It seems that the transformation of Dupont Circle from hip, quirky locale to open-format shopping mall continues at a brisk pace.
And thanks to an article in today’s Washington Post, we learn of the latest victims: District Hardware and its neighbor, The Third Day (a funky little gardening shop).
The first business there is our local hardware and bike store. This store has gotten us out of more binds than we’d care to admit. They’ve always been there when we needed funky hanging hooks for our wine rack, or when we needed plumbing supplies, or when I needed a master link for my bike chain. They’ve cut many keys for us, provided the random screwdriver or sealant, and always made sure to ask the right questions about our needs.
To put it bluntly: they have been a necessary and welcome neighborhood business.
And now they’re being driven from their location, moving somewhere outside of Dupont Circle. One of the the few locally-owned-and-operated businesses is being shown the door.
And from what I’ve seen in the Post article, it has everything to do with greed on the part of the new property owner. He says that he is “sad to see these businesses go,” and that he offered District Hardware an “underground space” – he supposedly “went the extra mile.”
But how hollow are those words? It sounds like he offered nothing in terms of a rent break and everything in terms of shunting a more mundane, non-chain, non-glitz local business to the background to make way for something plastic and conformist.
And, as District Hardware’s Neil Conway says, “location is everything,” and he didn’t take the rotten bait.
So now it looks like, come November, we’ll be out of a local place to get the various supplies a homeowner (or renter, in our case) needs to keep things running smoothly.
I’m going to talk with Mr. Conway tonight to see if there’s any remaining chance of a public outcry campaign to keep him and his shop at their current location. And if there still is a chance, I’m going to help lead the fight.