Housing Complex


Here's some puzzling news: The Yes! Organic Market in Fairlawn that was set to close this month amid more than two years of heavy losses will remain open under a new name, "Healthy Gourmet Market."

According to the Post's Jonathan O'Connell, Yes! owner Gary Cha was persuaded by conversations with neighbors, city officials, and his landlord to stay in business, but to rename the store to combat perceptions of high prices and to add more mainstream products.

I wish Cha the best—he has the neighborhood's interests at heart, and lord knows the area could use all the supermarkets it can get—but this seems like a fool's errand. The store's two fatal flaws are its difficult-to-access location and its expensive reputation. Well, the location's staying the same, on a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue SE where turns are nearly impossible. And adding a few cheaper products won't change the perception issue, given that his offerings were already relatively inexpensive—much more so than at other Yes! stores. Nor will the name; if you're aiming to distance yourself from Yes!'s reputation, why on earth would you call your store "Healthy Gourmet Market?"

Again, I hope I'm wrong. But I'm afraid we might be having this same conversation again in a few months.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • http://artofward8.blogspot.com/ Charles Wilson

    Ummm...yeah we will be having the same convo a few months from now. Yes! needs to move to the Anacostia Warehouse Supermarket location that is much more convenient to access.

  • The Advoc8te

    Agreed. There is little point to having a Yes! in Ward 8 if it's location is so hard to by Ward 8 residents it might as well be closed.

    Cha may be hesitant to invest money into getting the Anacostia Warehouse up to snuff (lets me honest it will need some work) but any location in Anacostia would be a better fit. I can think of one now.

  • Northwesterner

    But Anacostia is a place where you can built fantastic new dog parks and they have a way to link dog ownership to racism. Don't laugh, that really happened!

  • http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com Richard Layman

    look up in the Post backfile the saga of Mega Foods on the 600 block of H St. NE. When I first moved to the city, the store was about to open, and failed within a couple years.

    If the location is bad but a store within provides good value, it might still succeed. I only shop at Yes for specialty items (they are particularly good for bulk spices, items like dried mushrooms, and the stores with beer and wine have pretty good selections, and their specials are pretty good), because I can't cotton to paying that much for food when I know I can pay less elsewhere.

    The biggest issue is price of the goods generally. Whole Foods has tons of customers, but Yes far fewer on average. (I've never been to a My Organic Market to be able to compare.)

    The other issue is that even in W7 and W8, with less car ownership on average, people have access to supermarkets and get to them (because they have to) and there are a bunch of stores just over the border in PG County.

    So people have options already and are exercising them.


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  • Carol Casperson

    Gary Cha is a great guy but his store's prices are way too high. Mayor Gray, please talk to Trader Joe about taking over the store on Pennsylvania Av SE--East of the River. If you put in the right store, people will figure out how to get there. It only takes me 15 minutes to get to the Trader Joe's off of PA Av NW on 25th St. NW, but I would rather have one in my neighborhood.

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