15 Mar 2011

Groovy Loses Its Groove (Temporarily, Let's Hope)

Groovy DC Storefront. Courtesy of Groovy DC's Facebook page.

The neighborhood is looking for news on Groovy dc Cards and Gifts ever since a stroll down Barracks Row at noon Monday revealed that the pleasant, tidy and bright shop — a personal favorite of mine–  had its windows covered with brown paper, and a U.S. Marshal at its doors looking for the owners and saying, “I thought they were here.”  The U.S. Marshal declined to speak with  me outside 425 8th Street S.E. as he talked furtively into his phone, but a source said he was serving an eviction notice.

An hour-plus later, the Marshal and the brown paper were gone, and all that remained in the store was a broom against the far wall and the large orange and brown painting that hung behind the cash register area. There have been hints of landlord-tenant issues for some time but I am waiting to hear more from the owners, who appeared to be good neighbors.

Manuel and Dennis, Groovy’s owners, are a dynamic duo who give generously to local schools  and who are great to visit with when one drops by to get a card, a birthday present, or a treat for a tot; or a unique adult gift items. They could not be reached Monday by email or phone, Twitter, or, of course, by drop-in.  (Manuel, please let us hear from you!)  Groovy’s owners have wrapped countless presents for many a Hill kid, and I think a photo of myself and my then-baby was featured in the Hill Rag’s store opening coverage.  (There was a clown, so my older child had fled.) My kids look for Groovy when we pass by, so we’d like to know where they will set up shop next.

They had been planning  to  announce their move to a new location as early as Monday, they told me last week when I stopped in at the then-fully-stocked store.  The place would be bigger but still on the beaten path, they said. Lease negotiations were still being worked out.

Groovy originally moved to the block in 2006, when they were in the signature blue painted Victorian across the street; this spot now hosts a salon. In 2009, Groovyland, the toy store, and Groovy dc merged; the cards, including our signature Maury Elementary student notecards and other cards by local artists, were moved to the front of the petite store.

We hope you return soon, but a store gone missing overnight leaves many questions unanswered. Good luck!

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16 responses to “Groovy Loses Its Groove (Temporarily, Let's Hope)”

  1. Hilary says:

    When I was in a few weeks ago, they said they were moving down the block toward Zest…

  2. Sandra says:

    I hope Hilary is right.. I LOVE Groovy and would be sad to see them go!

  3. Patrick says:

    Who is the landlord?

  4. Elizabeth Festa says:

    Tax records show the owner of both 425 8th street SE and 427 8th Street SE as Carl B. Williams: https://www.taxpayerservicecenter.com/RP_Detail.jsp?ssl=0902%20%20%20%200025
    The leasing office is upstairs, I believe from the Verizon phone store.

  5. David says:

    I just saw Dennis and Manuel on 8th Street. They officially closed on Sunday, and handed in the keys to the landlord this morning. They are keeping their stock in storage until they can finalize their new lease and will announce their new location on the Groovy Web site. So, nothing nefarious going on here; seems more like a landlord intimidation tactic.

  6. Liz Festa says:

    That’s great. I am having trouble reaching them with phone, electronic communication. Wish them well and tell them we are looking forward to an announcement! I know there were multiple issues involved that made things very difficult for them, but without being able to contact them, I cannot get into allegations. They were excited about new place when I spoke with them.

  7. Moi says:


    results of tenant/landlor dispute

  8. Liz Festa says:

    Hi, Manuel asked I share this announcement to provide a better understanding from their viewpoint to readers of what is going on with the store, which will re-open in a greater space as soon as it can and be even Groovier! :

    Groovy dc customers, neighbors and friends,

    Sorry this is coming so late but we have had a busy couple of days of moving
    the store and setting up our temporary office. As most of you know by now we
    have closed our current location this past Sunday as our lease ended March
    15th and turned in the keys this morning.

    We thought we would have a new location to move into by now, but the new
    space is unavailable at this time. We tried to have a temporary space but
    details are still in the process. Most of you are aware of the landlord
    issues we have had to deal with over the past year.

    We hope to have an update soon with our new location. Follow us on Twitter,
    Facebook or check our website for details.
    Thank you all for your love, support and concerns. We hope to see you soon
    at the new Groovy dc for more fun.

    Dennis & Manuel
    Groovy dc Cards & Gifts

  9. JD says:

    Shame on you The Hill is Home, Elizabeth Festa and Moi!

    I thought this was a blog in support of the Hills local businesses and the community. It seems of late to be more negative to report gossip without the complete story. I am sure there is more to the story then you know or have reported. Are you ladies this bitter with nothing to do except gossip? This is their issue not ours. Good Luck to the guys at Groovy and hope they are back soon. Groovy dc has been very supportive of the schools and community and this how you say Thank you. I am sure there are a lot of support in the community other then this group of bad press ladies. I will encourage others to find more accurate and positive news about the Hill from better blogs and newspapers. I suggest you be better neighbors and friends of the hill. I hope others will boycott your negative site as we expect and deserve better content then you deliver.

  10. Tim Krepp says:


    Who are you calling a lady? Not everyone here at The Hill is Home is female.

    Also, Liz wasn’t at all negative. She simply noted the store closed, a Marshal was there, and hoped that it would open soon.

    Before you Dan Snyder the crap out of this issue, could point out what was inaccurate about Liz’s post?

    Allow m

  11. JD says:

    Sorry Tim, you’re not a lady obviously.

    I think Elizabeth could have written the story in a different way and not start out so negative, that they had closed and not air their dirty laundry out there. That is their business not ours. None of us have all of the facts except the parties involved and maybe she should wait until then. Her story makes it sounds like she has a good relationship with the owners and seemed to know what had been happening at the store. If that is the case with her, that is some friend I don’t care to have in my corner. We are a community that should be more positive to promote the Hill as a place to welcome new business and neighbors. Writing articles such as this makes us all look unfriendly and bitter. The next time it could be one of your friends, neighbors or favorite shops and how would you feel.
    Please be more kind to each other next time.

  12. Mark says:

    Maybe JD is referring to this:

    “There have been hints of landlord-tenant issues for some time but I am waiting to hear more from the owners, who appeared to be good neighbors.”

    Why not just wait until you know the facts? Reporting on a marshall outside their doors without really knowing the full story? Why? Why would you do that if you don’t know the full story?

    Posting court records?…this stuff is creepy and weird. Add the sex posts and you get creepy, weird, and lame.

  13. Tim Krepp says:

    Sorry, not buying it. A prominent store closed in an abrupt fashion. A Marshal is seen securing the store. This is news. Whether the owners of Groovy want it to be or not.

    This has happened before with Murky Coffee. Store closed. Outrage breaks out at “them” who couldn’t work with our esteemed local buisnesses. Eventually it is discovered that they haven’t been paying their taxes, and in effect, stealing from us.

    If you want local support, level with the community. I have no idea if the situation is analogous to Murky (and no tax improprieties have been alleged) but the facts just aren’t lining up here. US Marshals don’t show up to shut down businesses for nothing.

    Want good press? Pay your rent!

  14. Hill to the No! says:

    Since when did a hyper-local blog have to be a cheerleader for the community? People complain if they think the blog champions stores/restaurants then turns around and complains when a post goes up about store owners who may or may not be nice guys with a rent problem.

    I’ve never been to Groovy, but I don’t have a problem with a little speculation one way or another about a US Marshall and store owners that magically disappear without so much as a note. It won’t stop me from going to the store if they open again… and I’m sure people won’t walk by and say, “Don’t go in there… they don’t pay their rent.”

    A little perspective, people. It’s a blog. They aren’t saving babies.

  15. Moi says:

    Why should I be ashamed for reporting facts?

    The U.S. Marshal was at the store. FACT
    The store is now empty . FACT
    There was a tenant/landlord dispute – public records show lack of rent payment. FACT

    don’t like to read facts ??? read cartoons 🙂
    don’t like to listen to people who tell facts ? talk to a politician : ))

  16. Bill Coffin says:

    THIS counts as overly negative news? Hardly. Liz’z coverage was clearly written from the POV of somebody who supported this establishment and was unhappy to see it closed down, even if only temporarily. This is indeed local news, nicely covered. Just because you don’t like what the news is doesn’t mean the reporter is at fault.

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