With a portrait of her grandfather over her shoulder, Karen Ohri is running the family business. Georgetown Floorcoverings opened almost 60 years ago, and just like her grandfather, Ohri's still showing off samples.
"The old time Georgetown in me wants smaller businesses like my family to come in and have longstanding businesses that are here for years," says Ohri.
But she understands times are changing. The familiar gold doors of Georgetown Park are behind a chain-link fence now. Construction is underway. The company, Vornado Realty Trust, didn't respond to us, but sources tell FOX 5 among the new tenants are discount stores T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods. The craft store Michaels is also said to be among the new tenants.
"Georgetown is built on small established businesses and if T.J. Maxx or HomeGoods can come into Georgetown and respect our businesses as we respect theirs, we can all work together to keep this community thriving," says Ohri, who is treasurer of the Georgetown Business Association.
There is no question about it. There are some empty storefronts in Georgetown. The people who work in the area say businesses have always come and gone, and they will tell you that the reasons vary.
"Anybody who thinks that because a restaurant or a storefront closes is missing the point," says Phil Blane. "There are a thousand reasons why restaurants and businesses open and close all the time."
He opened Unum restaurant on M Street last January and says business is "quite good." Blane used to live in Georgetown and says he chose to open his business there because it's a vibrant place.
"Georgetown is charming," Blane says. "It really has a marriage of historic community, cobblestone streets, brick-lined sidewalks with new businesses."