With fewer stores closing their doors and new establishments selling everything from sports apparel to pinball museum tickets, the Georgetown area appears to be recovering from the recession.
After a net loss of 13 stores in 2009, the neighborhood saw a net gain of 15 stores last year, according to Jim Bracco, executive director of the Georgetown Business Improvement District.
“I think we’ve had a pretty good year with stores trying to get into Georgetown,” Bracco said. “That’s a great sign, hopefully, of years to come.”
While most retail businesses nationwide saw the effects of the poor economy, local shops fared relatively well, according to Bracco. The national average loss in stores was about 28 percent, but the neighborhood lost only about 8 percent of stores in 2009, Bracco said.
Despite the net gain in stores, there were between 50 and 60 business openings and closings over the course of 2010, reflecting significant turnover, according to Bracco. “It’s a little bit of a mixed bag,” he said.
New business locations in the neighborhood include national brands like Apple, Madewell and City Sports, as well as local businesses such as the National Pinball Museum. According to Bracco, the Georgetown BID tries to maintain a balance between national brands and local business.
“We’re thankful we’ve been able to keep that mix alive,” Bracco said.
City Sports opened in December 2010 and has so far seen success in the area, according to Michael Mosca, executive vice president of merchandising for City Sports.
“We’re very pleased with the store,” he said. “We had a really great response to our opening.”
Mosca said that the Georgetown neighborhood is a great place to open new locations because of the residential neighborhood, commercial aspect and nearby university campus.
“It’s a really sweet spot,” he said.
The area has proved to be a great place for local businesses as well, according to David Silverman, executive director and curator of the National Pinball Museum. While some customers seek out the museum specifically, the attraction’s location in The Shoppes at Georgetown Park has helped the museum gain foot traffic as well.
“It’s probably one of the best locations I could have moved to,” Silverman said of the Georgetown neighborhood.