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Dear PoPville – How Many Nail Salons Does One Neighborhood Need?

by Prince Of Petworth July 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm 28 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Saw this work permit on Sunday for a new nail salon in the Samuel Kelsey building at 14th between Park and Monroe. Also under construction is a nail salon one block away at 14th at Newton and there’s already one on Park and 14th, near Pho 14.

I’m a curious individual so I’m wondering how the neighborhood supports this many nail salons. Don’t get me wrong, I hope they are each successful, but that just seems like a lot. From a landlord’s perspective, I suppose they are just happy to be getting some rent payments.”

Ed. Note: Another new nail salon is coming to 1454 Park Rd, NW next to a nail salon.


  • KenyonDweller

    I used to wonder the same thing when I moved to CH ten years ago, and that was just about the only retail we had. The answer seems to be that there is a nearly inexhaustible demand for nail salons. I’m just happy that there are now other types of businesses to choose from.

  • Petworth dude

    That question is very similar to another question: why are there so many liquor stores on Georgia Avenue?

    • anon

      Hmm… are there that many, other than Lion’s (which is now a more upscale joint) and Petworth Liquors a few blocks south?
      Georgia Avenue definitely has too many mini-marts for my liking — they seem to specialize in junk food, lottery tickets, and sometimes beer and wine.

      • jim_ed

        Lets see…. There’s Hamilton Liquor, Jefferson Liqour, Colony Liquor, and 3 Way Spirits, all within about 5 blocks of each other, and thats just in the northern half of Petworth.

        • anon

          Ahh, OK. I’m in northern Park View near the Petworth-Park View border, so I’m more familiar with the Park View and Pleasant Plains portion of Georgia Avenue.

      • Sadly I know!

        In my senior year I wrote a paper on this. I counted 4 stores licensed to sell alcohol (liquor stores, beer/wine/malt beverages, but not counting bars) per BLOCK between Florida Ave. and Military Rd. Sorry – there was no AHA! moment to my comment. It is both out of date, random (as you are talking specifically about liquor stores), and only interesting to my professor and my Dad (the only two people who felt obligated to read the damn paper). As you were!

    • Anonymous

      sadly it’s what the local market demands around there….liquor and junk food…maybe some cash for gold too.

      • anon

        Depressing that there’s so much demand for it… but I wonder to what extent it’s a chicken-and-egg scenario. I’ve never set foot in any of those mini-marts because I can see from outside what they carry and I’m not interested in it.

        • Anonymous

          It wont be long…

          • Anonymous

            Yep, I’m pretty sure most of these stores flourished during the 90s and are barely making ends meet nowadays (mostly by not doing any upkeep). Only thing I want to stay are the ethnic stores.

  • TG

    I have long believed that many of these are front businesses.

    • Anonymous

      Breaking Bad, anyone?

    • Anonymous

      Yup. Lots of cash on the books, yet not many customers in sight.

      Some nail salons in the poorer areas have been busted as fencing spots for stolen goods.

    • MiCoBa


    • Anonymous

      kinda like the Game Stop down in SE was busted for selling stolen cell phones…

  • mpt

    I’ve wondered the same thing. I also wonder how the neighborhood supports so many hair salons. On the 3 block stretch of 14th, between Parkwood Place and Quincy, there are more than 10 hair salons.

    • KenyonDweller

      We’re not alone. When I lived in the lower Haight during the late naughties, it used to piss me off that there were so many hair salons hogging all the retail space.

      • brookland_rez

        How about storefront churches in Brookland? I’m not anti-church per se, but I am anti all the storefront churches hogging all the retail spaces in my part of Brookland. The problem I have with the churches is that the local market does not demand them. Most of the parishioners are from MD, and the churches contribute absolutely nothing to the local economy and they don’t even pay taxes. Argh.

        • RIA

          How about all of those mega churches on RIA NE within a 4 block span. It’s like the seventh circle of hell trying to drive through there Sunday Morning.

    • MiCoBa

      This doesn’t surprise me. A hair dresser/stylist could spend multiple hours working on one person. Some of these places open up as early as 6am on a Saturday morning to start doing hair so the demand is there.

  • ET

    I think the theory is that many of them create their own demand because prices are so low that women (and men) can get services more often then they otherwise would.

    Over on Barracks Row there are 3 on 8th and one on Penn and the service is offered at the hair salon on C. Then there are one or two salons on Penn closer to the Capitol that offer it.

  • anonymous

    I some cultures, having your nails “done” is a sign of socioeconomic status. From my observations, this transcends numerous ethnic groups.

  • Anonymous

    Kind of strange and sad…

    I wonder how many nail shops are on King Street in Old town.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve had my nails done at three different places on King St or on an adjacent street a few feet from King Street. And I don’t live in Alexandria, and I don’t get my nails done very often. So I’m gonna guess… quite a few.

  • k8bugz

    I think currently, there is only 1 nail salon directly in CH, and at peak times you have to wait. I’m glad to see 1-2 more opening in the hood, maybe that will encourage some friendly competition. There’s about 5 nail salons within a .1 mile radius in Dupont, so this is nothing compared to that.

  • Anonymous

    you may as well ask how many bars a neighborhood does one neighborhood need.

  • brookland_rez

    As many as the market will bear. If the neighborhood doesn’t “need” another nail salon, it or one of its possibly less competitive competitors will go out of business.

  • Anonymous

    are you kidding, not many customers? Walk into one of those salons on park on a Saturday and Sunday and they are PACKED. I day keep bringing it until I don’t have wait an hour for a pedi.


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