|Empty Freezer in Yes! Organic|
“We truly wanted to be the first store to provide healthy options,”... “We tried to do this for two years, but we can’t do this for much longer.”
Many residents complained of the high prices, when compared to the ever-present Safeway. Others pointed out that the store was premature and rushed. Our community wasn't ready for it. I agree that the prices were high, but I paid for convenience and atmosphere. I loved walking 5 minutes from my house for organic lentils and aloe vera gel. Yes! Organic represented possibilities and progression for my neighborhood. But I am just one person. If the community does not want or support the business, then these services cannot stay afloat.
The cost to rent commercial property in DC increases yearly. This eliminates any potential for small businesses who need a return on your investment within the first year. In my pursuit to open a yoga studio, I have run into many financial roadblocks, the biggest one being RENT MONEY!
I have walked the main streets of Good Hope Road, Minnesota Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr seeking an opportunity to rent a temporary yoga space. Each time, I hear the same responses: start up funds are hard to find, investments are scarce and there is little data to predict consumer behavior.
But Southeast DC is not the only hood experiencing a loss in healthy food options. Last month Java Green, located in the heart of bustling K Street NW shut its doors. The Vegetable Garden in Rockville has a "For Lease" sign hanging on the windows. This got me to start thinking about how to keep a healthy business open in a world hooked on hamburgers.
What will it take for a healthy eating establishment to stay afloat in a cash-strapped culture?