What economic downturn? Hundreds of people attended the pre-opening party of modern furniture retailer Room & Board last night, celebrating its new store at the corner of 14th and T NW. Among the modish crowd was store founder John Gabbert, nattily dressed in a bow tie and round, Dominick Dunne-esque tortoiseshell glasses.
Since Gabbert opened the first Room & Board thirty years ago in Denver, the Minneapolis-based company has grown to 12 stores in 8 metro areas. Despite the fact that it has yet to open its doors to shoppers, with a database of 10,000 existing customers from other locations and online, the D.C. store already has a larger clientele than the furniture chain’s Atlanta store, which opened last year.
Room & Board occupies 36,000 square feet in the R. L. Taylor Building, originally a Ford Motors Showroom that assembled and sold Model T cars. The four-story space includes a newly constructed top level with a wraparound outdoor deck. Room & Board officially opens Monday, June 14, but you can also check it out tomorrow during the soft opening.