Posted tagged ‘Markets’

From Royal Farms to Rock Creek Market

December 29, 2009

Royal Farms from 2007 Google Maps Street View

The buildings that house the Rock Creek Market today were built in 1920 by H.R. Howenstein to plans of architect L.T. Williams. Originally, 642-646 Rock Creek Church Rd. were part of Kennedy Bros. plans to build up their subdivision of Princeton Heights. While they applied for building permits for these three lots in 1909, the homes they planned were never constructed. 

Howenstein purchased these lots from Kennedy Brothers and built a row of three commercial spaces at a listed value of $2,500 per section. 

Aftermath of Royal Farms fire 8/9/2008, photographed by Ted Scheinman of the Washington City Paper

While the fire that gutted the building in the wee hours of the morning on August 9, 2008, is still relatively fresh in residents minds, it was not the first time the building had been the victim of flames. The June 10, 1933, Washington Post lists a fire that occurred at the market due to a short circuit. 

Back in 1967, the grocery store that was at this location was known as Baron’s grocery store when it was owned by Louis Baron. Sadly, on January 21, 1967, Mr. Baron and his wife were held up outside the market. 

After closing the store about 9 p.m. in the evening, Mr. Baron was sitting in his car with his wife when two men came to the car, put a gun to his head, and demanded money. The robbers made off with $240 and some personal papers that evening. In the years to follow, robberies of this type would become all too common throughout the District. 

By 1979, the Washington Post again reported that many of the “mom and pop” corner grocery stores that had been ravaged by the 1968 riots were undergoing a rebirth as Korean immigrants began to own and operate them. What was then Royal Farms was among them, being operated by Lee Chun Hee — a former pharmacist — and her husband Lee Eung Sub — a former engineer. 

Lee Chung Hee waits on Henry Jones at the Royal Farms Market, 1979. By Larry Morris, the Washington Post

Former Royal Farms prior to reconstruction, February 2009

The fire of August 2008 again changed the character of the corner store. After the fire, owner Shewangezaw Tilahun decided to rebuild the store and run it himself. Construction began around February 2, 2009 and after a few delays, Rock Creek Market was open for business on September 22, 2009. 

As you can see from the photographs, there has definitely been a change for the better in the last few years. 

Rock Creek Market, December 2009

Beer & Wine Coming to Rock Creek Market

December 17, 2009

Rock Creek Market is currently scheduled to begin selling beer and wine next week, starting on Monday, December 21st. While I don’t recall the beer list from memory, when I looked at what they are planning to stock it was a generally nice selection. I think there were between 6-8 different choices. I’m also please that they won’t be selling singles.

I have no information on what kind of wine the market hopes to stock, but I’m sure they’ll take suggestions if there is something in particular you’re interested in.

Rock Creek Market Coming Together

October 27, 2009

ABRA public hearing noticeTo keep things current with events over at the Rock Creek Market (corner of Warder and Rock Creek Church Road), I’ve noticed they have an ATM inside now. Also, they finally have a notice of public hearing announcement posted from ABRA, which is a good sign. The ABRA notice states that it is for a grocery store that can sell beer and wine. The hearing will be on December 21, 2009.

They are still attempting to get a license to sell coffee, but there is no new news on that front yet. From the conversation I had with Meron it sounds like things are going well there.

Now Open: Rock Creek Market

September 22, 2009
Shewangezaw Tilahun , Owner of Rock Creek Market
Shewangezaw Tilahun , Owner of Rock Creek Market

The wait is over, and in my opinion it was worth it. Rock Creek Market opened this morning at 7:30 am. In talking to Shewangezaw Tilahun — owner of the market — there is still a lot to figure out. Chief among the issues are establishing fixed operating hours. These will likely be adjusted over the next couple of weeks to better serve the neighborhood’s needs.

Another thing that still isn’t completely set is what will be carried at the market. While they have a good selection of items already, they have a sign up sheet at the counter so you can tell them what you’d like to have in the store if you don’t see it.

There is still more to come. They have not obtained their license for beer and wine yet, but that should be soon. They are also working on getting a deli license which will allow them to sell coffee and sandwiches.

Stop by and check it out. When you do, you’ll likely meet Shewangezaw’s daughter, Meron, who is managing the store.

(The images for this post were supplied by Lauri Hafvenstein)



More photos after the jump (more…)

Rock Creek Market, and Other Market News

September 17, 2009

Rock Creek MarketI had the good fortune of running into the owners of the Rock Creek Market on Wednesday night, and took the opportunity to ask if they had an opening date set yet. And … I was told that they intend to open this Saturday. I can’t wait to see what its like stocked. When I was given a tour a few weeks ago it looked great.

In other market news, I’ve heard some scuttlebutt in the neighborhood that Gee’s Market may have been selling beer and wine without a liquor license, but haven’t confirmed this yet or found out if anything’s been done to remedy the situation should it be true.

And, the long closed market on Irving and Warder Streets is  finally being developed. Unfortunately, there is currently a stop work order on the premises, but there is a building permit in the window with two permits to install air conditioning. In reading the stop work order, it looks like most of the items have been addressed. I guess time will tell what the building is ultimately used for. You can see what it looked like prior to development here>>
Corner of Irving and Warder
Stop Work Order

Another Hurdle Cleared for Rock Creek Market

September 2, 2009

Rock Creek MarketI was greeted by a real treat when I returned home from work last night … the sight of Rock Creek Market making real progress. The refrigeration units have arrived and are ready to install!

I was also fortunate enough to meet the future manager of the market who invited me into the space to see the progress for myself. I am very impressed — it really looks like its going to be nice. There were rows of empty shelves waiting to be stocked, a nice checkout counter that was completely free of a cage and safety glass, and cooler parts waiting to be assembled (having just arrived).

If all goes well, the market could be open in as little as two more weeks. One thing that they would like to do but have been unable to get a license for is to operate a deli, which would permit them to sell open cups of coffee. If this is a service that you’d support at Rock Creek Market make sure you attend tonight’s Park View UNC meeting at the Rec Center. There will be a petition you can sign to support the deli license.

Rock Creek Market Refrigeration


Progress Continues at Rock Creek Market

August 29, 2009

ADT @ Rock Creek Market
I noticed this morning that ADT was doing work at Rock Creek Market. While the recent acts of vandalism have delayed the market’s opening, its nice to see that progress is continuing.

%d bloggers like this: