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Watch your wallet

Keep an eye on your belongings when you’re out and about. Thieves have been making off with unguarded valuables lately. Some examples from recent police reports:
• On February 8, a shopper left her purse unattended in a cart in the parking garage at Safeway (1855 Wisconsin Ave.). She later discovered that she was missing $300 in cash, several credit cards, and a New Jersey driver’s license.
• On January 28, a shopper left her purse unattended in a cart at Whole Foods (2323 Wisconsin Ave.). A “suspicious female” in her 60s tried to take the cart and then apologized. Shortly afterward, the shopper discovered that her wallet was missing.
• On February 7, a driver stopped to fuel her Nissan SUV at the Washingtonian Gas Station (2450 Wisconsin Ave.). A black Hyundai with tinted windows and temporary tags pulled up next to her, and a man got out, opened her SUV’s rear door, and stole a leather bag containing a wallet, a sweater, a Pennsylvania driver’s license, and $15 in coins. The Hyundai then fled southbound on 37th Street.
• On February 12, a man at Georgetown Plaza (2233 Wisconsin Ave.), left his wallet and iPhone in an unlocked locker before taking a class. When he returned, he noticed the items were gone. Someone later tried to use one of his credit cards to charge $250 at a Safeway in Arlington, Virginia.
• On January 12, a woman at CorePower Yoga (2233 Wisconsin Ave.) found that her silver necklace, black leather boots, and iPhone had been stolen from a community storage area while she took a yoga class.

Glover Park Hardware (formerly of 2251 Wisconsin Ave.) “will reopen in the old LADO space at 2233 Wisconsin Avenue, hopefully by late spring,” according to ANC Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal. The LADO language school formerly occupied the ground-floor retail space next door to Breadsoda.

“This is terrific news,” Blumenthal posted to the Glover Park Yahoo newsgroup this morning. “Spread it around.” Done!

The Mad Fox Taproom (2218 Wisconsin Ave.) is slated to finally open this spring, more than a year behind schedule, according to the Washington Business Journal. Surprises during renovations of the aged building have created delays and raised construction costs from $500,000 to $1.3 million, reporter Rebecca Cooper writes. But soon, the uncovering of long-forgotten windows, hearths, and archways “will lead to an end result that is full of original brick, interesting architectural details and a relaxed, neighborhood pub feel,” she adds. The building is the former home of Mayfair & Pine.

Intriguing ad popped up on Craigslist recently:

Glover Park/Georgetown Restaurant for sale – $275000 (Glover Park/Georgetown)

Fully operational restaurant for sale in Glover Park/Georgetown. Fully equipped kitchen. 30 seat dining room. Averages $15k in weekly sales.

Dry storage in basement. 3 room office/apartment on second floor.

If you know more, do tell in the comments!

By Randy Rieland

From the February 2015 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

If you asked people in Glover Park what they’d like to see on the Wisconsin Avenue strip, it’s a good bet not many would say two drug stores.

But that’s what we’ll have soon when a new Rite Aid moves into 2251 Wisconsin Avenue, pretty much across the street from the CVS. For the past 10 years that space has been occupied by Glover Park Hardware. It closed in mid-January after it lost its lease.

The store’s owner, Gina Schaefer, said she found out in November that the landlord, Chesapeake Realty Partners, was not going to renew the lease and instead had chosen to rent the space to another business. That surprised Schaefer because she thought they had reached an agreement—although she says she did start to get suspicious when there was one delay after another in closing the deal.

Schaefer speculated that even though the Glover Park store was one of nine Ace Hardware franchise outlets she owns in DC and Baltimore, she lost out to a “nationally accredited tenant” because it would, in the eyes of the bank, bring more value to the property if Chesapeake Realty wants to sell the building. Chesapeake, based in Owings Mills, MD, is constructing an 82-unit apartment building in what used to be the parking lot behind the former hardware store and Washington Sports Club.

Glover Park ANC Commissioner Jackie Blumenthal confirmed that a Rite Aid will be going into the space. “Losing an Ace Hardware store is a big setback for the community,” she said. “Ace to Rite Aid is a terrible tradeoff.”

Blumenthal pointed out that as much as people in the neighborhood may want to see more independent businesses on Wisconsin Avenue, the relatively small Glover Park business community has very little leverage in influencing who outside property owners rent to. By contrast, she said, the much more robust business community in Georgetown is working together to try to slow the pace of national brands replacing independent businesses there.

“We have some really good businesspeople here,” Blumenthal added. “But you’d like to have a really dynamic business community. It’s adequate, but it’s getting less interesting.”

For her part, Schaefer wants to try to stay a part of it. She’s looking at another property elsewhere on Wisconsin but she didn’t want to reveal a location. As of this writing, no deal has been done. She regrets that she lost the space in the heart of the Glover Park business district. “It was a great store,” she said, noting that before it lost its parking lot to the apartment construction project, Glover Park Hardware ranked behind only her Tenleytown operation in terms of business.

Schaefer also said she’s been touched by the outpouring of support she’s heard from Glover Parkers. Someone actually wrote, “Can we lay down in the street for you?”

“It does make you feel good to know that the community was bummed about this because we definitely were bummed. We have absolutely loved this neighborhood.”

Schaefer said the store’s 24 employees will be shifted to her other hardware stores, including the ones in Tenleytown and Woodley Park.

From the February 2015 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

On January 5, a judge ordered that the liquor license for JP’s Lounge (2412 Wisconsin Ave.) be turned over to the federal government as part of a plea deal in a cocaine trafficking case. The defendant, Lawrence Carl Nelson, pled guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Nelson, a co-owner of the license, is believed to have bankrolled the club’s 2012 purchase by a partnership known as The Vice Group. Also seized by the feds was a $1 million promissory note from The Vice Group to Nelson, according to the judge’s order.

The strip club was evicted from its building last July for nonpayment of rent, and the building has been vacant since then. The landlords found the original liquor license on the premises and turned it over to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration for safekeeping.

Meanwhile, the club’s former owner, Michael Papanicolas, is suing The Vice Group and its spokesman, Paul Kadlick, for breach of contract. Papanicolas claims he is owed at least $375,000 from the 2012 sale. There was a hearing on the case held January 9, but no defendants showed up. Another hearing has been scheduled for March 27.

As for the building, the owners of The Mason Inn (2408 Wisconsin Ave.) are in talks to move to the larger JP’s space. Although neither the landlords nor the Mason Inn owners are talking publicly about the negotiations, the Georgetown Current has reported that the Mason Inn owners are interested in purchasing the building.

From the February 2015 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

A neighborhood institution passed to a new generation last August, when Glover Park native James DeVol died at age 75. DeVol had grown up at the DeVol Funeral Home (2224 Wisconsin Ave.), which his parents owned and operated. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, James and his two brothers joined the family business, which eventually expanded into 2222 Wisconsin Ave. and added a second location in Gaithersburg. With James DeVol’s passing, the firm has transferred to a third generation of DeVols: James’s sons Kevin and Robert. In a 1992 Washington Post story about his work, James DeVol articulated his professional philosophy: “I see it almost like being a physician. You are there to help people.”

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