Features articles

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.


Overnight Sensation

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.

Appalachian Spring cranks up its spiffy white Yule Bug and drapes its signature “Celebrate American Craft” banner along the side to serve as its “float” in the annual Reston Town Center Christmas parade.


Kick-Starting Christmas with Community Events

When communities celebrate, businesses prosper, and Christmas is an ideal time for craft shops and galleries to join wholeheartedly in citywide holiday festivities. With opportunities ranging from storefront decorating and window display contests to street caroling and sponsored floats in Yuletide parades, small business retailers have readymade opportunities to join the fun, show their community spirit and entice post-events revelers into their stores.

Gatski Moose Head

Christmas Checklist

As of July 1, there are 177 shopping days until Christmas. Take stock now with this quick checklist: Start a wish list. If you haven’t developed one yet, now’s the time. Once you have one, refer to it often. It will keep you on track, no matter how chaotic your schedule becomes.

Santa with a serious point of view, from Bunny with a Toolbelt http://bunnywithatoolbelt.com/.

Holiday Reminders

There’s nothing in this list that you probably don’t already know. But they all bear repeating, especially as we head into the most critical retail selling season of the year.

Colin sports velveteen leggings and carries a cotton sack filled with aromatic Maine balsam.

So These Are Santa’s Elves?

In Norse folklore, there are creatures called Nisse, elusive elf-like beings who dwell in the woodlands and lend unseen but helpful hands to people who live there. At Christmas time, Norwegians offer small gifts of affection and recognition to the elves to ensure their continued kindness. That’s the kind of folk story the Solli sisters, Marie and Anne, grew up hearing from their Norwegian father.