82°Partly Cloudy

Friday Question of the Day – Where (Realistically) Should Ruff N Ready Look to Open After it Leaves 14th and T St, NW

by Prince Of Petworth June 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm 69 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

It finally happened – after 10 years of a leaking building collapsing around them, Ruff ‘N Ready finally has to move from 14th & T St, NW. They finally got a 3 month notice a couple of weeks ago. I would love to see them come to Columbia Heights or Petworth! For those 2 or 3 people unfamiliar – this is the most fun, funky second hand/treasure/junk shop anywhere. When they moved from Adams Morgan to 14th St. many years ago, they completely pioneered and revitalized that corner – easing the way for Saint Ex and all the other development in that area.

I know that after 25+ years, the owner isn’t really interested in trailblazing another tough neighborhood, but a second-hand shop also needs decently low rent, plenty of space, and a place for trucks to unload.

Any ideas?”

Back in the beginning of June we learned that a Taylor’s Gourmet would be opening a fifth location at 1910 14th St, NW. At that time the fact that Ruff N Ready would be moving/closing got lost in the excitement.

Some have already expressed sadness about the impending departure of Ruff N Ready from 14th and T St, NW but we never discussed if it will close for good or look for a new location. So for the Friday Question of the Day – per the OP’s letter above – where do you think Ruff N Ready can realistically move to where the rent will be cheap but they’ll still be able to attract enough customers (currently they are only open Sat-Sun 11 am – 6 pm)? Do you think Ruff N Ready should look for a new location?

  • Anonymous

    florida avenue.

    • cottontails

      Agreed! Bloomingdale/Truxton Cirlce area would be nice & rent is still relatively cheap.

      • Charles Jamal

        Yes! They can fill the void that the Brass Knob warehouse has left behind.

        • Charles Jamal

          Sorry. Already mentioned. I should really read the entire thread before commenting. Although I’m curious as to what is happening with that space. I thought it had closed months ago, but it was open this past Saturday and has been on saturdays for awhile now.

          • Anonymous

            i’d be interested to learn about it too.
            i’m assuming that the guy is finally going to cash in on the building, but i dont know.

  • Ace in DC

    a) Is that building about to be restored? It needs it. b) Relocate Ruff & Ready to the old “Swiss Upholstery Shop” at 2112 11th St NW.

    • Anonymous

      If we’re picturing of the same Swiss Upholstery Shop, I think you mean 2712 11th St. I would love Ruff & Ready to go there, but I think the space is unfortunately too small.

      • M

        I’m pretty sure that the “Swiss Upholstery Shop” on 11th b/t Fairmont & Girard is a drug-front. Plus, that space is way too small, and there isn’t any parking. It would be a horrible location for Ruff & Ready.

        They should move to Kennedy St NW or something like that…

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t really like the attitude of the Ruff and ready junk shop owners and staff. It is junk and i guess people would pay top dollar for it. In my experiances there I would only bargan and pay about 10% of the asking price. They would finally relent, but they would first give me attitude saying they don’t bargain for anything that is not in the basement (there discounted merchandise). This before marking down their price 90% for me. What a joke.

    To answer the question. They could go into the Brass Knob space on N st.

    • anonymouse

      you would actually have the audacity to offer a business 10% of the asking price??? i am sure you would get an attitude if someone came to your place of business and did the same. you sound REALLY entitled.

      • Anon

        Moreover, I don’t believe they relented on a 90% mark down. I call bs on this post.

        • Anonymous

          Not BS. a couple months ago I walked out with a plant stand marked at $100 for $10. In 1975 when the plant stand was new the original owner probably paid no more than $30 for it. I get so sick of these type of stores trying to sell items with a “vintage tax”. To me it is used. And in the case of most items in R&R items are very used…

  • Katie

    I totally agree — the stuff is WAY overpriced there, and it was so completely jammed into the space, you could hardly find anything. The place is so dusty, it always made me sneeze.

    That said, it’s a bummer the building is in such awful shape, and I hate to see another local business leaving 14th St, especially one that trailblazed a while back. Best of luck to them.

  • Ess Street Blues

    They should move into the old Brass Knob space on N ST NW (between 1st and North Capitol NW…I presume Brass Knob is long gone by now?) It’s Metro accessible and the neighborhood is acclimated to having a funky old shop (and its accompanying clientele). Perfect location.

    Thank me later. =)

    PS. Would really like for Ruff N Ready to stay in the District. Hope it works out.

    • erin

      What about Adams Morgan screams decently low rent? No way this place could afford the Brass Knob space.

      • Anonymous

        N Street… re-read the comment

  • Ess Street Blues

    Oops…Just noticed a previous poster made the same suggestion. They stole it from me though. Trust me.

  • Tres

    Why not 7th near Howard? Ideally below U, but I think something above Sankofa could work well. I think they could attract some students who don’t drive or live off Ikea. Also, that’s close enough by car to attract people doing the rounds on 14th.

    • Anonymous

      I second this. I think they would still be close enough to their initial customer base to get a lot of foot traffic and they could probably get a lot of new business from the students and others in the neighborhood who hadn’t gone to the 14th St location yet.

      • C

        Could students really afford most stuff there? A lot of it is not at all cheap.

        • cottontails

          Also a good idea. There are a lot of young professionals and various breeds of hipster around the area too, and its not exactly like people in other parts of the city would have a hard time getting there, being right next to the metro and all. It would definitely be close enough to attract residents from the neighborhoods a little further east that don’t have much shopping, and not too far from their current location.

        • Tres

          Student discount with ID!

    • Eyeless in Gaza

      Yep, there’s a nice bldg to rent at irving and georgia

  • Anonymous

    Please do follow up, PoP, and let us know when and where Ruff N Ready does eventually move to so that we can continue to follow.

  • sharonc

    The 1300 block of Florida ave NE, or on Bladensburg Rd near the Capital City Diner. Rents should be cheaper than H St NE, but closely enough to attract folks.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know that H St gets much foot traffic during the day for retail. It might in a couple years, but at this point I think it is evolving from a purely nightlife scene to a nightlife & restaurant scene. I don’t even think it’s totally there yet. That might make it a little riskier than some other locations in Shaw, which are at least close to the retail hub of 14th St. That said, it might be a worthwhile gamble if they can get low rent price – I would go for H St, not Florida Ave though.

      • Anonymous x2

        Agreed. There might not be enough foot traffic during the day now, but it’s coming– and if they had well advertised evening and weekend hours, I think they would do quite well on H Street, given the number of houses being renovated and redecorated in the surrounding neighborhoods.

        Might put that crazy yard sale on K Street that is always open out of business.

    • trinigirl

      + 1, I agree we would love to have them in the neighborhood all the objections about foot traffic are moot because they are only open on Saturdays and Sundays. There is plenty of foot traffic on H street on the weekends. I would love to see Rough and Ready in the H street/Trinidad/Bladensburg cooridor. They would be a destination bringing in folks from everywhere! First HR-57 now Rough and Ready. Cool U street spots come on down!!!!

  • I share no walls

    They should come to Eckington! Rent should be cheap years to come and there are plenty of new homeowners that would love to have them nearby.

    • Elle


    • Anonymous

      they could take the old metro ice spot! no way the neighbors are going to allow those condos to go it there.

  • First st nw in bloomingdale or north capital stretch of eckington

    • Anonymous

      ground floor of the madison? ; )
      theres really not the space for them on first. north capitol, maybe.

    • Anon

      1st and Seaton across from the new cleaners to replace the really crappy and illegally run thrift store the owner was trying to run out of the place.

      Oh, wait, looking for cheap rent. Not gonna happen with that guy, he’d rather let is sit empty.

      • anonymous

        I think Bloomingdale has become too upscale for this type of place. The business that have moved and are moving in (Rustik, Greenpaws, Boundary Stone) don’t jive with Ruff’s model. Ruff could’ve moved to Bdale 10 years ago, but the time has passed. It could go to Eckington or Truxton now

        Main point — Bloomingdale is ripe for gelato or pies, not junky furniture.

        • Anonymous

          i agree. a bit too late for that neighborhood. there actually used to be quite a few used furniture stores in bloomingdale.

  • andy

    Connecticut Avenue up by Porter.

    Would love it on 14th at Decatur but an antiques place just closed there.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe that stretch of 9th St just south of U – there is already foot traffic due to restaurants and such, but rents do seem cheaper. Toucan Boutique is there already, so it wouldn’t be the sole retail.

    • Anonymous

      too expensive.

  • Bullwinkle

    I think they should just go O/B.

  • Mama

    I love this place! And I always found that the owners were willing to bargain. I bought many pieces from them over the years and they always let me have them for about half of the sticker price.

  • Ben

    How about the space on Mt Pleasant Street next to “Bestworld” supermarket that used to house Sun Discount? It’s not as big as what they’ve got now, but certainly has the right vibe. Maybe they could actually put a window in the place where the faded-paint-on-plywood currently is. There’s even some nice sidewalk space to display their wares, and plenty of foot traffic.

  • anonymous

    that place is a prime example of how hoarders might make a living. it was disgusting. that said, I hope the owner cleans up his/her act and opens up a nicer version of the shop in Bloomingdale.

    • Anonymous

      does bloomingdale have any space bigger enough?

      • anonymous

        no idea. I never really spend any time in bloomingdale, but I have fantasies about buying a house there in the next few years.

        • anonymous

          See post above. No way this is right for Bloomingdale.

        • Anonymous

          there are only three-4 spaces in bloomingdale that might be considered large enough. the empty lot at n cap and florida. the first floor of the madison on florida, the place at first and seaton. and the firehouse.

          aint gonna happen in any of those spots.

          why you wanna buy there if you don’t know it?

  • ledroit parker

    did they really draw st. ex to that area? how about the black cat, were they responsible for them, too?

    • Anonymous

      “easing the way”

      is that really something you find contention with?

  • gonzo

    problem solved: the dumpster behind the ellington.

  • Andy(2)

    I have three suggestions
    1) the old theater on Columbia
    2) anywhere on Georgia Ave below Upshur
    3) Brookland

  • ceeps

    I’d say around 9th and N, near other things like Seasonal Pantry, Wagtime and that new sandwich shop Sundevich or whatever.

    • Scott

      Way too expensive there. With 4 hotels totalling close to 1800 rooms a couple blocks away that real estate will be taken up by restaurants and coffee shops real quickly

  • The Heights

    Wherever they move, I hope they get a place much nicer then the one they had. I ventured into the very back part of their store one when it was raining and after seeing all of the water leaking through the roof I would never buy anything from them. I’m sure there were some “finds” there sometimes, but they need to move somewhere bigger so the store doesn’t look like an episode of “Hoarders.”

    • me

      Agreed. We were looking for some stuff there and everything had either water damage (pretty extensive) or was otherwise just not in good condition. There is nothing wrong with antiques or used furniture- but when it’s falling apart and they still want a good chunk of money for it, then no thank you.

  • que

    survival of the fittest. Bye Bye.

  • Ms. Pac-Man

    That back building of the store was really freaky. The floor was so soft I felt like I was going to go crashing through to the (probably truly terrifying) basement at any second.

    I second the Kennedy St. suggestion!

  • Old Uncle Uh Uh

    I have bought some stuff from these guys over the years, but I don’t really care if they reopen somewhere else. I agree with some of the other posters that their stuff is overpriced. I do hope, however, that the beautiful building will someday be restored to its former grandeur. The owners of the building next door that houses Policy did a really crappy rehab on that building, same with the vacant former liquor store on the corner of 14th & T. Maybe we can hope for one good outcome out of three.

  • Petworth!

    I always vote for Petworth, but honestly I’m more interested in the Yoga District. Any chance it’ll have to move as well?

  • Regarding claims of expensive prices (mostly prime numbers btw) urban philistines should consider the edgy 2nd & 3rd world practice of haggling -which works for anyone with even cursory street sense (consider Pawn Stars for a primer on that practice). All who foolishly pay full price at that venerable bric-a-brac depository deserve to.

    • JenDC

      Yes, I usually found the staff willing to haggle on almost everything and generally friendly (if somewhat busy and distracted). Yes the place was crammed full, but hey, that’s the kind of place it was. I always thought of it as the grandparents’ attic that I never had! Sure, there was a ton of stuff I would have classified as junk – but one man’s trash…

      I’m certainly hoping they will re-open elsewhere in DC.

  • Anonymous

    georgetown. oddly, georgetown has cheaper commercial rent than most of the places mentioned.

  • Anonymous

    Brookland! There’s some great retail space on 10th and 12th streets NE.

  • is Bill looking (for sure) to re-open R&R?

    I hope he is- he helped me out *so* many times when i was prop/set designing. He’s one of the nicest people out there.

  • mbm

    It cracks me up that people are saying it’s overpriced and it’s cluttered, etc. While there is some overpriced stuff, there are some gems in there. I found a 1950’s Grudig radio and another radio from the early 40s that I converted into a bathroom vanity. They were originally $100 each and I asked them if I could buy both for $125 – they took it. I’ve done research on the Grundig and it turns out it’s worth between $3,000 and $5,000. So, like any shop of this nature, you have to dig through and deal with a little dust. There’s places likethis all over the Eastern Shore.

    I’ll miss it.

  • Lisa

    Uggg…I can’t get over nasty Taylor Gourmet enough to even think about how much Ruff N Ready will be missed.

  • Peter and Mark

    Bill is definitely looking to re-open somewhere. Sounds like somewhere in Colubmia Heights or Bloomingdale.

    As for the clutter, as someone so aptly mentioned, you do have to do some digging and don’t mind getting dirty. If you think it’s bad now, it’s alot better than it used to be (at least in the basement!)

    As for prices, again, if you are wiling to haggle some, Bill is generally willing to help you out. Also, if you become a “frequent shopper” you can get some really good deals. All depends on what you are looking for.

  • I think upper Columbia Heights or lower Petworth. There’s so much great empty real estate on that stretch of 14th with tons of foot traffic.

  • ChasScott

    We second the move to the old Ontario Theatre on Columbia Road or somewhere in Mount Pleasant. But again is there a space big enough in Mt. Pleasant?


Subscribe to our mailing list