Neighbors Step Up to Help Robbed Owner of Cleaning Emporium on Lincoln Park

Capitol Hill Cleaning Emporium, 1101 East Capitol Street, SE.
Youngmi Choi was behind the counter of the family-owned business when the store was robbed last Friday.

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.


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9 responses to “Neighbors Step Up to Help Robbed Owner of Cleaning Emporium on Lincoln Park

  1. Chet

    Young has been our friend for 30 years. Is there a GoFundMe page?

  2. John C

    We need both violence interruption/prevention programs and recognition that DC is down nearly 300 police officers. The Council needs to fund both.

    • John H

      Agree with John C. We should not have started to defund police until solid evidence violence intervention/interruption really work.

  3. Calvin H. Gurley

    Since Police Chief Lanier…police staff dropped from 4,200 officers per 500,000 citizens to less than 2,300 for 740,000 D.C. citizens.
    Education and more education is the only KEY to stop ignorant young folks from beginning a life of crime. Students need exposure and the opportunity to vocational training and a bridge to affordable housing. Our college graduates need financial assistance for housing.
    A police stated; “…you [police] can be perfect …in an imperfect world…”

  4. Survivor

    While “playing nice” a la DC Council is a noble sentiment, sometimes you have to play rough and get these thugs off the streets and behind bars. How terrifying for Young to be looking down the barrel of a gun. I know because I was held up at gunpoint several years ago after visiting my very ill husband in the hospital. The thug got my purse and everything in it at a time when I was dealing with so much. I have no sympathy for these nasties. No excuses! Get them off the streets!

  5. muskellunge

    Not more cops, more prosecutions.

  6. VSA

    We need a visible police presence on our sidewalks to discourage street crime (eg, carjacking, throwing brick at father walking baby in stroller, mugging jogger) and we need violence interrupters to help kids, in particular, to learn how to handle disputes and prevent them from becoming fatal (shooting tag football player on the Watkins playground). And then we need effective prosecutions.

  7. Mister

    I suggest DCRA and the community be more receptive /less restrictive and open to commercial business in the neighborhood. Greater street presence from trade means more eyes on the watch.