Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finally, the Survey Results.

Thank you to everyone who took time to fill out the survey.

It has been so long since I closed the Buckingham Retail Survey to responses, that I am sure you’ve all forgotten exactly what was in it, so here goes…

The background: Georgetown Strategic Capital is hoping to tear down the CVS/Ravi Kabob, the Glebe Market, and the El Paso/Popeye’s Chicken buildings on the corner of N. Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive. In their place will go two larger buildings, four storeys each, with ground-floor retail and apartments above.

At a county Design Review Committee meeting, I saw the amount of retail space that might still be available, and I thought to create this survey and ask everyone what they would like to see fill that space. The survey was broken into three basic parts: restaurant; grocery store; general retail.

After this survey was posted on Jan. 25, Georgetown Strategic has said that they are interested in the results. (Click here, for the original story).

The results: 67 people responded over a two-and-a-half week period. Sixty-five of you admitted where you live: 30 in Buckingham; 19 in Arlington Forest; 3 in Ballston; 2 in Ashton Heights; 8 in other Arlington neighborhoods; 3 outside Arlington.

The surprises: I thought I was the only person who wanted a hardware store. Turns out I’m not. “Hardware Store” eked second place from “Gardening/Plants.” Both Hardware and Gardening had 19 people choose them as one of their top three choices in general retail, but more people put hardware as their first choice (10 to 5).

“I hate driving to Ayres Hardware,” wrote one respondent, “but that is better than the awful Home Depot on [U.S. Route] 50. A neighborhood hardware store is desperately needed!”

Another surprise that I only just noticed now: clothing stores rated horribly. I put eight types of clothing stores on the survey (everything I could think of from children’s to shoes to “specialty”), and only three people marked any of the choices—2 in children’s clothing, and 1 in women’s fashions.

A book/magazine store was the overall favorite in General Retail (26 people listed it as a top three choice). That’s not really a surprise when you realize that Café/Coffeeshop was the hands-down winner in the Restaurant section. Looks like people want someplace to go, sit and read the paper. That is just a guess. Interestingly, “Book/Magazine” only had 11 people of the 26 list it as their top choice; that is just one more than “Hardware.”

No surprise here: Trader Joe’s was a hands-down winner in the grocery store section (43 of 67 respondents chose it). I knew it would be the top winner, given the power of suggestion. I had reported in an earlier story (click here) that Georgetown Strategic Capital had spoken with Trader Joe’s about possibly moving in. Then I also made Trader Joe’s a choice on the survey. I would have expected TJ to do well just because of that—people would gravitate toward it because it is a known brand, in the news, and it’s right there on the survey.

But I also knew one other unreported fact: people were emailing me and stopping me on the street to ask about the chances of a Trader Joe’s. I think Georgetown Strategic really hit the vein with that idea. It felt like the Second Coming.

“Trader Joe’s would be cool. A locally owned store would be ideal but in this day and age that's gotta be tough. The only problem with Trader Joe's is that it doesn't really fit the ethnic profile of the neighborhood currently. The Latinos would be left hanging, hopefully who ever moved in would be sensitive to that situation and provide some variety,” wrote one respondent.

The “duh” and “d’oh!”: First the “d’oh!” I didn’t give “Dunkin Donuts” any space on the survey (d’oh!), so a couple people gave it as a response in the comment portion of the Restaurant Section. It’s probably best that I didn’t put the Double-D on as I would have bold faced and underlined it, to make sure it won success at Trader Joe’s’s level. (I believe the donut chain is still in its expansion plan that I waxed poetic about two Septembers ago, click here and then scroll down to read my piece.)

Now the “duh.” A neighborhood pub. Slap my forehead and call me Willie! I thought of “diner” and “sit down/family style restaurant,” but I did not come up with “corner pub,” so someone else did. Bless you, corner pub idea giver.

What follows below (you can just scroll down to see each piece, or click the links) is basic reporting on what is in the survey. No real analysis, barebones stuff.

I do have a couple stories that I will be getting to, so keep an eye out for them. In the meantime, enjoy the view in the community's ideas...

  • Survey Results: Restaurants
  • Survey Results: Groceries
  • Survey Results: General Retail
  • Survey Results: Government Offices

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