The State of Georgetown: 2010

In one of his earliest posts, GM documented all the stores in Georgetown that are on M St., Wisconsin Ave., or just off these two corridors. The study was inspired by an article by the great Marc Fisher lamenting the “generification” of Georgetown.

The results demonstrated that while there are a lot of chains in Georgetown, there are even more independent stores. A lot more. As of December 2008, of the 427 stores in Georgetown, almost 70% were independent stores.

So what does the picture look like a year later? Pretty much the exact same. [Click here to download the complete list of establishments].

Overall Numbers:

Two weeks ago, GM walked the streets again cataloging every store, restaurant, bar, etc. Here are the overall numbers:

Total Establishments: 443

Total Independents: 308 (69.53%)

Total Chains: 122 (27.54%)

Total Regional Chains (e.g., Five Guys): 13 (2.93%)

(While as discussed below, there were openings in 2009, not all the disparity between 2010’s totals and 2009’s totals can be explained by new establishments. GM was simply a bit more diligent about tallying them all this year.)

For the visually minded, here’s what Georgetown looks like in pie form:

(Now GM will take another moment to explain that this is a survey of the number of establishments. It is not an analysis of square footage. Thus one Barnes and Noble equals one Bartleby Books. It’s not perfect, but you can make arguments either way as to what matters more, the variety of individual stores or the variety of overall square footage. It’s a moot point, either way, since GM has no way to measure square footage with any semblance of accuracy.)

Variety of Store Type:

So what is the variety of offerings in Georgetown? As it was last year, Georgetown is still (unsurprisingly) dominated by restaurants and clothing stores:

While some lament the dominance of clothing stores and restaurants, the fact remains that nearly half of all individual retail spaces in Georgetown are occupied by establishments offering something other than clothing and food. You can find just about anything you want in Georgetown, you just have to look hard enough to find it.

Who Opened and Who Closed:

According to GM’s observations, 47 establishments closed in 2009. That represents about 10% of the number of establishments that were open at the beginning of 2009. Put another way, at the beginning of 2009 one out of ten establishments would not live to see 2010.

However, this number is a bit misleading. A lot of the closings were concentrated in the Georgetown Mall. Specifically, 20 establishments closed in the mall this year. That represents about 23% of the establishments that were open in the mall at the beginning of 2009.

When you only consider non-mall establishments, there were 27 closings in 2009. That only represents 6.85% of establishments. Thus, if you owned a store in the mall you were about three times more likely to shut down last year than if you owned a store on the street.

While independents took a bigger hit in pure numbers than chains did (35 independents vs. 12 chains), the percentages line up almost exactly the same. Of the chains open at the beginning of 2009, 9.3% closed; of the independents, 10.5% closed.

On the bright side, 22 new establishments opened up in 2009. The new establishments break down exactly half-and-half between independent and chain.

Five stores moved within Georgetown this year. Of those three are independent (Georgetown Cupcake, Bobbie Medlin, and Gore Dean) and two are chains (White House/Black Market and Diesel). [Note: White House/Black Market only sort of counts. It’s owned by the same company that owns Chico’s. That company decided to upgrade the Chico’s on M St. to White House/Black Market and close the White House/Black Market store they had in the mall].


Last year GM determined that the ratio of independent establishments was even higher when considering only Wisconsin Ave. This reflects the concentration of independent boutiques at the top of Wisconsin Ave.

That observation remains true. As of 2010 Wisconsin Ave. is 75% independent while M St. is only 64% independent.

At the very heart of Georgetown the independent numbers fall even more. Only 46% of the stores and restaurants within one block of Wisconsin and M St. are independent. Still though, those independent numbers are pretty high considering that Wisconsin and M is the densest concentration of chains in all of Georgetown.


While GM has thrown just about every possible stat at you over the preceding paragraphs, none is quite so salient as the very first one: 443. There are four hundred as forty-three stores and restaurants in Georgetown. That is a remarkable number. Particularly so when you consider that almost 70% of those establishments exist only in Georgetown.

While we must always be on guard against the threat of “generification” the fact remains that the state of Georgetown is strong.



Filed under Stores of Georgetown, Uncategorized

10 responses to “The State of Georgetown: 2010

  1. Pingback: All the Closings and Openings from 2009 «

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  3. af

    As owner of one of the independent shops just off Wisconsin – and a Georgetown resident who loves having local shops in the neighborhhood – I hate to report that my G’town branch will surely be one of the exit stats this year.

    I’ve stubornly held on for 9 yrs, thinking things would turn around – but it just keeps getting worse. Georgetowners don’t support their own (where do they shop? dunno-) and not enough influx (due to traffic, parking, crime…) to stay afloat.
    Love your blog!

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