Each time you enter Shop Made in DC it will feel like a different store. Everything in the local obsessed shop and cafe opening next month in Golden Triangle is constantly in flux. Baristas will pour coffee from rotating roasters. Employees will swap out a bounty of retail goods from about 25 makers every month. And, the two fast-casual concepts that call Shop Made in DC home will also go round-and-round.
“You can’t be made in D.C. and not be fast-casual,” says Stacey Price, who is curating the retail space. She’s partnered with Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG), the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID), Boston Properties, People Make Place, and Vigilante Coffee Company on the endeavor.
Price says she started thinking about launching Shop Made in DC back in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2013 that she began talking with NRG owner Michael Babin. At the time, Price ran Think Local First D.C. and Babin sat on her board. “We started talking about what it would it look like if we had this space dedicated to just makers and made in D.C.,” she says.
That said, Price knows she’s not the first to shine a light on local products. Union Grocery in Shaw stocks a portion of its shelves with locally made sauces, spices, tonics, and chocolate. Glen’s Garden Market in Shaw and Dupont fills its refrigerators with area beer and cider and sells District-made ice cream, charcuterie, and baked goods. Smaller shops like Little Red Fox, Odd Provisions, and Each Peach Market do the same.
“I don’t want to compete with that. They’re doing a really fabulous job,” Price says. Shop Made in DC is different because it’s about more than food. “We’ve done a really amazing job and can do more with supporting the food businesses,” she says. “But I’m excited to be of service to all of the other maker businesses.” Think letterpress, jewelry, and apparel.
Shop Made in DC would have looked different if Price had opened it back in 2011 when she thought of the project. “When I started doing this, there were people doing it but not to the same extent as now,” Price says. “There’s been so much growth. We have to continue to grow these businesses.”
The growth of specialty food isn’t unique to D.C. According to an annual report published by the Speciality Food Association, sales hit $127 billion nationwide, a 15 percent jump in total sales between 2014 and 2016.
Price says many of the companies she’ll feature are about three years into operation and teetering on the edge of making it big. She hopes Shop Made in DC plays in a roll in giving them wholesaler experience and exposure. She is currently getting calls from D.C.-based companies looking to use the space creatively. “UrbanStems wants to do a flower happy hour every Friday,” Price says. “People are seeing this as their store, which is how I want it to be.”
The 2,500-square-foot space located in the former Willie T’s Lobster Shack space (1333 19th St. NW) has 40 seats inside and outside. In addition to the coffee program, there will be a bar. NRG beer director Greg Engert is responsible for the drafts. To start, he’ll serve beer from 3 Stars, Atlas, Bluejacket, DC Brau, Hellbender, and Right Proper, plus ANXO cider, Supreme Core cider, and wine from District Winery.
Come mid-October, Shop Made in DC will open as a coffee shop in the morning and will stay open through the early evening.
Photo by Flickr User Nicolas Raymond.