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Open Letter from American University about Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers Closing; “Ad Hoc Committee to Save Johnson’s Florist and Garden Center” Formed and announces a protest (Postponed)

by Prince Of Petworth January 4, 2018 at 10:25 am 0


Wisconsin and Van Ness St, NW

From American University:

“Open Letter from American University about Johnson’s Florist and Garden Centers

We are saddened to lose Johnson’s Florist and Garden Center as a tenant as well as a neighborhood fixture at their Tenleytown location. We have tremendous respect for them as a family and as a local business that has been part of the community fabric.

With a deep understanding of their meaning to the community, American University has worked tirelessly to keep Johnson’s as a tenant, particularly over the last three years. We have made significant concessions over a long period of time that we would not have made for other commercial tenants.

Moreover, we were unable to balance their needs for space and building access with the needs of other tenants, such as medical facilities that receive supplies to treat children and expectant families.

Unfortunately, the changing demographics and purchasing habits of the Washington, DC consumer market also have made it difficult for a full-service garden center to be viable in a smaller urban location while keeping pace with fair market rates for retail space.

We truly wish the Johnson family the best in the future.

Linda K. Argo
Assistant Vice President,
External Relations and Auxiliary Services
American University”


4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

From a press release:

“Protestors to Confront AU Pres Over Johnson’s Closing

The recently formed Ad Hoc Committee to Save Johnson’s Florist and Garden Center announces a protest Thursday evening to demand that the new American University President Sylvia Burwell act to reverse the increases in rent and other fees that is forcing Johnson’s to close its Wisconsin Avenue outlet later this month. The action will be at AU’s Katzen Art Center where President Burwell will hold AU’s annual community town hall and New Year’s reception

What: Demonstration to ask that President Burwell act to Save Johnson’s Garden Center.
Where: AU Katzen Art Center, 4400 Mass Ave, just northwest of Ward Circle.
When: 6:45 pm, Thursday, January 4, 2018

In the last 24 hours, there’s been an outcry from the community, particularly on local listserves. “It is a bad sign when the city cannot keep non-chain businesses in a neighborhood,” said Commissioner Nancy MacWood (ANC 3C09) on the Cleveland Park Listserve. “We risk becoming a city that has no local commercial character and lacks convenient stores and services that residents use often.”

Linda Argo, AU’s Assistant Vice President for External Relations and Auxiliary Services justified AU’s actions with a statement that said, in part: “We have made significant concessions over a long period of time that we would not have made for other commercial tenants. Moreover, we were unable to balance their needs for space and building access with the needs of other tenants, such as medical facilities that receive supplies to treat children and expectant families.”

In response, another member of the Cleveland Park listserve wrote: “Our garden center keeps children and expectant mothers from getting medicine?? I think AU owes this community an apology for such a letter.”

Update:

“because AU canceled its meeting tonight.

WE ARE NOT DEMONSTRATING TONIGHT

Please save your signs for another day.”

from AU:

“Due to projected extreme cold and sub-zero wind chill temperatures, tonight’s planned Town Hall and New Year’s Reception with President Burwell is postponed. We are working on an alternative date and time in the next month that will bring more people out for the event. We will communicate this as soon as possible. Please also feel free to check American University’s “AU in the Neighborhood” web page for updates.”

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