Ins & Outs

Nike VP of North American retail Tim Hershey, John Thompson, Jr. flanked by his two grandchildren, Jack the Bulldog and John Thompson III cut the ribbon at the new Nike Georgetown.
Nico Dodd
Nike VP of North American retail Tim Hershey, John Thompson, Jr. flanked by his two grandchildren, Jack the Bulldog and John Thompson III cut the ribbon at the new Nike Georgetown.

Bowling, Bocce Coming to Georgetown Park That bowling might be going to Georgetown Park was first reported at a meeting of the Citizens Association of Georgetown and DCist.com two weeks. There is more to the story.

Here is how the Washington Business Journal reported on the situation:

Another piece of the Shops at Georgetown Park puzzle is falling into place. Vornado Realty Trust has an all-but-done deal to lease roughly 30,000 square feet to Chicago-area entertainment-restaurant chain Pinstripes. The chain, which features indoor bowling and bocce courts, hopes to open by the third quarter of 2013, Pinstripes founder Dale Schwartz said. Pinstripes plans to sign a formal lease with Vornado once it gets zoning approval. It is scheduled to plead its case at a zoning hearing in January, Schwartz said.

The chain, which opened its first location in the Chicago area about five years ago, put D.C. on a list of top markets across the country as part of a nationwide expansion. The restaurant would be its fifth, with three in Illinois and one in Minneapolis. Schwartz said Georgetown Park met the criteria Pinstripes is seeking out.

“We’ve been looking all over the country for high-quality, select-communities,” Schwartz said. “The D.C. market, it’s just a very, very attractive market, and also a market that we would envision over time doing two or three locations.”

Pinstripes is the latest of several new tenants Vornado is lining up at Georgetown Park, with other recent additions including a combined T.J. Maxx-HomeGoods and an expanded J. Crew.

Ultimately, Pinstripes envisions adding at least two other locations in the metro area, including in northern Virginia and suburban Maryland. Schwartz put Rockville among the likely expansion towns in Maryland. It is also planning restaurants in Kansas, California and Texas, Schwartz said. For those struggling to envision how fine dining, bowling and bocce intersect, Schwartz describes it more along the lines of fine dining than bowling and bocce. “We’ve really redefined entertainment dining in a very high-quality, sophisticated way,” Schwartz said.

Pinstripes has retained KLNB Retail as its local brokerage firm and RDL Architects to plan out its space at Georgetown Park.

Coach John Thompson, Jr., Honored at Nike Store Debut

Sports legends were on hand to open the new Nike store in Georgetown Oct 25. The Vornado-owned building that formerly housed Barnes & Noble is now a three-story, 31,000-square-foot store that carries a wide range of Nike’s athletic gear at 3040 M St., NW.

Homages to Georgetown University athletics are present in numerous areas of the store. Displays include gear from Georgetown’s track & field team and a display case of Georgetown University Air Jordans.

In the entrance of the building is a commemorative display honoring former Georgetown University men’s basketball head coach John Thompson, Jr., who coached at the school from 1972 to 1999. A neon-sign quotation by Thompson reminds athletes not to ignore life beyond the court. “Don’t let the sum total of your existence be 8-10 pounds of air.”

Tim Hershey, head of North American retail for Nike opened the ceremony. Hershey manages Nike’s 202 stores in North America. He explained how the store received 4,500 applications to work there, which were eventually whittled down to 500 interviews, and finally, to 171 employees working in the store today. One employee said he was in three weeks of training for his sales position.

Michael Jackson, who played point guard on Georgetown’s 1984 NCAA championship team, is now Vice President and General Manager of Basketball in North America at Nike. Jackson remarked on the new store and presented Thompson with a one-of-a-kind, commemorative jacket honoring his career in the basketball. Also at the event was Georgetown great and former New York Knicks star Patrick Ewing.

Thompson, who is on the board of directors at Nike, was characteristically to-the-point. “I’d rather eat a bug than what I’m doing right now,” he said. Thompson spoke about Nike’s commitment to Georgetown University’s basketball program when the team needed support. “Nike was one of the few corporations who jumped in when we needed help,” he said.

On his quote in the store, Thompson explained how he convinced his former player, Jackson, to leave the NBA to pursue a career off the court. He emphasized that there is more to life than basketball. “If that’s what defines you totally, you’re a damn fool,” Thompson said.

Current Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson III also spoke about the new store.

After the ceremony, Thompson, Jr., was joined by his son, his two grandchildren, Michael Jackson, Tim Hershey and Jack the Bulldog for the ribbon cutting. Afterwards, eager shoppers poured in to see the new store for themselves. Along with sports gear in other sports, such as that of the Washington Redskins, the store will manage a running club.

EastBanc West End Library Project Delayed

A D.C. nonprofit is delaying the construction of a new library in the West End, according to the Washington Business Journal. The D.C. Library Renaissance Project wants to end a deal between the District government and developer EastBanc that would result in a new West End Library at 23rd and L streets NW. The nonprofit has appealed the decision of a Zoning Commission order, which is now before the D.C. Court of Appeals.

In: Buffalo Exchange Opens on M Street

The empty store at 3279 M St., NW, once a Annie Creamcheese retro clothing store, is set to be re-born as a Buffalo Exchange, a resale chain with more than 40 thrift stores through the U.S. that focuses on style trends for its customers who can buy or trade clothing. Buffalo Exchange was founded in Tucson, Ariz., in 1974. Another Buffalo Exchange is already on 14th Street.

Here is how the store explains itself: “Buffalo Exchange is unique because clothing and accessories are bought, sold and traded locally with store customers. You’ll also find brand new merchandise and accessories.”

Economic Forum Highlights ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Dynamic D.C.

The Georgetown Business Association joined with the New York-based Financial Policy Council to produce the first-ever D.C. Financial Policy Economic Forum at the City Tavern Club Oct. 18. It was the FPC’s first-ever event in Washington, D.C.

The forum, introduced by GBA’s Janine Schoonover and moderated by Davis Kennedy of the Current Newspapers, enlisted the advice of former Rep. Jim Moody, D-Wisc., high-tech consultant Ray Regan, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans and tax lawyer Payson Peabody.

The surprisingly lively wonkfest ranged in topics from the global and national econony to parking in Georgetown. Moody, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from Berkeley, said he was “very worried about direction country is taking.” Evans, who went to the Wharton Business School, said, “Now, D.C. is the most dynamic city,” and then called for a way to make many immigrants -- and who are not -- legal. He got the most applause of the evening. Pollster Ronald Faucheaux of the Clarus Research Group highlighted the main take-away from the forum, as he spoke about the consequences of Congress and the president not dealing with automatic budget cuts, also known as “fiscal cliff”: “In December, there will be the most important decision in U.S. history.”★

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