Town & Country Market Closing for Renovation at end of the Month “Won’t even recognize it when it was done”

by Prince Of Petworth January 12, 2016 at 10:22 pm 26 Comments

Town & Country Market back in the day at 823 Upshur Street, NW during Domku’s white picket fence period

A reader reports:

“You know the mini market on Upshur between Domku and the book store, the Ethiopian gentleman who owns the place told me tonight that at the end of January, they will be closing for a month in order to remodel the store. He said I wouldn’t even recognize it when it was done. I didn’t ask if he planned on removing the the bullet proof glass.”

Ed. Note: Back in 2008 Family Foods removed their glass partition but it only lasted a few weeks before they put it back up. Hopefully in 2016, if Town & Country does decide to take theirs down, it can be down for good.

Update: Well this is randomly awesome – thanks to a commenter for posting this 1926 photo of Upshur Street from the Library of Congress:

823 Upshur Street, NW

  • Anon

    I hope his expectations of renovations matches that of the neighborhood. This actually isn’t a bad store, but the bullet proof glass and facade keep a lot of people away.

    • Out of curiosity, why would someone not shop at a place because it has bullet proof glass? If the market is good and the prices are fair, why should I care that the clerk wants to protect himself? Presumably only people living in the neighborhood are shopping here anyway, so they’re aware of any potential danger because they’re surrounded by it.

      • say what

        that true. Rock Creek Market has bullet proof glass but its a great store. Very clean, good selection of stuff and the owners are super nice and don’t put up with any nonsense loitering ( like that shithole Gees markets a few blocks south). While the glass isnt ideal, i understand their safety concerns. The key is that made all the rest of the store look so nice and they respond to the changes in the community with the products they offer.

  • JM

    Please don’t encourage the removal of the bullet proof glass. In the early 2000’s I was living in Bloomingdale and several well-meaning residents encouraged both the Ledroit Market and Windows to remove their plexiglass. Over the next few years each was robbed at gunpoint several times. Despite aspirations, Upshur still isn’t very safe, and I’d hate to see the owner pay the price.

    • Curious George

      Here’s a thought — go cashless. If he accepted credit cards only, and put a notice as such in the window, he would be a dramatically less desirable target. I dont know why more establishments dont do that. Really who pays with cash anymore?

      • ummm

        It’s a good idea, but many people still need a corner store to accept cash. People who don’t have access to financial institutions, people with bad credit, people who are trying to get out of debt– they pay with cash. Don’t be fooled by the upscale strollers: some Petworth residents are still struggling.

        • toes

          “Don’t be fooled by the upscale strollers: some Petworth residents are still struggling.”

          – This is very true. Even the people with the strollers are still struggling. I’ve lived in Petworth for over 13 years and the more it changes (for the better?), the more somethings have stayed very much the same.

          As for Town and Country renovating – Good luck to them. And the idea of a cashless store is a dumb move in this neighborhood and frankly, anywhere for that matter. Cash is still legal tender.

      • shmoo

        Plenty of people. Not everyone has or can get a credit card or a checking account.

      • anon

        A great many people, including:
        1. People who find it easier to manage their money that way
        2. The “unbanked,” who are often lower income
        3. People whose work more often than not leaves them with a lot of cash (waitstaff and strippers, perhaps).

      • jim_ed

        …lower income and unbanked people that likely make up a substantial part of this market’s clientele?

      • Rich

        Cashless=robbing people of credit cards & ATM cards. Won’t solve the problem. OTOH, there is a point where the bulletproof stuff should go, esp. if it’s not a 24 hour business (the night shift is always an adventure), anywhere).

        • Anon

          Rich, that’s ridiculous logic. Folks aren’t about to start targeting debit/credit cards just because a bodega went cashless. A cashless bodega is a bad idea for a million other reasons, but not because it would spur CC theft.

      • eva

        A lot of low income people and immigrants prefer cash. I just helped a friend open his first credit card to build his credit history–he’s in his mid forties. Also many small businesses prefer cash because of the fees on credit card transactions, they accept credit because they know a certain segment of the population demands it, not because it is their preference.

        • Yeah these corner market type stores are the ones you most often see with the signs like “No credit card unless $5 / $10 purchase”

      • eva

        Also a lot of kids use this particular store (and other neighborhood markets) to buy an occasional snack or soda. I’m not a parent, but I’m pretty sure parents aren’t handing kids their credit cards freely these days!

      • I think it would also make it impossible to sell lottery cards, which are cash only, right?

      • tke

        It’s not just the poor, unbanked and immigrants. A lot of older people who grew up where cash was used almost all the time (including my 73 y.o. father and 87 y.o. grandmother) actually prefer it because they never got into changing their habit. My dad, no matter how much I tell him not to, carries hundreds of dollars in his pocket at any given time. He has numerous bank accounts and credit cards, and he will just walk those those cards to the ATM and retrieve cash. He may use a card on occasion, but prefers cash. He’s just old school like that. Same for grandma.

        • saf

          I’m the generation after them and I far prefer to use cash.

  • madmonk28

    I remember when we first moved to Petworth 11 years ago, the owner of this place asking me what kind of beers I’d like. He’s always made an effort to meet the needs of the community he serves.

    • MMMkay

      I was always impressed with the beer selection at Town and Country. Not huge, but quality stuff in there. And the owner is very friendly! Probably doesn’t hurt that I’m there buying beer pretty frequently…

      • timmyp2353

        Totally agree with you both. Also in a pinch the small wine selection isn’t that bad. Could be all kangaroo covered bottles but he’s taken the time to get several wines that are about $10 and decent.

        I’m very happy this store is being renovated. If there is ever more than two people at a time it’s a disaster because of the set up. I wish them luck. They seem like good people.

    • Petworth

      Not just beer, either–if he sees you looking for something, he will ask a lot of times what you’re looking for and will be more than happy to stock it in the future. In my mother’s case, it was ginger ale, which is not a big ticket item.

      Speaking of stores that stock specifically for their customers, Fido and Kitty’s World does the same.

  • T

    I have spoken with him several times he is planning to get rid of the glass….he does seem a bit apprehensive about it. though.

  • TA

    Fun 1926 picture of 823 Upshur St NW — Old site of Petworth Hardware: http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/npcc.32460/

  • chasscott

    OMG! Is that a Piggly Wiggly in the storefront on the far right?


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