Glen’s Garden Market, one of DC’s best—and most dedicated—locavore groceries is closing in Dupont Circle this summer. Washington City Paper reports that owner Danielle Vogel is in the process of transferring the market to Bart Yablonsky, owner of another independent, locally minded grocery, Dawson’s Market, in Rockville Town Square. The S Street space will become a second branch of Dawson’s after the acquisition in June.
“I sold Glen’s to a long-time independent, specialty grocer with one other store in the area, who sees the world the way I do,” Vogel says via email. Yablonsky, a Baltimore native, has a long history in the industry—including heading a Whole Foods in Georgia and serving as Dawson’s general manager before acquiring the shop in 2018. “He prioritizes the environment, community and local sourcing in his business decisions…And, most importantly, he’ll keep my entire team employed at their current pay rates — which was the cornerstone of our deal. This transition will also ensure that we’re able to pay every single one of our producers, in full, before I officially pass the torch later this summer (something that was critically important to me, personally).”
Vogel opened Glen’s—named after her late grocer father—on Earth Day in 2013. At the time, the former Hill staffer and environmentalist had a strict local policy to source all products from the District and six states within the Chesapeake Watershed, while employees donned shirts with a “no bananas” logo on the back. Those self-regulations loosened during the Trump era, when Vogel went into emergency mode and began experimenting with new ways to impact climate change at her shop (one way: heavily vetted, Fair Trade bananas). She also opened, and then closed, a second location in Shaw. All the while, the Dupont space and its patios became a popular gathering place, attracting customers with $4 all-day pints of local beer, delicious made-to-order sandwiches, and deck oven pizzas.
“I opened Glen’s because I’d given up on Congress and knew we could make more climate progress together than they would in the meantime,” writes Vogel. “And over the course of nearly a decade, we’ve made a whole lot of progress—one bite at a time. We came together to offer our community Good Food that represented our shared values, and we learned a ton from each other along the way. Almost 100 of your companies got your retail start on our shelves. Of those companies, over 60 were founded by women and more than 20 are owned by people of color. We grew each other’s businesses and cheered each other on along the way. Our space often felt more like an activated community center than a grocery store. In short, we did what we set out to do.”
Glen’s will continue to operate as usual over the next few weeks, and “neighbors”—staff slang for anyone who comes in the shop—are encouraged to come by to say goodbye.