Oct. 14 Launch for ‘Passport to Fall’

Georgetown comes alive in the fall with not only cooler weather and the approaching holidays, but also with an enlarged and lively population of college students — along with local families attending weekend events. This weekend, a joint promotion, “Passport to Fall,” created by Georgetown Row, a recently formed business group, aims to attract more shoppers to “uptown” Georgetown.

During store hours Friday through Sunday, Oct. 14-16, anyone can pick up a “passport” at any of the 22 participating small independent shops, salons and service providers along Georgetown’s Wisconsin Avenue from approximately M Street to R Street NW. The passport has a good map of the participating stores, clustered on both sides of the avenue, which will also be marked by colored balloons.

“The stores will stamp your passport brochure no matter how long you stay,” explained Suzy Menard, one of the organizers. With her husband Bill, Menard owns Via Umbria, a new Georgetown bakery, wine store, delicatessen, café and ceramics shop. “Once you collect seven stamps you turn the passport in to that store. You can then get another passport — as many as you want.”

Many of the participating businesses are offering demonstrations of their products, complimentary small samples or discounts. For instance, David Rios Salon and Spa will offer a complimentary color consultation and a bang trim. Illusions Salon of Georgetown, Via Umbria and Ella-Rue are offering complimentary seasonal beverages, such as apple cider, pumpkin treats and mimosas. Other participants are offering discounts upon presentation of the passport, including Hugo Boss (20 percent off), LiLi the First (15 percent off), Reddz Trading (20 percent off) and Anthony’s Tuxedos (10 percent off 2017 inaugural wear).
On Monday, the stores will have a drawing of all the turned-in passports. Store gift cards worth up to $50 — 22 in all — will be awarded.

The idea of “Passport to Fall” came about during meetings of Georgetown Row. The group, which will work closely with the Georgetown Business Improvement District and the Georgetown Business Association, comprises antique and decorative shops, spas, clothing stores, restaurants and cafés.

“We came to realize that many Washingtonians and visitors didn’t know about the newly energized, highly diverse retail experiences along Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown,” said Menard. “We are such a great mix of small independent businesses, a blend of new and well-known stores. We’re not too precious. A shopper can spend a couple of hours on Georgetown Row and find there is really something for everyone’s taste and budget. We offer the personal customer service, unique products and neighborhood congeniality you won’t find in a mall or a bigbox store.”

Free “Circulator” shuttle bus service will take shoppers from M Street to stops along Wisconsin Avenue, up to Book Hill, R Street and the Georgetown Public Library. Most of the participating stores are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but some, like Via Umbria and some of the salons, open at 7 a.m. Others stay open through late-evening dinner and drinks.

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