Ellwood Thompson’s Finally to Open in Columbia Heights this Winter?

“Dear PoP,

Last night Jack McGrath of Ellwood Thompson and David Stein, Director of Operations of DCUSA, came to speak to the North Columbia Heights Neighborhood Association. Very good and exciting news to report.

McGrath, whom I believe is one of the owners, discussed Ellwood’s mission and how it fits into the community. Ellwood’s started in 1988 in Richmond as a small community grocery store. Their focus is on local sourcing (within 100 miles, which will generate overlap with Richmond products, though, obviously, not every product will be sourced locally), sustainability (agriculture, environment, etc), community, and education. They focus on providing healthy products and have a list of additives and ingredients that are banned from products that they sell in their store. They intend to be a community gathering spot with in-house dining and a full working kitchen, besides the groceries. Price points hover around Whole Foods, but Ellwoods offers more vegetarian and vegan options. The space will be approx. 15,000 sq. feet and, if all the legal hoops and other last minute details pan out, they plan to start construction sometime in July with a target completion date of Mid-January. Hopefully, they’ll be able to work with the new farmer’s market and other community projects to really become a valuable asset to CH above and beyond providing their core products.

Stein was positive and attended the meeting to provide support to Ellwoods. He mentioned that prospective tenants of DCUSA have been interested to see what will happen with Ellwoods. As you’ve heard before, DCUSA is selective about the tenants that they will put in the remaining spaces, looking for a diverse mix that will fit with the community. He explained the many facets of diversity, but I won’t go into them here. He was positive about filling up the space with in the next 12 to 18 months, particularly after Ellwoods comes in. IHOP is still on track, though no lease has been signed yet so it’s still off the record. The good thing is that the company locally franchises its restaurants, so the owners/franchisees of the prospective IHOP will be local folks.”

In other grocery store news Borderstan notes that the P St, Whole Foods will be undergoing renovations:

“Renovations are underway at the Logan Circle Whole Foods Market at 1440 P Street NW. Construction is expected to be complete in November 2010. A rendering of the mezzanine level cafe and progress photos can be found on the store’s Facebook page.”

23 Comment

  • HOLY EFFIN SHIT. So when do they start the build out? This is awesome news. I wish I had known about the meeting or I would have gone to show my support. I currently drive to whole foods in glover park once a week. Would much rather walk over to Ellwoods.

  • YESSSSS!!!!!!!! This is so exciting. I can’t wait…I wont have to schlep down to trader joes or wholefoods anymore! This totally neutralizes the fact that ihop is coming 😉 (which, to be honest I am ok with because it is better than vacant store front, and since it is a nationally-recognized brand, its likely to be successful).

  • I’m actually happy things didn’t pan out for the Columbia Heights Whole Foods now that things seem to finally be working out with Ellwoods. Whole Foods is great compared to Safeway and Giant of course but they are a huge corporation now and have a pretty horribly track record for locally sourcing their food. Ellwoods IS local and local is a part of their business model. I’ll be here every night after work either to eat or get groceries. Very exciting news for Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant/Petworth/16th street Heights to finally get a grade A organic grocer they dont have to go across the park for. Does anyone know if they will have wine and beer?

    • Whole Foods has a pretty horrible track record in a lot of areas. Best of luck to Ellwood Thompson’s in their endeavors.

    • saf

      I like Yes, and I don’t have to go across the park for that.

      • This always comes up when talk of Ellwoods happens. But you can’t compare Yes! to a 15,000 sq foot full service organic grocer. its apples and oranges. But I’ve enjoyed having Yes! to fill in the gaps between my trips to whole foods.

  • So they are hinting that there are perhaps more mid-high end retailers expressing interest in opening in DCUSA if Ellwoods comes in to anchor it? That is good news I suppose. I’d still love to see REI or Urban Outfitters which had been rumored in the past to come here. A better furniture store would be a good anchor as well. Like a CB2

  • this kool aid is tasing sweeter and sweeter….

  • I just wish they would be open in time for fall. That’s one of my favorite food seasons. But Ill take january. good way to ring in the new year.

  • I hope this is their REAL. HONEST. PLAN.

    It would be nice to have another grocery nearby.

  • I also heard the IHOP was being franchised by a former DC MPD even hires ex police to run it – does anyone that attended the meeting know if this is true?

  • I can appreciate that they’ll have lots of vegetarian/vegan offerings, but I hope they also have a great meat counter like Whole Foods.

  • This just made my day. Ellwoods finally in the neighborhood!

  • I know someone who is trying to open a bakery/cafe in DCUSA– fresh breads and other baked goods, seating, wi-fi, coffee. I wonder if ET would draw away from the clientele of a mom-and-pop bakery, or if they would benefit each other.

  • YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally…something good for the world in columbia hegihts…

  • Here’s a link to a blog post about ET from The 42 Bus blog – shows pictures of the store in Richmond: http://the42bus.blogspot.com/2010/01/if-elwoods-thompsons-came.html

    In the picture you can see what looks like a nice wine selection, so I’d imagine ET-CH will have wine and beersh, too.

  • It is going to be interesting to see how long it takes them to get their inventory management under control — I hope they realize how much demand there is going to be for them as soon as they open!!! Having lived in Richmond, I’m pretty sure their only other Store has no where NEAR the kind of demand that the C.Heights location is going to have. Let’s just hope the Local Farmers can keep up!! So freakin excited.

  • “As you’ve heard before, DCUSA is selective about the tenants that they will put in the remaining spaces, looking for a diverse mix that will fit with the community. He explained the many facets of diversity, but I won’t go into them here.”

    -Why not go into them here? I, and I am certain many other people, would love to know what factors DCUSA is considering in selecting tenants.

  • Hate to be a party pooper here, but Whole Foods treats their local vendors so much better than Ellwood Thompson does. They don’t jerk them around, “lose” their invoices, and all the other stuff ET does. Whole Foods supports local vendors without all the drama of ET.

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