The Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) thinks so. As reported by the Washington City Paper, Georgetown BID has hired the Arlington-based consultancy, The Roan Group, to look into what “Georgetown” means to people. The study includes researching the typical Georgetown customer and conducting surveys filled with questions like “If Georgetown was a color, what would it be?” (answer: salmon) and “if Georgetown was an animal, what would it be?” (answer: salmon… or Jack the Bulldog).
Salmon Two Ways
God. Survey participants have rightly expressed confusion over the point of the questions and, more importantly, the point of “rebranding.” Is Georgetown’s reputation misleading? Will a new “brand,” like NoMa or MidCity, help? Is Georgetown even doing that badly?
Apparently the whole furor is over the closing of 35 out of 500 storefronts in 2009. It is a high number, but a bit misleading. Not only were we in a recession, but many of these vacated storefronts have actually already been leased. For example, the article states that Madewell is replacing Puma (awesome), UGG is replacing Diesel (awful), Brooks Brothers is replacing Pottery Barn (draw), and NYC Serendipity desserts is taking Nathan’s old spot (intriguing). The counter argument? The Shops at Georgetown Park mall.
The Shops at Georgetown Park. Appropriately empty
Yes, the mall is terrible. The storefronts are half empty. However, the mall’s troubles have NOTHING to do with Georgetown’s brand. The mall was the subject of a legal battle for many years, which deterred new outfits and left high maintenance costs. In June 2010, it was finally bought for $61 million by Angelo, Gordon and Co. Jones Lang LaSalle is in charge of managing and revamping the new mall, but has not released any details of its plans. Although rumors abound, including talk of making it outdoors!
Georgetown (via Georgetown Real Estate)
However, the difficulties of Georgetown Park Mall aside, Georgetown is THE indisputable place to shop in DC. If you don’t want to go to a shopping mall, you go to Georgetown. Its stores span socioeconomic brackets. This is its “brand.” Georgetown’s shopping reputation coexists with Georgetown the school and Georgetown the political powerhouse. We commonfolk do not get these things confused.
Instead of the brand, Georgetown BID should focus on actual problems that impair business. I don’t know, things such as the lack of affordable parking, the lack of a shop directory, no metro access, inadequate store signs, overly narrow sidewalks, and heavy traffic. Old Town Alexandria has signs that point down a side street and tell you what’s down there. Georgetown could do that even!
But more importantly, what animal do YOU think that Georgetown is???!