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Mayor Bowser Gets to Meet and Talk with Dupont West Business Owners

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 By P.L. Wolff

 On June 15th, Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with some departmental directors, spent a couple of hours getting to know the three-block neighborhood commercial strip along P Street just west of Dupont Circle.

Mayor Bowser flanked by Soho owners Helene Bloom (left) and Fran Levine (right). “I have," said Ms. Bloom, "been in business for 23 years and this is the first time a DC government official has asked me how they could help my business. Bravo to the Mayor.” photo--courtesy Office of the Mayor.

Mayor Bowser flanked by Soho owners Helene Bloom (left) and Fran Levine (right). “I have,” said Ms. Bloom, “been in business for 23 years and this is the first time a DC government official has asked me how they could help my business. Bravo to the Mayor.” photo–courtesy Office of the Mayor.

Hosted by Soho Tea and Coffee’s owners Helene Bloom and Fran Levine and coordinated by Larry Ray, a public member of the Mayor’s Advisory Board on LGBTQ Affairs, gthe mayor was easily persuaded to accept the invitation when reminded that she has sometimes commented that she often attends grand openings but that existing businesses need attention also.

The Mayor ahown with Corrective Shoe Repair employees and owner Norm Ramos (right), whose father opened his store in 1954. photo--courtesy Office of the Mayor.

The Mayor ahown with Corrective Shoe Repair employees and owner Norm Ramos (right), whose father opened his store in 1954. photo–courtesy Office of the Mayor.

It is estimated that there are approximately 125 businesses and 2,000 neighbors along this three-block strip and the immediately adjacent streets.  A good number of these businesses have been operating for many years, like Corrective Shoe Repair (64 years) and Soho Tea & Coffee (21 years), to name but two.

Walking east on 2100 block of P Street with Larry Ray, she stopped to talk with neighbor Winston Haythe. photo--courtesy Office of the Mayor.

Walking east on 2100 block of P Street with Larry Ray, she stopped to talk with neighbor Winston Haythe. photo–courtesy Office of the Mayor.

There was much positive feedback, such as the comment from Fireplace owner Jerry Griswold who told Larry Ray, “I was tickled pink at [Mayor Bowser] taking time to address our concerns — she managed to do a walk down P Street to various other stores — it’s great to see one of our elected officials actually go out and make human contact with those that elected them”; and from neighbor Winston Haythe who had never previously met the mayor said, “Impressive, she asked excellent questions and she actually listened.”

Walking east from 22nd Street, the two men accompanying are from the Mayor's security detail. photo--courtesy Office of the Mayor.

Walking east from 22nd Street, the two men accompanying are from the Mayor’s security detail. photo–courtesy Office of the Mayor.

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