Some sad news…although this isn’t in DC but is along the Rhode Island Ave/Route 1 corridor and connected to our redevelopment as it is the redevelopment that is occurring in Mt. Ranier. Why is this sad? Because redevelopment around us will encourage redevelopment here. We need to make sure that when new retailers/cafes/restaurants, etc, etc come to Rhode Island Ave NE, we need to frequent the locations to keep them in business.
Thanks to Laura for catching this and sending over to me!
Arts district’s Artmosphere café to close
Owner may reopen 3-year-old coffee shop/performance space elsewhere
by Elahe Izadi | Staff Writer
After three years of struggling to stay afloat, Mount Rainier’s Artmosphere Digital Café will close April 26.
Dyrell Madison, along with wife Andaiye Scott-Madison, originally opened the business as a coffee shop but after not being able to cover costs, they expanded to live entertainment and added a food menu, Madison said.
“I am sad; I’m losing $150,000. I sold my house to open up this business,” he said.
The venture struggled with metered-parking issues, an inconvenient location on the north side of Route 1 and employee turnover that came with hiring youth in the community, Madison said.
He also lamented the lack of visible development along Rhode Island Avenue in Mount Rainier.
“I don’t think we really got the support we needed in this location. This has been a very tough sell at this location,” he said.
Madison said he picked the location for Artmosphere because he thought there would be future surrounding arts-related development.
“We were told that the properties around us would be developed and there would be a thriving arts’ audience coming in,” he said.
The café is in the Gateway Arts District, a 2-mile stretch designated by the state in 2003 to attract businesses and artists to the Route 1 corridor. The nonprofit Gateway Community Development Corp. oversees and supports development in the district.
Gateway CDC Executive Director Cheryl Derricotte said that despite the current economic climate, she believes the arts district will eventually thrive.
“I’m very sorry that Artmosphere is closing and this is absolutely a very difficult climate for small businesses,” she said. “However, I think in the long run arts-related businesses will do fine… The early successes in the arts district show there’s a demand for arts-related businesses.”
Derricotte pointed to newly opened
ezStorage building on Route 1 in Brentwood, with all five of its storefront studios rented out, and the recent opening of Rhode Island Reds Café on the border of North Brentwood and Hyattsville as recent successes.
Mount Rainier Mayor Malinda Miles said that the parking became an issue for the café after it added live music.
“That was supposed to be a café. A place where you could get sandwiches, great teas, great coffee and while you needed to do something on the Internet, you could,” she said. “I don’t think the parking was ever there to be for an entertainment district.”
Madison said he may apply for nonprofit status and reopen Artmosphere elsewhere, possibly Washington, D.C.