Wednesday, June 02, 2010

John Salatti invites you to sign a petition to the owner of 1821 1st St NW regarding Bloomingdale's 2nd dry cleaners (not yet opened)

A Second Dry Cleaners is Coming to Bloomingdale: Petition to the Owner Requesting a Different Business Use

See this Email string supplied by Melissa Ortiz, assistant to ANC 5C04 Commissioner John Salatti:

From: John T. Salatti
Date: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 12:57 AM
Subject: Fwd: Signature Confirmation - Not
Another Dry Cleaner in Bloomingdale - 2 - BdaleDry

This also has some wording that could be used in a listserv posting.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: PetitionOnline
Date: Wed, May 26, 2010 at 12:50 AM
Subject: Signature Confirmation - Not Another
Dry Cleaner in Bloomingdale - 2 - BdaleDry
To: John Salatti

Here`s some text you can just copy and paste into your own email message to help spread the word about this petition:

+ --------- copy from here --------- +

Dear Friends,

I have just read and signed the online petition:

``Not Another Dry Cleaner in Bloomingdale``

hosted on the web by, the free online petition service, at:

I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.

Best wishes,

John Salatti

+ --------- down to here ---------- +

+ paste into your own email, & send +

A note along those lines, sent from you to your friends, can make an especially effective contribution to the petition. A successful petition is a grassroots collaborative effort, and now it`s your turn. The power of the Internet is in your hands -- so spread the word!


I have copied in the text of the petition from the link listed
above, for your reference:

To: Yong C. Choe & any other owners of 1821 1st NW

The undersigned residents of Bloomingdale request that Yong C. Choe and any other owners of 1821 1st Street, NW (Square 3110 Lot 0137 at the northeast corner of 1st Street and Seaton Place) Washington, DC 20001 use this property for some other business that the neighborhood needs rather than a dry cleaning business. Although we definitely appreciate the owners` efforts to rehabilitate a long-vacant building and put it back into useful service, we do not support the opening of a second dry cleaning establishment. This area needs a variety of services that we do not have currently and which we as neighbors wuld support heartily. These services include sit-down, full-service restaurants, boutiques, stationery and card stores, consignment shops, electronics stores, child-care centers, hardware stores, bakeries, deicatessens, diners, pet grooming establishment, vet clinic, bank, etc. These ae businesses that we want, that we need, and that we will ptronize. We are not likely to patronize another dry cleaning establishment.

Out of a concern for the owners and their investment and out of concern for the long-term well-being of Bloomingdale, we are coming to you now before the reconstruction of 1821 has gone too far. We want your business to succeed; we fear that your current concept will not, to your detriment and ours. Our elected rpresentatives are ready and willing to meet with you at any time.



The Undersigned


Anonymous said...

I never post on these blogs but this caught my attention. I live two blocks from the corner of Seaton and First Street where Yong C. Choe apparently intends to install a dry cleaning business and I have watch with interest as the decrepit corner property has been transformed into a sturdy building. I believe that it is always positive to see development in our neighborhood and improvement of the buildings. Therefore, I was shocked today when I read this petition to oppose investment in our community. While we as residents of Bloomingdale have every right to protest business development that would reduce our quality of life—we can oppose new liquor licenses in the neighborhood for example—I question whether we can block good-faith investments in legitimate businesses in our neighborhood simply because we do not need that good or service in particular.

Beyond any quibbles over whether or not we should shape community development as if we lived in Communist Russia and not a capitalist society, I think we need to ask ourselves whether this request to change Mr. Choe’s business plan is even feasible. The petition suggests that Mr. Choe, presumably a dry cleaner by trade who has experience in the business, “use this property for some other business that the neighborhood needs rather than a dry cleaning business.” Further, the petition suggests a variety of other business that as yet unidentified Bloomingdale residents want in our neighborhood including “sit-down, full-service restaurants, boutiques, stationery and card stores, consignment shops, electronics stores, child-care centers, hardware stores, bakeries, deicatessens [sic], diners, pet grooming establishment, vet clinic, bank, etc.” Can someone please tell me how Mr. Choe, after investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in rehabbing a previously dilapidated property in need of renovations, supposed to magically learn how to operate a "child care center" or a “pet grooming establishment?” Do you want a dry cleaner to watch your kids, or groom your dog? No. Why? because he doesn't know how to do so. He is not trained to do so. He is a dry cleaner. He may even be a very good dry cleaner and excellent businessman. That does not mean that he is a good cook, baker or child care provider. Given the obvious hurdlse Mr. Choe would face changing his profession in order to fulfill one of the whims of Mr. Salatti by founding a new diner or bank, etc., I think the most efficient path forward is to allow Mr. Chose to pursue his trade. Let’s be grateful to be rid of that eyesore of a building and let him compete for our dry cleaning business.

As an aside, I believe that a second dry cleaners will benefit the community by forcing our current dry cleaning provider to compete for business through lower prices and better service. Certainly, this would add value as we are all paying downtown prices in our Midtown neighborhood for dry cleaning.


JustMe said...

The funny thing is that there's going to be a petition to oppose this dry cleaner because the neighborhood has "other needs" like "sit-down, full-service restaurants," and then the same group of petition signers (or even some other group) will show up at the next ANC meeting to oppose the opening of a sit-down restaurant because it will cause too much foot traffic and "turn Bloomingdale into another Adams Morgan!"

If John Salatti wants a business that he thinks would better serve "neighborhood needs," then he should man up, put together a business plan, and open one up himself.

Anonymous said...

This petition is pure garbage. As a fairly new resident to the neighborhood, I can tell you without blinders on that the last thing this neighborhood needs is anything in the way of fresh money and facelifts on the commercial spaces. I really don't care if there are five dry cleaners if they produce some investment into the area. Probably will get a good deal on dry cleaning, too.

Anonymous said...

I'd view this petition as a way to tell the owners that "some" residents don't really want to see a dry cleaner. I personally don't use dry cleaners, nor do I do drink 40's or buy lotto tickets, Kool-Aid flavored tobacco products or buy pizza/subs/seafood/ribs from a place that specializes in making chinese food. So I already don't spend my money at a number of duplicate businesses around the neighborhood. I don't think this petition is going to stop a dry cleaner from opening up...but hey, I don't intend to spend my dollars at this place...because they are offering a business that I don't have a need for. I probably don't need a stationary store either... Just like neighbors that don't see a need for a neighborhood resto/cafe and voice it too the community and kill its efforts because of their personal preferences/habits...

Personally I think anyone that wants to invest in the community has a right to...they are taking the risk of using their $ to make more $. If it doesn't pan out...then it doesn't pan out.

Flagler Place Resident

Anonymous said...

At this point in time, we know nothing about the investor. There is nothing wrong in asking the new owner(s)to consider other options. It is just open communications between the new owner(s) and some people in the community. It is just information for the new owner(s) to consider. However, I do agree that the new owner has the right to open a dry cleaners if he/she chooses to do so.

Anonymous said...

salatti should have spellchecked the petition.

GeorgeW6 said...

Hey don’t knock it! I just noticed a Car Wash in Manassas that offers Dog Washes too, right in their own little building attached to the car wash :-) A dry cleaner, with imagination, might offer amenities. Years ago, my new bride and new resident of America, wanted to know where the drink was when she went into " One Hour Martinizing” I’m not sure if they are around anymore, but it was a one hour brand name (Martinizing) dry cleaning establishment that apparently missed the boat :-) Who knows what the new owners plan? Aren’t you happy to get rid of one more dump? Or... get a good business plan together and invite residents and interested investors to buy into something you want and think will go well in Bloomingdale (which I thought was just a big store).
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Judging from the composition and spelling I believe this petition is a joke. For the sake of our neighborhood, I hope this petition is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Uhm, it's his business. Take your heads out of your ass and let him do what he wants to do with it.

God, ya'll gentrys are killing me.

Anonymous said...

I too am bewildered by this petition. It is amazingly hypocritical for Bloomingdale to moan and groan about a lack of local businesses, and then to petition against those who venture to hang their shingle in the neighborhood.

Mr. Choe, I wish you the best and hope you are not discouraged by the minority of unwelcoming neighbors who sign the petition.

The rest will sort itself out. Ask Milton Friedman.

- James

KLee said...

I guess I'm not surprised that an attempt to pull a businessman's coat (even in a pubic forum) would inspire such a reactionary defense of laissez-faire capitalism. This doomed experiment will have its cheerleaders for awhile longer.

Back on the micro scale, instead of zeroing in on misspellings, how about considering the petition's content?

No one is trying to "block", "oppose", or "protest" this business. And the writer is far from "unwelcoming". He is simply pointing out that these investors may fare better by offering a different product/service.

And who says Mr. Choe is a dry cleaner by trade? Do we know that for certain? Maybe he's just a businessman relying on stats saying that historically, DC dry cleaning establishments produce a reliable source of income.

There's nothing wrong with presenting alternative ideas, even if they're not feasible for this particular entrepreneur.

None of the businesses listed are inherently undesireable. However, I suspect that compared to a dry cleaner, they either require more serious investment or they represent less profit potential.

One business is conspicuously absent, both in the neighborhood and on the list: a laundrymat.

During our first-ever apartment search in DC, I was surprised to discover washers/dryers are usually included as a standard feature. So, no, laundrymats aren't as necessary here as they are in higher density cities.

But sometimes even DC homeowners lack them, or lack them for a time. And sooner or later almost everyone has a rug or a comforter that can't be laundered at home.

Even our bourgiest community members (those who'd go naked before they'd consider letting their dirty laundry enter the public sphere) would do well to support a laundrymat in theory, if not in practice ... it would make them seem less snobby :)

I might patronize a dry cleaner once every five years. But I WOULD use a laundrymat probably twice a year, if not more. Maybe there's a chance a laundrymat could be incorporated.

Anonymous said...

No one is trying to "block", "oppose", or "protest" this business. And the writer is far from "unwelcoming".

The petitioners quite clearly say it:

"we do not support the opening of a second dry cleaning establishment. "

Maybe that doesn't come across as a desire to "block" the business, but it is definitely an indication of wanting to "oppose" and "protest" it. This kind of behavior and tone is not to be tolerated. There is also a rather unacceptable tone of entitlement coming from people who expect businesses to come to them, with out the slightest bit of economic support or effort on their part.

Maybe KLee is sitting on a detailed market research study of the neighborhood indicating that the laundromat would be both desired and profitable. However, if such a market research study done by KLee exists, we would have to wonder why KLee did not find investors based on the strength of the indicated demand KLee thinks is there and start one.

3rdStreetDesign said...

This petition is nuts. I will absolutely give this dry cleaner a try. Even more so now that others have made him feel unwelcome in the neighborhood. Great job guys. Jeez.

JustMe said...

I am kind of curious about this petition regarding whether this sort of thing is considered "normal" in Bloomingdale. Do people really go raising a fuss every time someone opens an otherwise quiet retail business? Who taught them to behave this way? My experience living in DC has been that zoning is such that commercial development is very limited, so if Mr. Salatti would like to see greater retail diversity in Bloomingdale, then as a member of the ANC, he should probably make an effort to expand the number of buildings and blocks that are zoned for commercial use and maybe collaborate with a commercial real estate developer to find a diversity of commercial tenants. Raising a fuss because a businessman simply bought on of the few vacant commercially-zoned buildings just because it's not the business he wants comes across as petty. It would have been much more hospitable to welcome Mr. Choe to the neighborhood and thank him for investing in Bloomingdale rather than give him the impression that Bloomingdale residents are all a bunch of up tight people who fear and are hostile to "outsiders."

Next time someone buys a house in Bloomingdale, is someone going to start a petition saying that they "do not support" a childless couple and would ask the buyers to reconsider either selling it to a couple with children or draft a voluntary agreement where they promise to have 2 children over the next 5 years?

Amy said...

KLee - there is a TNT laundromat around the corner at 1st and Rhode Island.

2nd and Rhode Island

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out TNT, Amy! The owners there are friendly and conscientious and they keep the place in great shape. I've done my laundry there for three years and have never had a moment of trouble. They also offer drop-off service and key making.

KLee - I hope you have a chance to stop by and say hi to TJ and his wife. Their business is a great addition to Bloomingdale. Thanks! -Em on Adams Street

Anonymous said...

Mr Salatti should be removed from office for suporting something so ANTI-business in his very own neighborhood. He has sat on his hands in ANC meetings where the committee ONLY opposed to neighborhood restaurants, while the entire community in attendance fought for acceptance. He has shown up early at BCA meetings that he knew would later in the evening discuss a new restaurant and then he disappeared before the discussion so he would not have to fight for or against it publicly. He has wimped out every time a new business (OTHER THAN A CORNER LIQUOR STORE) has come up for review. He starts programs to beautiful the liquor stores and buy them computers (huh?) while at the same time blocking anything other than a liquor store coming into the business. Is has become quite clear, in my opinion, that he does not support what the neighborhood really wants or needs.

Now, at the same time, we are seeing solicitations for a fundraiser for his re-election. NO WAY! Who is his opponent and what will he/she do to bring life and business into Bloomingdale?

This petition is ridiculous and has probably now served to do exactly what Salatti and the author didn't want...bring support and focus to a hopefully thriving new dry cleaner in our neighborhood. Capitalism, competition, yes. Bring it on, we will all benefit from this effort. And just look at the beautiful building going into the eyesore that it replaced. Why can't we bring in 5 more dry cleaners if they will fix up the vacant, dead buildings in our neighborhood? If they can't survive, then they will leave behind a nice building that maybe someone else will turn into a poodle parlour for Salatti.

Shame on Salatti for support this petition. Shame on him for not support the big bear rezone. Shame on him for not support the Boundary Stone. Where is Salatti's petition FOR something good in our neighborhood? I only see his AGAINST progress as exampled by his petition action now.

Where are the street lights? Where are the corner cameras?

I say we vote for the new commissioner based on their PRO-Business record. Not words, but actions. Not pretty windows, but real new businesses in the neighborhood. Hurray for Davenport for pushing the Big Bear. He is a true neighborhood hero.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone notice how they hide the petition signers on this petition...Just the opposite of what the Boundary Stone guys did with their petition. Open, transparency builds true neighborhoods. I guess Salatti wants to hide his support...or his 25 signatures. Very interesting approach to community building.

Unknown said...

Glad I'm not the only one that sees this petition has an extremely bad faith gesture. Anyone willing to fix up a blighted building and bring commerce into the area should be at least find indifference, if not welcome.

It makes this neighborhood seem very petty and distrustful with echoes of haughtiness to have such a movement going.

Anonymous said...

The troubling part of all this is the timing of the petition, regardless of whether or not people are against the drycleaner opening. Making the decision to voice opposition to it after the owner has already sunk considerable money in the construction of the location is the equivalent of asking a bomb tech to diffuse a bomb 9 months after it went off.

The bigger fear is if this is the kind of reaction business owners can expect in the future when considering to open their doors in B'dale, this community is never going to move forward. I was shocked more by the fact that an ANC rep made the decision to do this now, when he of all people has known about the drycleaner opening up for months. He should have voiced his opposition then, not now. Something just doesn't add up with this mess and my frustration exists on multiple levels.


Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale said...

A friendly reminder from your blog moderataor -- could we all identify ourselves when posting here on the blog and not post as "Anonymous"? That would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I love how the same e-mail had a fundraising request for Salatti, is there anyone running against him that I can give money to?

-1500 B/O first

DG Cromwell said...

John Salatti is awesome. I believe he has good intentions for this petition. I don't interpret the petition as a blockade towards the entrepreneurs. Isn't it more of a suggestion that is mutually beneficial for everyone? Get off Milton Friedman's nutz and control your impulsive judgments. I don't know of anyone else in the neighborhood that is more proactive than John. I got enough of Milton shoved down my throat in my undergrad econ major. What I failed to learn in the classroom is that there are people like John Salatti in the world who is trying to make a difference.

Robin Buck said...

I see the petition as a good-faith (albeit rough-hewn) effort to ensure the success of new businesses in Bloomingdale by suggesting the owner consider how he/she might best meet the needs of the neighborhood.

That said, the owner of the building can and will do what he/she chooses.

A bigger concern is the vitriol of the numerous Anonymous posters.

Perhaps posting should be limited to those who have the courage to identify themselves and take responsibility for their opinions.

Sean Hennessey said...

i dont have much need for a dry cleaners, but i do think that its great that this place is being fixed up and will no longer be empty and derelict.

KLee said...

First, thanks for bringing my attention to TNT, Bloomingdale's existing laundrymat. I (and the neighbors I've told about it) will definitely give it a shot.

Second, I am bowled over by the malicious motives being attributed to the petitioners. However, I am glad to get a glimpse into the inner workings of some Bloomingtonians' minds (though it's a bit frightening).

Third, I'm not sure why the many Ferengi we've heard from - those who worship profit as the holiest of holies - chose Bloomingdale over one of DC's many commercial tracts (e.g., Rhode Island Av, Riggs Road, Georgia Av). If it's true that any business is better than no business, surely these strips (which many find repellent) are imminently desireable.

dcpublius said...

I would *love* to see another dry cleaners!

The current place is horribly overpriced. I guess shirts - even when overpriced - are not too bad. But look at prices for anything else like slacks, jackets, etc! It's ridiculous and I hope another dry cleaners puts some pricing pressure on them.

drycleaners_kid said...

I followed through here from the City Paper article. I am so glad the folks here are much more sane about this silly petition. I did not know Yong Choe funneled money into rehabbing the building. (I am a new resident to the area and I didn't know what it looked like before.)

I hope that there is a new dry cleaner there. I suspect Yong Choe owns the existing plant and is expanding to a second shop because I would if I owned it. The existing plant is very small, doesn't store a lot of clothes and has a front shop that is too tiny for more than 2 customers to stand around with an armful of clothes.