Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Walter Reed has closed. Now is the time for residents to patronize Georgia Avenue businesses.

The following note was posted to the Shepherd Park listserv yesterday; it expresses much of what I've been feeling lately. There are a lot of cool businesses in Ward 4 that are well worth your patronage.

Since the decomissioning of Walter Reed Sept. 15, business at many of
the retail and restaurant establishments on Geogia Avenue going north
to the Maryland-D.C. line has dropped 20 percent, and more in some
cases. I have been told of layoffs, curtailed hours, and lack of
customer traffic in the past week and a half -- and this is down from
the reduced level of business activity as Walter Reed started winding
down earlier this year.
This, I believe, is the time for us as citizens, residents and
neighbors to make a conscious effort to redirect our dollars toward our
businesses along Georgia Avenue. This could challenge our
long-established spending habits. Would you otherwise think about
switching beauty or nail salons? Or where you get your medicines? Where
you go out to dinner or get some takeout or delivery? What about where
you buy gasoline? (For me, megaspills in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico
ordinarily deter me from going to Exxon or BP, although my head tells
me the guy at the cash register had nothing to do with it.)
But to look at it differently, reduced revenues at the Georgia Avenue
businesses give our own money more relative clout. This is our chance
to make the kind of Georgia Avenue that we want to see. And I would
rather see business succeedeing (even if it requires struggle) than
businesses collapsing. Let's be friends of, and friends to, Georgia
Avenue; it will benefit them, and us, both short term and long term.

Rhode Island Avenue NE faces a lot of the same issues as Georgia Avenue. See this post from the Rhode Island Avenue Insider blog: The key to redevelopment is supporting our local businesses:

A local developer/property owner recently told me that the communities around RIA have a reputation among the small business/developer community as not supporting the local businesses on RIA. Whether or not this is true, perception is reality. Small businesses like to take chances with other small businesses, so if the ones that are among the first to come to RIA to take a chance are not supported and fail, we can nearly guarantee that others will see this area as not worth their investment. We, as a community, need to change this perception.

Support Ward 4 businesses.


  1. Much of what businesses claim they are experiencing is due to a lack of planning. There could well have been an advertising campaign (city generated) to help general interest in eating out on Georgia Avenue, long before Walter Reed closed. Additionally, business (some of them) need to spend some time cleaning up and freshening up their places of business to be more attractive to would be patrons. In some cases businesses they lack the insight to improve their food, service and appearance. Additionally, it might be good for some to re-think their menu's to better accommodate more clients as well.

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