Dear PoP – Ellwood Thompsons in Rockville Town Center gets beer/wine license

by Prince Of Petworth July 12, 2011 at 1:30 pm 33 Comments

“Dear PoP,

I think you may have already commented on the store going to Rockville instead of DCUSA, but have you seen the latest news from the Montgomery County Gazette?”

The Board of License Commissioners for Montgomery County granted Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market a beer and light wine license Thursday, a milestone in bringing the grocer to Rockville.

A lot of folks have been emailing about Ellwood Thompsons opening a new store in Rockville, MD. For those who don’t recall, Ellwood Thompsons was supposed to open a location in Columbia Heights in DC USA and instead led us on a years long soap opera. Therefore, and I mean no disrespect to the fine people of Rockville, but I could not possibly care less about the future of Ellwood Thompsons.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a far drive from DC.

    • Anonymous

      with many grocers in between.

  • Johnny

    Ellwoods can suck it. But is there any new news about the space at DCUSA? Graham said he would reach out to other organic grocers and said there had been interest. I’m over the dream of Whole Foods or Ellwoods but would still kill for an all organic place to move in. I’m tired of driving to Tenleytown for groceries. And no I will not shop at Target or Giant.

    • Sleepy

      Do you ever make it up to the Yes in Petworth? It’s a great store.

    • elcal

      or down to Yes on 14/W.

      • Johnny

        I’m coming from MTP. To get to either of those I would probably just opt to drive anyway. At that point it’s just as easy to hop across the park to Whole Foods and load up on groceries once a week. But if an organic place went in at DCusa I would just stop in on my way home from the metro each day.

  • Michael Stipe

    Don’t go back to Rockville

    • Plus one to Michael Stipe.

      I will never set foot in an Ellwood’s, after all of the B.S. and misinformation, after tax laws were passed for them, after they continually claimed construction was right around the corner, then nothing. Rockville, I wouldn’t hold your breath, they most definitely do not have their act together.

      Would really, really be nice if there was some movement on that major DCUSA space …

    • Sleepy

      It’s just a grocer. Everybody hurts, but It’s not the end of the world as we know it. I’ll just stand with my orange crush and share it with the one I love.

  • Stephen Malkmus

    There’s some bands I like to name check,
    and one of them is REM.

    Time after time was my least favorite song.
    Ellwood Thompson’s was my least favorite grocer

  • Mike

    If you cant care less about them, why even post this information??

  • Idaho Ave

    Ellwoods is a small operation. I would agree they don’t have their act together but also they are trying to expand for the first time. They have 1 store in Richmond which is PERFECT for where it is at. I have never thought it would expand well as it’s hard to find just that right niche where they would excel. I miss the Ellwoods in richmond

  • 11th

    ellwood’s is not opening in rockville yet and might not ever. the beer and wine license will definitely be challenged in court and has a decent chance of being overturned. ellwood’s said they can’t open without the license for some reason. the grocery spot has stood vacant since 2007. that’s longer than dc usa, right? ellwood’s is essentially putting it to rockville and dithering. sound familiar?

  • Ace in DC

    Why couldn’t Whole Foods come back? Wasn’t the big sticking point the parking situation for customers? Haven’t we proven that there is plenty of parking including a whole unused level which can just be used by Whole Foods customers if they want it?

    • textdoc

      I didn’t realize that Whole Foods had been considering the DCUSA site at some point. What’s the story?

      • Johnny

        They would only sign on if DCusa dedicated parking for them in the lot. The lot is always empty. I too don’t know why Jim Graham and DCusa can’t reach a deal with Whole Foods. I’m sure they can just dust off the plans they had for the site and hit the ground running.

        • Sigh

          Jim Graham = Talk, Talk, Talk, Blah, Blah, Blah

  • Ace in DC

    Or why not some other large outdoor store. Like a flagship REI or something. There is no good place to buy a canoe in this city!

    • Anon

      White people problems.

  • Nick

    I live in Takoma DC and the TPSS Co-op is fantastic. Aside from living right next to the metro, TPSS is probably my favorite thing about the area. It’s only 4 or 5 minutes away on a bike. It would be a huge expansion and this is probably too big a space but I think they would do great in DC. They have the best bulk food isle I have ever seen.

    • another takoma dc res


    • Dan

      Yep. We used to live on Eastern Ave and it was about a 10min walk there. I loved the store. Prices were always solid and I thought it was much funkier than Yes!. Doubt they could afford to open in CH though.

  • MtPer

    I would love a food coop or organic grocer in Mt P!

  • To answer the question about Whole Foods, they were initially going to take that space prior to DCUSA being built. The sticking point was, as a matter of Whole Foods policy, they will not build stores without parking dedicated exclusively to them, and the because taxpayer funds were used to build the garage, apparently by law (or at least supposedly), DCUSA could not accomodate them. Considerating tax relief laws were passed for Ellwood’s, it seems nuts that folks in charge couldn’t figure out a way to make it work way back when. Now we have a vacant space and a vacant parking lot. Idiotic.

    Not sure if, post-recession, Whole Foods would be interested anymore, alas.

    • Johnny

      Maybe we can start another letter writing campaign? Worked the first time.

    • greent

      That’s weird – how does that compute with them moving in the Avenue/Square 54 spot in Foggy Bottom/West End? They will not have exclusive parking there. And the Whole foods in Silver Spring does not have exclusive parking, they share with all the mall.

  • Huh, I don’t know, either their policy has changed, or lots of folks were misinformed / duped way back when … the thing is, a Whole Foods would actually do MUCH better in CH opening in 2012 than it would have had it opened three years ago. I wish they (or any grocer, really) would reconsider …

  • Derek

    I don’t pretend to know the details of what went on with DCUSA and Ellwood Thompson, but I’m somewhat baffled that the hate is directed toward them and not to DCUSA. Look at DCUSA’s tenants: Best Buy, Marshall’s, Target, Payless, Bank of America, Modell’s, Panda Gourmet, IHOP, Vitamin Shoppe, Staples. These are all national operations (though I imagine some of the lessees are local franchisees). Ellwood is not

    When the one small business who tried to get into DCUSA couldn’t make it work, why does everybody automatically blame the small business?

    • Anonymous

      Because they lie.

      • Anonymous

        so what?
        you weren’t harmed.

    • Anon

      I love and do my best to patronize a lot of small businesses in Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, and Adams Morgan, but let’s not pretend for a second that every small business owner is a saint. Especially the folks who cozy up close to the Grahamstander. Ellwood’s fucked this up, plain and simple, and Jim Graham was the sucker who let them dick over the city and the neighborhood in the process.

  • D

    Ellwood Thompson’s trying to expand that far away from their original location is a stupid business move in the first place. I highly doubt the Rockville store will open.

  • Michelle

    Parking will be impossible for the high volume required for a Super Market.


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