SLO businessman Jim Copeland dead at 80

April 28, 2022

Jim Copeland


Jim Copeland, best known for constructing several large commercial projects in downtown San Luis Obispo, has died. He was 80 years old.

SLO Mayor Erica Stewart ordered all flags flown on city property to be lowered to half-staff until Sunday, in honor of Jim Copeland.

Jim Copeland and his younger brother Tom Copeland “made an indelible mark on San Luis Obispo, revitalizing downtown SLO by preserving historic buildings and creating new developments, including Hotel San Luis Obispo, Downtown Center, and Court Street,” according to a city press release.

Jim Copeland and his wife Sandy Copeland were long supporters of community health care, the arts, academia, and athletics and were founding sponsors of French Hospital’s Copeland, Forbes & Rossi Cardiac Care Center, Hearst Cancer Resource Center, and Copeland Health and Education Pavilion, according to the city.

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Nothing speaks to the corruption of local politics quite like lowering the flags for a dead developer. Especially, one who made his fortune on the backs of local small businesses and inherited wealth. It wasn’t that long ago that downtown was full of small businesses and locals were incensed that a Carl’s Jr had been put in place of Earthling Bookstore by Jim Copeland, who also built a Copelands Sports over the top of Santa Barbara’s Earthling Bookshop. I think Fanny Wrapers and Big Sky were the last non corporate shops downtown.

The Copelands–the greedy brothers who killed the downtown for small, independently owned stores. Why lower the flags? They did nothing for this town other than help themselves.

but the brother$ did $upport the right official$ during election$, and tho$e $ame official$ don’t want to ri$k Tom Copeland $topping hi$ $upport.

Certainly the Copelands made major contributions to SLO. However, flying flags at half-mast on city properties seems inappropriate given the Copeland’s shady history concerning the Dalido property: And, as much as many hated Ernie Dalido’s proposals for his property, were they worse than what we see rising on this property now?

The city was allowed to vote on what Ernie could do with his own property, and overwhelmingly said yes to his plans. Christine Mulholland took that decision to court, and had the city wishes cancelled. Pretty much, the only people who hated his proposal, was Mulholland, the Copelands, and the judge.

I remember shopping for athletic shoes at their original shoe store, well before they opened their first sporting goods store, jus a few doors up from Bello’s.

Passing of a real local legend in SLO business.