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by Andrew Ramonas — September 16, 2016 at 2:50 pm 0

Tesla roadster (Photo via Wikimedia/cytech)

Tesla Motors is moving ahead with plans to sell its electric cars from a high-end retail development downtown.

The automaker yesterday received a permit to build a showroom at 909 H St. NW, according to D.C. government records. The roughly 3,300-square-foot space is part of CityCenterDC, home to Gucci, Louis Vuitton and other luxury shops.

It wasn’t clear when the showroom would open and whether Tesla’s storefront at 1050 K St. NW would close.

A Tesla representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company has had plans to open in CityCenterDC since at least last year. D.C. Zoning Administrator Matthew Le Grant signed off on Tesla’s proposed showroom in December, according to the Washington Business Journal.

Photo via Wikimedia/cytech

by Andrew Ramonas — September 14, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

Aesop in The Shay

An Australian skin care company has brought its facial cleansers, lip balms and other beauty products to a new shop in Shaw.

Aesop opened an outpost in The Shay on the 800 block of Florida Avenue NW on Sunday, a representative of the store said. The shop is between Warby Parker and Chrome, which both opened last fall.

The shop is Aesop’s first location in the D.C. area. The company also has stores around the globe in cities including New York, London and Melbourne, where the business started in 1987.

“Our objective has always been to formulate skin, hair and body care products of the finest quality; we investigate widely to source plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients, and use only those with a proven record of safety and efficacy,” Aesop says on its website. “In each of our unique stores, informed consultants are pleased to introduce our range and to guide your selections.”

by Andrew Ramonas — September 12, 2016 at 11:35 am 0

Future home of FunkyPiece at 2116 18th St. NW

An online business that says it has the “latest and funkiest glass and smoke accessories for the true connoisseur” is set to open its first brick-and-mortar location in Adams Morgan.

FunkyPiece is slated to arrive at 2116 18th St. NW in early October, owner Matthew Bebawy told Borderstan this morning.

“We’re just a big fan of the area,” he said. “I think it’s a good fit for us.”

The Adams Morgan storefront most recently was occupied by Crooked Beat Records, which left in May. The record shop’s owner said he moved his business out after he developed “serious respiratory problems” from working in the store.

Bebawy said he found that bugs and other problems created an “unbelievably dirty” space. But he said he cleaned it up and feels safe working there.

“The place is looking great,” Bebawy said.

Founded in 2012, FunkyPiece sells “everything from hand pipes, dab rigs, water pipes, bubblers, rolling papers, apparel, grinders, lighters and so much more,” according to its website.

by Andrew Ramonas — August 15, 2016 at 2:40 pm 0

The Daily Rider (Photo via Facebook/The Daily Rider)A bicycle shop on the H Street corridor is set to park itself in a new location about a half-mile down the road from its current home next year, one of its owners said today.

The Daily Rider at 1108 H St. NE is slated to open at 600 H St. NE this spring, co-owner Loren Copsey told Borderstan.

The business has outgrown the roughly 1,300 square feet it has leased since 2012, he said. The Daily Rider will get almost double the space it has now in its new spot in The Apollo building, which also will have a Whole Foods Market and a Wydown coffee shop.

“That decision [to move] is based largely on the fact that we have grown considerably,” Copsey said.

The Daily Rider sells and repairs bikes for casual riders, commuters, athletes, children and cyclists with cargo to carry. Copsey said he is looking to have more bicycles for sale in his new shop. He also plans to carry clothing and put on more events there.

In the meantime, cyclists can continue to visit the 1108 H St. shop, which isn’t expected to close before the new store opens, Copsey said.

Photo via Facebook/The Daily Rider

by Alyse Mier — July 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm 0

(Updated at 1:38 p.m.) An Adams Morgan hemp shop has shut down for now following a water main break that flooded the store.

Capitol Hemp at 1770 Columbia Road NW hasn’t opened since muddy water poured into the shop about 2:30 a.m. yesterday. The store might not start selling at least some of its bongs, vaporizers and hemp products until Wednesday or Thursday, general manager John Brassfield said.

“I received the phone call from Alan Amsterdam, one of our owners, yesterday morning informing me that the store had been flooded,” Brassfield said. “So I put on my shoes and rushed over to the store.”

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by Andrew Ramonas — July 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

Duke's Shoe Repair

A cobbler who has mended and shined shoes on the U Street corridor for more than 50 years apparently has called it quits.

Irving “Duke” Johnson, 95, seems to have shut down his Duke’s Shoe Repair shop in the Frank D. Reeves Municipal Center building at 2000 14th St. NW.

A Borderstan reporter who walked by the business this weekend found the store closed, with brown paper covering all its windows.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the paper went up. A phone number for the shop was disconnected.

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by Andrew Ramonas — July 8, 2016 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) A men’s clothing store on the 14th Street corridor is shutting down.

Starting today, Universal Gear is having a closing sale at all of its shops, including its location at 1919 14th St. NW, according to an email sent to its customers this morning.

It wasn’t immediately clear when the D.C. shop’s last day of business will be. But the sale will continue “until every item is sold,” the email says.

“We thank you for your support and friendship during our 23 years of business and have enjoyed being a part of the DC and NY communities,” the email says. “We look forward to seeing you during our closing sale.”

by Andrew Ramonas — June 22, 2016 at 12:35 pm 0

A self-described “artist-designed footwear” business is set to bring its kicks to Shaw this summer.

Chicago-based BucketFeet, which began online in 2011, is scheduled to open in The Shay in “early July,” according to new signage spotted on the 800 block of Florida Avenue NW yesterday. The location is slated to become the first BucketFeet shop in the D.C. area.

A company representative didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

BucketFeet works with more than 20,000 painters, photographers and other artists from around the world to create its men’s, women’s and children’s shoes, according to its website. All footwear is less than $150.

“We are a brand on a mission to connect people through art,” the company’s website says.

Photo of shoes via Facebook/BucketFeet

by Tim Regan — April 6, 2016 at 3:55 pm 0

Screenshot from BizBuySell.comWe often write about local businesses opening or closing. What we don’t usually cover are the transactions in between — like when a business is sold to a new owner — even though business sales are quite common.

Our sister publication ARLnow.com took a look through the Arlington listings of a major business broker marketplace and found some interesting — and mysterious — listings. And it inspired us to do some digging this afternoon.

Though the businesses often go unnamed in these listings, there are details that provide clues as to which business it may be. (Full disclosure: we can’t be 100 percent sure that all listings are up to date.)

Anyway, we thumbed through the D.C. listings earlier today and highlighted some of what we found. Here are just some of the interesting local businesses that are currently listed on the site:

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by Andrew Ramonas — March 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm 0

An Ace Hardware in Adams Morgan is serving customers for the first time today.

The shop at 1704 Columbia Road NW opened this morning with paint, hammers, cooking utensils, pet supplies, snacks and thousands of other items.

“We are so excited to be part of Adams Morgan and can’t wait to meet all of our new neighbors,” owner Gina Schaefer told Borderstan. “People have been pulling on the doors for two weeks, and it’s great we can finally open the doors.”

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by Andrew Ramonas — January 20, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

Future home of Adams Morgan Ace Hardware

Adams Morgan is scheduled to get an Ace Hardware store by mid-February, its owner told Borderstan today.

The shop is slated to open at 1704 Columbia Road NW the week of Feb. 15, owner Gina Schaefer said.

The store received its shelving units this morning, and workers are getting ready to fill them with at least 20,000 items in the coming weeks, she said.

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by Andrew Ramonas — October 28, 2015 at 1:35 pm 0

Barre3 class at BicycleSPACEFINAL (Photo courtesy of Alicia Sokol)

Locals can now try a workout that combines yoga, pilates and ballet barre before it officially comes to the 14th Street corridor.

The owner of a barre3 location under construction at 1832 14th St. NW is offering several free classes around the Borderstan coverage area before the studio is slated to open in January. Classes are an hour long and have strength training and low-impact cardio exercises.

The sessions include workouts at the Hamiltonian Gallery (1353 U St. NW) and Pacers Running (1821 14th St. NW) over the next several weeks.

“Teaching classes in these spaces has been a fun way to give people a taste of what barre3 14th Street will bring while highlighting neighborhood gems,” owner Alicia Sokol said in an email. “It’s especially fun when bringing people to spaces they have either not yet discovered or haven’t been to in a while.”

Founded seven years ago in Portland, Ore., barre3 has more than 75 locations across the country, including one studio in Georgetown.

Photo courtesy of Alicia Sokol

by Tim Regan — October 16, 2015 at 10:15 am 0

CorePower Yoga on Connecticut

A planned CorePower Yoga appears to be one step closer to opening on Connecticut Avenue NW.

Workers covered the windows at 1150 Connecticut Avenue NW with a sign advertising the forthcoming Denver-based yoga company earlier this week.

As for what the studio might hold, the CorePower website says it’s slated to house “three large and luxurious yoga rooms, as well as a range of amenities including changing rooms with showers and private lockers.” The studio will also include a retail boutique selling “activewear and accessories.”

Though a representative from CorePower could not be reached for comment, the company’s website says the location could open by the end of fall.

by Tim Regan — October 15, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Though Phase 1 in Dupont Circle is closed, the building that once held it may one day take on a new life.

The club, which opened at 1415 22nd St. NW in 2012, was known primarily for being the Northwest outpost of the famed Capitol Hill gay bar. But the club quietly closed in mid-September, noted ANC 2B Commissioner Daniel Warwick last month.

Since then, some speculation has arisen as to what the windowless off-white building might ultimately hold. But a representative from the company that owns the building, Rock Creek Property Group, appeared to give some answers to that question at last night’s ANC 2B meeting.

According to Jon Lastuvka, Rock Creek’s vice president of development, the company has plans to redevelop the building into something that might one day house a retail or dining business.

“A few weeks ago, the tenant decided to close the business,” Lastuvka said. “As of right now, it’s in dilapidated condition and needs a lot of work. We certainly hope we can keep working and energize this property.”

Lastuvka — along with Brett Hartle from OTJ Architects — laid out the company’s proposed redevelopment plans at the meeting. As presented, the plan calls for an exterior renovation and nonstructural interior walls to be removed, and the building’s windowless façade would make way for large, street-facing windows.

“We do feel that this property lends itself really well to high-end office use, a high-end retailer, a restaurant or even a museum,” Lastuvka told the commission.

by Tim Regan — October 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm 0

The prospect of Logan Circle’s ANC 2F pushing for a historic status for Barrel House Liquor’s façade is getting dimmer.

The commission picked apart the idea during its general meeting at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Thomas Circle last night.

A little background if you haven’t followed along thus far: Barrel House Liquor — known around the neighborhood for its iconic barrel-shaped facade at 1341 14th St. NW — announced it planned to move next door last month. Though the liquor store will live on, what might happen to the big barrel it’s leaving behind is unknown.

A week after the news broke that the liquor store would move, Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, floated the idea of saving its iconic barrel façade by applying for a historic status.

“We want to hear if this is something that the community wants to stay,” Tuma told Borderstan in September. “I personally want it. Everyone I’ve talked to wants it. But that’s the first step, that making sure this is representative of the greater community.”

Only a few parties can apply for a historic status, noted Tuma, and that includes the property owner and the local ANC. Though Tuma said he’d like the owner, Eric Meyers, to apply for the status himself, he said he was willing to push the ANC to move forward in applying with or without his help.

Some members of the public cheered on the effort. ANC 2F’s community development committee did not. Several ANC 2F commissioners echoed the committee’s skepticism last night.

Meyers spoke about the property and its iconic barrel during the meeting.

“This property has been an integral and very important part of our lives for almost 44 years,” Meyers said. “I could never conceive demolishing [the barrel], much less trying to move it anywhere.”

But Meyers stopped short of saying he wanted to apply for a historic status. “I want to make sure that the ANC understands that the property is already located in a historic district, and any renovation, any potential demolition — and I don’t know how you’d move that thing no matter what — would be subject to Historic Preservation Board approval,” he said. “But my wife and I own this property and have for decades, and we don’t intend to dispose of it.”

Meyers added that the barrel, which is made from poured concrete, cannot be moved or dismantled without destroying it.

“We will do the right thing for the property, we will do the right thing for preservation, and for the tenant if the tenant allows us to do so,” said Meyers.

Commissioner Kate Gordon, 2F-01, asked him pointedly: “Are you in favor of a historic landmark status for the facade of your building or not?”

“I am in favor of letting the Historic Preservation Board make that decision,” responded Meyers. “I am in favor of keeping it as part of any design for the property if M.G. [whose full name is Mesfun Ghebrelul] is no longer there operating in the business. I think it would be great to keep it there as a lobby or retail for the apartments above. But we’re nowhere near that sort of determination before we know more.”

Though Tuma said he felt like it was too early to push for an ANC motion, he said he’d like to see more research and documentation from architects. “I would not feel comfortable putting forth [a motion] without that kind of research,” Tuma said.

Charlie Bengel, 2F-06, strongly opposed applying for a historic landmark status for the barrel.

“Unless the owner specifically wants his property to be designated as historic, there’s no way I would ever support designating it as historic,” Bengel said.

“I think it limits his ability to run his business,” he added. “I think it would be a perfect example of government overreach to the nth degree, to the point where it could be fodder for late night comedians. I really feel strongly for private property rights.”

Commissioner and Chair John Fanning, 2F-04, echoed Bengel’s opposition to applying for a historic status.

“I think it’s kind of confusing and it’s an awkward situation because the barrel is the icon of the business,” said Fanning. “Where’s the real Barrel House? I would hope that you guys can work something out.”

Speaking from the audience, community development committee at-large representative Helen Kramer summed up her thoughts.

“I think it’s inappropriate getting involved in a landmark designation when there’s no imminent threat to the barrel,” Kramer said. “The owner of the property has stated that he has no intention of altering or destroying it, so the whole issue is moot.”

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