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Monday, March 19, 2007

Retail Visions

I often ruminate on what I’d like to see open up along my well beaten path of 9th Street. I think there is a largely unmet retail/restaurant/watering hole need in the Shaw/Logan area, so when I brainstorm on what I envision filling empty spaces, I often zip an email to someone with such a business elsewhere informing them of potential sites in Shaw (I know most of such efforts are often in vain, but oh well).

Below are some of the things I’ve dreamt of coming to 9th Street (in particular between N and Rhode Island, the area with which I am most familiar):
+ Dry Cleaner (like Sun Cleaners on 14th Street)
+ Bagel Shop (like Bodo’s Bagels in Charlottesville)
+ Space for Multiple Artists' To Have Studios, To Sell Their Works, and To Hold Classes (like Lyndon Street Artworks in Greensboro, NC)
+ Wine Bar (like Sonoma on Capitol Hill)
+ Pizza Place (like Coppi’s, Matchbox, or 2Amy’s)
+ Boutique Hotel (like any one of Kimpton’s hotels, trendy bar and all . . .)
+ Yoga Studio (like Flow Yoga)
+ Used Furniture Store (like GoodWood)
+ Modern Furniture Store (like Muleh)
+ Garden Center (like Garden District)
+ Hardware Store (like Logan Hardware)
+ Good Thrift Store (like Re-Pop in Brooklyn)
+ Casual Mexican Eatery (like Armadillo Grill in Carrboro, NC)
+ Gift/Novelty/Stationary Store (like Pulp)
I think that such venues would meet strong demand for such in the area, especially given the convention center clientele, and that such shops would compliment the desire to remain, or grow as, a mixed income community. And such businesses would help feed the existing business of establishments on 9th already.

What do you want to see open along our retail corridors?


Mari said...

Dental office. A GP that is on my health plan. Ya know practical neighborhood health stuff

Anonymous said...

I also send lone e-mails (mostly in vain) to retailers trying to promote Shaw and the 9th St/7th St corridor...

Do you think there might be any benefit in trying to coordinate the neighborhood in signing a petition to any of these businesses asking them to consider Shaw for one of their businesses???

I love all your suggestions...especially the pizza place! And I think I read in the Washington Business Journal that Matchbox is looking for spot for a second location!

Shaw Rez said...

Mari - Very good calls on the dental office and GP! As I go to both close to work, I've overlooked that major need.

Anon - I, too, have heard about the potential Matchbox restaurant # 2. I fear we're too close to their current restaurant (Coppi's too, for that matter), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for 2Amy's. I agree with you that there's strength in numbers, so coordinating efforts would be a good thing.

Shaw Rez said...

I would also add that a Busboys and Poets type of space--restaurant, bar, coffee shop, performing arts space, book store--would be an awesome addition to 9th (ideally in my proposed Kimpton hotel...)

ML said...

Temperance Hall up near the Petworth metro is another great model. We're definitely missing that 'old row house gutted and turned into a cozy/hip/funky neighborhood restaurant/bar' thing. Radius, Tonic, St. Ex, Bar Pilar... all great models of this. I'm hopeful that someone can make this happen on 9th.

Mark said...

Great list! I'd prefer to see a green dry cleaner that doesn't use perclorethylene, but otherwise I'm on board. Simply Fit, 1539 7th, offers pilates classes, and if enough of us ask for yoga, they just might add a yoga instructor to the staff. Also, isn't Warehouse already our neighborhood's version of Busboys?

Shaw Rez said...

ML - I agree with all points.

Mark - I also agree with what all you say. A green dry cleaner would be the best (I hope our neighborhood can model environmentally responsible practices for the rest of the city). And Warehouse is a huge asset somewhat analogous to Busboy's and Poets. I'm a newbie to Warehouse, having only been there once, but it really is a great, unique resource I look forward to getting to know better in the future. Finally, I've never been to Simply Fit, so should explore what all it provides before spouting off what we lack!

si said...

nail salon, bookstore, some good korean bbq, some halfway decent middle eastern food, ice cream parlor, LOTS of outdoor seating...and art everywhere of course.

oh ...and a LIBRARY!

My insane dream for the future is to open a fabulous armenian restaurant and/or market in DC. Someday we shall not have to schlep down to alexandria for lahmajun & good telbanir!

Anonymous said...

Other thoughts include: - a CD/DVD exchange store, a small police substation, keep the Lock Company, a community library/cafe/internet access and classrooms site, a used/new book store.

Clara Barton Dweller said...

Yes, a middle eastern restaurant would be GREAT! We don't have any down here either. How soon can you open that Armenian restaurant/market? I'll be one of your first customers! :)

Ray Milefsky said...

Not keen on a smelly restaurant opening up in the rotting La Putain qui Piu (Smelly Whore Cafe) next door to me with fifty-five gallon drums of kitchen grease to feed the rats in my shared back yard and a big dumpster next to me (with seven years plague of the Nubian Islamic Hebrews, been there, done that). But yes, I would love another authentic Amsterdam Falafel near me. Si, how about partnering? I wanted to open a Georgian Restaurant (no, not the collards and chittlins kind, the Caucasus kind) before I got back into gubmint. Was going to name it "Pomegranates and Walnuts" (two of the main ingredients for sauces) [Ray's Caucasian Restaurant was not a good choice either] but couldn't find backers or a venue. Too bad we have to run everything through Shaw Main Streets. If you're not black or faabulously cute gay, Alex won't let you open up here.

Faith Williams said...

I would love a new or used bookstore, and of course a library. A good thrift store could have books too.

Anonymous said...

Shaw Main Streets has four committees within it. One of the goals of the Economic Revitalization Committee is to attract new businesses to 7th & 9th streets. I suggest joining this committee, or one of the other four committees, if you'd like to help. I know they are always looking for volunteers.

And no offense to the idea, but for some reason I have never trusted doctors' offices along retail strips. Like that dentist office on U Street near Ben's Chili Bowl. Has anyone tried it?

Anonymous said...

Are there any thoughts about commercial and residential development in Blagden Alley and Naylor Court - like the "mews" and alleys in London and elsewhere in Europe?

Shaw Rez said...

I don't think 7th and 9th should be considered solely "retail" strips; hopefully a mix of uses--offices, retail, restaurants, residences, bars, hotels, and so forth will define us. Also, I personally choose my dentist based on the dentist him/herself and his/her staff; his/her proximity to, say, Ben's Chili Bowl wouldn't bother me.

Thanks for putting a plug out for that Shaw Main Streets committee. In particular, what are they doing to attract new businesses?

Ray said...

Would you trust comments from anyone named Anonymous? Remember the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Ninth are zoned R4 -- residential with the ability to go commercial with the consent of the neighbors. Let's keep it that way.