Shaw Streets

Electric Cool-Aid owners Angela DelBrocco and Ben Schwartz receive a DC Water check from Alexander Padro, Shaw Main Streets Executive Director. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Shaw Celebrates Small Business Saturday, 2020 Style
The celebration of Small Business Saturday, the annual promotion focused on patronizing small retailers during the holiday shopping season, has been a big event in Shaw since it started in 2010. Typically, Shaw’s celebration would start with a series of ribbon cuttings, welcoming all the new businesses to the neighborhood. Then all the retailers in Shaw would have an open house, offering discounts for the day through the use of “Shawbucks,” widely distributed coupons with the portrait of Colonel Shaw, the neighborhood’s namesake. The day would end with a raffle of gifts provided by local retailers.

Unfortunately, this is not a typical year. The restrictions on activities during the current pandemic crisis have made festive schmoozing almost impossible. Still, Shaw was able to improvise to make this year’s Small Business Saturday memorable. To start, Shaw Main Streets created a virtual ribbon cutting on video, celebrating the neighborhood’s new businesses. The video has the proprietors of Pearl’s Bagels (1017 Seventh St. NW), Prescription Chicken (1819 Seventh St. NW) and Salon Revive (944 Florida Ave. NW) describe their businesses and why they chose Shaw. The other new businesses that opened this year in Shaw include 1914 by Kolben (1914 Ninth St. NW), Andy’s Pizza (2016 Ninth St. NW), Echo Park (2012-2014 Ninth St. NW), Electric Cool-Aid (512 Rhode Island Ave. NW), Elite Dominican Hair Salon (803 Florida Ave. NW), Emmy Squared (1924 Ninth St. NW), Oyster Oyster (1440 Eighth St. NW), Rumi’s Kitchen (640 L St. NW), Taqueria Xochi (924 U St. NW) and the new Whole Foods – Florida Avenue (967 Florida Ave. NW).

Shaw Main Streets still celebrated Small Business Saturday, even in a constricted pandemic environment. Image: courtesy of Shaw Main Streets

And Shaw was still able to hold an open house for Small Business Saturday, albeit with virtual features. Shawbucks turned into a cryptocurrency this year, with shoppers identifying where they planned to shop by email. They then received a QR code in return that they could redeem for a discount at the store. Eleven retailers accepted the new Shawbucks for purchases made Saturday and Sunday.

DC Water Makes it Rain for Shaw Businesses
“I like boardin’ jets/I like mornin’ sex/But nothing in this world that I like more than checks” – Cardi B

A number of Shaw businesses received checks recently, courtesy of DC Water and its Northeast Boundary Tunnel (NEBT) project. The project, which will bring the District’s sewage system up to 21st Century standards, has disrupted life for residents and businesses along Rhode Island Avenue from Bloomingdale down to Shaw. The project’s presence in Shaw is at its R Street construction site, a triangular block at R and Sixth Streets. The work on the site, with its towering cranes, has disrupted business in the area by clogging traffic, taking up parking spaces and covering views of commercial signage.

DC Water is helping Shaw neighborhood businesses affected by its Northeast Boundary Tunnel construction project. Photo: Pleasant Mann

To mitigate the impact of the construction, which will go on until the year 2023, DC Water partnered with Shaw Main Streets to work on supporting Shaw businesses affected by the NEBT. The first phase focused on assessing each business’ needs and providing appropriate technical and financial assistance. Then it was decided to provide the affected businesses cash to allow them to address their own priorities. Five businesses surrounding the R Street site, AIM Auto Repair, Electric Cool-Aid, Golden China restaurant, Guilford Liquors and Red Toque Kabob, each received just under $12,000.

The NEBT also has a program to compensate local property owners who believe that tunnel construction activities caused damage to their property in some way. Call the 24/7 NEBT Hotline – (800) 988-6151 – to initiate the claims process. Leave a message stating that you would like to submit a claim and include your name and contact information.

DC9 Brings Back Live Music (Sort of)
The lockdown caused by the pandemic has hurt everyone, but perhaps no one as much as Shaw’s nightclubs, like DC9. As a nightclub, DC9 was prevented from serving people from the bar and playing live music before an audience. It bounced back by establishing a take-out menu, then serving people on its roof and at a parklet it established out front (both spaces now set up with heat for the winter). Now it has found a way to continue its mission to stage live acts from up and coming bands with a national, and occasionally international, reputation. Just go to their website (, buy a modestly priced ticket for a concert, and they will send you a link to see the concert performed live at DC9 via streaming. Kontrolled Khaos is scheduled to perform on December 15.

Shiloh Baptist Church revealed preliminary plans for redeveloping its properties. Image: courtesy of Four Points Development

Shiloh Baptist Church Reveals Plans for its Properties
The Shaw community got a glimpse of the property development plans of Shiloh Baptist Church December 1, when it went before ANC 6E to get support for Zoning Map Amendments it needed. The church has recently signed a letter of intent to work with Four Points and Capstone developers to improve their holdings on both sides of the 1500 block of Ninth Street and on P Street, consisting of a total of 11 lots. The Zoning Map Amendments are needed to increase the density of the new development and make it financially viable.

The developers displayed a concept that illustrated the density and massing they envisioned for the project. Among the major features was a new apartment building on P Street on what is now a surface parking lot. There would also be a redevelopment of the church’s current community center and neighboring row houses to add new apartments. The project proposal was well received by ANC members and Shaw residents. A number of people noted that the condition of the Shiloh properties had been a sore point in the neighborhood for decades and that everyone was anxiously waiting for the new development to move forward.