Category Archives: Stores of Georgetown

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? Continue reading


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All the Stores in Georgetown – 2011

Tuesday, GM reported on his annual survey of stores in Georgetown. Today, he thought people might be interested in actually seeing that list of 527 stores (actually, make that 530, since GM realized he left out Village Hair Design, the Ralls Collection, and [blush] Scheele’s Market).

So here you go:

Safeway Supermarket
Verizon Electronics
Acqua Nails Salon
Unleashed Pets
Café Divan Restaurant
Animal Hospital Pets
Talio Hair Salon
First Cash Pawnbroker Pawn
Duron Paint
Einstein Bagels Restaurant
Starbucks Restaurant
Ledos Restaurant
Baytok Clothing
Everards Clothing
Sky Shoes Clothing
R&G Pop Up Shop Antiques
Harmony Salon Clothing
Bistrot Lepic Restaurant
P.O. Boxes Etc. Mail
Carine’s Bridal Clothing
H.A. Gill Realtors Realtor
ReMax Realtor
Miller & Arney Antiques
Adams Bank Bank
Casbah Café Restaurant Continue reading


Filed under Stores of Georgetown

The State of Georgetown 2011

Photo by twofivesevenzero.

Every January, GM walks up and down the streets of Georgetown updating his database of the stores of Georgetown. He started this two years ago by simply scribbling down on a notepad every establishment on M and Wisconsin. Last year, working from an established list GM could take the time to expand the scope a little more and make sure to get all the stores on Wisconsin and M as well as those just off. Well this year GM went whole hog. He gathered a list of every single establishment in Georgetown. From Le Petite Corner Store to Jean Pierre to Tony and Joes to Jack’s Boathouse.

And what’s the grand total? (drum role) 527. That adds exactly 100 stores over last year’s tally (that doesn’t mean there are 100 new stores, of course, it just means GM counted 100 more. Some are new, some were just off GM’s scope last year).

Here’s how those numbers break down:

Independents Vs. Chains:

GM first started surveying stores in Georgetown to get a sense of just how many stores are independent and how many are chains. The first set of numbers surprised GM. Of the establishments on Wisconsin and M, 70% were independent. Last year’s survey found almost identical results.

As of today and including all establishments, the number is a tad higher: 73%. That makes sense, since a lot of the new stores that GM captured are off of the main drag and thus more likely to be independent.

Chains represent 26% of establishments. The last percentage or so are regional chains (e.g. Five Guys).

As he’s done in the past, this year GM again took at look at how those percentages look like when one considers only stores within one block of Wisconsin and M. Not surprisingly, the chain percentage goes up. However, as in past years, they still can’t crack 50%. Right now, chains make up only 41% of establishments within one block of M and Wisconsin. Continue reading


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All the Closings and Openings from 2009

As a follow up to Tuesday’s survey of Georgetown shops, GM wanted to publish a complete list of all the stores and restaurants that closed and opened in Georgetown in 2009:

The dearly departed:

  • Curry Club
  • Linen Press
  • District Fine Arts
  • Georgetown Electrolysis
  • Tabar
  • Bella Mama
  • Gala
  • Custom Tailors
  • Stitch DC
  • RRL
  • Countrywide
  • Tip Top Cleaners
  • Sprint
  • Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory
  • Lumas
  • Linge Roset (Supposedly going to reopen in Georgetown, but for now GM will continue to call it closed.)
  • Modern Lounge (Still open) Continue reading


Filed under Stores of Georgetown

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:

Continue reading


Filed under Stores of Georgetown, Uncategorized

BID Sticks With a Good Thing

Click here to find out more!

GM has given the BID a hard time in the past about its website. For the $30,000 it has budgeted for the website, it lacks a good deal of sparkle. In fact, GM has heard it unfavorably compared to one of those fake websites domain name-squatters set up. That’s a bit harsh, but compared with Alexandria’s site, well, there is no comparison:

Continue reading

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Retail Tenants Finally Gaining the Upper Hand?

Well probably not, but there was an interesting article in the New York Times yesterday discussing the fact that with the economic downturn, a lot of smaller retail shops who would have otherwise been cast aside for higher paying tenants are able to negotiate acceptable terms with their landlords. Does this describe Georgetown as well?

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More From That Survey

After posting that chart listing all the businesses in Georgetown that are on either Wisconsin or M (or just off either), GM realized there were some errors in the chart that needed the be corrected:

  1. The Georgetown Mall’s shops were added
  2. Several stores were left off simply by mistake
  3. The Beatles song is “Baby’s Got Me Locked up in Chains” not “Wrapped”.

With these revisions, the overall stats are not really different (the Georgetown Mall actually has many independent shops, although that may change with Lanier’s Bloomingdale’s proposal). Here is some of the revised data, with some further breakdown:


Independents        298      69.79%

Chains                     117      27.40%

Regional Chains     12        2.81%



Independents        155      77.11%

Chains                      36        17.91%

Regional Chains     10        4.98%


M St.              

Independents         143      63.27%

Chains                      81        35.84%

Regional Chains     2          0.88%


Within One Block of Wis. & M St.

Independents         39        45.88%

Chains                      45        52.94%

Regional Chains      1          1.18%



Independents         76        74.51%

Chain                        21        20.59%

Regional Chain        5          4.90%



Independents         72        59.50%

Chain                        49        40.50%

Regional Chain        0          0.00%



Independents         25        96.15%

Chain                        1          3.85%

Regional Chain        0          0.00%


The revised chart is available here. Please feel free to review it and offer corrections. Whether something is a “chain” or an “independent” or a “regional chain” is not a scientific distinction, so feel free to weigh in.

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Baby’s Got Me Locked Up in Chains

The inimitable Marc Fisher wrote a heartfelt piece the other day about the plight of Carol Joynt, her Nathan’s Restaurant, and the overall non-generic nature of Georgetown. Mr. Fisher writes:

All around Georgetown and other retail areas, struggling merchants scramble for relief, landlords sniff around for tenants with deeper pockets, and banks are holding back on loans — making it even tougher for small, locally owned businesses to survive and accelerating the trend toward the malling of America, the takeover of retail space by national chains.

GM is a huge fan of Nathan’s and eats brunch there at least twice a month. It would be heartbreaking to see the southeast corner of Wisconsin and M be occupied by anything but Nathan’s. Furthermore, there has been an increase in national chains in Georgetown, and there is a risk that our commercial district will slip ever more into an outdoor mall.


It’s important to understand what assets Georgetown still has with regards to independent shops. GM conducted an painstaking survey of every shop along the entireties of M and Wisconsin (and a handful of shops just off these thoroughfares). The results are somewhat surprising.

Georgetown is still overwhelmingly populated by non-chain stores.

There are 348 stores in the survey area. 244 of those stores are independent shops. An additional 11 can be categorized as “local chains” (e.g. Five Guys). Only 93 stores are chains.

That means that 70% of all stores in Georgetown are independent. Broken down by geography: 77% of the stores along Wisconsin are independent; however, only 60% of the stores along M are independent.

The most telling statistic: Within one block of M and Wisconsin, only 45% of stores are independents. That’s where Nathan’s is, and that’s what Marc Fisher senses. At the central core, Georgetown’s business district has become increasingly “chained”. While chains can anchor a business district, they can also overwhelm them. But it’s important to have an accurate picture of the Georgetown business district. In that picture, the vast majority of stores are still independent. Let’s work to make that remain true.

And let’s save Nathan’s.

(Certainly if square footage were considered, chains would have higher numbers across the board, but for the purposes of this survey, one Barnes and Noble equals one Bridge Street Books. GM will be further slicing and dicing this survey in the near future).






Filed under Retail, Stores of Georgetown