During the winter holiday season, walking past the Appalachian Spring store in Georgetown could be a joy. The storefront at 1415 Wisconsin Avenue would display Christmas tree ornaments in a variety of vivid colors.
Sadly, the store display will no longer brighten up those cold and dark nights — at least not in Georgetown. David and Polly Brooks have closed their Georgetown store, the original location of Appalachian Spring, which has showcased American craft since 1968. On Saturday, June 24, the store had a moving sale, with items marked down between 20 and 50 percent.
“Georgetown is the most wonderful part of D.C. It’s a conscious community.””
— Polly Brooks
According to David Brooks, the decision to close the Georgetown store came from an imbalance between sales and the cost of doing business in Georgetown. “Our business doesn’t operate on a huge margin,” he said. The previous lease lasted a long time and the rent increase that went with a renewed lease was prohibitive. The couple thought that it made sense to focus on the other branches of their business, in Union Station, Reston Town Center and Congressional Plaza in Rockville, Maryland.
David and Polly Brooks have fond memories of their time in Georgetown. When President Richard Nixon went to China, the gifts he carried with him all came from Appalachian Spring. Another high point was when actress Julie Christie, known for her role in “McCabe & Mrs. Miller,” shopped at the store. “We feel very fortunate to have that environment for all those years,” said David. “Georgetown is the most wonderful part of D.C.,” added Polly. “It’s a conscious community.”
David and Polly Brooks met in North Carolina, where David grew up. Not craftspeople themselves, they truly appreciate high-quality pieces.
Appalachian Spring started out as Polly Brooks’s vision. Having grown up in West Virginia, she was familiar with the excellent work of potters, quilters and metalworkers. When she came to Washington, D.C., in the 1960s, however, she noticed that the works of American craftspeople weren’t being recognized; the items being showcased were European imports. She wanted to change that.
Polly Brooks’s vision to shine a spotlight on American crafts doesn’t stop there, even with the Georgetown store closing. Over the years, strong connections have formed with a very enthusiastic and supportive customer base, along with staff and craftspeople who have been working with the couple for years.