Friday, May 17, 2013

My review of the new Martha's Outfitters community thrift in Anacostia

It was over a year ago that the then president of 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).

As someone who dabbles in second hand sales myself (my mother and I own a small vintage designer resale company together, Once is Never Enough) I recognize good thrift when I see it and Martha's Outfitters has some cute and quality stuff. Initially I meant to pop in and get some pictures of the new store but soon I had a large pile of shoes (mostly designer and high end brands!). Before I knew it I had walked out of the store with 10 pairs of shoes and a really darling cow coffee mug (and I don't even drink coffee).

Martha's Outfitters joins The Last Shall Be First (1922 MLK Jr. Ave SE) and LaThreadz (1345 Good Hope Rd SE) as clothing retail options in Anacostia. It is a great fit and works well with how Anacostia is shaping up to be a burgeoning arts and independent business district. Martha's Outfitters (AKA "Outfitters) is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 6:30pm -- although I do hope they extend their hours into the evening - and soon! I mean a girl's gotta shop!

P.S. The community thrift also provides free clothing to those in need based on a referral. Go HERE to learn more about that program.

Go HERE to read Martha's Table's press release on the new Anacostia store.

To stay up to date on what is happening in Anacostia you can visit my other blog,

Your very own (and now well-heeled) Advoc8te

The Martha's Outfitters staff and NBC4's Danella Sealock showing their Southeast Love
at their grand opening

Look Ma! No bars on the windows!!!! 

This is how you do a proper window display people! Notice the window vinyl, clean windows and the displays.

My colleague, David Garber, Director of Storefront Improvement with ARCH Development Corporation is working with the store on a hip sign that fits perfectly into the historic nature of the neighborhood

Plenty of quality and diverse merchandise is key to any good thrift
Is there any better way to look out on the business district than through a quality retail storefront?!

Something for every budget!
Very, very nice presentation. Peep the fixtures made out of pipe! Smart and affordable! 

View from the rear of the store.

A large collection fo lady's and men's apparel! 

I don't know what it is but I like it! 

Stuart Weitzman's!!!! For only $15?! Are you serious?!

A small portion of the shoe's available for sale.

Another one of my purchases. I think these were $8. 

At first I bought this for a friend but now it is sitting on my desk -- and I don't even drink coffee!

Ready to take my new friends home. 
That's right -- I only spent $75 on my haul. The Outfitters accepts credit cards! 

The exterior with their temporary sign. 
These are good neighbors! They even planted new flowers in front of their shop!

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