26 October 2011

Update #2: 2 of the 3 Georgetown Angels Leaving Georgetown Shops

Touted as the "Angels of Georgetown," for making a successful retail run of it in not only a depressed economy but also in a struggling retail location, local women entrepreneurs Simply Soles and Fornash will leave the The Shops at Georgetown Park, with Simply Soles shutting its Georgetown doors this Monday, October 31st. (4:41pm 2nd Update from the original post) The Dandelion Patch is not moving from The Shops at this time.

Though the Shops as a whole have struggled, with stores coming and going over the years, Kassie Rempel (Simply Soles), Stephanie Fornash Kennedy (Fornash), and Heidi Kallett (The Dandelion Patch) opened in The Shops. Though some would say that shoes, accessories, stationery, and gifts are luxuries, the stores have each thrived, building their catalog, brick and mortar, and wholesale businesses when other stores were vacating the mall.

Georgetown rags first reported the possibility back in March 2011, when word on the street was that Target and Bloomingdales were candidates for the real estate block occupied by the Shops in the center of Georgetown's shopping district. Though the rumors died soon after those initial reports, a cashier at H&M, which won't have to vacate the space, shared that Target was moving in. Though the lines at H&M were long for both the fitting rooms (people are trying) and the cashier (people are buying), the cashier wondered what Target, the often-stylish box retailer now known for its exclusive designer collections that sell out in minutes, would do to sales for their store.

Ms. Rempel shared that Simply Soles is consolidating their Georgetown store, headquarters, and warehouse in their burgeoning National Harbor location starting November 1st. To facilitate that move, the Georgetown store is having a "big sale" this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (October 28-30).

Ms. Kennedy also confirmed Fornash will be leaving the Shops; she has not yet announced a date or location for her accessories collection. (4:41pm 2nd update from original post) Ms. Kallett confirmed today that The Dandelion Patch is not moving from The Shops.

[End reported, objective-like story; begin DC Celine thoughts and opinions]

(4:41pm Updated from original post) All 3 ladies have promised to keep me up to date on any moves and the growth they're spurning (the businesses have strong, growing online and catalog components or other locations in addition to their storefronts at the Shops). Honestly, I was shocked when I heard any of the Angels were moving, and I'm sad that these bright spots on one of my routes home (I can always rationalize the key bridge over the Beltway) will no longer be on my way home.

Lord knows H, as supportive as he is of my shoe habits (hel-LO Oscars sitting in their soft, pretty bag in my closet), will be glad I can no longer "pop in" to see Kassie and the ladies of Simply Soles at the drop of a Helen Kamisky hat.

Then there's the whole question of what a box-store like Target means for the eclectic boutique-chain-restaurant mix Georgetown has cultured - intentionally or unintentionally. Much of the buzz in March was around Target's 2nd choice in the District (the Columbia Heights location being the first) of a location without a big, fat parking lot.

Whichever way the wind ends up blowing on this one, it will be interesting to watch, and I'll keep you up to date as I hear developments.


RosaLovesDC said...

So sad Fornash is leaving, I love it!

Serena said...

The thought of Target or another big box chain moving into Georgetown makes my heart hurt (and pisses me off).