Business Ins and Outs

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Via Umbria: Spectacular Make-over

The Italian food store Via Umbria returns with its Dolce Vita and is having a soft opening this week with its interior reconstructed in top design style. Along with ceramics, collectibles and all kinds of food from Italy, the emporium at 1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW will offer a wine room, dining space for sandwiches and pasta, chocolates and coffee. On the second floor, a high-end kitchen is set up for demonstration dinners for small groups. Says owners Bill and Suzy Menard: “Our authentic Italian market is dedicated to the bounty of Umbria, the rustic region known as il cuore verde d’Italia, the green heart of Italy. We’ve been immersed in its rich culture for decades and our deep relationships with local artisans and purveyors give us rare access to products of exceptional quality and authenticity.”

IN: Vegetarian Taco Shop Chaia

After years pleasing their customers at farmer’s markets, vegetarian taco maker Chaia is set to open their first shop this week at 3207 Grace St. NW in the old Morris Steinbraker building.

In: Birchbox at Rent the Runway

Five-year-old makeup shop Birchbox has popped up at Rent the Runway at 3336 M St. NW and plans to there for a year. The beauty box business has one store in New York’s Soho and boasts a million subscribers on its online side. Customers may now create their own makeup set as they shop for new clothes.

In: Down Dog Yoga to Flex at 34th & Prospect

Down Dog Yoga will soon open its fifth location, at 34th and Prospect Streets in a small retail building that housed Govinda Gallery and Cabellos Hair Salon for decades.
Down Dog’s newest space, at 2,700 square feet, is larger than, and barely four blocks from, its flagship and original location at 1046 Potomac St. NW, a former garage next to the C&O Canal. Its other spaces are in Arlington, Bethesda and Herndon.

Founded in 2003, the company offers heated vinyasa power yoga studios — which includes pilates — and is the creation of Patty Ivey, who lives on Dent Place with her husband Scott Ivey, who is also part of the business.
To learn more about Down Dog Yoga and Patty and Scott Ivey, read the cover story of the Dec. 4, 2014, Georgetowner, available online in our archives.

In: Madda Fella, Brings Key West Vibe

“Live life now,” proclaims Key West clothing store Madda Fella, which has popped through Christmas Eve up at 3277 M St. NW in the former space of Capitol Prague Restaurant, and before that, Morso. Selling beach and outerwear, the company touts its adventure-driven purpose with shirts, pants and accessories for “living a life full of sunshine, blue water, friends and fishing.” The company’s namesake comes from Caribbean slang that expresses surprise or frustration. Evoking the spirit of author, adventurer and Key West resident Ernest Hemingway, the writing in its catalogue rivals — because it’s real — that of J. Peterman of “Seinfeld” fame. M Street store proprietor Grace Louden, originally from Maryland, is part of the company founder’s family and brought her mascot, 10-week-old golden retriever Ella, to the store for the retail adventure. The store, with its Key West vibe, has kept the back bar, which is used for special events on Saturday afternoon.

DTR Modern Galleries Celebrates Its Artists

DTR Modern Galleries in Georgetown at 2820 Pennsylvania Ave. NW celebrated its inaugural reception of Matt Devine’s sculptural renderings on Nov. 6. Devine’s artwork utilizes different types of metal, the sculptures maintaining conceptual simplicity and lightness that defy the rigidity and physical weight of the materials used. Fellow artist James Verbicky also attended the opening, his vibrant, resin-coated works proving a stunning contrast, when displayed alongside Devine’s metal structures.

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