Harris Teeter Is Days from Closing – No Answer Yet as to Why
by Hilary Russell
Posted January 11, 2021
Many Hill residents were surprised and disappointed to learn that Harris Teeter is closing their store in Jenkins Row, 1350 Potomac Avenue, SE. The 121 people employed here were not told the reason for this decision. A December 6 corporate press release cited only “careful consideration and strategic market review.” The media representative has not yet responded to questions on what factors were considered and whether the review centered on the new Safeway store at 14th Street, SE. Some Hill residents have opined that the competition between the two stores helped to assure higher-quality produce and service.
Harris Teeter’s original, projected closing date – on or before January 22 – is now January 15 for the grocery store and January 18 for the pharmacy. Outside signs refer customers to the Harris Teeter at 401 M Street, SE, less than a mile away, and to another store at 1201 First Street, NE, but nearby residents who don’t own a vehicle aren’t likely to consider these to be “convenient locations.”
The store opened in May 2008. The owner of the building, except for its condos, is Edens, a major retail real estate owner, operator and developer. Edens has regional offices in five states as well as in Union Market, where the company owns and has been developing numerous buildings.
Its Director of Communications and Public Relations quickly and courteously responded to the question on any plans for the soon-to-be vacated Harris Teeter space: “Nice to meet you. Unfortunately, I do not have any information to share at this time. Feel free to circle back in a few weeks.” Capitol Hill Corner will follow up and continue to inform the community.
6 responses to “Harris Teeter Is Days from Closing – No Answer Yet as to Why”
That particular store was not well managed. The staff there was, compared to the Navy Yard HT, Giant, Walmart, Whole Foods, and Safeway, singularly unhelpful and sometimes unpleasant. I recall be severely chastised by an employee for reaching over the glass after waiting to get a bread because another employee in charge of bakery was busy on a personal phone call. Lines were short, however, because fewer and fewer Hill residents were shopping there. The HT at Navy Yard is better as is the new Safeway which undoubtedly cut into the Hill HT business. But, more important, shopping there was unpleasant and Hill residents simply abandoned their custom in favor of stores that were more accommodating.
I too regret the loss of this Jenkins Row Harris Teeter. I found its standard products in lavish supply, and appreciated its many “International” products — interesting sauces, jams, soup, even McVittie’s biscuits, and lots of hard-to-find condiments and baking needs. Vegetables were fresh. I also had good experiences with staff — quick and helpful cash-register cashiers, and extra help from produce staff. One carried heavy firewood to my car. I got my booster Moderna there. I preferred the staff to those at the refurbished Safeway. It’s all in one’s personal experience, I guess.
Looking forward to a positive Golem post someday–on anything.
I think there may be corporate problems more generally – nothing of the “corporation is failing level” just those things that force decisions on the outcome marginal stores. Then there is also the fact that there is a location in SW and the (re)opening of the Safeway (and the fact that it was much better than it was) didn’t help.
Kroger is certainly not having any financial problems, but I think you’re onto something about proximity to other newer stores, both HT and competitors. They’re probably cannibalizing their own business with so many HT stores near each other.
I expect it was a combination of nearby HT in Navy Yard and size of the store, combined with the re-opening of the 14th St Safeway with its new glitz and ample stock. Jenkins Row HT was a “small store”. I have shopped at the Yards and found the checkout to be extremely slow.
It reminds me of when Safeway corporate management chose to close the Eastern Market store even though it had the highest sales per square foot in the entire Safeway holdings. They did it because the “new” Safeway at 14th St SE would get the shoppers post-shutdown. (The “old” Eastern Market Safeway was where MedStar has their PromptCare clinic now. The store had aisles so narrow that special shopping carts were required to navigate them.)