Dear PoPville – Unity Market Takes Root in Columbia Heights

“Dear PoPville,

The Adams Morgan food tents have moved to 14th Street – between Parkwood and Otis, if memory serves. If you haven’t checked them out already, please do. Great news for the neighborhood!”

The Adams Morgan Unity Market closed at the end of Sept. ’11. Glad to see their new home is up and running. Thanks to all who sent emails. One reader noted that they were open on the weekends but does anyone happen to know their current hours/days?

Anyone else stop by?

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25 Comment

  • Great news. It was stupid that they had to leave Adams Morgan in the first place.

  • Aren’t they the down-scale version of Walmart in that they suck the life out of local businesses?

    Just asking…

    • You really can’t think of a difference between the business models and local economic stimulation caused by a small market comprised of independent businesses and local individuals vs. a global big box store?

      • “Local economic stimulation”?

        So a bunch of MD and VA hispanic folk come to DC. Without having to bear the burden of permits etc, they sell their unregulated and untaxed food on public property, leaving all their trash and debris behind for the local businesses to pay to clean up via their BID taxes.

        They then take their profits home to MD or VA (I walked by the one in Adams Morgan dozens of times and without fail, all their trucks/cars were out of District plates) to be taxed there.

        Now atleast they are renting someones private land which is an improvement. And Walmart and Target pay District sales tax.

        • OH NO! Hispanic folk!

          The vendors (at the previous location, at least) “are required to be D.C. residents, obtain food handlers permits, pay a flat sales tax of $375 quarterly, and attend classes in financial literacy.” (

          For the record, must I specify “white folk” in the future when referring to business owned by Caucasians? Just trying to get a handle on the proper comment policy for PoP.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            Let me clear up that confusion right away, there is no policy/requirement to name the race/heritage/culture of business owners.

          • I was being facetious, PoP! Maybe you were too? Thanks for clarifying though – your reply made me laugh 🙂

            My point was, I don’t see why it was necessary to point out that the owners of these businesses are Hispanic. I think this is obvious to people who are familiar with the market, anyhow… not that it makes a difference.

          • Wow…SS3345, nicely done. I’ve never seen anyone jump the shark with such skill. You cleared it by a mile.

            It is / was a (Quoting right out of your linked article) “Latino Market” and organized by the DC Office of “Latino” affairs. Hence the “hispanic folk” who sell there.

            And a “food handlers liscense” is a requirement to get hired as a waiter at IHOP. It costs 35 bucks for a 3 year pass and teaches you things like “wash your hands”. Not exactly a real requirement or barrier of entry.

            I’m sorry, but as someone who walked by the place dozens of times in Adams Morgan, I could count on one hand the number of DC plates on their trucks and cars. This requirement is as eyerolling as the “attend a financial literacy class” because as obvious as it was the bulk of them weren’t DC residents, I am sure they all took the required literacy class and provided records of it to the District.

          • Oh right – I’m sure you were referring to the article all along. If you had really bothered to look, then you wouldn’t have made the comments you did about taxes, permits, and residency. Did you take all that from the article too? Just because you see a couple of trucks with license plates from VA and MD doesn’t mean the owners of the stands are from there as well. I’m glad you are so confident as “someone who walked by the place dozens of times in Adams Morgan” that you’ve got ALL the facts.

            And I appreciate that you made the effort to Google “food handlers permit DC” and clicked on the first result (a DCist article) that popped up to learn about all that’s required to get one. You forgot to mention that applicants also need to take a class, the cost of which are variable… “but most will run you anywhere between $50 and $125.” (sourcing straight from your reputable source).

        • The last time I checked, all outdoor markets in DC are subject to the same sales tax that all businesses (including farmers markets) must pay… If they aren’t operating legally, then it is the role of our city government to shut them down. Your assumptions are certainly more exciting though!

          • Well, you would be wrong then. No assumptions needed.

            The source (one of them) of the entire backlash against food trucks as well.

          • Out of curiosity, are you saying this because you think these vendors are not subject to sales tax or because you’re implying that they do not pay the sales tax they rightfully owe? I’ve never heard of an exemption for open marketplace vendors other than the flat vending fee imposed on food trucks. Is an open air market like this one, or Eastern Market’s “craft” areas for another example, given similar flat rates or lower sales tax rates?

      • You really can’t understand the similar effects? Why do you think so many of the business owners in Adams-Morgan wanted them gone?

  • More like: they are another local business offering a better product for five hours out of each week. Not exactly a threat to our lives and communities…

  • I’m happy that they’re there, but I’m also disappointed that they haven’t begun to develop this parking lot, which was Panam parking for a long time. Then it was locked up and a sign announcing development of the lot was put up (though just an architectural rendering).

    Anyone know anything about the “Block Interrupted” sign/project and its status?

    • I believe the “Block Interrupted” sign is simply a rendering of site potential. Architectural graffiti if you will, installed by a group indedendent from any owner or future developer.

  • How many days/week and what hours will it be open?

  • Awesome, I was wondering what this was

  • Finally! That was the only venue that I could find traditional Puerto Rican food. Hopefully, the vendor will be there.

  • The asumption that the vendors are sucking the life out of local businesses is wrong, the Unity Market adds trafic, color, and interest to the area, people who eat there mostly get some snack or are the people who never patronize formal retaurant,so they cater to a different public, comparing them to WALLMART is hasty injustified in a big extremme.

  • 1. The neighborhood (I’m talking those within one block) was not consulted on if they want the Unity Market. No hearing, permit sign, nothing.

    2. The trash already blowing away from this market is a mess. The generator running all hours, the porta-john stinks, and parking is gone. Not exactly the neighbors we wanted.

    I can see how some may be excited by this market, but you are not the ones forced to live next to it. This area has taken a beating this past year. This market isn’t going to help. I can see why neighbors in Adams Morgan wanted it gone. And now it is our problem, and without any warning or consultation.

    It is my belief that with the little traffic they are getting in this new location, it will be gone in 6 months. I certainly wouldn’t eat anything they are selling, given they can’t have more than 10 customers a day.

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