they think we’ll always be here.”
“Capitalism is a machine with a heart,” Mark Snyder said. “Leftism is a steam roller.”
Read all of the Globe’s Leaving California articles here.