Every year the Washington City Paper conducts a reader poll to find out what the “Best of DC” is. Too often the readers poll ends up only identifying “The most patronized but not really that good” (Seriously, Ledo Pizza for best pizza? Come on.). So lets try to make sure some worthy Georgetown stores or restaurants don’t get overlooked.
So here’s GM’s quick list of Georgetown places he thinks rank among the best in DC in their respective categories. If you agree, go here and enter them in. If you have other ideas, throw them in the comments and try to get some votes headed their way.
There are a ton of categories, but GM’s being brutally honest by sticking to Georgetown places he truly thinks are the best in DC:
Photo by mewwhirl.
Last October, GM noticed that more and more clothing stores that catered primarily or exclusively to men were opening in Georgetown. The trend is continuing.
On top of the new Bonobos Guide Shop in Cady’s Alley, and the Billy Reid coming to the old Pizzeria Uno space comes a men’s barber called Roosters.
GM hears that such a shop is opening in one of the new buildings next to the Safeway. It’s part of a national chain. The website says it’s trying to bring back the stylish manly barber culture of the mid-20th century, but the site design reads more like 1990′s Geocities. Hopefully the local franchisee puts a bit more effort into the finishing touches.
Yesterday the BID announced the hiring of two exciting new hires. The first is Jonathon Kass as the BID’s new Transportation Director. He comes from the staff of Councilmember Tommy Wells, where he specialized on transportation issues. The second is Josh Hermias, who will be the BID’s new Economic Development Director. He comes most recently from Georgetown University, and before that worked in the District City Administrator’s office and at Brookings.
These hires are exciting for several reasons. This first is that they’re happening in the first place. It’s fantastic that the BID is seriously focusing on these two issues. Transportation and economic development are the two most significant challenges that the Georgetown business community faces over the next 10-20 years. Secondly, this is exciting because both Kass and Hermias bring such heft to the positions. Continue reading
Last year, the DC Council amended the liquor laws to allow liquor stores to open on Sundays. Finally this last vestige of an archaic Blue law would be removed and people could get some booze on the seventh day.
In January the city began accepting applications from stores wishing to open on Sundays. As of last week, fifty-nine such stores have applied, including Georgetown’s Wagner’s (and Glover Park’s Pearson’s too, if you prefer them). Continue reading
Photo by Vpickering.
Georgetown has lots of chain stores (although not quite as many as some think). These companies are willing to pay top dollar to open their store in a neighborhood with Georgetown’s cachet. This in turn drives up the rental costs for everyone, which makes it all that much tougher for non-chain stores to compete.
You’d expect that these stores are getting a big return on their investment here in Georgetown via sales. But you may be wrong. GM has heard that increasingly the business model for stores in expensive neighborhoods like Georgetown is shifting from the traditional retail model to a new one based around the concept of “showrooming”.
Showrooming is generally used to describe the increasingly common occurrence whereby a customer comes into a store, reviews the merchandise, and then goes back home and buys it cheaper from somewhere online. Companies like Best Buy view this (probably rightly) as a mortal threat. A Sony TV bought from a retail Best Buy is identical to one bought from Overstock.com. Once you’ve seen the product in person, unless you’ve got a Super Bowl party later that night, it probably makes sense to look for a better deal online.
GM noticed in the Old Georgetown Board agenda yesterday that a new tenant for the old Papa Razzi space has been identified: the Frye Company (GM should give credit to Dan Silverman for reporting this first, although Silverman was a bit more equivocal.)
Frye Company is a boot company that touts itself as the oldest continuously run shoe company in the United States. The boot styles tend towards western in style. Beyond boots, the company offers a wide range of (primarily leather) shoes. Continue reading
For all its quaintness, Georgetown is only ok when it comes to holiday decorations, particularly with the retail stores. True, most stores try to dress up a little, but it could be so much better with a bit more effort.
And the BID is trying to kick start that effort. Right now they’re running a contest for 15 stores to compete for the best holiday decoration. Apparently the contestants are limited to using only four pieces of material, which has lead to such entrants as a dress made of macaroons.
You’re supposed to vote by going to the BID’s Facebook page and “liking” the best window, but when GM checked last night there wasn’t anything on the Facebook page about the contest. So maybe they’re still working out the kinks. Continue reading
GM was using Google Maps the other day when he stumbled on a new feature: Business Photos. What this is is Google Maps normal Street View technology, which lets you see 360 degrees from the street, but from inside stores. Above you can navigate your way through Patisserie Poupon.
There seem to be a couple dozen stores throughout Georgetown that have signed up for this service. To find them follow these instructions.
1. Open Google Maps.
2. Move your mouse over to the little yellow man in the top left corner and click (and hold down the button):
3. Now drag the little yellow guy over to the street. The stores that have this feature will have a little orange dot:
4. Position him over one of those dots a release the button. It will drop you into the store. You can navigate around the store like you would on the street, and can even walk right out the door. (Alternatively, you can go from the street into the store). Continue reading
GM has learned of a few new retail developments. Nothing Earth-shattering, but some good news in it.
The first one is that something called Alex and Ani (+) Energy is moving into 3070 M St. This is apparently a “bangle bracelet” store. This seems to be more of the same for Georgetown (stores where young women spend their parents’ money). But this space is not huge so it’s not exactly a big opportunity loss.
The second is that Cady’s Alley is adding a Bonobo’s Guideshop. Bonobo’s is a primarily online retailer of men’s clothing. But they do have a couple brick and mortar stores (including one in Bethesda). This would be their sixth such store. Continue reading
Photo by Ulterior Epicure.
This is an entirely unscientific observation, but GM feels as if store closures seem to happen more often this time of year. And walking around over the weekend, he saw that if such a “closure season” does happen, it has been kicked off. Long time shops Leonidas and the Dog Shop are closing.
Both stores have come under increased competition recently. Hurting Leonidas, there has been a proliferation of ice cream and sweets stores opening in Georgetown over the past three years or so. For the Dog Shop, the introduction of the Petco shop under the Safeway surely hurt sales (not to mention the constant competition that the Internet brings). Continue reading