Martha's Table reached out to me personally to discuss their hope to open a Ward 8 location of their 'Martha's Outfitters' community thrift store. From the very beginning the nonprofit had their eye on the historic Anacostia neighborhood. The Martha's Table leadership was very open and committed to wanting to make sure that they solicited community feedback and support early on. They invited me and several other community members and leaders to visit their store on 14th Street NW to get an idea of what they wanted to bring to Ward 8 and asked us about Ward 8 locations that would be ideal. Although I wasn't able to take a trip to their 14th Street NW location ( I work way too much) I was pleased and encouraged to experience first hand their efforts over the past year to stay in touch and to be a good neighbor. I am really looking forward to working with them in the future, I would love them to be a part of this year's LUMEN8ANACOSTIA festival on June 22nd. I already have an eye on their parking lot! It would be perfect for some outdoor entertainment! :)
To be honest, based on experiences in the past, most Ward 8 residents (and businesses!) get a little nervous when they hear of a another social service organization or nonprofit moving into their business district. Sometimes that anxiety is well founded, remember Calvary Women's Service's top secret move into Anacostia and their subsequent stonewalling when it came to even holding a community meeting? Needless to say Calvary Women's Services has never recovered from that in terms of its relationship with the residents of Anacostia - despite what Calvary's PR machine may say in their fundraising materials. CWS is pretty much a pariah when it comes to their perception by and interaction with Anacostia residents and businesses alike. I'm pretty sure their Executive Director wears blinders and earplugs when going about her day in the neighborhood (sorry, but I call it like I see it).
Anyway, I digress. I was pleased as punch to stop into the Martha's Outfitters community thrift located at 2204 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE in Anacostia and it looks G-O-O-D! It doesn't have the look of a typical thrift store, in many ways it reminds me of a hip New York second hand shop. Thanks to the prior occupant, a Sunbelt Rentals, the floors are polished concrete. The furnishings and fixtures are creative and chic, and the visual merchandising is done really, really, well. There was plenty of staff and they were polite, friendly, and proactive. They had me sorted out in no time -- even when we couldn't find the mates to two pairs of the 12 shoes I wanted to buy (if the employees are reading this I will be in this afternoon to see if you have found my new friends).