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Longtime Business Leaves Reston Town Center

by Fatimah Waseem December 28, 2017 at 10:15 am 29 Comments

When David Brooks opened up Appalachian Spring, a handcrafted gifts and handmade jewelry store in 1990, Reston Town Center was nothing but a slab of concrete.

Now, as residential buildings touch the skies and redevelopment plans aim to revitalize the core of the area, Brooks is closing his Reston store on 1187 Market St. and shifting his focus to the Rockville location.

The business decided to not renew its lease because customer traffic reduced considerably over the last few months. Paid parking, which was instituted earlier this year, accelerated limited customer traffic, said Brooks, president of Appalachian Spring.

“We’ve seen this for a while. The parking probably accelerated it. I can’t be sure that parking is the complete reason, but a lot of customers have told us that they weren’t happy about that,” he said.

Appalachian Spring was one of the first businesses to come to Reston Town Center. It began in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. in 1968 with the goal of bring a collection of handcrafted products to the community, according to its website.

The location in Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave.) will also close in the coming weeks.

Brooks said he enjoyed keeping his business in Reston. All items are 20 to 50 percent off in both stores beginning today. The business is expected to close by the end of January.

“We’ve enjoyed being in Reston all these years more than anything. It’s been a major part of our company. We’ve sort of grown up with the town center and the community has driven our business as it goes along. We are thankful to all of our wonderful customers for supporting us all these years,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Appalachian Spring

  • reston resident

    Just about the closest thing to a retail institution at RTC, it’s been there since the beginning. Loved browsing there, and the artisan wood boxes, ceramic mugs and dishes, and glass figurines I purchased there are some of my very favorite things. Best wishes for the future at your Rockville store.

  • KarenNDkitchen

    So sorry to read this.
    I bought my mother an expensive necklace there, and would have gone back months later for matching earrings for her birthday gift. But honestly having to pay for parking drove my decision to shop elsewhere.

  • Former Reston Resident

    Parking has been free in the garage next to Jackson’s for quite some time as long as you are “visiting Jackson’s”. No one checks. Not sure why people continue to park in other garages. I haven’t paid a single fee since it was implemented. I guess though it being a secret is good for some of us 🙂

    • Big Drop

      It’s $3.00 an hour ON THE STREET which includes Saturday.

    • Mike M

      There is a mobility inhibiting device in your future.

  • Why do you bother?

    VERY sorry to hear this. I wish they had found another location in Reston – there are plenty to choose from.

  • The Constitutionalist

    What an embarrassment to lose a business to Maryland.

  • MissingSprings

    And one of the best retails in RTC bites the dust!
    We will certainly Appalachian Springs–always an interesting place to browse, and one where one could often that special present for a special person.
    If only BP would just go away….

  • Big Drop

    Teavana also closes 12/31. Schwab’s original office is still vacant as is Bebe, Il Fornaio and the store next to Teavana. Several of these have been vacant almost a year. That’s six empty stores in Town Center. And parking is still $3.00 an hour on the street even on Saturdays.

    • RestonResident

      FWIW All Teavanas’ are closing but your point is valid.

      • Big Drop

        There will be two vacant store fronts side by side. The necessity to use the app if you park on the street is crippling them. It takes too long, is intimidating for many while some simply do not always carry an iPhone with them. Then there is the confusion of paid hourly street parking on Saturday while the garages are free.

        This will be three vacant stores in one block on the same side of the street. The long vacant Bebe is empty at the other end of the block.

        It looks bad.

        Meanwhile Cooper’s Hawk, Nando’s and Starbucks are experiencing what must be a huge move over from RTC. There are five more restaurants scheduled to join them. All have free parking with a short walk.

        • Mike M

          I value your observations. They seem to have a mentality like many in our country: Bedevil the moneymakers with a wacky tax code (and indebtedness) until you get to the point where there are no more moneymakers. I’m curious where it all leads for the RTC, or whether BP will change the self-defeating policy. Maybe they want the County to build parking near the Metro station. I have to believe there is some logic somewhere in the whole mess. Maybe there will be tenants that can withstand it.

          • Big Drop

            Thank you, Mike M.

          • I’d Rather Post As A Guest

            The “money makers” as you call them, have done just fine under the current and past tax codes, the new tax revisions in fact amount to a great gift to commercial real estate interests (who have done quite well in recent years) and all others who have pass thru income. There is already a rush to have as much income as possible characterized as pass-thru, so there is no “bedevilment ” that I can see. The only ppl bedeviled are the tax attorneys and accountants I know who all say they are in for a very busy year as usual. In the meanwhile, plans to redevelop portions of the RTC continue apace. (As far as I can tell, no one will greatly Ann Taylor since their clothes do not fit most of the female population anyway!) RTC will have little problem finding new tenants, BP can certainly afford to wait it out until a good prospect comes along.

          • Mike M

            We’ll see if RTC can recoup. That was the point. By the way, the recent failed attempt at tax reform does not bedevil people who stand to profit from the change. This change does little to simplify a code that is built for their benefit.

          • The Taxman Cometh

            No one, I mean NO ONE really believes the Prez or Congress when they preach tax simplification. (such as, flat tax rates, etc.) BTW I happen to like that businesses can now write off their capital expenditures in a single year,now that is the sort of simplification all business can buy into.

          • Mike M

            That’s why we have freedom of speech and a vote. That’s why a guy like Trump got elected. I believe it’s all attainable.

          • Jenni Resister

            A guy like Trump got elected because about half this country are stupid and vicious. Okay, I get being appalled by corruption in government, but then we install this con-man grifter? It’s stunning to me though, that you people made this about yourselves and your politics. A great legacy shop in Reston is closing. That’s really sad for a great many long time loyal clients if they’re

          • Mike M

            Jenni, calling people with whom you disagree “stupid” is a non-starter and a little lacking in intellect. If you think the Clintons were measurable less corrupt than Trump, I think you need to take off the blinders. “You people?” I responded to the comments of others. Seriously. Ever have a grown up discussion.

          • Jenni Resister

            Or maybe the logic is they’re not bright at business, thinking too short term and not long term outcomes. Having paid parking in Reston, especially the awkward smart phone app, was a poor business decision they’ll come to regret.

      • DONALD KNOWS

        Teavana is broke cuz all the mall mommas are guzzling free leaf. BXP will go broke next giving away free parking and hosting parties.

        The BXP stock will tank and seniors and trust fund babies will see their yield curve collapse

        Big daddy may have to step in.

  • Ann R. Erickson

    I hate to read that Appalachian Springs is leaving Reston Town Center. It was one of the truly unique stores there. They carried a very nice assortment of fine arts crafts. This is very sad news for our community. Boston Properties’s greed is ruining RTC for our whole Reston community.

  • ttb

    We loved that store. I was actually going to shop there last year when I arrived at the parking lot and learned about the new parking fees. I exited the garage and have not been back to RTC, or the store, since. I wish the storeowners my best wishes and will try to shop at their MD store. I won’t return to RTC while the current management has charge.

  • Elisabeth Springer

    I saw Reston Town Center being built, and have browsed Apalachian Spring for years. I always wanted one of those exquisite wooden jewelry cases. Yesterday, I bought one. Even if it had not been discounted, it was now or never! It is a shame that this store, which was, I believe, the first to open in the new Reston Town Center, is now closing. It has been a place where American craftmanship was beautifully presented, in short, unique.
    Thank you, Apalachian Spring, for showing us such beautiful things.
    Elisabeth Springer

  • Tom H

    Sad. Swung into RTC on Friday as we wanted to pick up a house warming gift. I stayed in the car while my wife went in to browse and purchase. Noticed many others waiting in cars doing the same. Before paid parking we would have browsed many stores and likely would have also had lunch. Is this the experience Boston Properties wants to institute?

    • restonista

      My husband and I do exactly the same thing when we need to get something at RTC. Also, if a business lunch requires going to RTC, one of us drops the other off or we Uber. Refuse to download the app or pay for parking.

  • I’d Rather Post As A Guest #2

    M&S Grill has bit the dust as well. Heard it this morning on my email. Given the lousy food and high noise level, who is surprised that business basically sucked for them? They either lost their lease or decided to walk away from a new lease, or succumbed to the competition, its all the same difference….

  • RTC Lurker

    I have shopped at RTC since it opened. I don’t think I ever bought a single item at Appalachian Spring. I have bought stuff next door at Williams Sonoma. But I never spent a penny at Appalachian Spring.

  • Jenni Agitator

    I have a part time retail job in the Fair Oaks Mall. Our business has been up between 20-40% each month since RTC started charging for parking, people are still shopping, just taking their business elsewhere. Thanks Boston Properties! Sincerely, other local malls

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