Tuesday, May 19, 2009

what? in florida?

There’s a coffee place in Arlington, Murky, that we used to frequent often but they’ve closed the doors on that enterprise and moved to D.C. to start a new joint. At one time there were two Murkys (Murkies?) – one in D.C. and one in Arlington. The move ends the franchise name but the owner will have the new place, Wrecking Ball, up-and-running in D.C. soon enough. What’s interesting about the tale is the follow-on business at the old Murky locale: a coffee shop. One of the reasons Murky is moving, per the owner, is because the funkadelic two-story place they occupy was sold last year and the new rent has become untenable. The folks talking over the new beanery own and operate a place called the Liberty Tavern which is a restaurant bar about 200 feet down the road. The building in located right across the street from the George Mason University School of Law and just blocks from thousands of young, urban professionals who live in the Clarendon district and Ballston area and do very little beyond drink coffee and display their MacBooks. What I don’t get is this: Murky was always full. They made the best coffee east of Reno (Bibo), they had free wireless, the vibe was cool, and all the kids dropped lots of cash. In fact, I don’t even know where the nearest Starbucks was to Murky – it was a challenge too great for even them to unseat. Back to the full part; if the owner decided that rent was too steep for him to stay open then what makes the Liberty folks think they can swing it? Apparently, they want to overhaul the entire building and go from there – something that’s beyond my comprehension. Sure, they may well be able to keep the Murky customers coming back but there isn’t any room for real growth of custom in that building so how are they planning on making it work after an investment (refurbish) that might run up near $100K? Not only that, no matter how good the Liberty Tavern folks are, the coffee won’t be as good. I’ll wager that Starbucks or Caribou are already plotting a move into or near that very corner in Clarendon. I’ll also wager that the new place won’t make it more than a year; mark my words. Business people, I just don’t get them sometimes.

X put out this phrase last night while trying to explain why she’d be an excellent buyer for a woman’s clothing store, “I am very average at many things.” I’ll have her forward the CV if required.

Love to all,


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