GM has written a lot about how so many cherished Georgetown landmarks have closed over the last couple years. Whether it’s Nathans, Furin’s, Bartleby Books, Garretts, the Guards, or Barnes and Noble, each has left a large hole.
But cheer up Georgetown! We’ve added future cherished landmarks at the same time. Just take these two examples:
Do you remember what the Georgetown Waterfront looked like ten years ago? It was this:
Photo by BeyondDC.
Now it’s this:
This is obviously a huge improvement! Ten, twenty years down the road we won’t even be able to imagine what it would be like to not have a beautiful waterfront park (which by then will be full of graceful mature trees).
And here’s the other: Stachowski’s. A couple years ago, could you imagine that a good old fashioned butcher shop would come to Georgetown, back in the neighborhood no less? It’s just the sort of thing residents pine for, yet never seems to materialize. Except in this case. Continue reading
Next week is National Small Business Week. It’s an even started by the Small Business Administration to celebrate small businesses across the country. The agency will run a conference all week on topics germane to small businesses. But registration is full and, besides, conferences a incredibly boring.
But that’s no reason not to celebrate! A better way to show your love of small businesses is to actually patronize them. So make a special effort next week to visit any of these small independent shops in Georgetown:
|P.O. Boxes Etc.
|First Cash Pawnbrokers Continue reading
Photo by allycat.
Good Leap Day Georgetown, here’s the latest:
GM knows the best way to get an early tip on what new stores are coming to the neighborhood is to get your hands on the Old Georgetown Board agenda. That’s because all new signage needs OGB approval, and the agenda normally lists what company is asking for the new sign.
And from this GM found out about a handful of random stores that apparently are coming to Georgetown. Here they are:
Well this one isn’t really news; we’ve known for a while that Jamie Stachowski was opening a butcher shop in the old Griffin Market space. But it’s always nice to see that a project you are excited about is still moving forward.
Apparently a Sunglass Hut is moving into 3251 M St. This is currently where Shoe Gallery is, between Chipotle and Havana Max. Not terribly exciting, GM realizes… Continue reading
For those that are more visually minded, here’s where all the openings (green), closings (red), and intra-Georgetown moves (blue) happened last year.
As discussed a few times over the last couple days, GM recently finished his annual survey of stores in Georgetown (again, just for reference sake, “stores” in this context means stores, restaurants, salons, etc.; basically any commercial space except pure office space). He’s sliced and diced the numbers and is ready to serve them up.
This year GM counted a total of 510 stores in Georgetown. This is a drop from the 527 he counted last year. As noted last week, this doesn’t mean Georgetown lost a net of 17 stores; it’s a bit worse than that. That’s because every year GM counts a few more stores that he overlooked in previous years.
When you just isolate out the openings and closings, the situation looks a lot worse. There were 78 closings in Georgetown in 2011. That compares with a total of 43 closings from the year before, and 47 the year before that. That’s a 81% increase in store closings. Put in context: 15% of stores open in February 2010 are now closed.
You might think that the gutting of the mall is causing this increase, but that’s not the whole story. Yes, 38 of the closings were in the mall (compared with only 16 the year before) but that still means that 40 non-mall stores closed. Last year only 27 non-mall stores closed. That’s a 48% increase.
The good news is that there was a corresponding increase in openings to somewhat offset this gloom. There were 43 openings in 2011. That compares with 30 the year before, and 22 the year before that. So that means there were almost twice the number of stores opening in 2011 than in 2009. That’s some good momentum.
But there are still more new vacancies now then there was a year ago, 35 to be exact (to make the total number of vacancies 117). That’s an increase in vacancies of almost 300% over last year’s 13 net loss. This increase probably can be mostly attributable to the mall. Thus the overall story is that the pace of turnover (i.e. old stores being replaced by new stores) increased from 2010 to 2011, but the spike in vacancies in the mall means the net losses are way up. Continue reading
This is the time of the year when GM goes out and does an audit on all the stores in Georgetown. He walks up and down all the streets and notes whether a store is still open, or if it closed, or if the space is still vacant, etc. And while there was a whole lot of activity in 2011, both on the openings and closings side, it turned out to be a net negative year for the neighborhood. GM will have a long post slicing and dicing the numbers next week, but here’s a preview.
In 2011, GM counted 530 stores in Georgetown. (For the purposes of this exercise, a “store” is a shop, restaurant, salon, etc. Basically any commercial establishment except purely office space). This year the total tally is 509. And the reduction of 21 stores is probably slightly worse than it sounds because every year GM adds some more shops to his list that he overlooked in previous years. In fact GM counted 96 closings and 40 openings, which would suggest a net loss of 56 stores, or 10.5%. It’s worth noting that the closings were highly concentrated in the mall. Continue reading
Tuesday night, GM moderated a discussion for the Citizens Association of Georgetown on the topic of the retail district of Georgetown, and in particular Wisconsin Ave. A lot of time was spent talking about what people would like to disappear in Georgetown, but only a little time was spent on what people would like to see come in.
There is a school of thought that says you should just accept what is as what is, and not try to change things (frequent commentor RNM is a big fan of this approach). And to a large extent, this is true. But it is not entirely and always true. As described Monday night, residents of the Logan Circle area lobbied Fresh Fields heavily to move into the location at 14th and P (Fresh Fields was eventually bought out by Whole Foods). Fresh Fields didn’t think that location would work, but was convinced after the residents’ campaign. Now it’s one of the most profitable locations in the chain. Continue reading
Wednesday night the Georgetown Business Association held a forum on economic development in Georgetown. It’s a topic that is much on the minds of business owners and residents alike.
The panel included representatives from across the Georgetown business spectrum and also Councilmembers Jack Evans and Vincent Orange. When asked what the city can do for Georgetown, Evans highlighted three things: keeping crime low, transportation, and taxes. Typically when Evans talks about taxes, he talks about keeping income taxes low in order to attract and keep high income residents, but on this occasion he focused on the effect of higher taxes on small businesses. He stated that 25-30% of the new top income tax rate for DC will hit small businesses (for what it’s worth GM’s never heard that stat before, and it doesn’t sound quite right to him).
Vincent Orange emphasized a DC law that requires DC agencies to spend 50% of their procurement budget on small businesses. He stated that right now 31 agencies are out of compliance. Orange also highlighted the DC Streetscape Relief Fund, which offers interest free loans to businesses affected by disruptive street construction, like that seen on H St. NE. Good initiatives both of them, but they’re not really going to help out Georgetown small retail shops much (although Karen Ohri of Georgetown Flooring pointed out that a lot of their business is for institutional clients, so stores like hers could benefit from the procurement law). Continue reading
Every once and awhile, GM remembers to get around to updating his “Aren’t They Building” list. And today is one of those onces in a while.
So here’s GM’s updates on the items that need updating:
-GM’s old predictions:
November 2010 spring 2011 Late summer 2011
-Clearly GM’s been wrong now three times on this project. But it really does look like it’s opening soon; so GM is going to say November, a full year after the first prediction.
Calvin Klein Underwear
-GM prediction: fall 2011
-GM was a bit too conservative, they opened a few months ago
-GM prediction: August 2011
-That one was about right.
Boutique Hotel on 31st St.
-GM prediction Late 2012
-They are now finally moving forward with this one, but don’t have a new announced date, but late 2012 still seems likely.
Georgetown Waterfront Phase II
-GM prediction: -
Late 2010 to early 2011 August 2011
- They were just one month later.
Developing Georgetown Post Office
2011 at the earliest Late 2012
-This project seems to have been a bit stymied. It’s still moving forward, but the procedure is just taking a lot longer. GM thinks this now won’t come on-line until 2013 at the earliest.
-GM prediction: Fall 2011
-This one was supposed to go into the Riccardi shop on M St., but last time GM checked, Riccardi hadn’t left yet. So it’s unlikely Billy Reid is coming in very soon.
-GM prediction: Winter 2011
-Another one GM was way too conservative on. This one’s been open for months. Continue reading