Mitchellville Plaza shopping center reaches full occupancy
Feb. 17, 2005
Brooke N. Garner
Staff Writer

Barbara L. Salisbury/The Gazette

Donald Cornelius carries a glass top for one of the display tables in the new Laicez Shoe Boutique on Tuesday. The store opened last Wednesday in Mitchellville Plaza.

The addition of a shoe store last week and a 30-minute workout facility in January to Mitchellville Plaza means that the First Washington Management property is now at full occupancy.

The introduction of the workout facility Go Figures to the Central Avenue shopping center was welcome news for at least one local resident.

"I like that the facility is right in my area. I work out of my home so I can literally run out there and be done in 30 minutes," Kettering resident Santa Molina, 43, said. "There's nothing like that in this immediate area. It has made working out so much easier for me."

Molina first visited Go Figures two days after it had opened and became a member a week later.

Marketing Manager for First Washington Management, Kelly Nelson said the workout center should do well in the community and was optimistic about the chances of success for the shoe store.

"Go Figures will do really well out there," Nelson said. "It will be interesting to see how well Laicez will do. I know that the area could use a place like that and the décor is fabulous."

Nelson sees the plaza as a one-stop shop for the community.

"We are a convenience center so you won't typically have too much retail there," she said. "But we got a good mix of tenants and I think the retail we have just adds to the center."

Location was a key factor in the decision making process for Fort Washington resident Angelique Graham, who owns the shoe boutique Laicez.

"I checked a lot of spaces for this shop and this is the only one that felt right," Graham, 34, said. "I really like this area and the community."

The idea for Laicez came to Graham through her travels with her fiancee Dovail Long.

"He has a few clothing stores and I traveled with him to conventions," she said. "I always ventured over to the shoes."

Graham began purchasing shoes from Italy and Greece last March, but said she wants to eventually design her own line.

For now, the boutique specializes in stiletto boots and accessories but Graham said that she needs more variety.

"I need to tailor my shoes to the more conservative crowd. The next batch will have more lower heels," Graham said. "Everyday you learn something new and you make a lot of mistakes before you get it right."

When it comes to Mitchellville Plaza, Graham is hopeful that her boutique will paint the plaza in a new light.

"I hope to bring more retail business to this plaza," she said. "I want people to come here for something other than a doctor's or dentist's appointment or grocery shopping."

Similar to Graham, Cheverly resident Kristin Buckson partnered up with her significant other to bring the gym to Mitchellville Plaza.

Buckson, along with her husband Craig, opened Go Figures on Jan. 22.

"It was really important for me to have my business in the county where I live," Buckson, 35, said. "I've seen a change in the county and I wanted to be a part of [its] growing."

The name of the facility emphasizes a need for women to take action and take control of their health, Buckson said.

Perrywood resident Cassandra Samuels has been a member of Go Figures "from day one."

"I really want to work on some of my health issues," Samuels, 57, said. "The facility is wonderful. They motivate you, encourage you and show concern for you."

Samuels said she is concerned about her blood pressure and believes that losing weight will help.

"I have lost a dress size already. I am serious about losing weight," she said. "The program is excellent and it is a nice setting for people in the community."

Buckson has a background in education and said she has always thrived on helping people. Though her facility focuses on fitness routines, she plans on bringing in speakers to talk to some of the members about issues regarding their physical health.

Buckson also plans on going out into the community herself to speak about heart diseases and other things that tie into health.

"I have watched weight problems and other health related issues devastate women," she said. "I want to educate women on how to have healthy lifestyles and incorporate fitness into their life."

E-mail Brooke N. Garner at