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NICHE magazine publisher Wendy Rosen welcomes the audience at the opening of the 2015 NICHE Awards presentation. ALL PHOTOS: JIM BURGER and JILLIAN HUGHES

Lights! Camera! Celebration!

NICHE magazine publisher Wendy Rosen welcomes the audience at the opening of the 2015 NICHE Awards presentation. ALL PHOTOS: JIM BURGER and JILLIAN HUGHES Continuity and change: those were the two themes powering the 2015 NICHE Awards presentation on Jan. 17 in Washington DC. In a time-honored tradition that’s taken place every winter since 1990,

Since the early 1990s, downtown DC has undergone a transformation that newly arrived apartment dwellers and independent retailers are doing much to fuel. Streets bustle with traffic, sidewalks are filled with shoppers, and small businesses are pulling out all the stops to accommodate their needs.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIM JACOBSEN

Overnight Sensation

Let’s get one thing straight: Washington DC has never not been a beautiful city. Over the years, however, and contrary to the visionary plan laid out centuries ago by Pierre L’Enfant for grand boulevards angled like rays of the sun to showcase exquisite views of towering monuments in every direction, the capital’s architecturally rich city blocks fell into disrepair. By the 1960s, great swaths of its downtown looked tired and neglected, as did their potential as commercial and residential city centers.

The staircase between selling floors at The Farmhouse Store includes three horizontal signs by Scotch Plains, N.J., artist Nick Mansilla; a striped runner by Dash & Albert, Pittsfield, Mass.; and Murphy's Chicks and other signs on the wall at right by Red Horse Signs, Woodinville, Wash. PHOTO CREDIT: LAURA MOSS

Upstairs, Downstairs

“Ed Menapace is the gas. I’m the brakes,” is what we say at The Farmhouse Store. Ed’s got vision and big ideas. He plots each next step in our retail adventure. I bring caution, day-to-day detail and the “what if?” that help us plan each new turn. It’s a good combination. With our shared desire to create an enjoyable place for customers and employees, a solid work ethic and genuine interest in the work of our craftspeople, we’ve created a unique retail experience.

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