For more than a century, Mott’s Market, a corner market south of Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., has served the surrounding community as a pantry and gathering place for neighbors of all ages and backgrounds.
The building, located at 233 12th Street SE, is owned by the Choi family, which ran the store until it closed earlier this year.
The family has put the 3,313-square foot, two-floor building up for sale for $1.25 million, but a neighborhood coalition is hoping to buy it with the goal of saving their beloved corner market.
“From being a favorite among kids for an after school snack, to being a critical resource during snow storms and pandemics, our corner market has watched generations of families grow up, and has enriched our neighborhood’s history,” Jordan LaCrosse, a member of the Save Mott’s Market coalition leadership team, told Commercial Observer.
“Mott’s represents a way of life that is disappearing on Capitol Hill. We have lost many similar markets in the past decade and recognize that we can’t let this moment pass us by.”
The beginning of the Save Mott’s Market campaign can be traced to a few casual porch discussions among neighbors.
“Honestly, the Walter Street porches are where some of the best neighborhood ideas have sprung up over the years,” LaCrosse said. “After coming to the conclusion that multiple neighbors dreamed of saving the market, we decided to try to make it a reality.”
Although there’s no concrete plan, multiple neighbors expressed interest in helping run the corner market and revitalize it to maximize its community impact.
“Our plan is, as a group, to select a business plan that fits with our community goals and mission to preserve a corner market,” LaCrosse said. “However, we can’t start picking out the landscaping and paint colors until we have won the bid to purchase the property. We will determine next steps once the property has been secured.”
The group is currently looking for support via two tracks. First, they hope to solicit potential investor partners to help purchase the property. Second, they are launching a grassroots campaign to let developers know that the neighborhood is serious and willing to fight to save their market.
“In just this past weekend alone, we have had dozens of neighbors sign up to become a potential member investor, but we aren’t there yet,” LaCrosse said. “We have until this Friday to submit an offer and are soliciting the entire neighborhood to find additional folks looking to help invest in the cause.”
The Save Mott’s Market coalition has also started a website where they hope neighbors, friends and supporters of corner markets can sign up to get more involved. Those who sign up will be invited to participate in virtual evenings meetings to learn more about progress and next steps.
Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.