Friday Question of the Day – What “Regular” Retail Store would you like to see in your Neighborhood?

Photo by PoPville flickr user NCinDC

This week’s FQotD comes from a tweet sent by [email protected]:

“I love my hood, but ColHts/Petworth could use more non-sexy but necessary businesses. Today’s suggestion: eye dr/glasses store.”

It’s a very good point. I’m voting for sneaker store. Besides a kite store, what “non-sexy” regular retail would you most like to see open in your neighborhood?

289 Comment

  • marijuana dispensary

  • Used/New musical instruments. Not necessary and probably not viable, but that’s what I’d like to see.

    • +1 – I have to go out to the burbs to get strings and gawk at new gear.

    • There’s Guitar Gallery in Cleveland Park, and Middle C Music in Tenleytown. And if you just need guitar strings, you can try R Street Music (on S St. near Dupont Circle). They mostly do lessons, but they do have a few strings, and the guitars that are used for lessons are for sale. And, of course, there’s Dale’s — just over the line in the ‘burbs. Long, long ago, Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center used to be downtown. Wouldn’t that be a treat!

  • Model train store!

  • I know they’re doomed to vanish but I’d love a decent book store. I’d also love a deli and someplace that does tailoring, alterations and shoe repair, a computer and electronics repair shop and a bakery.

  • A practical grocery store in Brookland

  • A bookstore, a traditional deli – like the old Posins, and Atomic Music. The first two used to be here – but closed. The last one is a pleasant fantasy.

  • I need a craft & fabric store.

    • binpetworth

      Seconded. I’d love a Michael’s to open up in the District.

      • As someone who knits, sews, scrapbooks, does cake decorating, and occasionally dabbles in other crafts… yes!! There was a mom-and-pop that tried to open on Barracks Row a few years ago, but they didn’t succeed. The store wasn’t large enough to keep many items in stock, so it was always a gamble as to whether they’d have what you needed. Unless they’re going to specialize in a particular craft, a craft supply store needs a huge footprint a la A.C. Moore or Michaels. Which probably means we’ll never get one.

      • A fabric store, please! I’ve heard rumors a A Michaels may go into the Georgetown Park mall, which would be great, but they don’t really carry fabric. We need a G Street (preferably) or Joann.

        • I agree. I buy fabric online for the most part because I don’t feel like schlepping to Seven Corners or Rockville to buy fabric. It sure would be nice to have a place close by since buying online can be a crap shoot!

          • That’s a good point. You can easily buy paint or stickers or icing tips online, and there are plenty of good yarn stores in DC, but it’s better to see fabric in person. I vaguely recall there being a fabric store somewhere downtown, but I guess that’s gone now?

          • Yeah there used to be one on K St downtown, but that has long since closed. It’s a shame because I work right by where it used to be! I don’t know of any others, but maybe someone else could chime in?

          • It was Exquisite Fabrics and it moved from K St to the Georgetown mall, but then I think it closed. It wasn’t very large, but it had a decent selection.
            I wouldn’t call it a “fabric store” but the Bit of Thread Sewing studio has an area where they sell donated fabric and notions. It’s actually a good place if you need buttons, zippers, thread, lining, and you might find some good fabric. I have found useful pieces there. They don’t accept donations of small pieces either, so what you find is usable. And it’s cheap.

          • saf

            G Strret Fabrics was on G St at metro center once upon a time. It was very convenient.

        • Seconding a fabric store! I knit and we have a few options for metro-accessible yarn, but a fabric store inside the District would be great.

    • OMG yes! I do plan to check out Scrap DC soon, but I really want a full service craft store.
      Not that it’s super convenient, but at least it’s metro accessible, a Joann’s recently opened in the Wheaton Mall.
      Didn’t Exquisite Fabrics move to the Georgetown mall a few years ago? Are they gone? I got a shit ton of attitude from the guy who worked there when it was on K St and it really turned me off, but it was the only game *in* town.

    • I noticed that the Walmart on Georgia Ave has a craft section. I’m not really a crafty person, so I don’t know how good the selection is, but it is there…

    • Yes, a fabric/craft store was my first thought, too! I was hoping the WalMart on H Street would have a fabric section, but no such luck.

  • Bagel Shop!

  • A party favors store, but not the junkie kind.

  • A bread bakery, instead of all the sweets shops that are opening up around here. And an old-fashioned butcher.

    • gotryit

      I like those – especially a butcher. Not the super high end yuppie kind, but the kind of place you find in a more rural area – good meat / good prices. I would like to be able to buy a half cow and split it among friends.

      • …In Petworth please.

      • Literally – EASTERN MARKET – ya’ll need to get out more. Canales the other brothers butchery, and across from them the poultry butcher, and also a fresh fish monger. At the other end the BAKERY – that has a LOT of fresh bread. Also the fresh pasta lady and the fruit/veggie stands. Unless you need to visit your butcher every day – it’s conveinent

        • And Spring Mill Bread is down the street on Barracks Row. That said, I do wish my hood (Cap Hill/Eastern Market) had more clothing/boutiquey type places that cater to younger folk. The few that are around kind of remind me of Chicos. I kind of wish the Francesca’s that opened up at Union Station had come to Barracks Row instead.

          And yes, a craft/fabric store in DC would be awesome. Now I schlep my carless butt all the way to Rockville Pike to hit up Michael’s or AC Moore.

          • Pinktini is good for younger people. When I first saw it going up I thought it was going to be the usual middle-aged lady boutique full of frumpy clothing. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not super-cheap but everything’s really good quality.

        • gotryit

          Thanks, I’ve been to eastern market. That’s why I said “Not the super high end yuppie kind.” Unless things have changed significantly in the past 5 years in the direction of less expensive.

          • I had to laugh at that comment– I live one block from Eastern Market but don’t shop there because it’s too expensive. Sometimes I’ll get produce at the farmer’s line, or run in if I need something like a single potato (it’s still cheaper than Yes! Organic) but the meat and seafood are overpriced and the bakery is terrible.

          • Well then – you’re just looking for a grocery store. I make less than 30k a year and find it quite reasonably priced for fresh meat and fresh fish. It’s quality – Im not sure where you think you can find that cheaply.

          • See, I don’t think the quality at those places is that great either; otherwise I would definitely shop there. I buy olive oil from Sapore and dog food from Metro Mutts because it’s worth spending extra on, but I just don’t see any difference between the fish at Eastern Market and the fish at Harris Teeter. Not that I don’t appreciate you being a cheerleader for our neighborhood. 🙂

          • Quality items are going to cost you more. I like going to Harvey’s in Union Market for small QTY of higher quality items. The owner is helpful and am learning it is beneficial to talk to the butcher for recommendations and cook and consume naturally raised meat and poultry. But if I’m going to cook for a large group or am on a budget I’m more inclined to go to Miles & Sons in the whole sale area of Union Market. Their prices are low and they always have a number of butcher available but as a trade off some of their items look frozen.

          • The bread at the bakery in Eastern Market is terrible. The sweets are also to be avoided. I tried it may times when I lived down the street from it. Yuck.

          • They seem to use Crisco in their frosting. That was a huge turnoff for me.

        • Eastern Market’s bakery is NOT worth going to, at all, especially if getting there means doing anything more than walking a few blocks. Their pastries are awful and their bread isn’t great, either. Union Market ftw on baked goods.

        • The key is “in your Neighborhood.” Not everybody has an Eastern Market in their neighborhood.

      • Quality meat costs money. Maybe you’re turned off by the yuppie vibe at Eastern and Union Markets, Lets Meat on the Avenue in Del Ray, Wagshals in Upper NW, and Stachowskis in Georgetown, but theyre not charging more because they can trick people into spending more. They’re selling a higher quality product at a higher price point. The reason you dont find this type of store outside of “yuppie” enclaves is because no one goes to lower prestige places to spend 20 bucks a lb on beef. The idea that you can walk into some rural market and buy high quality, cheap beef is ludicrous. I’ve been in many rural markets and the high quality meat is very expensive. Its a luxury to most of America. But, here, and other high income metro areas where the wealthiest 10% are concentrated, people expect to have a large portion of beef, fish, pork, and chicken at nearly every meal.

        If you’re price sensitive and still want good meat, your best bet is the higher end cuts at Harris Teeter when they go on sale. God knows where to get decent chicken at a lower price. I think pretty much all poultry that costs less than beef is hopped up on drugs. Costco also has good prices and their stuff tastes great, but I have to assume that those animals are loaded with hormones and antibiotics, though I dont know and I dont care that much.

        You might also explore the cheaper cuts at higher end places. Strip and Hanger are 2 of the best tasting cuts and are generally among the cheapest.

  • I know someone is going to mock me for this, but the Dollar Tree is one of the few things I miss from the suburbs. Sure, we have junky dollar stores here and there, but Dollar Trees are always clean and well-stocked with lots of (surprisingly) high-quality items. It kills me to have to pay 5 times as much for stuff like toilet paper now.

    • There is one on Georgia Ave near the Safeway.

      • Oh, I didn’t know that. I think the one out near Suitland is still easier to get to from where I live. We could certainly use more in DC!

      • That’s not a Dollar Tree — it’s a Dollar Plus or Dollar General or something like that.
        There’s a Dollar Tree in D.C., but it’s just inside the District border (at the corner of Michigan and Eastern Avenue). I usually go either to that one or the one in Greenbelt.

    • Five Below in Columbia Heights is pretty good, but I agree on a dollar store!

    • I know you’re looking specifically for Dollar Tree, but the Family Dollar on H Street, NE is actually pretty good. I often get (name brand) cleaning supplies, etc. there.

  • CoHi/Petworth: I’d take anything, but another Pay Day Loan or Beauty Parlour!

    I like the idea of an eye glass store. I would also second a higher end Home store with unique decorating pieces and furniture.

    As far as food: it’s been said a thousand times, but everyone (and myself included) would love a family ice cream parlour. Something like Astor or Greek spot would be great. Also, maybe a sandwich shop with healthy options (not subway!).

    • Yes ice cream! There are so many yogurt and cupcake and other whatever-dessert-is-in shops, but why are there no just normal ice cream parlors.

      • Ice cream parlors seem to crop up in places that have a lot of white people (of Northern European descent), like New England. I think frozen yogurt is more popular here because a large portion of the population doesn’t have the genetic makeup to digest lactose. That, or they’re health nuts. That’s my theory anyway.

        • In Mt. P/Columbia Heights:

          An Asian grocery. I still miss those little Vietnamese grocers on Park Road that were forced out when the target came in.
          A serious butcher with meat locker full of beef aged so long that you have to shave the mold off the sides, sausage casings and odd bits like pig heads and kidneys.
          An upscale men’s haberdashery, to splurge in.

        • Interesting theory on the (lack of) ice cream parlors.

          • It’s completely nutty. That person must have just moved here yesterday because we’ve been losing ice cream parlors as more whites moved in. And it’s ice cream; ice cream is very popular nationally (I mean seriously – ICE CREAM).

            The real reason is probably because a local favorite, Giffords, made a grand return a few years ago; made its name as THE premium ice cream spot in the area, with stores stretching to the suburbs; and then suddenly folded due to corruption. This was at the same time that frozen yogurt started creeping into the area.

          • I never understood the Giffords hype. I tried it a few times when it was next to the Landmark Bethesda theater, and didn’t really like it.

          • textdoc — the Giffords hype stretches WAY back. It was absolutely wonderful in the 70’s — and, as far as I know, you could only get it at the store on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. If the only times you tried it were within the last decade or so, and at a store other than the one in Silver Spring, the ice cream that you tried was likely not what us old timers remember and rave about. I’m not a big ice cream fan, but when I tried it at a branch store one time, I thought it was pretty disgusting. The other ice cream from WAY back that also deserved it’s hype was the ice cream at the University of Maryland’s dairy. Num!

        • Interesting thinking. I hadn’t thought of that but it’s probably true.

  • I don’t really see the glasses store as necessary for a neighborhood. You need glasses, what, once every year or two? It’s not a huge burden to have to travel to another neighborhood for something you need to buy so infrequently.

  • Petworth needs a gym. Not really sure where the 20,000 people who live here are supposed to go. Yes, I know there’s a WSC in Columbia Heights, but I feel like Petworth could probably have its own, too. Especially because that WSC sucks.

    • Good call. I go to the Van Ness Golds Gym, cause the WSC is so expensive and crowded. It’d be great to have a no frills gym in Petworth.

  • Not sure if this counts, but I’d like a Kohl’s. Something with affordable normal sized clothes that’s not Target or Walmart. I don’t know who is gonna fill all the new retail space on 14th St. but Kohl’s would take up some good space. Loved just about all the previous suggestions too.

  • For Southwest, I’d like an office supply store (Staples, Office Max, whatever) and a frozen yogurt place. But hell, we could use anything down here.

  • A grocery store in Woodley

  • Hardware store, Deli, Community Drug Store for Bloomingdale.

    • I second #1 and #2 for Ledroit/Bloomingdale and raise you a FULL SERVICE GYM. Hell, I’d take a grocery store at the NE corner of 7th and Florida while we’re at it.

      • I’d kill for a hardware store, coffee shop or dry cleaner on the far end of Petworth/Ft Totten. I have nothing but hair/nail salons and storefront “churches”!

  • Brookland: I would love to open up a “Once Upon a Child” somewhere within the district. Are DC Moms too snobby for that to be successful?

  • A Bebe, Arden B or some other place for relatively cheap but trendy clothing. Target last minute desperation shopping sucks. Overpriced and poor quality. But maybe that’s too “sexy.”

  • In Columbia Hts – a real hardware store!!

  • A bagel shop and clothing stores!

  • I’d love an Ace Hardware on H St. I remember there was talk of one going in at one time, but it never materialized. It would be great to be able to walk to a hardware store for something quick instead of driving to Home Depot. I know there is Park’s on H, but I’ve been a few times and it has been incredibly hard to find anything and they didn’t have what I needed.
    I’d also love to see some sort of mid-range home furnishing/decor store go in. I end up buying everything online or occasionally traveling out to the burbs to do some home shopping. It’d be nice to have something close by that sells nice but practical items for less than $500 a chair.

    • justinbc

      That Home Depot on RI is the absolute worst home improvement store I’ve ever been too. They not only rarely have information to help, but sometimes even give you wrong information that winds up causing you to lose money + time.

      • gotryit

        It’s not just bad info, they’re many times stocked poorly and the shelves are a mess. That said, it’s cheap if you need to buy larger quantities of material.

      • yea, they are awful
        like seriously bad
        service sucks

        couldnt find something one day, asked an employee they looked for two seconds & said they didnt carry what i was looking for
        i didnt believe that so i looked again & what do you know.. there it was, sitting on the shelf

        • justinbc

          More than a couple times I’ve actually had people who are in there shopping give me great advice and lead me to products I wouldn’t have otherwise. Look for the guys with real dirt on their jeans.

          • Likewise…
            had to talk to some contractors before
            actually worst part about that is one of the employees that couldnt answer my ?’s directed me to some contractors because “they would know”

      • Oh I agree completely. Sometimes I’ll make the trek out to Hyattsville even though the RI Home Depot is a 5 minute drive from my house. I can’t wait till the Lowes opens in the Costco shopping center. That’s just five minutes further and will be a very welcome addition. Still would like to see a smaller local store within walking distance though.

        • justinbc

          Hopefully Frager’s gets back in full swing sooner rather than later. I was using them exclusively thanks to the proximity, but now it’s either go up to the RI HD or all the way over to Logan for the Ace.

          • I actually like the 5th St Ace better than Logan. Much better layout; they offer the same selection, and it’s much closer to the Hill.

          • justinbc

            Didn’t know that existed, nice, I only used the Logan one because I was familiar with it from when I lived there and the staff was always super friendly.

          • Have you been to the temporary E Street location? I stopped in right after it opened and it seems to have everything the old Frager’s did (excluding outdoorsy stuff that’s on the Eastern Market pad).

          • saf

            Fifth street ace is owned by the Logan folks.

      • that was true 5 years ago but is definitely not true now. on a national scale, home depot’s prior CEO was very focused on cost cutting and it definitely showed in the attitude of staff and stocking of the stores. In the past couple of years this has turned around 180. It is actually pleasant to shop there now.

        • gotryit

          You’re talking about national average, and we’re talking about the Rhode Island Ave Home Depot. Most other locations that I’ve been to are fine – like you said. But the Rhode Island Ave location is mostly a cesspool of non-excellence. Go try it some time.

          • justinbc

            I’ve always had pleasant experiences at OTHER Home Depot locations. This one in particular though might be the absolute worst customer service experience on the whole in all of DC.

        • Actually my last couple visits to RI Ave haven’t been bad. If I want an informed opinion I go to Ace, I wouldn’t bother with any HD.

          They really have eviscerated customer service throughout the chain. Even their flagship store in Atlanta was horrible–it took me months to get a carpet remnant from there–f-ed up the order from start to finish and wanted to add a delivery charge in the end.

          • Much to my surprise, I too have actually had good customer service the last couple time’s at Home Depot. Which is nice for many years of expecting awful service.
            Annie’s is where to go if you want helpful service, but unfortunately they can’t stock nearly what Home Depot has.

      • brookland_rez

        I agree. You have to go to that store knowing what you need. Do your research online, walk in, buy it, walk out. Having that store so close is convenient. You can find anything you need for your house there, and it’s minutes away.

    • I was in need of a dovetail jig to make some drawers and the staff at this location actually laughed at me, dismissed the question, and immediately concluded that they don’t carry this. They had no idea what this was and I guess they thought the name sounded funny. I ended up just searching the item on my phone, got the item ID, and found it myself. It happened to be about 3 feet from where we were standing. I ended up educating the staff at this Home Depot what the jig is used for. They are completely useless.

      • gotryit

        That’s hilarious. Of course they don’t have birds there – what were you thinking?
        +1 for the home depot app – it lists the actual location in the store so you don’t have to ask someone who doesn’t know.
        -1 again for that home depot because many times the item isn’t actually in the location. It’s only as good as the data in the system, and sometimes that sucks.

  • I don’t know if it counts as “regular” retail, but some Asian and Middle Eastern grocery stores would be nice. I’m really excited about the Indian grocery store coming to Dupont, even though stuff there will probably cost ten times as much as the stores in the exurbs.

    • justinbc

      If you live near Dupont there’s the Hana Japanese Market up there on 17th.

      • Yeah, I know, but one small store catering to a very specific culture/cuisine out of many is not enough! Dupont’s not the most conveniently-located place in the world (for me) either.

    • The Halal market on 18th St. in Adams Morgan is nondescript but carries a lot of Middle Eastern food. The older vendors at Union Market (outside the new hall) have pretty great ethnic groceries too.

    • Concur. It gets annoying having to drive out to Halalco or the Lebanese Butcher. At least they do have a good selection at somewhat decent prices, but it would be nice to have something closer.

  • justinbc

    Amoeba Music (record store for those unfamiliar)

    • A record store is decidedly “sexy” — the post was seeking ideas for “non-sexy but necessary businesses.”

      • justinbc

        It is? How is it more so than a sneaker store (from the OP)?

        • The sneaker store was PoP’s idea. The OP had more mundane establishments in mind. 🙂
          Maybe sneaker stores come in varying degrees of sexiness??
          I love record stores, but I think few people in this day and age consider them to be “necessary.”

          • justinbc

            Eye doctors are completely unnecessary for me 😉 I was basing it off Dan’s suggestion. Hell I don’t even own a record player, but after visiting the shops out in California I’m definitely wanting to get back into them. My folks have a couple hundred I could pick over to at least get started for now, but no idea what state they’re in.

    • i think they are about to open a new one up in Georgetown
      also the records fair is this sunday

      • justinbc

        I had no idea, awesome tip!

        • No doubt
          i think its either 5 or 2 bucks cover depending on when you get there
          also an after party @ warehouse loft (whatever they are calling it these days)

          in addition there is a party (either weekly or monthly) where thery only spin records and you can bring in your own to be played of youd like

          i dont play them often but do have a handful up as art in the house

  • Old Navy. Sometimes cheap clothing will fill a need. There aren’t any Old Navies in the District, and I’ve always wondered why. Seems like a natural fit for Columbia Heights or any number of other places.
    For the Shaw/Bloomingdale area, I’d like a full service gym, a hardware store, a bread bakery, a deli, and a Bank of America ATM. And if there was a small new/used bookstore, that would really be icing on the cake.

  • For the U Street neighborhood, a clothing store! that sells the ‘basics’ — jeans, t-shirts, etc. — like, at the risk of getting ridiculed, a Gap or Old Navy. Cheap, basic clothes, with clothes for kids too.

    • Yes yes yes to this. I would love to see some national retail on 14/U. As the Connecticut avenue retail scene shuts down (Burberry, Beneton, going), it would be great to see some of that action head north into the more residential/mixed neighborhoods instead of all downtown.

    • No ridicule. Good suggestions. aaaaaand a +1 to ya

    • Yeah, I’d love to see an Old Navy in the District. It’s annoying to have to get all of my basic clothes at Target or schlep out to Virginia. (I realize that there’s an Old Navy not that far away in Alexandria, but I don’t have a car, so it’s annoying for me to get to.)

    • As a U Streeter, I totally agree on a Gap, Old Navy, or other basics clothing store. As much as the boutiques and second hand shops are cute (and I do shop at Buffalo and the new one on 14th north of U), they really don’t have a lot of stock and chances are what you like isn’t your size. And places like Universal Gear, Commonwealth etc. are great but very pricey.

      • So many people are against chains opening in Logan/U Street, but they do serve a purpose. I’d have no problem with slightly more upscale ones as well, like a Banana Republic, J. Crew, etc. etc.

  • Honestly, I just need the weather to be nice and I can bike to pretty much any neighborhood that has what I need. I live in Navy Yard now and there’s not much aside from restaurants. So I’ll bike all over to get to what I need. I am trying to figure out how to jury rig a clothes hanger to my bike rack for when I have to take my suits to get altered up in Dupont.

    • I used to live in the Capitol Hill Tower. Doesn’t the dry cleaners on the retail level of that building do alterations? (No idea if they do or the quality, but you may want to check it out.) As for carting around clothes by bike, I use a large D-ring-style carabiner that I clip through the top of the hangers. Holding the carabiner as a handle is more comfortable than holding 7 or 8 hangers, but I only go about 6 or 7 blocks.

      • Yeah I use that dry cleaners for my laundry but don’t really trust them for alternations. I’ve seen one hack where someone rigged a pole to their bike rack with a clamp on top. You can then hang a garment bag off of it, hands-free. But you end up looking like a sailboat lol.

    • There are a number of suiters designed for the bike. However, most of them will cost you $50 to $100, which is probably not worth it unless you’re a commuter. Maybe just have to bite the bullet and use the metro.

  • There’s actually not a whole lot I can think of, besides groceries, that I buy on a semi-regular basis and would need a nearby store for. When you live in a small house or apartment with limited storage you learn to live with less (which is why I think a lot of nonessential retail does not do well in the city).

  • I’d love a place like Northside Social
    A Target west of the park
    It doesn’t have to be in my neighborhood but a decent thrift shop.

    • Yes! More thrift shops would be great for shopping and making a dent in people leaving their shit on the curb instead of donating it.

      • More thrift shops would be good, but I suspect that people who are so un-civic-minded as to just leave their stuff on the curb would continue to do so. 🙁

        • justinbc

          +1 Although I’m not sure a thrift shop would make enough money to survive with a new lease in Capitol Hill, without marking their stuff up to the point it no longer seems thrifty.

          • They don’t have clothes for you (unless you like to cross-dress) but Clothes Encounters has been across the street from Eastern Market for a long time. I’ve gotten a barely-worn cashmere Theory sweater (normally retailing for around $300) for $30, and also cheaper things like a $5 skirt. Feels thrifty to me!

          • justinbc

            Yeah that’s a steal, but if it’s been there a long time that kind of proves my point. They probably have a pretty favorable lease that a new business wouldn’t be able to secure, that’s the only reason some of these shops are still around.

      • If I remember, I think there was a large thrift store coming to U st?

    • OK this +1000.

    • What about an S-Mart? “Shop smart, shop S-Mart…”

    • This was one of my first thoughts, as well!

    • No, a Lotte closer to DC! Much better than H Mart. Lotte covers more cuisines. Korean, Viet, Thai, Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern, halah etc. Every time i trekk to VA I stock up on as much food samples and groceries as I can. Last time I got 4 different types of dal and the remaining ingredients to make Indian dosas. Lotte is more than Asian items! P.s. if you couldn’t tell i really love Lotte…

  • I would love a Trader Joe’s on Capitol Hill.

  • jim_ed

    I’d love a version of Willow for men’s clothes

  • Some kind of furniture shop. Maybe if rents get too high around 14th and U, one of the stores there could relocate a little farther north on 14th.

  • I would like to see a wholesale reinvention of the DC corner store. With a little spit, paint, and polish (and a re-done inventory) they could start actually providing goods to the neighborhood beyond 40s and chips. Coming from NYC, where the well-stocked neighborhood bodega reigns supreme, I am surprised at how consistently awful the DC corner store is.

    • Good point — it seems like the corner stores in D.C. specialize in junk food, soda, lottery tickets, and alcohol.

      • Would you use your corner store for daily shopping – household stuff, packaged and fresh food – if they were nicer?

        • Possibly. It would also depend on whether I thought the prices were reasonable.
          This makes me think of convenience stores in Japan — unlike convenience stores in the U.S., where prices seem artificially inflated to compensate for the convenience, the ones in Japan carry a fair amount of necessities (e.g., milk) at prices that are similar to those in grocery stores.

          • I live on Fairmont and was excited to see the vacant corner storefront get a “market” (the Uptown market). I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that the store is like a downmarket 7-11.

          • Yeah, it is the same way in the Middle East. The little neighborhood stores sell pretty much everything that you need (though without the brand variety of the supermarkets) and at decent prices.
            Here I would definitely do more basic shopping at my corner store if I wasn’t paying so much more than at the grocery store. I would think that the added business they would get would more than cancel out lowering prices a bit.

    • The corner store at Oak and 14th is fantastic. It has all the basics (soup/cereal/coffee/pasta etc), basic produce, and a decent refrigerated section, health food/niche/slightly higher end products, and Ethiopian spices/injera. They somehow manage to cater succesfully to the full range of residents, from public housing to 700k homes.

    • I agree! The corner store in the neighborhood I just moved from was great-friendly owners, a good selection of products packed into a small space, etc., but it just didn’t compare to the ones in NYC (and I’m definitely not an “everything’s better in NY type). I’d like to see corner stores with deli counters to get lunch meat, breakfast sandwiches, coffee, etc.

    • The only NYC bodegas I’ve been to have all been in Green Point, but none of them are better than 1101 on H St NE. That place has an amazing beer selection, plus your run-of-the-mill snacks and Mad Dogs and 40s and lotto tickets (and toilet paper, etc.).

  • Bagels. I always feel like such an addict asking my friends in NYC to smuggle bags down when they visit. Similarly, a regular ole donut shop (standard stuff, no $4 ginger and bacon dusted glazed square donuts).

    • gotryit

      I’m also a NY bagel snob, but I find that Bruegger’s or Einstein Bros are good enough to scratch my itch. Not great, but good.

    • This is like the fifth bagel request post… are there really no decent, serviceable bagel shops in the District outside the chain stores?

      • So’s Your Mom in Adams Morgan is the closest thing to a NY area bagel shop in DC. I wish there were places like So’s Your Mom around here. I love that place. Bethesda Bagels is decent too.

      • Bethesda bagels is ok (not a standout by NYC standards, but good). So’s Your Mom still claims to sell Whatsa Bagels (I think), but imho they were never great, and have gotten worse over time. I think several neighborhood bagel shops that also did coffee well would do great, especially around metro stops like CoHi, U street, etc.

      • Not inside the district, but I find (as a Jersey/Brooklyn native) Goldberg’s Bagels in Silver Spring and Brooklyn Bagels at Courthouse can fill the need. Unless you come from a family like mine, and have a dozen bagels at the house at all times. In that case, we really need something closer.

        • +1 to Brooklyn Bagels! Worth the commute to Courthouse. But a bagel place or a good bakery in Shaw/Bloomingdale would be a VERY welcome addition

      • Not that I’ve found. Bethesda Bagels is close to us but particularly disappointing. Every few weeks we make the trek to Goldberg’s New York Bagels in N. Bethesda or Silver Spring and put a couple dozen in the freezer. De-lish!

      • Buffalo & Bergen in Union Market has pretty good bagels (I can’t remember where they get them). In a pinch So’s Your Mom will do, and that place on 18th and S

      • I like the bagels at Bagels and Baguettes on Capitol Hill. I’m not from NY and don’t really know or care if they are authentic, but I think they are good.

      • I saw DGS delicatessen in DuPont get’s their bagels from St. Viateur bagels in Montreal. I don’t know what they use them for or if you can just get a simple bagel. I hope they don’t taste to off from the fresh ones.

        • OMG, are you serious? I’ve never been to DGS but have been to St. Viateur in Montreal. If DGS’s bagels come from St. Viateur, I will be eating there EVERY day. Délicieux ces bagels!!!!

    • As a New Jersey native, I feel your pain. Bethesda Bagels has a location in Dupont and they’re pretty legit. P Street bagels (also in Dupont) isn’t too bad either, but other than that I haven’t found anything exactly on par with NY bagels.

    • I think for bagels, Buffalo and Bergen in Union Market is delicious (but I’m not from NY and I don’t know much about them) but there needs to be more bagel shops in DC without a doubt.

  • For Logan Circle:

    A Southern style bakery – pound cake, yeast rolls, slices of pie
    A Pho place
    A gift shop

  • I’m thinking of the little commercial strip on New Jersey Ave. with the new Salon Le Fini, and I’d love a local bakery/creamery there. I don’t know if they make bakery/creamery shops, but that’s what I’d love to see. Good bread and cheese and maybe an ice cream counter where I could take my little guy for a cone after he arrives. That would be nice. There’s that new bakery on Rhode Island Ave next to Boundary Stone but it seemed to be mostly cake and pie, instead of loaves and bagels. Anywho…

    • I’d love something (anything!) in those two businesses next to Le Fini. The second hand furniture store has, sadly, recently increased its inventory from one giant steel container to three.

      You should try the secret (?) bakery on North Capitol on Saturday mornings, it’s the only time they’re open to the public. No cakes, pies, or bagels, but great loaves, crossiants, and other goodies. Get there early.

  • I’d love to see a salad place near Columbia Heights/Petworth/Mount Pleasant.

  • I never thought I’d say this but Petworth needs a F’ing bank. I hate having to trek to DC USA or down to U st. just to use an ATM.

    • I feel the same way! I usually roll my eyes when yet another bank opens but damn Petworth needs a bank. At one point, a Suntrust was possibly going in the Safeway but I don’t think that is happening now.

    • Whoa, that’s crazy. I just assumed all of DC was saturated with banks since all the other neighborhoods seem to be.

    • Bloomingdale/Eckington/Brookland’s the same way, especially since Cap One closed its branch over on Michigan Avenue. Closest one to us now is the new on H Street next to the new Wal-Mart. But still..

    • +1. Bank of America is everywhere in Columbia Heights, but has zero presence in the U St or Shaw area, other than that home loans office that doesn’t even have an ATM attached.

    • Industrial Bank has a branch that’s pretty close to Petworth.

      • saf

        Yes, it is actually IN Petworth.

      • I guess a bit more South would be nice. I don’t travel too far North of say Buchanan for much of my daily needs. I tend to travel South and West. I am primarily on foot and the Industrial Bank is a good 15-20 minute walk from my house.

        A bank around the Upshur Street area (which is were most of the action is in Petworth) would be great.

        • If you need to get cash, I’d bet there are several ATMs loacted in various businesses around there. As for an actual bank branch in that area, it seems like it would fill a need, but then again I don’t know how great the need actually is for a new bank branch.

          • Do people actually use those sketchy stand alone ATM’s? I wouldn’t take the risk especially if your bank charges fees.

            I use CitiBank. They have an ATM in every 7-11 which are just, if not more likely, to be prevalent then banks.

        • There is a Bank of America in Petworth at Georgia & Park, 3500 Georgia Avenue, N.W.

    • I just wish that DC had more local banks and credit unions with available ATMs. I used National Capital Bank, with is very local, but they only have 2 ATMs in the whole District!

      • As in many places, lots of our local banks got eaten by larger ones. Maryland National Bank got eaten by Nations, which then became Bank of America. Riggs is now PNC. Industrial Bank, though, is a local bank with deep Washington roots and several branches. I don’t know anything about their ATMs though. The Bank of Georgetown is local as well, and has multiple locations in the DC area.

  • I’d really like a no-frills full service gym on H, as well as a frozen yogurt place!

    • Is there some sort of gym there now? Or is that a Crossfit or something similar? No-frills full service gym would be an awesome addition to that neighborhood.

  • 1- bookstore
    2- game/hobby shop

    • Game store! Yes! the one in capitol hill is fantastic, they should share the love up north in Petworth/Bloomingdale.

      • Labyrinth in Capitol Hill – love them. First game store I’ve been to where most of the staff is women. Would be nice to have one up North.

  • Awesome indoor waterpark!!!! Hell, give us a whole sports-mega-plex. Would be good for all the social sports leagues around town. Also, wouldn’t have to take away space from community center kids programming.

  • Live around 14th and U.

    1. Chase Bank
    2. Fish Monger
    3. A real butcher
    4. (Maybe) If the bakery on 17th and U turns out to be crap, then a better bakery.

  • Something like a Rodmans. They have EVERYTHING.
    Eye glass store
    hair salon (in park view)
    Crossfit (maybe that doesn’t count as non-sexy)

  • Does anyone remember Ida’s? I think they were on Georgia, somewhere near Kennedy Street. They were a small department store with fabric and notions, clothes, even shoes. My impossible dream list would include an Ida’s! There’s also a store in Fells Point called Hi’s Variety –that has everything: like a combination of a good hardware store, plus housewares, snacks, even fishing tackle. Kind of like Bruce’s in Bethesda used to be — but on a smaller scale. I’ll add that to my impossible dream list too.

    The store that I”m most grateful to have is: Rodman’s. The quality of my life would be a whole lot shabbier without Rodman’s.

  • bike shop in Bloomingdale. But that may just be me being lazy, since I’m used to being a block away from one…

  • Based on my Amazon shopping history (which I resort to if there’s not a convenient local option for buying something) I need a place that sells miscellaneous household items like Brita filters, racks/organizers, shower curtain liners, mop heads, and mouse traps. Now that I think about it, I could probably find these things in a hardware store, but I associate hardware stores with things like hammers and nails and not those things.

  • A spice store, like Penzeys.

  • I know this is a wish list posting but let’s be real: DC is not large enough (yet? ever?) for its individual neighborhoods to support having all their own amenities. Couple that with how ridiculously much landlords want for retail space, you just aren’t going to get everything within a 3 block radius of your home. DC is not that large geographically… I think it’s only like 5 square miles. So I feel that makes the overall city accessible. I really don’t mind going to many different neighborhoods around town to patronize different stores. I like getting out and seeing other neighborhoods, ESPECIALLY in a town where people are out and about. And when the weather is nice, everyone is generally out and about. And yes, I’m a bike nerd so it’s great to bike everywhere.

    For delis, I’ll go up to Adams Morgan for So’s Your Mom or Georgetown to hit up Stachowski’s.
    For a bakery, I’ve been going to Paul in Penn Quarter.
    I know it’s not the greatest but I’ll ride up to Bagels and Baguettes for a bagel on the weekend.
    One of the Frager locations is where I’ll usually go to for hardware stuff but I’ve occasionally gone up to Logan Hardware.
    When it’s nice out, I’ll go to just about all the farmer’s markets as well as Eastern Market in a single day.
    For butcher’s I’ll go to Eastern Market or Glen’s in Dupont.
    I’ve been going to Hana on U St lately, which saves me from having to go up to Bethesda to Hinata for Japanese groceries.

    But yeah as a whole, the District could use an H Mart lol.

    • justinbc

      I would love an H Mart here but wherever they would have to wind up putting it to keep the prices comparable would probably make it not Metro accessible. (not a problem for me since I have access to a car, but for some it might be a PITA)

      • +1 for a cheap, transit-accessible H Mart within the District (if only in my dreams!) There are a couple of similar places out in the ‘burbs where once you factor in Metrorail fare from downtown to end-ish of the line, it eats up most of the cost savings you’d reap by shopping there vs. in-District. I occasionally head up to the H Mart around Wheaton via bus (S bus from Columbia Heights to Silver Spring, and then the Y8/Y9 from Silver Spring station north to H Mart), which keeps the fare down to the flat bus fare, but it IS a major time suck. (This is also why I’ve never used Zipcar for suburban excursions. I just don’t buy enough that the cheaper prices would come out ahead of the Zipcar costs.)

      • I don’t think there are enough Asians in the city to support one, unfortunately. As much as we yuppies love our cross-cultural cooking (I’m coincidentally headed out to Merrifield, to the Great Wall, tomorrow) my experience is that the vast majority of shoppers at Asian grocery stores are Asians, and they’re now concentrated in the ‘burbs. Back when Chinatown had Chinese living there, there used to be a decent store called Da Hua and a handful of smaller places, but they left when the condos and the Starbucks came in.

        • That’s why we need to mobilize the kale-loving gentrifiers and yuppies to demand an H Mart in the city! 😉 I’m only half-joking, as MY main interest in H Mart is indeed their cheap and plentiful greens of all variation. (H Mart prices for kale and collards, at least, are about on par with a couple of the non-Whole Foods grocery chains around Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights, but with the distinct advantage being that H Mart tends to have piles and piles of all that stuff, whereas I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve hit Safeway, Harris Teeter, and Giant to find that the greens are either completely cleaned out or too wilted and sad-looking, even for .99-$1.29/lb.) That being said, I like H Mart’s produce prices and selection in general. Interestingly, the few times I’ve been to the store around Wheaton, the crowd has seemed pretty multicultural, with as many Latino customers as Asian. (If I had to eyeball it, maybe 80% those two groups, with the rest being white folks, African Americans, and customers who, making a guess based on their appearance and the languages they were speaking, seemed to be from India and parts of the Middle East.) Although you’re probably right that H Mart might not have the critical mass of customer base to make it in DC, along with other factors like the need for a large store space and high cost of rent.

          • justinbc

            The 17th St Safeway’s “greens” do a disservice to that color. My favorite indulgent thing at H Mart is all the crazy kinds of snacks. Just walking through the aisles and looking at the packaging is entertaining alone.

        • Most H Marts now also have a pretty big section of Latino foods as well as their more traditional Asian stuff. If they could put one in that had some specialty African, Latino and Asian foods in Petworth or Upper Columbia Heights they could probably do pretty well.

        • I know a lot of Asians in DC. They’re mostly young & trendy people who live near the U Street Corridor, but they’re there.

        • I’m Asian and I’ll tell you, go to H Mart on the weekends and it’s the United Nations in there. People of all sorts go for the cheap produce and seafood. H Mart has started to carry a large Hispanic/Latin selection of food as well.

        • This is clear that Washingtonians need to stop living under a rock, rent a zip car/take a metro and/or bus and explore areas outside of DC sometimes. Large international groceries stores like H-Mart, Lottes, GrandMart, Great Wall etc. are great resources to get not just Asian groceries, but a lot of other ethnic ingredients and affordable conventional produce. These stores are not full of asians but people of all different ethic backgrounds including white americans or people are willing to go to “a not your typical grocery store”. I think DC has enough people (including yuppies) who are either a) from various ethnic backgrounds and need a place to purchase those less than common ingredients b) folks who are curious/interested in cooking or trying other cuisines or c) just want to purchase fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish etc. that is also affordable

          pretty much it is more than a place to get your novelty snacks like Pocky and lychee jellies. come on…

          • justinbc

            Rose, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that many of the people clamoring for an H Mart have in fact left the District proper and visited one.

          • Um Rose? Have you done this without a car? Some of us have — which is why we’re wishing for the same experience with more convenience. Two trains plus a bus and/or a very long walk toting groceries is pretty daunting on a good day. Besides, if all we want is Pocky, we can get that and a whole lot more at World Market — directly above a Metro station. And yes, we could carpool or rent a zip car, but that, too, makes this something more complicated then a regular grocery run.

    • Tangential points: DC’s land area is slightly more than 60 square miles, not 5 square miles. And I don’t think anyone thinks that every neighborhood can support all amenities, it’s more that most neighborhoods could support something that they don’t currently have. I agree with you generally though.

      • I was being facetious about the square mileage of DC… it’s Friday, I’m a little disgruntled at work so the snark is fully on. My apologies.

        I wonder what retail rent is like in places like Bloomingdale or Petworth… those places that are very underserved by “basic” amenities like a bank, or a grocery store. Someone posted above posted about the crafts store on Barrack’s Row. I’m personal friends with the former owners of that business and I can tell you the rent was insane for the space. I also looked at opening my own retail business in the District in 2009, when the economy was in the tank, and the asking rents for spaces that were far from ideal were still astronomical. I can only imagine now, with a strong(er) economy and rebounding real estate market, they are even higher. Which means we’ll never see a good bakery in every neighborhood… all these “mom and pop” style business just can’t even get out of the gate with what landlords are asking for.

        It’s a bit disheartening that we are seeing the death of independent business in the District, where things are becoming a carbon copy of other neighborhoods or it’s the same 5 or 6 restaurant groups opening up their latest concepts in “new” neighborhoods. I’m not really complaining (although I am) as I’m enjoying a lot of these new businesses. But to see this question asked really kinda brings out the disparity in what we would like and what the reality is.

  • You know, I think somebody’s bound to really open up a kite store in DC someday, in spite of the jokes.

  • H Street NE could use some more basic clothing stores, preferably not a chain if possible. Also a bakery closer to Starburst would be nice, too. Bookstore, new or used. Also some offices or light industry so people can patronize these businesses during the day.

  • There is a sneaker store–Sneakertropolis on Kennedy.

    I’d love to see a gym and a decent Latin and/or Asian market in Petworth/Brightwood Park. Would like to have a Kohl’s in DC.

  • Most of my wishes have already been posted, but I’d really love a Sally Beauty somewhere in the District. There are a couple of beauty supply stores, but not with the selection/consistency of the Sally’s I’ve been to. It’s not necessarily something I’d need in my neighborhood, but it’s something I’d love to have in a more easily accessible location.

    • And yes, I know about Georgia Beauty Supply. They are very nice and helpful, but they don’t carry most of what I need!

      • Not to mention that they — and several of the other establishments in that sorry little strip — seem to be open only from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

        • Yeah, I’d forgotten about that! I tried to go during my lunch hour several times and, since they never had what I was looking for, I just gave up.

        • It’s interesting — so many people like unique, independent, possibly even family-owned, neighborhood business, but also want mall-like, chain-store type hours and convenience. Getting all of those things as a package will be tough, especially in less dense neighborhoods.

          • Well, it’s not really possible to patronize a business if it’s only open when you’re at work.

          • I realize that — I was just observing that someone who wanted to open up a small. local business these days has a lot of expectations to meet, from extended hours to staffing. The barriers to maintaining a “family” business in today’s real estate market with a customer base that also works long hours is staggering. So as much as I would love a store like the old Newsroom, or a specialty gift shop, I also get why there are so few of them around.

    • +1 for Sally Beauty!

  • I don’t know what this store would be called, but I find this need difficult to fill in DC, in a way I never had trouble anywhere else I’ve lived: a place to buy small gifts. Like a hostess gift when wine isn’t appropriate, or a nice but not expensive present for a favorite co-worker’s birthday that you just found out is tomorrow, or something small you can mail to your college roommate who got a new job. Sort of like Tabletop in Dupont, but with a better and broader selection (especially at the lower prices).

    • Have you tried Chocolate Moose? They don’t have a huge selection, but I’ve found some good little gifts there. I’ve definitely been able to find some on the less expensive side, as well.

      • Yes, that serves some of the need, but I’m thinking less kitsch-y than most of what they have. I can sometimes find something at Proper Topper or Tabletop or Home Rule, but they each have such small inventory in the “gift” category that it’s hit or miss.

        • Yeah, I can see that. Most of the gifts I’ve gotten there have been for people I know really well, so I know they’ll like some of the more kitschy stuff.

    • Have you tried Chocolate Moose?

    • Francesca’s in Union Station is good for these types of gifts

    • I too like to keep an eye out for those small chotskies but still thoughtful type gifts. If I’m in gift hunting mode I’ll usually do my rounds at:

      Chocolate Moose (downtown)
      Pulp (Logan Circle/U St.),
      Willows (Petworth)
      Pleasant Plains Workshop (Georgia Ave/Pleasant Plains) one place I haven’t been while open but looks like they have cute cards/prints
      National Building Museum (Chinatown/Judiciary Sq) also has a really great gift shop.

      If you have the pocketbook there is also Good Wood (U St.)

    • I miss Go Mamma Go 🙁

    • Just moved to Petworth, I am noticing a lack of:

      Street mailboxes!

      “Fast Casual” meals and quick easy non-snooty food that caters to the diverse economic background of the residents (that isn’t Subway—think Panda Express, Dunkin, and Panera)

      I also think some establishments just need a facelift so patrons feel safe/welcome there. I am guilty of just going to CVS instead of one of the “groceries” across the street or the hardware store for quick things… I think if some of the businesses put a little effort into outreach, you wouldnt have places like Open Kitchen Diner closing so soon.

      Speaking of the CVS, a Redbox would be welcome, as well as some damn self checkouts…

      And I wholeheartedly think Columbia Heights needs a Chop’t!! It would do very well.

  • Actually, I have a lot of experience in book publishing industry and would absolutely love to open a bookstore in ColiHts if I had a way to prove to a financial backer that it could be successful. I have no idea, though, if the kids are reading actual books these days or if it’s all on Kindle. I’m thinking of something cool and artsy with a lot of dust appeal. Think Shakespeare & Co. in Paris….

    • “Think Shakespeare & Co. in Paris….”
      Oh, got it, thanks. That makes it much more clear.

    • ….time for a Kickstarter

    • Independent bookstores are enjoying a little renaissance in some places, and I would start with looking at what makes them tick. Most of it is by delivering a great experience for the customer, instead of trying to simply deliver books in quantity. Author talks, curated book lists, community events, coffee shop, etc. They also often carry a highly select array of nice gifts (books are often given as gifts). I would love a store like this, and aside from Kramers, the dense part of NW DC doesn’t really have many really cozy, community-oriented bookstores. Take a look at Greenlight bookstore in Brooklyn. Or Court Street books.

  • andy

    A branch of Gringotts would really help me out. I HATE having to go to London every time I need gold or to check on my horcruxes.

  • Just moved to Petworth, I am noticing a lack of:
    –Street mailboxes!
    –“Fast Casual” meals and quick easy non-snooty food that caters to the diverse economic background of the residents (that isn’t Subway—think Panda Express, Dunkin, and Panera)
    ——–I also think some establishments just need a facelift so patrons feel safe/welcome there. I am guilty of just going to CVS instead of one of the “groceries” across the street or the hardware store for quick things… I think if some of the businesses put a little effort into outreach, you wouldnt have places like Open Kitchen Diner closing so soon.
    ——-Speaking of the CVS, a Redbox would be welcome, as well as some damn self checkouts…
    ——-And I wholeheartedly think Columbia Heights needs a Chop’t!! It would do very well.

    • lol to redbox. get a roku or smart tv.

    • andy

      I would rather not have Panda Express, Dunkin’ Donuts or Panera, though my wife would be a fan of Panera.

      • I would love a Panera, but I don’t think we’re likely to get one until we at least have a Starbucks. And Columbia Heights was pretty gentrified before it got a Panera.

    • Good point on street mailboxes!
      I think there is (or was) one across the street from the now under-construction Safeway, but the one time I was going to drop off an envelope in there, I noticed that it didn’t have any pickup times listed.
      I think there is one on New Hampshire Avenue between the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro and Grant Circle, but it’s kinda far.

    • A Red Box is right in front of the 7-Eleven a block from Yes!.

  • Coffee shop, dry cleaner or hardware store on far end of Petworth /Ft Totten/Kennedy St. I’ve got nothing but hair/nail salons and storefront “churches”!

  • you can find a lot of the types of stores requested in the comments in adams morgan already.

    people bash adams morgan a lot for being ‘nothing more’ than a bunch of bars for college students and interns, but that’s not the case, as evidenced by the fact that i can walk to a sneaker store around the corner, multiple grocery stores, we have a new bakery, hardware store, a fantastic deli/bagel shop (SYM forever!), music stores, a book store, game store, little gifts via Toro Mata and others, a bike shop, a radio shack, a cvs.

    • and let’s not forget multiple nail salons, multiple dry cleaners who are also tailors! coffee shops. a 7/11!

    • Fair enough, but the post is querying what we want for our own neighborhoods, and many of us live in neighborhoods less “established” than Adams Morgan.

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