Mount Vernon Triangle

Mount Vernon Triangle
Main Street Maven

Gina Schaefer claims that laziness led her to open her first hardware store in Logan Circle in 2003. The nearest one was two miles roundtrip from her home, and Schaefer wanted a closer option.

With her husband and business partner, Marc Friedman, Schaefer has opened another eight hardware stores in DC and Baltimore and has reinvented the urban Main Street. They recently moved the Logan Circle store a few blocks away, and they hope to relocate their Glover Park store (which is closing January 15th) within that neighborhood.

“Communities are stronger if people know their merchants,”Schaefer said. “We like the managers and staff to act like they’re the merchants. You can’t go into any big box business and get that feeling. I start itching when someone says, ‘Wal-Mart.’”

“We are very fiercely locally focused,”Schaefer said. “We have a Made in DC program,”which is an initiative of Think Local First DC, an organization that promotes locally-owned businesses; Schaefer serves on the board.

Her commitment to her community has also led Schaefer to serve on the board of the House of Ruth and to work closely with Jubilee Jobs, which helps people overcome various obstacles to find jobs and achieve economic independence.

“We want everyone to gain skills that will take them to bigger positions,”Schaefer said. “We just promoted someone who came from Jubilee Jobs to assistant manager. I love hiring local residents.”

The 5th Street Ace in Mount Vernon Triangle (MVT) was Schaefer and Friedman’s 5th store. The 8,000 square foot space features a mural by local artist Jay Hudson, which depicts tools ascending to “tool heaven,”and serves as a colorful backdrop for all the paint, cleaning supplies and cooking gadgets a city dweller may need.

Plus the store offers a personal shopping program, dog adoption events and an annual Ladies’Night, which features DIY tips, a raffle and refreshments.

“I hope [5th Street Ace] becomes a neighborhood hub,”Schaefer said. “We want people to want to come in every day with their dogs and hang out and get to know the staff.”

Led by store manager Brad Johanson-Smith, 5th Street Ace won the local Ace holiday decorating contest and recently sponsored a hardware-style art show for employees and customers.

“It’s a true team,”Johanson-Smith said. “It’s become a little family for everybody.”

Contact 5th Street Ace at 1055 5th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001 or by calling 202-682-4570.

Some Pain, Huge Gain

At [solidcore], clients enter the exercise studio as individuals and leave feeling part of a team. In the course of each fast-paced, intense, 50-minute class, clients’physical and mental stamina are put to the test, and the coaches cheer every victory.

During this no-impact workout, clients use a Megaformer, a machine that resembles a souped-up Pilates reformer, as coaches guide them through a series of controlled, full-body movements that work muscles to failure.

“The longer you’re in an isometric hold, more of your muscle fibers are recruited,”Erika Elko, Vice President of Operations and Business Development for [solidcore], said.

“The trainers are devoted to making us stronger and genuinely are excited by our progress,”said Jim Miller, whose weekly average of three [solidcore] classes has improved his overall conditioning.

In the year since founder Anne Mahlum opened the first [solidcore] studio in Adams Morgan, the demand for this transformative workout has led Mahlum and her team to open three more studios in DC and one in Virginia, with two more opening in 2015.

The Mount Vernon [solidcore] location has just nine Megaformers, so classes stay small. During class, coaches move through the studio to offer individual guidance and support.

“Part of the experience is the personal-training feel and the one-on-one attention,”Elko said.“It’s important that our clients are safe.”

New clients can attend a class for just $19, and regular clients are rewarded with 10 classes for getting 10 new clients to try a [solidcore] class.

“[solidcore] has had a very beneficial impact on my life,”client Tammy Tangen said, sharing that attending classes over the past year has helped her manage her depression.“It’s not a cure, but it is a valuable tool for survival.”

“We all pull for one another,”Miller said. “It is part of the culture Anne has created —we get better together.”

Contact [solidcore] at 433 Mass. Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20001, by calling 267-455-6457, or by emailing

A Touch of NYC in MVT

Ogden CAP Properties, LLC, a New York-based real estate company, has plunged into the DC residential market by purchasing 450 K Street NW. Drawing attention from The City That Never Sleeps just proves that the booming Mount Vernon Triangle (MVT) neighborhood is the place to be.

“We have watched the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood grow and think the location of not just the neighborhood but the building as well gives you great access to so many different areas of DC,”said John McDermott, the Director of Management and Leasing for Ogden.

Developed and managed by Kettler, a Virginia-based real estate and management company with properties up and down the east coast, 450K offers all the services and amenities city dwellers have come to expect: a 24-hour concierge, stainless steel appliances, a fitness center and a rooftop with a pool, grills and even an outdoor kitchen.

“We will definitely be looking to make our residents’ lives a little easier and more comfortable by making the concierge an assistant to them and offer services for their convenience, not just use them as someone to greet their guests,”McDermott said.

This 13-story, 233-unit building also features 6,500 of ground-level retail space and will welcome L’Hommage Bistro Français from restaurateur Hakan Ilhan, owner of the MVT restaurant Alba Osteria. The restaurant, which will open this spring, will have a full-service bistro, a caféand a bakery that sells grab-and-go items such a coffee and pastries.

Contact 450K at 450 K Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001, by calling 202-289-5609, or by emailing

This article orginially appeared in MidCity DC Magazine.


Posted on

June 3, 2015

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for this artlice, it saved me time!


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