What a difference a year makes — for Reston Town Center’s retailers, that is.
Businesses are closing twice as fast as they are opening in RTC. Several small businesses and restaurants that have been in the area for decades have pointed to dwindling numbers of customers due to paid parking as the main reason behind their closures.
The shift from free to the ParkRTC paid parking initiative at RTC began at the start of 2017. Then in June 2017, Boston Properties, RTC’s owner, changed its paid parking structure, which originally charged for weekday parking, following a major outcry from tenants and customers.
Still, some Restonians are boycotting RTC.
Employees at Busara Thai Restaurant, which served up authentic Thai cuisine in RTC for 13 years, and Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro, which recently closed after 14 years, said the paid parking drove customers away.
When Appalachian Spring closed at the start of 2018, the store’s president told Reston Now that customer traffic dipped over the last few months and that customers often complained about the paid parking.
The handcrafted gifts and handmade jewelry store, one of the first tenants in RTC, opened its Reston location in 1990.
Reston Now reported on the following closures at RTC this year:
- Dec. 30: Hen Penny set to close at 1820 Discovery Street
- Dec. 26: Dawn Baby Price closed at 11985 Market Street
- Dec. 22: Obi Sushi Japanese Bistro closed at 1771 Library Street
- Aug. 28: Edibles Incredible Desserts closed at 11917 Freedom Drive
- May 28: The Bike Lane closed at 11943 Democracy Drive
- May 27: Red Velvet Cupcakery closed at 11939 Democracy Drive
- May 19: Busara Thai Restaurant closed at 11964 Market Street
- Jan. 24: Appalachian Spring closed at 1187 Market Street
- January: Neyla Mediterranean Bistro closed at 11898 Market Street
While 2018 saw several small businesses and restaurants shutter their doors, large department stores are slated to close in RTC next year.
Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, which are both operated by Williams-Sonoma Inc, are set to close at RTC in January.