Category Archives: Retail

Marvelous Market Getting Revamped, Again

 

As GM mentioned last week, Carol Joynt has the scoop on yet another revamp of Georgetown’s Marvelous Market. She writes:

The Georgetown location of Marvelous Market will be “revamped,” [store-owner] Thompson says, adding that there are 10 to 15 years remaining on the lease. “We plan to do some different things with the menu. We’re looking at bringing in a salad station, a pizza station.” The location already has a wine license, and Thompson mentions also procuring a liquor license. “We’ve got some good ideas about what we could do with that property,” he says, including a “wine garden,” but “we are constrained by local ordinances.”

Marvelous Market seems to undergo these sorts of revamps every few years. GM distinctly remembers them having pizza some ways back. And a retread is probably not what this space needs.

But it is true that the space has a ton of potential if they could just find the right operator, which they are seeking. GM would love (love) to see Jamie Stachowski expand his butcher shop here. A true farmers market, like Smuckers Farms on 14th St., would also be welcome. So too would a wider selection of craft beer.  Continue reading

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What to Look Forward to in 2014

Despite sounding impossibly futuristic, 2014 is here. So what new things will come to Georgetown this year? While scarfing down the last of his Christmas cookies, GM put together this list of what he knows or thinks will arrive here this year. Add anything he missed in the comments!

Let’s Go Bowling

The Pinstripes bowling alley will be the first significant addition to the Georgetown neighborhood this year. It should be open by the end of January (the Concerts in the Park kick off party is scheduled to be there January 25th, so it definitely will be open by then).

Hopefully this will be an instantly popular venue for families. With a toddler with a winter birthday, GM expects to host at least a few of his daughter’s birthday’s here someday.

Filling in the Mall

Beyond Pinstripes, there are several large vacant spaces in the mall. This includes a space along M St. and at least one other restaurant venue (on the southwest corner). GM expects most of this space to be either filled or at least claimed by the end of the year.

Given the short term investment plan the mall’s owner (Angelo Gordon) typically has, GM suspects that the property will be back on the market either this year or next. Continue reading

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Georgetown a Foodie Desert?

Photo by Gina Jones.

The sad closure of Cannon’s got GM thinking: is Georgetown a foodie desert? In other words, does Georgetown lack a strong gourmet food culture?

Part of what makes a gourmet food culture includes restaurants. And there’s obviously a very old debate about the aggregate quality of Georgetown restaurants. Yes, it is weighed down with a lot of tourist-oriented restaurants. And some of the finer dining options are sometimes accused of resting on their decades old laurels. But a lot of it is just perception. For instance, in GM’s opinion a restaurant like Capitol Prague would get much more press if it were open on 14th St.

But what GM wants to discuss more is not the food that people buy at Georgetown restaurants, but rather the food they make in their own homes.

Now, GM obviously has no idea the quality of food that gets made every night in the neighborhood. But what he can see is that there’s not much retail in the neighborhood that caters to homemade gourmet cooking.

With Cannon’s gone, the only shop in Georgetown that sells unprepared food is Stachowski’s. Sure, there’s also Dean and Deluca, but they’ve basically eliminated their produce, meat and fish sections. Now it’s almost entirely prepared foods. Continue reading

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Cannons to Close, Ending an Era

1200 block of 31st St.

 

Ever since Cannons Seafood closed for unspecified medical problems a few months ago, GM has heard rumors that the closure wasn’t temporary but permanent. Sadly, Carol Joynt verified the rumor yesterday. She writes on her Washingtonian blog:

Bobby Moore contacted Washingtonian to announce he’s decided to close the business for good and lease the space to his 31st Street next-door neighbor, Il Canale Italian restaurant…Moore, 47, says the “medical reasons” are simple wear and tear on his body…He says he sat down to discuss it with his family recently, and they decided to “close [the restaurant] altogether.”

This is a sad day for Georgetown. Moore’s family has owned and run Cannon’s since it opened in 1937. After a time operating at the old Georgetown Market (now occupied by Dean and Deluca), Moore’s father bought the current building on 31st St. in 1966. So with the store’s closure, Georgetown is not just losing its only fish monger, it’s losing one of its last long-term family owned businesses. (The only ones left that GM can think of are the resilient Phoenix, owned and run by Betsy and Bill Hays since 1955 and Martin’s, owned and operated by the Martin family since 1933.) Continue reading

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Some New Shops Announced

Georgetown Retail Openings off to Good Start

 

GM previewed the ANC meeting yesterday, but there were a few tidbits about new stores that didn’t make it in. Plus, GM is aware of some other openings. So here’s a brief roundup:

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop

GM mentioned this hipster hat shop last week, but now he knows the address: 1214 Wisconsin Ave. (the former location of Aerosoles). It’s a small little shop that hasn’t had a particularly attractive store front for a while. Hopefully the Goorin Bros. will spiff it up a bit.

Amina Rubinacci

Some store called Amina Rubinacci is apparently moving into 2822 Pennsylvania Ave., which previously housed Lorenzo Donna. It appears to be a women’s clothing shop, but GM is not certain of that. Continue reading

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Georgetown as a Business Incubator

Georgetown Cupcakery's Line

 

Sometimes when you get too focused on the influx of large national chains into Georgetown, it’s easy to overlook how much Georgetown has served as a successful business incubator over the years.

The most obvious recent example is, of course, Georgetown Cupcake. Started in a small shop on Potomac St. in 2008, the company is now an indestructible national force. But it’s not the only business to make a splash after getting its first foothold in Georgetown.

Sweet Green was founded by some young Georgetown grads just a few months before and located in an old Little Tavern just two blocks west. Unlike the publicity-seeking Georgetown Cupcake, Sweet Green has quietly grown to 20 locations from here to Boston.

Dolcezza is another Georgetown-born success story. They still make quarts and quarts of the region’s best gelato in the basement of their Wisconsin Ave. location. (The production will soon shift to the ultra-hip Union Market, at which point, sadly, they possibly might close the Georgetown location.) Continue reading

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How Can This Place Stay Vacant For More Than Five Minutes?


Photo from Yelp.

The space that recently contained RedFire Grill Kabob is vacant. And it has been vacant for months, which is months more than the five minutes it should have taken to find a replacement tenant.

Why? Because look across the street:

Continue reading

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Bit of the Eastern Shore Coming to Georgetown

IMG_2467[1]

 

Recently, Tugooh Toys moved its shop from 1319 Wisconsin up to 1355 Wisconsin Ave. because their lease ran out and a new lease would be too expensive. A sign has gone up in the old space announcing the future tenant: American/Holiday, a homegoods store from St. Michael’s on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

There’s not a lot of information publicly available about the store other than its Facebook page. A Yelp page on the St. Michael’s shop offers this bit of information:

This place just opened a few months ago, and I am so glad it did! The shop is chic, tasteful, and AFFORDABLE, with a great variety of home goods, gifts, and a small selection of women’s clothing. The St. Michael’s location is the flagship for the owners (who are from Washington, D.C.), being just ahead of a new Georgetown spot opening soon. American Holiday is a must see! Continue reading

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The BID’s State of Georgetown

Every February, GM performs a census of commercial stores in Georgetown, tracking what opened, what closed, and what moved. He does this by simply walking up and down the streets (why he chose the coldest moth to do this outdoor exercise, who knows). Some interesting data comes out of this annual report.

Well the BID just release a report on the state of Georgetown that blows GM’s completely out of the water. It was produced by the recently expanded staff at the BID in part to facilitate the Georgetown 2028 process. GM has only started to absorb it, but it is an incredibly dense report with data GM could only dream about pulling together. And it’s beautifully presented as well.

The report is embedded below, but here are some interesting findings:

  • There are almost 11,500 jobs in the Georgetown commercial district, with another 10,000 jobs at GU and the hospital. This results in a job density of about 60,000 per square mile, or about what you see in Dupont Circle or the Rosslyn-Balston corridor.
  • About a third of the jobs are office workers, a little less than a third work in hotels or restaurants, and about 14% work in retail.
  • There are 461 buildings along M and Wisconsin, comprising over 2.2 million square feet of rentable space.
  • There are only 5 LEED certified spaces in Georgetown, compared with 349 for the rest of DC.
  • The waterfront ice rink attracted 45,000 skaters last winter, twice the forecast.

GM could go on, but take a look yourself. It’s awesome, and the staff of the BID, particularly Josh Hermias the Economic Development Director, should be congratulated:

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Georgetown 2028

What will Georgetown look like in 2028? More importantly, what do you want it to look like? Wider sidewalks? Easier parking? More restaurants? Better transit? You may soon have the opportunity to answer those questions, and actually have an impact.

Yesterday the Georgetown BID announced an ambitious new effort dubbed “Georgetown 2028″. The project is designed to take a deep look at what the neighborhood needs to do over the next fifteen years to face the challenges of a city growing and changing at an incredibly fast pace.

From the project’s website:

Future Georgetown must compete against new and “coming soon” commercial areas in the District and nearby areas so it remains home to fine dining, distinct retail opportunities, great hotels, and major businesses. Future Georgetown must have the transportation strategies and system to efficiently move people in, out and around. Future Georgetown, as a riverfront neighborhood, must have the forethought to protect itself from the impacts of a changing climate, including rising water levels. It must understand its future infrastructure needs and decide how it wants its public infrastructure to be designed, used, and managed. And finally, future Georgetown will need to manage all these issues as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The effort is a breathtakingly broad look at all the changes that need to be made to the physical and business environment in Georgetown. The project is organized around a task force of business, educational, governmental, and residential representatives (full disclosure: GM is on the task force representing the Citizens Association of Georgetown). Supporting the task force are three working groups addressing, respectively, transportation challenges, economic development, and the public space. Those topics give you a good sense for what sort of broad-based topics the project will consider.

And the project is also very wide-open in terms of solutions. And consistent with that, the project is seeking input from the public. There will be a community engagement meeting on June 13th at 1055 Thomas Jefferson St. at 5:30 to 8:00. There will be a second community engagement meeting in September.

But the input isn’t limited to community meetings. The project has already set up a community engagement website, which allows you to log in and offers your thoughts on what you want to see change about Georgetown over the next 15 years. There’s even a rewards program! Build up 150 points by logging in, referring a friend, and contributing enough ideas and you win a lunch with the BID CEO Joe Sternlieb, during which you can share your thoughts on Georgetown and what ideas you have to make it better.

Basically this is exactly the sort of comprehensive and ambitious planning effort that GM has been calling for for years. GM is absolutely thrilled that it is finally happening, and he’s honored to be taking part.

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