“Due to ‘gentrification’ and mixed emotions Jak and Company Hairdressers will be closing” in Bloomingdale


Thanks to a reader for sending:

“Boundary Stone’s neighbor the salon is closing.”

112 Rhode Island Ave, NW

146 Comment

  • What a strange message

  • Anonynon

    Is that gentrification or capitalism?

    • What’s the difference?

      • Anonynon

        You can’t get gentrified as a business owner…survive and adapt….or get eaten that capitalism. I don’t know…

    • A black hairdresser leaving a neighborhood that has gone from 90% black to maybe 40% black, while property values have increased by something like 5-10x is pretty much a textbook example of gentrification. Of course, gentrification is a subset of capitalism, so the answer to your question is that it’s both. But it clearly is gentrification.

      • Property values aside, if they can cut white peoples’ hair and charge appropriately, they should be able to stay in business. It’s called rebranding/adapting. No reason to blame “gentrification.”

        • Anonynon

          Yeah I mean theoretically they could start doing Macklemore hair cuts…they chose not to

        • Agreed. I’d actually love to have a good hairdresser in the neighborhood. But they were never open and it was impossible to figure out their hours so I was never able to go there. They didn’t seem interested in taking on new customers from the neighborhood.

        • I’m unclear, do the commenters believe gentrification is not a thing, that it doesn’t occur, or that everything is just capitalism and we’re all either objectively better or worse than others?

          I prefer my white whine to be a lot less oaky

          • “Capitalism” is a concept created so people don’t have to feel guilty/humanize the people they’re displacing. Slavery was also part of “capitalism”. This idea of “but capitalism ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” has been used throughout history to justify all sorts of terrible behavior.

          • I don’t follow your question. Gentrification is a direct result of the economic system that governs our reality, which is capitalism.

          • of course “gentrification” is a thing. the same way that decay and evolution are things and the natural processes of life. unfortunately the whole term “gentrification” has become such a catch-all for misplaced blame, racism, fear, stubbornness, laziness, failure to adapt, etc, that it’s just a shallow argument at this point.

          • While gentrification (no scare quotes needed) can occur somewhat naturally the situation in DC is not really a natural situation.
            Remember the bust in 2008? Remember predator banks? Well several in this area have settled class action suits out of court after it was discovered that they specifically targeted blacks for bad loans so the banks could foreclose and resell in a seller’s market.
            None of this is the fault of gentrifiers but they would do well to know this as “but capitalism ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” (cut and pasted, thanks) completely ignores this unpleasant fact.

          • I think that would be better categorized as institutional racism. I dont know if you meant to say capitalism=racism but thats what i thought you were saying

        • Yes, they could have done that, or not done that. Whether they adapt or die doesn’t change the fact that the cause was gentrification.
          I find it amazing that anyone would argue that Bloomingdale hasn’t gentrified, and that gentrification hasn’t had an effect on the businesses and residents who live and work there.

          • windows cafe, bloomingdale liquors (and sunrise too), are great example of businesses that have adapted successfully and profited greatly from the improvements in the neighborhood. why does DC insist on inhibiting positive change?

          • Life is change. Gentrification is one form of social and economic change. Decay and collapse is another form. Since change is inevitable, I prefer growth & development to decay and collapse. But that’s just me 🙂

          • + 1,000 to Ace and They Can Build Whatever They Please comments.

        • ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
          That is racist beyond belief. So POC like myself should have to give up our cultures and focus on accommodating white people in order to be able to operate a business in this city?! That is so privileged, so entitled, so repugnant. That same attitude is what continues to oppress non-white people. Check yourself.

          • No, not racist or privileged. What LJ was speaking to is purely business practices. When you open a business, it’s a huge risk, and no business has the Right to succeed. If your demographic changes, whether it be cultural or financial, you need to adapt. This business did not adapt, and it was their decision not to.

          • I think you’re missing the point here. Business owners have to make a profit to operate in the city. If they’re operating a business that no one goes to, then they won’t make a profit. One way to make a profit would be to adapt to the new influx of potential customers.

          • Blithe

            Anon, you sound very sure that the business “did not adapt”, adding that “it was their decision not to”. Unless you’re privy to some inside information regarding their business practices, you might want to consider the possibility that significant numbers of the newer residents might have been reluctant to patronize the business no matter what “adaptations” the business might choose to make — for a varity of reasons and assumptions.

          • +1000000 you’re absolutely right! B/c POCs don’t “adapt” (read: cater to white folks) then you deserve to fail? Nope… not ok

          • I knew it was just a matter of time before I came across a comment like this, meaning a comment that pulls the “racism” card. No one in this situation was asked or forced to “give up” anything, and no one was oppressed. The reality is that the neighborhood demographic has changed and is continuing to change, and this business couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to serve the new population of the neighborhood. You can point fingers all you want, but that’s just how things go. Cities and neighborhoods change, and businesses that used to thrive sometimes fail and go under. Not a judgement, just reality.

          • +1 to Mayim’s point

      • Bloomingdale is still a majority black neighborhood.

      • I Dont Get It

        Or you could adapt your business model to the changing neighborhood. I guess it’s too late to send in Tabitha Coffey.

      • If you look gentrification up in the dictionary, race isn’t even part of the definition.

        • right, but it’s clearly been made a part of one with the discussion in DC.

          • Because white people, for many reasons, are typically better off financially. It’s easier to see changes in age and skin color than it is bank accounts. It’s just human nature to associate race with gentrification.

      • “A black hairdresser leaving a neighborhood that has gone from 90% black to maybe 40% black, while property values have increased by something like 5-10x is pretty much a textbook example of gentrification.”

        ‘Gentrification’ is such a loaded term. If going from 90% black to 40% is gentrification, what was it called when the city went from majority white to majority black in the late 1950s?

        • That is called white flight.

          • My point was more about a double standard.

            If white people leaving the city was white flight, why is the current trend of minorities leaving the city not called black flight?

            If gentrification is what is happening now, why not call the demographic changes of the 1950s and 1960s ‘degentrification’?

  • Windows Cafe sure didn’t seem to have a problem with “gentrification”

    • Actually Windows has had major issues staying afloat because of the rapid “change” in the neighborhood.

      • What evidence do you have of that? They seem busy every time I go in there and they’ve done a good job of adapting the products they sell to serve the changing clientele.

        • idk about you or the other folks who have moved into the neighborhood in this process but I have no interest in the rotting produce they sell.

          • Nobody likes rotting produce, but nice try at a straw man. They are fairly well stocked with many non-perishable items, and have a nice cafe. If you want produce, check out Field to City on Rhode Island and 2nd.

          • agreed, but produce is like, 3% of what they sell. i haven’t heard about them having problems, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t. it would be extremely dismaying though, everyone in bloomingdale goes to windows SOMEtimes!

          • yeah can’t say i’ve never bought ice cream or candy there, lol. just wish the produce was better, because it’d be really convenient. Field to city is never open? Or I’m trying the wrong door.

          • re field to city they have regular hours, afternoons/evenings/weekends. But yeah, you have to use the side door, not the corner door.

          • Windows has a killer beer selection

      • There’s an interesting article in the City Paper on Windows adapting to the changing neighborhood.

  • Don’t see why it is so odd. Oftentimes a note will say “lost our lease” or “due to huge rent increase,” but when neighborhoods change, rents go up – so anyone knows it means the same thing.

    Now, if they owned their place of business, then there’s a different story going on.

    • Agree that it’s not that odd. If your business is set up to serve a community that then moves away from the neighborhood due to changing demographics, you close. Gentrification changed the make up of the neighborhood and the new people don’t use this particular service so they decided to close.

    • I agree. You can’t fault a business for being unhappy about having to move because their target clientele no longer live nearby.

      • But you can fault them for blaming “gentrification” (I suspect I’m using quotes for entirely different reasons.) In fact, it’s their target clientele who are the ones selling/cashing out, so who’s to blame here?

        • Assuming that all of the former Bloomingdale residents who left did so because they were “selling/cashing out” is naive.. I find it hard to believe that none of the residents who left were renters who could no longer afford the rent in the neighborhood, which is perhaps the same situation the hair dresser found themselves in.

  • I live in Bloomingdale for over two years and I think I’ve only seen this place open once. Did they actually have normal operating hours?

    • They are one of the premier, historical hair salons in Washington, D.C. The owner, Jak, was loved by many. I’m sure you’re at work during their traditional business hours, but they were open like most normal hair salons Tuesday-Saturday, with a solid clientele.

      • novadancer

        normal hair salons are typically open until 8 or 9 during the week. I have walked by all times of day and never saw it open… even during the day while on maternity leave since I was constantly visiting grassroots.

      • You seem very defensive. I’m sure Jak was a great guy. I’ll never know, because I never saw this place open, ever. It’s my fault that I work traditional business hours? If they have such a solid clientele then why are they closing?

    • Agreed. I live across the street and I’ve only seen it open a handful of times and always at seemingly random times.

      • And in response to Bloomingdale Native’s comment above they certainly haven’t been open those hours during the last year I’ve lived opposite them.

    • I’ve interacted with a couple of their stylists in passing. They were very friendly.

    • +1 to this comment.

  • Not strange at all. Its a black salon, of course gentrification would effect them, in terms of loss of local/neighborhood black customer base. Could they have just said, we are closing because our customer base no longer lives here; sure, but its all the same thing.

  • They say gentrification like it’s a bad thing

    • And you say it like it’s exclusively a good thing. *sigh*

      • Definition of GENTRIFICATION. : the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.

        • didn’t get to finish it,
          The displacement part sucks, but not as bad as letting neighborhoods deteriorate.
          For instance, the building that is now Brookland’s Finest was a shell being held together by 4×4’s and now it’s a business that is doing very well.
          So taking a dilapidated building and turning it profiting business is a good thing.

          • Someone being displaced could care less if the vacant buildings become restaurants. If you don’t see that gentrification is bad for some people then I don’t know what to tell you.

          • what part of “the displacement part sucks” in my statement wasn’t clear

            for some people gentrification is bad but for a city it is good

    • They are being forced to close after 50 years in one place. What pray tell is the silver lining for them?
      Gentrification is a predominantly positive force like evolution, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck to be the dodo bird.

      • Fifty years in one place is a very, very good run.

        Of course, FOREVER might be better, but doesn’t seem realistic for anyone, any business, any neighborhood or any city.

      • Evolution didn’t lead to the demise of the dodo bird. It was driven to extinction, primarily thanks to humanity. Just sayin’.

  • I am happy they are calling it like it is. Why can’t shops that support the black community that once lived here keep their doors open?

    • It’s a two way street. Why can’t the community support a business? We live in shaw and my husband goes to a black-owned barber shop. My son’s first haircut was there. It’s not impossible

      • Barbering and styling are different. I have locs; do you think I can go to any white salon and get service? Of course not. I think the perception/reality that hairstyling can be quite different across races makes it unlikely a white woman/man would choose the black hair salon even if they could do a suitable job. Yelp culture doesn’t help either.

        • What’s a “white salon”? I used to work at Bang and when I worked there, there was a stylist that specialized in natural hair. So yes, I think you CAN go in to a “white salon” and get service. My husband has a crazy Jew fro. But was also in the military, where, on base, it’s largely Asians doing the hair cuts. Or older Black people. Maybe it’s the PERCEPTION that’s wrong, not solely gentrification. Gentrification doesn’t matter if someone has a prejudice. And FWIW, whenever we go to my husband’s barber shop, there is a mix of ages and colors waiting for service.

          • A white salon is one that specializes in hair that is not natural and ethnic. They will generally lack the necessary products to do my hair effectively like locing gel, appropriate conditioners, etc.

            I can go into a white salon and get service, but I cannot just walk down the street and walk into the first one I come across and expect them to do natural hair. This is definitely a nonissue for me as I go to a home stylist for a fraction of the cost of what a salon would try to charge me.
            My comment didn’t come through below, but on wdc’s experience, I think length or need to style may be the real issue not “white hair” generally. Your hubby and child likely keep short cuts. If he had a man bun, maybe they would have a harder time dealing with it.

          • I Dont Get It

            All shops should refuse to do a man bun.

          • what about white dreads? And I go home for my haircuts a majority of the time because it’s cheaper. And there are even black women that work there! GASP!

          • Yes, black women work in white salons, and I would still assume they would lack the necessary product. The mere fact that I saw a black person in the window would not make me assume they are more capable or have the necessary products.
            What about white dreads? My description was for general purposes. Yes, there are salons specializing in straight hair that can also do dreads, and there are natural salons that will give you a perm. As a general rule, white salons or those specializing in not naturally maintained hair isn’t going to have what locs need whether that is beeswax or special gel. I don’t see the point you were trying to make by bringing up white dreads. The lack of products was much more of the issue rather than a simple lack of knowledge on what to do. Dominican salons specialize in a hot combesque straightening method. I wouldn’t go to them looking for services either. This really isn’t about race beyond the necessities that different hair styles and textures require. If I ever get my hair done in Canada, the person doing it is probably going to be white. 🙂

      • I have heard a good-sized handful of anecdotes from “gentrifiers” who went into black-owned barbershops and were made to feel very uncomfortable, or told “we don’t cut white hair.”
        I don’t know anything about Jak’s; perhaps they were welcoming to all. I only know that quite a few businesses contribute to their own demise by refusing to adapt.

        • I’ve gone into a number of traditionally black barbershops in Shaw, Petworth, Logan etc. for 20 plus years in DC and have never seen any white dude get told his hair can’t get cut. As black barbers have had to address the varied textures of black hair, most of them can cut straight hair… with clippers. what I have seen is white guys who are used to salon like hair cuts with wet hair and scissors balk at the idea of a clippers-only haircut.

        • LisaT

          My partner (who is white) had that experience at two businesses on Kennedy St–a bar and a barber shop–it was made very clear he wasn’t welcome in either and they did not want his business. So, they each got it once and never again. And honestly, I’ll be glad when they’re both gone and something replaces them where everyone can go and spend their money.

          • I’m sorry to hear that. I suggest Midtown Barbershop on Kennedy St. Most of the customers are African-American, but I have seen a variety of people getting haircuts there.

          • The barbershop on 1st and kennedy? I used to frequent that one and everyone was super friendly. I’m not black (not white either) and always felt welcome there so I would be shocked if you’re talking about that one. That one burned down last year and moved out to PG.

          • jim_ed

            Name names, or at least give cross streets. I’m especially curious what bar it is.

          • what bar? there are like 3 places on Kennedy and they have all be welcoming.

        • I Dont Get It

          I’ve never felt that I was unwanted in a black-owned barber shop. What made me uncomfortable in a couple of them was all the p*ssy talk and the presence of magazines such as Penthouse or worse.

      • I’ve tried three different black barbershops in my neighborhood, and gotten terrible haircuts each time. I would love to go to a place close to home, but I just have a different type of hair and style that they’re used to.

  • I agree that businesses do better if emotions are kept homogenous.

  • Does anyway think that gentrification, “the arrival of wealthier people in an existing urban district, a related increase in rents and property values, and changes in the district’s character and culture,” is fundamentally wrong? Do you think that jacking up rents and tossing people out of their properties is a GOOD thing? I’ve had people knock at my door asking to buy the property from this black woman. You speak so calmly about the target clientele no longer living here, as if they up & moved. I do not understand.

    • I don’t understand your question. I don’t think neighborhoods changing is wrong. Not having affordable housing is wrong. Not having good schools is wrong. Or safe playgrounds, or grocery stores, or safety. It’s not so easy in DC to “toss people out of their properties” (if it’s their property vs. being renters, which have their own rights in DC). Target clientele is one thing, but it’s not like this happened overnight. A black barber can cut white hair same as a white person can cut asian hair and so forth. It just sounds like you’re angry that white people have been moving in to your neighborhood (and probably mad about other areas in DC as well). Do they not need places to live, too? Maybe I’m missing your point, which is possible.

    • I do think what’s happened is a good thing. Let’s use this particular stretch of Rhode Island. I moved to this area in 2007 and using GoogleMaps “Go Back in Time” we had Jak Barber Shop, a laundromat & two vacant storefronts. Now there is a bakery, two bar & restaurants, and I’m sure the barber shop will be snapped up.

      https:[email protected],-77.012637,3a,75y,174.56h,91.76t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sV5yM7evVIWlB4t_VzDabjA!2e0!6m1!1e1

      Now turn the corner to 1st NW. In 2007 we had a liquor store, crappy market shop, and a good one (Windows). Now there is Windows, RedHen, Aroi (okay their sushi is awful but still better than nothing, Rustik, Casa Brava, and a yoga studio.

      With the exception of the barber shop I don’t find that we’ve lost anything and we gained so much.

    • Please ignore the @ssholes. They do not represent the greater community.

    • Scrillin

      I wish the biggest problem in my life was ownership of a sought-after property.

    • I think it’s both good and bad. I have seen plenty of my elderly black neighbors sell their homes to go move closer to their kids in PG county or closer to family down south. Was gentrification good for them? sure! Do I agree that it has also pushed out people who have strong ties and want to stay here, of course. I think that is terrible. I’m not sure of the answer but gentrification is usually a pretty mixed bag that coincides with a lot of race and class questions that most people don’t like to talk about.

    • Just speaking for myself, I think it has both positives and negatives – but I think most of the negatives are actually attributable to crummy labor laws and the legacy of discrimination.
      To me, it’s not fundamentally wrong that upper-middle class or wealthy people are moving into certain neighborhoods. It’s not fundamentally wrong that new restaurants or yoga studios tend to follow them. There is even some evidence that existing homeowners can BENEFIT from this by cashing in and having a more secure retirement and/or a legacy to leave to their children. But it IS fundamentally wrong that most “gentrifiers” are a pretty homogeneous group and that poorer people of color disproportionately are unable to share in the positive changes taking place in a lot of urban American neighborhoods. The answer to this, though, is implementing policies that ensure socio-economic mobility for people of color. The answer is NOT keeping white people in upper NW.

      • “most ‘gentrifiers’ are a pretty homogenous group”
        but it doesn’t have to be that way. my understanding is that black people with money prefer to move to pg county. they could join in and help revitalize dc, but they don’t (i’m sure there are exceptions, but the whole crux of the gentrification issue is that it’s mostly white people). can’t blame the current gentrifiers for that.

    • In the handful of black owned properties in bloomingdale that I can think of, gentrification has done more to create wealth that will be transferred between generations than any amount of government programs could ever hope to accomplish. I have neighbors who are sitting on properties that are completely paid off and are worth north of a million. Gentrification has made it possible for these folks to literally have net worth in excess of a million dollars. Absent gentrification, houses were selling at less than 100k in the early 90s. Adjust that for inflation and you dont get close to their current net worth. These property values will pay for grand kids to go to college and will raise entire families out of a cycle of being working poor.

      Yeah, I think thats a good thing.

      Do we need to figure out a way to care for the people who werent as fortunate? yes. But, I dont quite get why the people stuck in a cycle of poverty and being displaced by gentrification are any more deserving than those stuck in a mutli-generation cycle of poverty who arent being displaced.

      • +1. At least on my block in Bloomingdale everyone who has been “displaced” has been an owner-occupier who received a nice sum for their home and not people driven out by increasing rents.

    • I’m honestly curious to hear specific stories about people being thrown out of their homes due to gentrification. I always hear a vague “but you’re displacing people!” when referring to gentrification, but I have yet to hear a single specific example of someone being evicted or the rent being jacked up too high for them to pay. The only people I have actually seen “get displaced” are the ones who owned their homes, sold them for a huge sum of money and moved to the suburbs so they could have a quieter life/more property.

      • 143 W St residents were bought out after there was a fire in building. The first two buildings were made into condos earlier in housing run up, then the market crashed and developed kept 143 as a rental. From what I heard, all the renters received big checks just to move out – like $20k. In DC, tenants have major rights. It is not being turned into condos. So yes renters were displaced, and many were likely lower income, but they also were renters and also received a big payment just to move.

  • wmm

    It’s curious how this isn’t receiving the same uproar over last week’s Masa 14 note from the PoPVille community.

  • Seeing as I’m not in the target demo for either their services or another tapas place I wonder what will become of the space.

  • Black women are still getting their hair done all over the area. Gentrification hasn’t changed that. Maybe Jak was losing out to the competition from the Dominican and African hair joints that have popped in the last 10 or so years?. After 50 years though, I presume someone will get a well deserved rest.

  • Anyone know how Windows is doing (as another commenter posted earlier) with the neighborhood changing? I’ve always found their coffee awful, sandwiches nasty, and service abysmal.

    • I once went into Windows and realized I’d left my wallet at home. The older gentlemen who owns/works there offered to let me take my purchases and come back and pay later. I found this to be incredibly generous.

    • I’ve noticed that their selection has improved over the last 6 months or so; so they seem to be doing well and carrying a wider selection to meet their changing market.

    • I agree the deli is always disappointing, which is a shame cuz otherwise it’s a great spot. It’s perfect for last minute groceries though – a tad overpriced but that’s the price for convenience. Although I will say, I’m about equidistant between Windows and Ledroit Market and I find myself at Ledroit more often these days.

  • No doubt that Blockbuster stores, photo film processing stores, and payphone operators are all displaced due to gentrification as well.

  • I’m sorry to hear that they’re closing down. They’ve been wonderful neighbors who’ve been very friendly to me and my family over the years. The owner and stylists were and are lovely people.

    In response to the comment above, in the past they definitely kept up what I’d consider regular hair salon hours, even though lately they haven’t been open as much. I think it’s far more likely that that’s due to fewer appointments as the neighborhood’s changed, than some sort of negligence on the part of the owners.

  • Businesses turn over. I have to imagine that if this salon were really great they would have retained their client base, even as clients moved out of the area. The Bloomingdale churches seem to be doing just fine. Former residents come from all over on Sundays. My point is that people return when they are attached to something.

  • Here’s how DC Government Gentrifies:

    Step 1: Pick the Ward you would like Gentrified
    Step 2: Pick the ANC in that Ward
    Step 3: Ban the sale of Malt based beverages (they peeps that beg for money outside liquor stores and markets # 1 go to.)
    Step 4: Ban the sale of single serve beers (now you have to buy 2 beers! That means I have to beg for cash for another 2 hours)
    Step 5: Ban the sale of any spirit less than a Pint/375 ml ( No more 200 ml’s or shorties/100 ml’s)
    Result: Homeless and beggars disappear……Gentrified!!!!!

    • or give huge tax breaks or subsidies for development that will help draw a new crowd with money…i see nothing wrong with that as long as they realize it’s not just the poor folks on section 8 who benefit from government assistance.

    • all this does is promote social networking among the vagrants – buy a two-pack = one beer for me, and one for my new business colleague!

    • Huh? You can still buy all those things in Bloomingdale.

      • I was citing what the city actually does when the gentrify….not using Bloomingdale as an example because it wasn’t on their list. It’s been about 3 years since the last time they implemented these “laws.”

        They really won’t use this “technique” again until they are ready to “clean up” the other side of the river.

        • It happened at Best One liquor a little further down Rhode Island. Have you been in there lately? It’s nuts.

  • I’m so sick of “gentrification” being a bad word. If I, as a white person, spoke negatively about black people moving into “my” neighborhood, I’d be racist. Gentrification is the result of a good economy and a shortage of housing. Don’t blame me because I can afford to buy a renovated in the neighborhood that you think is “yours.” This is how Real Estate works… it’s how the world works. Living in the city close to work and recreation with a good infrastructure is a luxury paid for by taxes and higher property costs. I don’t understand why people think we should value slums or high-crime areas just because people who live in them tend to be a certain race. Gentrification is good for the city and good for the people who own property.

    • Whether or not gentrification is a good thing depends on who you talk to. I will say in dc it becomes a matter of race because you have a majority black community with a growing influx of people from different races (mostly white) moving in. So naturally race becomes the defining point. When in reality it’s all about income (and yes you can argue race/ income is inextricably linked, but that’s changing considerably). Take for example Philly. You had a predominately white working class neighborhood in south philly that became gentrified by mainly white transplants. So race had little/nothing to do with it. Race isn’t really the issue in dc either (though lots will say it is)…Your income level tends to be A LOT more defining. If anything gentrification is classist, what your race is has little to do with it. And that’s essential true all over America anymore.

      • You’re exactly right. People tend to mix causation and correlation quite frequently. Just because two things are related does not mean they are cause and effect.

  • Neighborhoods don’t “belong” to people just because they live in them. Neighborhoods don’t “belong” to property owners, either. They just own small individual chunks of “their” neighborhoods.

  • Maybe Jak and the Furniture store owner from H St. can just switch places.

  • I bet Boundary Stone takes this space over. Calling it.

  • Someone needs to write a novel – “The Invisible Gentrifier”

    What a great letter. Love how it was summed it up in pretty stark and real terms, acknowledged the high value placed on the community, apologized for the mess (!), and expressed his sincere love and appreciation for his 50 years of clientele. Even urging the connection to the now displaced stylists. Give the Jacksons some love y’all!

  • Emotions aside, this is a little strange. Aside from Braids by Fe Fe, are there any hair related businesses left in the area? Doing map searches it kind of looks like salons are moving TOWARD the gentrifying areas. It’s hard to tell, but it doesn’t look like it’s just “white folks” spas either. The only place I find that advertises as specializing in black hair is in Kalorama. Eddie’s Braids is a 10 minute walk form WF.
    Maybe we’re looking at gentrification a bit wrong. Maybe Jak’s couldnt’t keep up because it’s not in the hot location and gentrification to the west is creating huge opportunities and better marketing potential. Trini’s is accross the street from Room and Board. It’s probably a bigger attraction to get your hair done and go shopping. After 50 years, maybe Jak’s clients just died and they did nothing to attract new one’s.

    • Wanda’s just opened on 7th & T and they seem to be doing really well. Not exactly “that area” but <15 min walk away.

    • This is a great article–thanks for sharing. I hadn’t seen such a scientific approach to the topic before.

    • +1 thanks for an actual information. Of note though, the research did show that DC gentrified in the 90’s so gentrification is real, it just has nothing to do with a salon failing.

  • 1) Whatever the cause, this is sad.
    2) Gentrification absolutely has a negative side – we should work to mitigate it but it’s difficult to do.
    3) They paid rent to a landlord for 50 years and then the landlord jacked up their rent b/c neighboring rental values were going up? That’s disgusting. No where are there rules of business that say you can’t repay a loyal renter by not displacing them the first chance you get. The business owner should consider kickstarter or some kind of campaign to raise money AND shine some light on a pretty deplorable property owner.

    • So as a landlord he or she is never entitled to ever aspire to increase the return of their investment that they put money into for so many years? The Landlord is a business person just like the tenant.

    • If you read the Post article on this topic, the landlord gave the business a 50 percent break on the market value rent for five years. He likely couldn’t afford that anymore because of increase in property taxes.
      Five years is more than enough time to find a new place, gradually increase prices or find some other strategy to stay in business.
      Don’t blame the landlord. He has to make money just like this business.
      They got a five year reprieve and did absolutely nothing with it.

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