With a grand opening celebration for Kit and Ace’s first Washington store at The Shay Thursday evening and a second Kit and Ace shop to open this November in Bethesda, one might think DC has all of the technical cashmere it needs. But earlier this month, the brand announced plans to open a third area Kit and Ace retail location on M Street in Georgetown.
The DC Kit and Ace stores are all part of the brand’s aggressive expansion plans–they intend to open 40 stores by the end of the year. But the choice to bring three of the 40 to the Washington area isn’t a blind decision. The owners have tested the waters–literally–with a media canoe trip outing in September to Kingman Island that ended with dinner, cocktails, and a live DJ on the island. They’ve also drummed up notice by hosting breakfast club and supper club events, and by bringing a pop-up to Union Market in July.
Co-founder and brand director JJ Wilson described this experimentation as “taking a phased approach in Washington to introduce ourselves to locals” in a press release. As each phase is met by a positive response from locals, the brand continues to expand in the area.
In conjunction with their “get-in-with-the-locals” tactics, all Kit and Ace stores market local products at all of their shops, and the Georgetown store will be no exception. Thirty percent of the offerings at the Georgetown Kit and Ace will be “locally-sourced, featuring custom-created hyper-local pieces from DC-based craftspeople,” according to Wilson.
But now that the brand has announced the plans to open in Georgetown, one might wonder why they didn’t begin with Georgetown–a logical place for retailers to target–rather than prioritizing The Shay, a new development in Shaw.
“We design for the creative class, and so The Shay, being located near the traditionally vibrant U Street Corridor, was a natural choice for our first permanent location, particularly following the strong response to our Union Market pop-up shop,” says Wilson.
But even with the desirable proximity to a new class of “creatives” in Shaw, Wilson recognizes that Georgetown remains one of the biggest retail spots in town.
“As our presence in DC grows, we’re also looking to explore more traditionally retail-focused areas, so Georgetown just made sense,” says Wilson.
The Georgetown store is scheduled to open at 3263 M St., NW in May 2016.