Dear PoP – Is Ellwood Thompson’s Back On?

DSCN9267, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

Shortly after the announcement that Ellwood Thompson would not be moving to DCUSA, the one sign advertising the opening was removed from the window. When I was walking home on Monday, I noticed that there were two new signs in the window (one was lying on its side, one was posted in the window, in a different location than it originally was.) It looked as if there had been people working throughout the day – lights were on, ladders were out.

This morning, on my way to work, I saw that the door to the building was open, and a construction worker was standing outside. I asked him if he was working inside the building and he confirmed that he was. I asked him if he was working on the grocery store, and if it was scheduled to move in and he said “As far as we know, it is.”

A few people have written me asking the same question. Sadly, no it is not back on at the moment. I emailed Garland McQueen, Ellwood Thompson’s general manager, and he says:

“ET still would very much like to be in the Columbia Hts community. Due to the economy we have been delayed our expansion there. There is no construction by ET occurring in the space. We continue to work w/ the developer of DCUSA and others to overcome the obstacles associated w/ this recession.”

16 Comment

  • Would a petition help? I want ET to phone (and by phone I mean open a store in my) home.

  • OK the ET thing is freaking me out as they are my initials.

  • But I don’t understand. What are they doing construction on then? And why the new signs? Something’s rotten in Denmark.

  • DCUSA probably agreed to prep the space for Ellwoods before their build out was to begin. thats probably what the work is. but yeah its a tease. I must say, I’m no businessman, but how on earth does one sign a lease before securing financing? Just odd that a few weeks after signing the lease they turn around and say they overlooked a little thing like getting the money together to put the store in the space they signed for. but in any event they should really lie cheat and steal to get this store open because I have a feeling when it does its going to be an instant success and their money problems will be no more. could even pave the way for continued expansion in the dc area.

  • Agreed anon. I just wish there was something we could do to make ET see the light and realize what a potential gold mine they are sitting on. Maybe by the time the prep work is done they will have a change of heart …

  • Well, I think they do see the potential gold mine, or at at least a nice silver mine. Otherwise, they would not have signed the lease, right? 🙂 I don’t think any petitions etc. can really chance the situation though – finance is tight, and their existing business is fighting for survival.

  • Petitions aren’t going to make a difference. Not to ET, anyway. They already believe there is some demand here — they wouldn’t have signed the lease without it. The problem for ET seems, quite simply, to be doing the build-out, procuring the inventory, and bringing on the employees (or at least putting in place the infrastructure necessary for bringing on employees), all of which require a big initial outlay of cash. Grocers are in the classic high-volume, low-margin business, though I suppose an “upscale” or “fresh” grocer is slightly different. It probably just is a matter of the lenders freeing up the money, as I doubt they can self-finance this from corporate savings, and the cash flow from the current store wouldn’t be sufficient to cover its own expenses while floating a CH outlet until it’s up and running on its own. Maybe some tenant-friendly credit arrangement on the build-out from DCUSA would be helpful, but that’s a petition-campaign to be directed at DCUSA, not ET.

  • Maybe once they saw what a shithole ghetto the place is, they’ve used it as an excuse. Before DCUSA opened, my fears is it would turn out like the Silver Spring mall. Now, that would be welcome. Can you imagine who they’d be forced to hire in this neighborhood.

  • I suggested previously that ET’s could raise start up funds by offering annual memberships that would entitle paying participants to incremental savings at purchase while providing start-up cost capital. I would join; I have a sense of what I spend on organic fresh fruits, veggies, grains, dairy and ET-style products and a 5% deduction (for instance) taken over a year that could be applied to as a ballpark membership, times the numbers of people who would join (WSC membership tallies times three, at a minimum), would be a tidy, pre-build sum.

  • I would join too geezer

  • Me too, definitely. Do you know how we could set up such a membership plan??

  • As would I. As a “back of the envelope” calculation, I spend $40/day 300 days a year on groceries. If the (interest free) loan to ET was payed back in the form of a 5% discount on goods, I could lend them $2000 and get payed back in a little over three years.

    I would be willing to do that. I think a few hundred thousand dollars could be raised this way. Close to $1M is even possible.

  • I think Geezer has a great idea! Maybe submitting a petition to DCUSA detailing Geezer’s idea and other creative ideas could highlight to DCUSA on the potential revenue not only from the rent but also from the parking lot.

  • Hey why is someone stealing my moniker? Not that I necessarily disagree, but come on dude ….

  • “There is no construction by ET occurring in the space.” — who is doing the construciton????

  • Sorry New2CH. Will not happen again 🙂

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