Georgetown Now a Direct-to-Consumer Hub
By June 15, 2022 0 938•
The crowds are back. Pedestrians. Diners. Shoppers. Tourists. Students. The streets, once again, are packed.
And it’s a beautiful sight to see.
A quick look at our own “Biz Ins & Outs” shows there are more new businesses moving in than old stalwarts moving out. These new faces are mostly retailers, who originally made their name in e-commerce, or — as they say in the trade — DTC (Direct-to-Consumer).
Stores like Everlane, Athleta, Allbirds, and Warby Parker, which had built well-established brand images online and targeted a well-defined, tech-savvy customer base, have now discovered it pays to go where the (old) money lives, shops and hangs out.
Which makes Georgetown an ideal location to plant some roots and create a brick-and-mortar presence. According to a recent article in “Retail Dive,” a newsletter covering retail industry news and trends, we’re becoming a “hub” for DTC brands. Quoting the Georgetown BID’s President Joe Sternlieb, Georgetown offers the square footage and built-in foot traffic (and newly amenable landlords) every successful shopping area needs: “We have 2.8 million square feet of retail and 4,000 housing units, maybe 1,000 residents at best. Ten percent of our retail sales are to residents… 90 percent of the customers were imported from probably a two- or three-mile radius of Georgetown.” In other words, proximity is bliss.
Unlike other neighborhoods still feeling the repercussions of the pandemic and uneven hybrid work arrangements, Georgetown’s shops and restos enjoy regular repeat visits from locals and visitors, contributing to the lively vibe that extends well beyond standard business hours.
On the other hand, these new arrivals, however welcome, may not boast the same cultish allure as some of the locally grown stores we all remember — Commander Salamander, say. Or The Biograph. (Cue your favorites.) Still, we should all be relieved that the report of Georgetown’s demise as a shopping haven had been greatly exaggerated. And that’s good news for everyone.