San Francisco

Community Mourns Loss of Popular San Francisco Grocer Killed in Hit-and-Run

Police are looking for a silver sedan with damage to the front end and windshield

Konstantinos "Gus" Vardakastanis, 56, a popular San Francisco grocer, was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run crash early Friday morning in San Francisco, the coroner's office said.

The collision was first reported at 2:17 a.m. at the intersection of Jerrold Avenue and Toland Street, according to the San Francisco Police Department. Vardakastanis was struck when crossing the road and died at the scene, police said.

"I am truly saddened by the death of Gus Vardakastanis, a beloved member of the Haight-Ashbury community and owner of the Haight Street Market," said London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

She continued: "My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the employees of the markets he owned throughout the city. He kept his prices affordable and was very committed to hiring locally, including those who needed a second chance. Gus was loved and he will be truly missed."

Vardakastanis and his family owned three stores, the Haight Street Market, Noriega Produce and Gus's Community Market, all in San Francisco, according to Michael Janis.

"We're all in mourning," said Janis, an employee at San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market. "He was a very important part of the fabric of the market and of the whole food community in San Francisco."

On Friday, customers, vendors and employees stopped by the victim's stores to pay their respects to Vardakastanis, who immigrated to the United States from Greece. 

"Everyone knew who he was," said customer Marcus Stoesz. "He seemed to take care of everyone ... He just kind of seemed to love this place and love every place that he owned."

The Police Department's Traffic Investigation Unit is investigating the collision. They're looking for a silver sedan with damage to the front end and windshield, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department's tip line at 415-575-4444.

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