Richmond-based organic grocer Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market has announced it will start construction on its second location (and first District store) in March of next year. The grocer, which announced its intention to occupy the space last month, will build out the 15,000 square foot store inside the DC USA at 14th and Irving Streets NW. It’s an area that Ellwood Thompson’s CEO, Ryan Youngman, saw as a perfect fit for his stores’ locally grown, organic produce.
ET bills itself as supporting "sustainable practices ...supporting local farmers" with food "free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners." Said Youngman: "We’ve always seen DC as market that could really handle it. It’s always been on our list of places to go...We’re one independent store and wherever you grow, you want to get your biggest possible audience."
After meeting with nearly 20 developers and scouting locations across the city (including PN Hoffman’s storefront at Union Row, now occupied by Yes! Organic), Ellwood formally partnered with MV+A Architects to resurrect a derelict storefront at 14th and Irving that the architecture firm had been seeking to fill with a viable tenant. Once completed – with historic facade intact - the new Ellwood Thompson’s will share the block with a recently opened Washington Sports Club location and Best Buy.
According to Youngman, the local community registered almost immediate support once word got out that his organization was vetting it as the possible location for an independent, health-conscious grocer – a feeling that was reciprocated on Ellwood Thompson’s end as well. Says Youngman:
We really just loved the walk of it. We loved the people and the activism aspect of it. I’ve got thousands of e-mails of testimony from people who wanted us to come up there...we just got hit after hit after hit and we’d like to profess our undying gratitude. After 800 or 900 e-mails, it just became the obvious location for us. This is also an economy where we really need to be in a place where the discretionary income is there and it’s under-served in that area. Giant is cranking away up there, but there’s no alternative for a grocery.
Washington DC-based Prince Construction has been selected to build the project. Construction is slated to begin in March of 2009.