I am writing in response to “Grit and Granola” (7/13), written by Annys Shin. As a Mount Rainier merchant, I found the tone of the article generally negative. The article focused on the Glut food store, a wonderful and vibrant food co-op on 34th St. My shop, a cute little eclectic boutique, is located right next door to Glut. It seems, however, that Nisey’s Boutique was deliberately excluded from the description of Mount Rainier businesses. Located at 34th Street and Bunker Hill Road, the store is hard to miss, especially for an investigative reporter.
The article was so disparaging and condescending in tone that it may be a blessing not to have been included. Still, I cannot believe how many calls I have received asking why Nisey’s Boutique was omitted from the article. I have advertised with the Washington City Paper for more than eight years, as the owner of Nisey’s Boutique and other business ventures. For years, I have thought that Mount Rainier deserved to be featured in the City Paperand expressed this to several of my sales representatives. I could never have envisioned such a biased, exclusionary portrayal of Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier has a newly formed city council ready to work, if given the chance, and a new mayor. We are working on developing a wonderful new look, evidenced in the 34th Street roundabout and the planned business district face-lift. The city has its share of problems, as all cities do. However, unlike many cities, we are improving.
It would have been wise for Shin to interview someone from the Mount Rainier Business Association to round out her review of my Mount Rainier. To write an article that does not consider every viewpoint is unfair. Shin could have also visited some of the beautiful homes in Mount Rainier or asked the city government about all the new residents who are migrating in.
Mount Rainier has something to offer. If Shin got the impression that it has nothing going on, she needs to revisit the city and perhaps spend time doing more than just visiting a few select establishments. Perhaps she should begin her visit at Nisey’s Boutique. She mentions that Glut is the draw to Mount Rainier but fails to highlight the uniqueness and value of all its other businesses. The 34th Street block of businesses is well-known for its many African-American-owned stores, which include Nisey’s Boutique. Why weren’t any African-Americans interviewed for this story?
Finally, my store is not located in the “poor man’s Takoma Park.” It is located in historic Mount Rainier. Yes, we are seeking more of an artistic flair for Mount Rainier, but why not? It is good for the cityart heals. Did you know that we have a natural-soap maker right here in Mount Rainier? Did you know that we have book publishers living right here in Mount Rainier, as well as clothing designers and every other type of artisan that one could imagine?
I understand that the City Paper prides itself on fair, accurate journalism. “Grit and Granola,” however, falls miserably short of this standard.