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A new year, a new twist in the story of the Yes! Organic Market east of the Anacostia River. First came the news that the Fairlawn store was closing after more than two years of heavy losses, despite a $900,000 grant from the city. Then, Yes! owner Gary Cha changed course and decided to keep the store open under a new name, Healthy Gourmet Market. I expressed puzzlement at his choice, given that the new name and more conventional offerings wouldn’t address either of the store’s twin downfalls: the perception of high prices and the difficult-to-access location.
I won’t flatter myself into thinking that Cha heeded my advice, but the Art of Ward 8 blog is reporting that the store has reopened not as Healthy Gourmet Market, but as the more egalitarian-sounding Fairlawn Market. And the shelves appear to be stocked with just the kind of boring and not necessarily healthy but probably reassuring products that Yes! has been known to eschew: Hamburger Helper, Jif and Skippy, Cap’n Crunch, and just about every imaginable form of sprayable and spreadable butter.
One former Yes! regular, commenting at Art of Ward 8, says she was “underwhelmed and unimpressed” when she visited what’s essentially “a classy corner store” and won’t be going back much. Let’s hope, for the sake of the grocery-starved neighborhood, that despite the store’s limited accessibility by pedestrians and drivers alike, other locals disagree and patronize the store more than they did its predecessor.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery