From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.
Most residents in the neighborhood are familiar with the purple hued PULP building on 14th Street NW, but what many don’t know is that PULP was one of the first businesses to plant its roots on 14th Street before the area’s changing demographics and upswing made it the city’s cultural epicenter.
Last week, PULP celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we sat down with Beverly Jones, general manager and buyer for the eclectic gift store, to discuss how the store has grown and changed as much as the neighborhood in which it resides.
Borderstan: What do you think it is about PULP that makes it so successful?
Jones: It’s lots of things all wrapped-up together. We Pulpsters try hard to remember Ron’s (the original owner) love and kindness, and share it with our customers. Our customers share it right back and all that love makes for a happy time in the store. PULP’s current owners, Sharon and Tony Boykins, recognized that dynamic when they bought the store, and they encourage us to continue it. Our doggie customers, the babies, the kids, everyone contributes to the energy of the store, making it Pulpy and delicious.
Borderstan: The residents near the 14th Street area have changed over the past 10 years (younger residents, families, etc.) – Has PULP had to change to continue to grow with the neighborhood?
Jones: Absolutely. I think it’s amazing how the neighborhood has evolved. It’s great to see all sorts of folks now walking up and down the street. It’s a great mix of people who’ve lived here all their lives, the GLBT community who invested in the neighborhood years and years ago when no one else would, the students, the hipsters, young families with babies and toddlers, the foodies… what a great scene! Oh, and we carry a lot more baby merchandise than we did 10 years ago.
Borderstan: The story of “The Miracle on 14th Street” is heartwarming – Do you think PULP has changed at all under the new ownership?
Jones: Yes and no. As I mentioned earlier, Sharon and Tony love the energy of the store and the product mix, and wanted to keep it the same. Our back office operations, however, have changed a great deal, and it’s put PULP in better shape going forward. Next year we’ll tweak our product mix a bit, but things will basically stay the same.
Borderstan: How did PULP celebrate its 10-year anniversary?
Jones: We celebrated with cake and sparkling cider during the day, and with champagne and a potluck dinner for our Pulpsters, sales reps and vendors (like Amy Smyth of Ecka and Pecka who live in the area) in the evening.