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Chrome Industries’ DC Shop Will Close

The shop, which specializes in gear for urban cyclists, is the third outlet to shut down at The Shay since September.
Chrome Industries’ DC Shop Will Close
Photograph by Flickr user Ted Eytan.

Urban cyclists will soon need to find a new place to buy their sleek backpacks and gear. Chrome Industries’ DC shop is soon shutting its doors, marking the third retail closure for high-end development The Shay since September.

The 8th Street, Northwest, store will remain open through November and December and close in the new year. It follows Bucketfeet, the shoe store that kicked the can in October, and Steven Alan, which shuttered in September.

Chris DiStefano, a spokesperson for Chrome, confirmed the impending closure, though he declined to comment on the reason for it. He says the DC store has four employees.

Chrome Industries is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Local cyclists can purchase Chrome gear at a number of area bike stores, but there are only nine “hubs,” or storefronts, in the US dedicated entirely to selling the company’s wares. There are no plans to close the other eight, according to DiStefano.

DiStefano says that one of those hubs, in Brooklyn, opened this August, and two others will soon undergo renovations “to give custom bag-makers proper space.”

When developer JBGS (formerly named The JBG Companies) opened “involved apartment community” The Shay alongside Atlantic Plumbing in the area between U Street and Howard University in 2015, it emphasized “curating” tenants for its retail spaces who would contribute to its mission of “place-making.”

During its six-year search for tenants, “we had to kiss a lot of frogs to get the princes,” said Robin Mosle, the former executive vice president of JBG. The developer even went so far as to rechristen the neighborhood “North End Shaw,” a moniker picked up by the New York Times even as some residents grumbled. Local nonprofit Shaw Main Streets hailed the advent of a new retail hub.

“She Has Arrived,” signs advertising The Shay read. And then, a little more than a year later, some stores started to leave.

The first retailer to decamp from the development was Kit and Ace, a luxury apparel store that closed all of its international brick-and-mortar locations in late April. It was quickly replaced by Argent, a clothing company “founded on the radical notion that women are ambitious and also like clothes,” per its website.

Bucketfeet’s closure was also part of a bigger shift for the retailer, which ended its “clicks-to-bricks” operation by selling to online design community Threadless last month. (Other retailers at The Shay that began selling online and moved into physical storefronts include Frank & Oak, Bonobos, and Warby Parker.)

However, Steven Alan still appears to operate its other locations in New York, California, and elsewhere.

In September, JBGS said the “near-term plan is to engage a pop-up retailer for the upcoming holiday season while concurrently exploring long-term leasing options” for the Steven Alan storefront. It remains vacant. JBGS has not returned requests for comment regarding Chrome.

While there are now three current or forthcoming vacancies among retail tenants, 92 percent of The Shay’s luxury apartments are currently occupied, according to a salesperson reached over the phone. Studio apartment prices start at $1,943 per month.

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