The State of Georgetown 2017

The State of Georgetown

As previewed yesterday, GM has performed his annual census of stores and restaurants around Georgetown and is ready to present the State of Georgetown 2017:

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:

Overall Picture

This year GM counted 512 shops in Georgetown. That’s a slight increase of last year’s count of 498. As described yesterday, the numbers of pure closings and openings is this:

  • Closings – 36
  • Openings – 30
  • Moves within Georgetown – 6

And, as mentioned yesterday, this year’s census comes 14 months after last year’s census. So the increase in openings and closings over last year is partially explained by the longer period. Both this year and last year are pretty slow in terms of openings and closings compared with some previous years. For instance, 2015 had 43 openings and 51 closings. 2014 had 42 openings and 32 closings. So things have appeared to have stabilized. (They’re so stable that GM simply took last year’s article and only had to make a handful of adjustments for this year.)

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 339 independent shops in Georgetown and 173 chains. That works out to a 66% to 34% ratio. That’s the exact same ratio GM found last year (and the year before) 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.

Store Variety

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 over 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.

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