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Kennedy Street Business and Development Association Launches – “tremendous potential for Kennedy Street to thrive”

by Prince Of Petworth January 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm 19 Comments

Photo of Taqueria Distrito Federal at 805 Kennedy St, NW by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

“Dear PoPville,

We know you’ve hosted conversations about new developments on Kennedy Street NW in the past, so we thought you might be willing to share an update about some exciting movement on the street:

We’ve recently formed the Kennedy Street Business and Development Association (KSBDA), an all-volunteer, grass-roots movement of current and prospective business owners, as well as a handful of residents with interest in commercial development on the street.  We’re still in the early stages of forming our identity, but we have all come together because we see the tremendous potential for Kennedy Street to thrive, and we think that together we can make it happen.  The KSBDA hopes to create a unified voice for those interested in seeing Kennedy Street grow; to lead promotions that draw attention to the street’s current businesses and make Kennedy a more walk-able and vibrant strip that attracts new businesses; and to help mobilize resources and expertise that aid existing businesses to better respond to the desires of the community.

Last week, about a dozen members made it to the first meeting, which was graciously hosted by Culture Coffee at 709 Kennedy Street NW.  The folks who came contributed their thoughts, needs, and vision for the street and what KSBDA should focus on; a core team that had done door-to-door visits to businesses in advance also shared input from those who could not attend in person. This initial gathering of opinions found that entrepreneurs are excited about the future, and there is room for lots of positive growth.  The current business owners involved noted that sales have increased in recent years after the hardest part of the recession, and that crime is down, making this a great time for Kennedy Street to fulfill its potential.  We’re optimistic that with the attention and resources that the city is devoting to improving the street, along with energy and commitment from businesses and residents, great things can – and will – happen.

Interested residents can check out our Facebook page to see the latest developments, and we’re inviting anyone who tweets about Kennedy-related news to use the hashtag #KennedyStreetNW.  Anyone with an interest in volunteering or contributing to KSBDA’s efforts can sign up here.  Perhaps most importantly, we’re launching a resident survey, which should help to collect some vital data on what residents near Kennedy Street need and want, so that business owners can make informed decisions when investing.  We’d love for all of your interested readers to fill out the survey, which can be accessed here.”

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful news, thanks for taking the initiative

  • Anonymous

    I love Taqueria D.F. on Kennedy Street. Best Mexican food in the city, hands down.

    • Myles G Smith

      Yes! The owner has lived in the area for decades and a member of KSBDA. He’s also talking about putting in an outdoor patio for cervesas y tacos coming this summer!

  • David G.

    There’s a Small Area Plan in the works for Kennedy Street as well with funding for streetscaping. Big things are happening!

    A summary of our last meeting can be found here.

  • another neighbor

    Glad to hear, good luck! Thank you for your efforts. The street has real potential. There are some vacant businesses spaces or homes (ranging from just vacant to majorly neglected/bad for the neighborhood) that I’d love to see actually used.

    • Myles G Smith

      Us too. One of our priorities is to help put underused properties to work for the community. Send a message to the Facebook page if you have specific suggestions for us to follow up on. Thanks for your support!

  • kennedy yay!

    Kennedy Street definitely has potential. I’d love to see a dive bar, a small-batch Ethiopian coffee roaster like Harrar, family-friendly restaurant/bar, an art gallery, women’s consignment. Now that Kennedy Street is basically flanked by two Wal-Marts (Fort Totten and Georgia Ave), I think the existing markets need to step it up…rebrand themselves….offer more…..differentiate themselves from the low-prices of WM.

    • another neighbor

      Good ideas, I agree. I like the women’s consignment shop idea–I’d thought of the other business types but hadn’t thought of that one.

    • Myles G Smith

      Really cool ideas. Would be awesome to have our own iteration of Fia’s Fabulous Finds on Upshur Street in Petworth. We are also trying to help existing businesses adapt and grow.

  • jim_ed

    This is awesome news. Also, I want to go to TDF for dinner now.

  • hma

    Good luck. I’ve always thought Kennedy St had tons of potential.

  • Vered

    Thanks for the attention. The Kennedy Street community deserves to thrive. The street just hasn’t been very inviting. No benches, flowers, trees. No place for people to gather. I would love to see some local entrepreneurs open stores or restaurants there, like a Julia’s Empanadas, or a Haydees, or a Peach’s. The group’s Facebook page mentions that an Ethiopian bodega on Kennedy is thinking about opening a cafe. Oh, pleeeeeze! Hurry!

    • Myles G Smith

      That would be great. The Taqueria and Culture Coffee are both planning outdoor seating for this summer, which will be a big help. The city has a plan to improve the streetscape, but its been tied up in city bureaucracy for years. One of our top priorities is to push for it to get implemented. It does include benches, treeboxes, etc.

      Take our survey if you haven’t already (bit.ly/kennedysurvey). This is the info we can use for advocating action by the city.

  • natalie

    please visit some of the nice existing businesses though too. Culture Coffee is a great new addition, Centeno’s and the Taqueria.

    • Myles G Smith

      Yes! Buy local!

      A number of businesses on the street are actually oriented to serving wholesale or contract markets, and they haven’t been convinced there is a customer base on Kennedy Street. If we shop local, we can change that perception among business owners and other potential customers.

      Some of our launch business members include:
      – Taqueria D.F. (best tacos in uptown!)
      – Mary Wood’s Florist (Valentine’s Day’s a-coming!)
      – Sneakertropolis (Kennedy Street’s newest business has running shoes for the family!)
      – Selassie Market (teff, football, and perhaps an Ethiopian cafe in the near future…)
      – Culture Coffee (check out their open-mic beer and wine nights!)
      – Sewell Music Conservatory (piano and voice lessons plus a dance studio for the kiddos!)
      – Blandi’s Child Learning Center (a multilingual learning environment for those kiddos!)
      – Andrene’s Caribbean and Soul Food (awesome beef ribs, jerk chicken and oxtail take out!)
      – Quality Printers (commercial printing, soon to have a new street facade!)

      …and we’re still seeking more.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t expect it to become H Street overnight, or hell, even Upshur Street, but there’s definitely potential.

  • Anonymous

    Its only a matter of time. Whats the update on the Georgia Ave Street Car?

  • Martha Jewett

    Best wishes!

  • Anonymous

    This is great! Anyone know the status of the Georgia Avenue street car?


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