A new year and two new businesses in Old Town
Popular coffee shop and hardware store set for 2010 openings
The new year is looking up for Old Town Takoma Park as two businesses a much-coveted hardware store and a Mayorga coffee shop will open in the area during the first half of 2010.
The coffee shop will open across the Washington, D.C., border next to the Takoma Metro station while the ACE Hardware chain will fill a long-vacant property on Carroll Avenue. Both owners and local officials hope the developments will prosper and spur further investment in the area. Mayorga will be transplanted from its south Silver Spring location on Georgia Avenue and is slated to open Jan. 25, while the hardware store will likely open later in April, according to owners.
The Mayorga Coffee Factory in Silver Spring suffered declining sales after nearby development limited already restricted parking conditions, leading owner Martin Mayorga to close the shop Dec. 31. With the news of the closing, Mayorga simultaneously announced its new location: 314 Carroll Street.
"We were fortunate in that it was an existing space that was very easy to convert [to our needs]," he said of the new location, formerly the site of the Drifting Nomad, a coffee and sandwich shop that closed in November.
Sara Green, the area's advisory neighborhood commissioner, was excited by the development and expressed her optimism that Mayorga, which has locations in Shady Grove, Rockville and Baltimore, will take full advantage of the prime location.
"My feeling is that if they are professionally run, they will be successful," she said. "Mayorga has a tremendous reputation, both for their coffee and service and the quality."
Mayorga was also confident that his store will thrive, citing the location's advantage of being next to a major transit hub and the walkable nature of Takoma Park.
"I don't know why the other places [before us] didn't do well; the demographics, the parking, the foot traffic, it's all there," he said. "What I would tell people is we're taking what worked really well in Silver Spring and our other sites and putting it in Takoma Park."
Mayorga also expects at least some familiar faces from Silver Spring will appear in the new shop due to the short move.
Silver Spring resident Michael I. Morgan said the shop's Georgia Avenue location was hard for him to get to easily, but that he would likely keep up with the new location given the better parking and access.
"It's hard to stop and find parking," he said outside the Silver Spring location on its last day. "I would have come here more often if I was walking by, but I'm usually driving. ... I'm so often in Takoma Park, so more than likely I'll stop by [the new shop]."
On the Maryland side of Takoma Park, the long-vacant 7001 Carroll Ave. site will be home to an ACE Hardware store likely in April. After signing a lease for the property, formerly the site of Taliano's restaurant, in early December, co-owner Gina Schaefer expects to move in shortly after renovations.
"It was a fairly quick process," she said, adding that the city's emphasis on walking and dedication to local shopping helped seal the deal. "We tend to choose a lot of really dense urban areas where people like to walk and do their shopping that way, and that's pretty much been our view of Takoma Park."
Last March the Old Takoma Business Association heard a presentation by Washington, D.C.-based economic consultant Randall Gross regarding how Old Town could increase its profits and appeal more to area shoppers. A hardware store was prominently mentioned among the attendees' desires for potential anchor stores.
Along with the proven track record of the hardware store with locations across the D.C. and Baltimore area City Councilman Josh Wright, whose Ward 1 includes Old Town, was also encouraged by the positive message a new store will send to city residents and other businesses in the recession economy.
"It creates more vitality downtown, but also for other businesses,'' he said. "When they come to Takoma Park, they can see that there are so many vacancies. Getting these spaces filled helps to encourage other businesses to consider opening in the city as well."