What Would Be Your Heartbreaker?

Stores close in Georgetown all the time. When you have a retail district of over 500 stores and restaurants, even a very low failure rate would still result in a dozen or so closings a year. But GM has noticed that over the last six months or so, the closings have been more notable. Whether it’s Commander Salamander closing in January after 30 years, the Bonino-era Griffin Market closing in February, or Garrett’s closing after more than 30 years just last week, each has been a big loss.

And maybe they’re such a loss that it just broke your heart for Georgetown. GM felt that way as Nathans closed, and he’s still sad about it. But what about you? What stores or restaurants are open now, but whose closing would just truly break your heart, and just turn you off the neighborhood, at least for a while?

One that comes to mind is Furin’s. Last week, commenter “Retail Ninja” (who’s been a great source of info) brought the unwelcome news that the Furins had sold their building and would be closing. Frankly, GM is too afraid that the rumor may be true to check up on it (ignorance being bliss, and all), but it is true that the building just changed owners. This would be a serious body-blow to the neighborhood.

What other places make you feel like that?


Filed under Stores of Georgetown

19 responses to “What Would Be Your Heartbreaker?

  1. Retail Ninja

    …if we were to lose more places that provide for ‘lingering’ experiences, places where you can sit, see and take in the essence of Georgetown….Martin’s, Clyde’s, Peacock Cafe, Booeymonger, Bistro Francais…..the outdoor seating/ promenade adjacent to Dean & Deluca…..

  2. Jacques

    For various reasons, these would be a huge bummer:
    – The Tombs
    – Booeymongers
    – Thomas Sweet
    – Martins

    And while it’s a national chain (in a hard-times industry), I think losing Barnes & Noble would be a big hit, especially after so many local spots for books and music have closed up over the years. (I still miss Olsson’s when I walk down that stretch of Wisconsin).

  3. GeorgeM

    At this point, most of the “heartbreaker” stores are already gone (including Neam’s, Britches, French Market, Olsson’s, Au Croissant Chaud and many others) , The few remaining ones would include Booeymonger’s, Georgetown Tobacco (if only for the nostalgia factor), Furin’s, La Chaumiere, Cafe La Ruche and a newer addition: Baked and Wired.

  4. Jonathan

    No!! I can’t believe Furin’s is closing!! That leaves a serious hole for a family luncheonette/diner. Where will George Will eat his lunch??

  5. Georgetown would not be the same if it lost the 1789 Restaurant, Cafe Milano, the Old Print Gallery, Georgetown Antiques, Snyder Realty, Clyde’s, J. Paul’s, Martin’s Tavern, Chadwick’s, Appalachian Spring, Morgan’s Pharmacy, Georgetown Tobacco or Parrish Gallery. The Georgetown Inn is also a big part of our history, now 50 years old.

    I miss Little Caledonia, Reed Electric, Michael Piano, the French Market (and the three Muskateers), Doc Dalinsky’s Drugstore, People’s Drugstore (what the hell is CVS?), Britches of Georgetowne (Since 1968), Dorothy Stead’s, Dorcas Hardin’s, Neam’s Market, the Food Mart (at 31st and M), and The Old Stone House (the way it used to be when Rae Koch ran the place), Harold’s Deli, and Nathans (when Howard Joynt was at the helm).

  6. TJ

    How about Tramps!

  7. Cynthia Anthony

    Biggests heartbreaks for me were Little Caledonia, Dumbarton Pharmacy, and Olsson’s. And the little office supplies store that was next to Dumbarton Pharmacy for a few years, And I have to say, I really miss Staples; yes, it’s a chain, but an extremely useful one. Now, I would deeply miss Morgan’s Pharmacy, Scheele’s Market, Martin’s Tavern, La Chaumiere, The Dog Shop just above Wisconsin and Q, and The Phoenix.

  8. Retail Ninja

    …sad to say that Barne’s and Noble is not renewing its lease…not sure when, but I think they are gone within the year…..

  9. RNM

    Things change…some businesses don’t survive due to poor management, poor economy, faltering business model, changing demographics, etc…change is the only constant. Barnes & Noble (the company) was only purchased because of the value of its Nook as a competitor to the Ipad, it will most likely join Borders as a dead chain. Does anyone still buy books at a bricks and mortar store? You know they are generally cheaper online, and many are available in Ebook format.

    I wonder if the people doing carriage repair (one used to be at the corner of Prospect and Wisconsin if memory is correct from an old book I read) and shodding horses complained as their industries died too? They probably did. People tend to romanticize the past and fear the future. Keep in mind that the Georgetown of today and all the shops people love are a far cry from the Georgetown of 50 years ago or 100 years ago or 150 years ago and the businesses that filled our neighborhood. Anyone want to bring back the animal rendering plant that operated on K and 33rd streets into the 1970s? I hear the smell was awful, but would be great to get a fresh cut of meat. Anyhow, as Bob Dylan (who changed his own name) sang, the times they are a changing.

  10. PK

    I want to know who the retail ninja is and does he/she have their own blog? The updates are fantastic! Also, spoke to Spike on Saturday and he said the rumors are true – he’s coming to Georgetown but he has not signed the lease yet.

  11. Carol Joynt

    Losing Furin’s would be a BIG heartbreak. The biggest.

  12. John Paul

    I’m stuck on the above comments about Furin’s and Barnes and Noble closing. Please someone say that this is not the case.

  13. Pingback: Neighborhood News Roundup: A Heartbreaking Loss Edition - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  14. GeorgeM

    Earlier in the chain, I listed Furin’s as a heartbreaker (if it ever left). I think Jonathan thought I meant it was already on its way out. I don’t think (and hope) that is the case.

    I think my favorite decade in Georgetown in the last 40+ years was the 1980’s. By that time Georgetown had largely purged itself of the rougher elements (especially some of the biker bars along M Street) and was a great mix of independent stores, bars, movie theaters and restaurants where residents actually wanted to patronize. And you probably knew the owners on a first-name basis. By the early 1990’s Starbucks, Subway, the big chain drugstores and the big apparel chains set their sights on our neighborhood. And the rest is history. And tragedy.

  15. Carol Joynt

    Furin’s is closing before the end of July. I will be crying in lots of pancakes.

  16. Alison

    To RNM – I still buy books in a brick and mortar store! In fact, one of my favorite ways to wile away a Sunday afternoon is wandering through a book store, be it used or new, and picking out one or two to bring home. It’s a deliciously relaxing pasttime, and I know many people who will be very, very sad to see the Barnes and Noble in Georgetown leave, if it doesn’t renew its lease.

  17. Tommy

    Also the Baker furniture store on M is closing

  18. Alli

    To Alison, we share a name and apparently a Sunday afternoon pasttime. I do try to frequent locally-owned and operated stores, but I do love that Barnes & Noble. I’ll buy a book or magazine then wander down to Baked & Wired for a coffee and/or a cupcake.

    I moved to Georgetown in 2006 so I can’t relate to many of the places that have been mentioned here, but even I have seen a change in the past five years. I appreciate Georgetown for its high-end (and oftentime chain) stores, but I hate to see longtime standbys close their doors.

  19. Pingback: What’s Your Heartbreaker, Vol. II | The Georgetown Metropolitan

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