Monday, April 26, 2010

a shout-out for the Flagler Market at Flagler & W St NW

From a Flagler Place NW resident:

I wanted to send a message to the list concerning our corner stores. I live near Flagler Market and I choose to patronize the market whenever possible. Not only does Flagler carry many necessary items, but it is so convenient that I can't not shop there. I know it may not have the most welcoming aesthetic inside, but the owners are very nice and will go out of their way to accommodate us as patrons. I asked them to get Sierra Nevada Beer for me about a month ago and it has been there ever since.

So please if there is something you may need that they might have please, don't be afraid to walk in and look for it.


  1. I live on Flagler as well and do not share the enthusiasm. With choices like Windows and Timor that have taken the time and trouble to clean up, I can't see any reason not to walk an extra block and patronize them instead. I vote with my dollar, and stores such as Timor and Windows have earned mine.

  2. I live on Flager as well and do not share the enthusiasm. When I see the effort stores such as Timor and Windows are making to clean up corner markets, and offer a pleasant experience (and better products, frankly) I cannot help but walk an extra block or two to patronize them. The owners at Flagler may be nice, but I vote with my dollar. I would love to see some improvements, and until I do, I'll be walking down the street to the others.

  3. sorry for the double post - it didn't appear to go thru

  4. Hi,

    I am Brandon. I sent the original post to Scott. I support Timor as well as Windows and Flagler Market. I am not sure the owners of Flagler can afford to change the appearance of the shop, but I do know that if we don't support them, they will never be able to afford renovations and the store will continue to look the same.

  5. Are you serious? This must be a joke! Gotta be. I live on Flagler and on Friday, out of necessity I was forced to go into that store. While I was in there at 3:30 p.m., there was a queue to purchase "single bottle" of beer and lottery tickets. Troubling. What was more troubling was that there was not one fresh fruit or vegetable in that store. It is such a shame that the neighborhood has changed and yet this store has failed to. I do not care how nice the owners are, they need to make an effort to clean up inside and outside the store. One walks into Windows or Timor to grab an onion and is not greeted by plexiglass and messy shelving and dirty rugs and .... I have been in that store about 3 times in the 8 years I have lived on this street and each time, I felt gross, dirty.

    Since the store has been receptive to the first author's post, possibly he could suggest to them to get up their damn store: inside and out!

  6. Can they afford to call the police on the endless loitering and (apparently) drug dealing that occurs right outside their store? Honestly, they need to pack up their business and move to a different neighborhood. I'd rather have a vacant storefront than the Flagler market.

    - JM

  7. I will continue to support them. BTW I think it is on all of us to call the police on Drug Dealing whenever and where ever we see it not just them. I just don't see why everything has to be so mutually exclusive. I support Kim and Abije tremendously, but I think that ignoring FM isn't going to make things better. If we choose to patronize it and we ask them to make the changes we would like to see, then we might realize some of the changes we are waiting for.

  8. Also Kim and Abije build those stores like that when they opened. FM has been in business the way it is now for quite sometime. It is harder to change the way you have been doing business rather than starting anew from scratch. But unless we patronize them they have no motivation to change. Would you change the whole way you do business for customers who don't even shop in your store?

  9. Brandon,
    Mr. Abije's store was just like the Flagler Market a few years ago. However, about 2005, he noticed in that the neighborhood was changing and changed with it. He solicited the input of neighbors as to what they desired to see in the store as well as what color he should paint the store. As for Timor, this corner store too, was just like Flagler Market. The new owner Mr. Kim did renovations and decided not to go down the same old road because the business for the prior was just not there. Hence, he decided to stock with whole, organic and fresh foods. If FM wants to change they will do it. It does not take a lot for the owners to send out a letter to neighbors asking what they can do to "bring me into their store" or "make their store better". Their competitors did and they are not a far walk away. I will moreso take the walk to patronize them than go to FM.
    I am sure the owners of FM has noticed the change in the neighborhood and NOTICE whom their patrons are! If they have a desire to succeed or compete with Windows or Timor they will make the necessary changes.


  10. I shop at all three establishments on occasion but honestly the CHEAPEST thing they could do at FM seems to be to clean up and I dont get why that is such a challenge? That alone would change so much of the overall feel to the store and I think about it every time I go in is kind of a no brainer and the other shop owners "get it" so it ends up feeling like FM is more concerned with selling singles and lotto tickets while trash and drugs pile up outside. I think small changes would make a huge difference here but they dont seem motivated to me...

  11. I believe you have it completely backwards. If they offer a substandard product, and you buy it, you are validating the status quo.

    I've been in the neighborhood for over six years and seen no noticeable improvement on this store. In my mind, with the growth in this neighborhood, they have had multiple opportunities to improve, but have chosen not to. Probably because they are doing well selling to the existing customer base.

    If they choose not to fix it up, then I will boycott until they sell to someone who can. It may sound heartless, but its basic economics.

  12. @ anonymous, I understand why you say that, I think that in this situation we will be waiting a long long time for the change to occur by boycott. I think we could have a much more expedient change with some support and direct dialogue between the community and the shop owners.

  13. Brandon,
    I hope you are not taking this at all personally, because it is not intended in any way to be so. And I'm totally fine with you and anyone else interested in trying to reason with them and ask for improvements. I hope you do and it works.

    But I've seen this before with them- neighborhood groups have talked to them (or predecessors) in the past and they haven't changed a bit.

    Additionally. I'm not boycotting because I think that it will cause them to change. It is simply a matter of principle for me and I'd feel better giving 100% of my bodega dollars to the two markets mentioned in my previous posts.

    I agree with Amy above in that I think some basic cleaning and a few small steps would go a long way toward showing interest in running a different type of place. Its not like Kim at Timor spent crazy money on decor - he just has a basic, clean, store- and with quality items.

  14. I'm not taking it personally at all :) I think everyone is entitled to their two cents and these are mine. Furthermore I'm confident none of my neighbors would ever treat me differently than they do now because we have a difference in thought. Maybe my opinion comes from the fact that I've always been a softie and not much of a tough love kinda guy. BTW I'm not disagreeing that a little clean up would go a long way. In fact, I am too am suggesting that.

  15. let me rephrase....

    Furthermore I'm confident none of my neighbors would ever treat me differently than they do now because we have a difference in thought (about the neighborhood bodegas)

  16. About FM as compared to the other two. As a wheelchair user, I tend to favor FM. The other two are not ADA compliant and I have to have merchandise brought to me rather than being able to select it for myself. To be completely honest, the ramp at FM is dangerous but I'd rather risk tipping over and being able to shop for myself than the alternative. If you don't have similar mobility problems, you don't understand so don't start with me about my choices.

    Yes, they need to clean up the outside. Remember that loitering is not illegal in DC. If you are so worried about drug dealing, go sit out there yourself and loiter. That WILL chase the dealers away. Further more, we are supposed to be a COMMUNITY. Communities work together to keep things cleaned up. Even if you didn't put it there, if you see something on the ground that is trash, get it and throw it away. If you're worried about germs, carry hand sanitizer and gloves. Or use a kleenex to pick it up.

    Don't put the whole problem on the heads of the owners. Model the behavior you want to exist and that will help. Stop complaining unless you plan to offer a POSITIVE and PRODUCTIVE solution. Putting them out of business is not such an option. If we leave it vacant and empty, that's asking for waaay more trouble than you want to handle. Also, it takes away legitimate jobs and revenue, both of which are sorely needed in this economy.

    For those of us who do not drive, it's nice to have an option in the neighborhood.

    Brandon was trying to say something nice. That's a good thing in my book. The rest of you need to get over yourselves and see it from another view point.

  17. "The rest of you need to get over yourselves and see it from another view point. "

    This is unnecessary. I stand by my opinions but was not being rude to Brandon or anyone.

    And if I can't hold the owners responsible for running what I consider to be a shoddy shop, then who?

  18. If you are so strong in your opinions and convictions, why hide behind anonymity?

    My point was that we need to SUPPORT the owners in accomplishing the aforementioned things and not expect them to get the situation under control all by themselves.

  19. I appreciate the different viewpoints but dont appreciate this quote below as I dont think it helps the conversation continue in a productive direction.
    "The rest of you need to get over yourselves and see it from another view point."
    Maybe I am reading it wrong but it seems harsh and not so neighborly. We all have the right to our opinion....seems obvious enough.
    I too would like to see more ADA compliance around here but just because FM has a dangerous ramp and brinks on ADA compliant doesnt mean I will excuse their dirty interior or littered exterior.
    Yes, we can all model the behavior that we want around us. But in DC we dont always get what we give - especially in transitional neighborhoods but honestly all over in DC from my experience. We can try (and should!)but as much as I pick up litter whenever I walk with my kids and teach them to give what they want to get, FM has been dirty since we arrived. We pick up around our house at least every other day and see the trash pile up the very next day from people who litter senselessly. We catch strangers littering in front of our property right in front of us and ask them to please pick up and they do so without a word as if doing it in front of us doesnt set them back a step at all. Still, we continue to pick it up because this is our home and we are trying to keep up. I would like to see the same from the market. There has to be an effort both inside and outside made by the market owners and I am not seeing enough of that for me to think they are trying to serve the neighborhood moving forward. Taking pride in the property and the shop would be a big deal and I am not talking a big bucks operation or rehaul either.
    Just to put a spin on things - my father asked me the other day where and when I would allow my 11 yr old to walk alone in the neighborhood. He has started walking himself to the corner store after school with friends and wants to do the same here and feel some independence. Needless to say, I am nowhere close to sending him down the street to FM ( we live on Flagler also) with or without hand sanitizer. I dont consider that corner to be safe enough and FM may not be the cause but they arent really part of the solution either - maybe they are neither but I think that could be debatable on certain days I am in there. Maybe that will change and maybe it wont. For now, we still go there probably once a week out of convenience but probably no more than that as the other options seem frankly cleaner, safer and more in line with what I am hoping the neighborhood will be in the near future.
    I havent decided the rest of my answer to my Dad but posing the question to ourselves of where we would let our kids go is a pretty good way of measuring how we feel about certain corners, owners/establishments in our growing neighborhood.

  20. Amy, very valid point on my post. I didn't mean to be harsh and I realize that it did come across that way since my vocal inflections aren't heard in print they way they would otherwise be. Over the last few days I have dealt with a couple of situations that led to that particular rant. :)

    I don't always feel safe walking around in this neighborhood so I can relate to not letting your son go to the corner store by himself...or at least being very wary of allowing him to do so. You're right on with the standard of measurement you are using, though, and the comparisons.

    Everyone's opinion/input is valuable. I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't. It was also easy to read my comment wrong. Positive directions are important and should always be our intent. It was certainly mine even though I failed to make it clear. I know better than to post when I'm annoyed. Sigh.

  21. I would like to chime in one more time on this matter. I think that Melissa was reacting to what seemed like a very one sided group mentality argument AGAINST my post and I appreciate that. The same disrespect that was noticed in her statement was very apparent in this statement "Are you serious? This must be a joke!" This statement, as well, is quite "unneighborly". I have never met Melissa and I appreciate her voicing her opinion on my/our behalf. I think what we have here is two different viewpoints on the same situation. I understand how a retailer who has an established customer base and income would be apprehensive to change their current system to support a new resident dynamic when the new dynamic shows little to no efforts to support their current business. I think that maybe what we should suggest is a resident - market conversation where all can discuss our concerns and needs as a community directly with FM. I don't think that anyone WANTS the owners to loose their livelihood or to have a potential cancerous vacant property in the neighborhood but we need to express what we would want to see happen in a constructive and non offensive way. I have noticed that FM has recently added a "finewine" bottle display to their floor. I see this as an attempt to reach out to the changing neighborhood dynamic. This is a step in the right direction but we need to let them know what it would take for us to shop there and then we need to support them when they do eventually make the changes we desire.

  22. I am a Flagler Place Resident and live a couple doors north of FM. I have to admit, that I had no desire to shop at the FM in the past, but have been talking with some community leaders about the fact that these markets DO want to try and cater towards the changing neighborhood, but they do have limited funds and quite frankly don't know what others in the community might want beyond cheap beer and a $1 dream to win millions...

    But while having some family visiting recently, I went by the store to purchase a few items that I needed ASAP. I have to say I was impressed that the owners approached me immediately, asked what I was looking for, and even offered to start stocking their shelves with certain items that I might like to purchase in the future. I feel that they are genuine in their efforts to try and improve their product and attract a broader client base in a neightborhood that is constantly improving.

    I do agree, they need to keep that store front clean and maybe some comestic enhancements to the property would be nice...

    Also, I think as a community, we are all responsible for making it look nice. If you have a dog and go on walks daily, maybe carry more than a poo bag...bring an extra sack to pick up some trash or recycling.


  23. I shop Windows, and Timor less so, but I would whole heartedly recommend New Reservor Market at 1942 1st Street Northwest. They sell Dogfish 60 Minute IPA cheaper than anyone in town. I believe it's less than $10.00 out the door. Give them a try.

  24. New Reservoir is a great example of a minimum standard the Flagler Market should shoot for. Not all of these markets can put in the resources to be Windows or Timor, nor do I think they should have to, but there is a minimum level of cleanliness and pride that I believe should be attained.

    I hope the Flagler Market takes some steps in that direction, but I'll not hold my breath.

  25. I definitely back up Brandon on his original post to the listserv. I go to Flagler at least twice a week just for basics like a diet Coke, cat food and whatnot. They always say hi and ask about my Mom (she's only visited twice and they remember her), and they've been helpful in procuring any particular item I'd like to see in the store. Because I asked they now regularly carry candlesticks in white and red :)

    I think it's easy to dismiss a store like this because of some of the people who patronize it. I cringe when I see the way many of the shoppers treat the gals and guys behind the counter because there is oftentimes zero respect for their store. What I'm getting at is that it's a tough crowd in-store - moreso than at Timor or Windows - but they do the best they can to provide customer service and items people want to buy.

    If you're not comfortable shopping there, that's fine, but if you're willing to go a bit outside of your comfort zone, interact with some of our neighbors in LeDroit Park, and take the time to get to know the folks that work there, it can be a pleasant experience.

    Thanks, Em Hall (100 block of Adams)

  26. I moved into bloomingdale in Aug 09. I have a real simple policy on where I shop. If I have to dodge drug dealers, loitterers, drunks or any one else just hanging out in front of a store with no real purpose then I don't shop at that store. It is the owners responsibility to drive business into their establishment. If they allow this sort of activity to go on in front of their store then I have to assume that these are the clients they are catering to and not me. If they feel they can stay in business with these clients and this changing neighborhood then that is fine and hope it works out for them. They won't get one dime of my money. If FM wants to cater to the bumper of beer, lottery ticket buying, chip eating crowd that doesnt mind a filthy store with trash all around that is fine. As this neighborhood changes and their profit goes down then they have no one to blame but themselves.