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Mayor Gray Cuts 17 Ribbons in Shaw Swan Song

Accompanying images can be viewed in the January 2015 issue PDF

By Alexander M. Padro*

“It’s got to be a record,” enthused Mayor Vincent C. Gray before a capacity crowd at Compass Coffee, a new coffee roaster and café on 7th Street, NW.

Gray was referring to the 17 red ribbons that Shaw Main Streets, the commercial revitalization nonprofit serving central Shaw’s 7th and 9th Streets, NW commercial corridors, had arranged for the city’s chief executive to cut in one of his last public appearances in office.

In the years prior to the December 29th event, Gray had cut 16 ribbons to celebrate the opening of new Shaw businesses, including three occasions over the past year when he cut three, five, and seven ribbons, respectively.

This time, Mayor Gray came to Shaw to celebrate the openings of six new businesses, the completion of nine new storefront improvement projects, and two new murals, a total of 17 ribbons to be cut in two and one half hours.

The event began with a ceremony at Compass Coffee, where Gray and others spoke about the fast pace of commercial development in Shaw under Shaw Main Streets’ guidance during the mayor’s time in office. Gray, a strong supporter of the DC Main Streets program since his days as DC Council Chair, consistently provided funding in his budget for the program, which his predecessors often failed to do.

Following Shaw Main Streets’ announcement of marketing grants to seven businesses to leverage Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Grants, Gray wielded the three-foot-long golden scissors, with At-Large Councilmember-Elect Elissa Silverman, Compass’ owners and Shaw Main Streets staff and board members joining in to cut the afternoon’s first ribbon.

The ribbon snipping continued for the following two hours, as the band of government officials, including At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, reporters, neighborhood residents and Shaw Main Streets team members crisscrossed the neighborhood from 7th to 9th Street and back again.

They went to the newly opened Beau Thai restaurant, Dolci Gelati Café, Lost & Found bar, new Asian concept Chaplin’s Restaurant & Bar, and SwatchRoom’s new art gallery space. Ribbons were also cut at Lumsden Insurance and Penthouse 9, which both recently received new signage, as well as Appioo African Restaurant, Bar & Grill, Log Cabin Liquors, Hollywood Styles & Cuts and Simon Vintage, which received new signage and lighting. The group also went to cut ribbons at Halcyon Salon, Off Road Indoor Cycling and Pekoe Acupuncture & Wellness, all of which recently completed Great Streets funded improvements.

The new Marvin Gaye mural at 7th and S Streets, NW, and a mural at JBG’s The Hatton, at 7th Street & Florida Avenue, NW, also were celebrated with ribbons. The event concluded with a reception at Asian Fusion restaurant I Ching on Florida Avenue, NW, which opened in September.

One of the high points of the afternoon was when Gray climbed onto a stationary bicycle at Off Road Indoor Cycling and started pedaling away. Countless DC residents followed the blow-by-blow Twitter coverage provided by reporters and bloggers. Others saw Tom Sherwood’s story on the event on WRC-TV and heard about it on WAMU.

Will there be future mayoral multiple ribbon cuttings in Shaw? That will be up to Mayor Muriel Bowser. We’ll certainly be inviting her.

*The writer, a long-time resident of the Shaw neighborhood, is also the Executive Director of Shaw Main Streets.

Copyright © 2015 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Shaw Main Streets, Inc. All rights reserved.