Neighbors Step Up to Help Robbed Owner of Cleaning Emporium on Lincoln Park
by Hilary Russell
Posted February 1, 2022
Lincoln Park neighbors were dismayed to see police cars converging at the corner of East Capitol and 11th Street, SE, mid-afternoon on Friday, January 28. Dismay turned to shock when they learned that Capitol Hill Cleaning Emporium had been held up at gunpoint. Youngmi Choi was alone behind the counter, tending a family business whose revenues have been drastically reduced by the pandemic need to stay home. The lone robber who confronted her was shielded from street view by plywood covering a large window that had been maliciously smashed a few months before.
On listservs and in person, Capitol Hill neighbors expressed relief that Young – as she’s known – was uninjured, noting the outstanding customer service she has provided for more than 20 years. In addition to her inimitably welcoming smile and uncanny memory for names and phone numbers, customers marvel at her willingness to accept and hold their packages and her generous dispensing of children’s candy and dog biscuits. After strategizing online, neighbors launched a highly successful GoFundMe page that has attracted more than 239 donations to date. Some donors cite the names of dogs who strain their leashes to enter her premises for treats. Other donors are former customers who moved away long ago.
On January 31, the boarded-up window was repaired. Young is very touched by the support from neighbors, while expressing alarm at DC’s rising crime rate and the need for “the Council to make the city safe.” She didn’t suggest how: whether she favors increased funding for police—Mayor Bowser’s preference—or the Council’s direction: more funding for community services, such as violence-interruption programs. Please feel free to weigh in with your favored approach, using the comment feature.