As previewed last week, GM has performed his annual census of stores and restaurants around Georgetown and is ready to present the State of Georgetown 2016:
Before going further, GM should insert his typical caveat. First, it’s important to know that it’s more of an art than a science. The term “shop” as used here refers to just about all commercial establishments: retail stores, restaurants, salons, gyms, etc. GM doesn’t count pure office space. The rule of thumb GM uses is if you can walk in without an appointment, it’s a shop. But again, sometimes it’s a close call. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
GM also has no capability to measure square footage or annual sales, etc. Check out the BID’s annual report for that sort of detail. This is more a pure head count.
That said, here we go:
This year GM counted 498 shops in Georgetown. That’s a tick down from last year’s 506, but that represents only a drop of 1.6%. And some of that is just noise from GM sometimes finding shops he missed the previous count (or realizing he may have over-counted the previous year). The numbers of pure closings and openings is this:
- Closings – 25
- Openings – 23
- Moves within Georgetown – 3
And, as mentioned on Friday, this year’s census comes only 10 months after last year’s tardy census. So it’s a slightly shorter review period.
These numbers would represent a fairly typical year for Georgetown. We add some, we lose some, but it’s mostly horizontal. At least a handful of these closings are for spaces that have already been “claimed” by incoming businesses. Next year they’ll be openings.
Chains vs. Independents
Despite the widely held belief that Georgetown has nothing but chain stores, the independent shops continue to dominant the head count. (Again, if we were to measure floorspace or gross revenue, obviously it would be a different picture). There are 329 independent shops in Georgetown and 169 chains. That works out to a 66% to 34% ratio. That’s the exact same ratio GM found last year and only a tad down from the high water mark GM recorded of 70% (that was taken when the mall, with its dozens of independent shops, was still open).
Of course, you have to get away from the few blocks around M and Wisconsin to find most of these independent shops. And a lot of them are salons and restaurants, but they’re there nonetheless.
Here is how the store variety in Georgetown breaks down:
It looks pretty much the same as last year. Restaurants and clothing stores still take almost half the spaces. Salons and interiors stores (i.e. antiques, furniture, home wares, etc.) take the next two largest bites.
Living in Georgetown, you’re always steps away from nearly 500 restaurants, stores, salons, markets, etc. Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how many and how diverse the offerings are. Hopefully this is a good reminder.