The District Welcomes Its First Harris Teeter

Monday, April 28, 2008

Harris Teeter opened its first grocery store in the District last week in a long-vacant building in Adams Morgan that once housed a roller-skating rink.

The 37,000-square-foot store at 1635 Kalorama Rd. NW features the chain's signature melon bar and hot, prepared foods, along with a sushi station and pharmacy. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) attended the ribbon cutting Wednesday.

"I remember 10, 15 years ago, grocery stores shutting down in D.C., grocery stores moving out to the suburbs," Fenty said. "A lot has changed in the District of Columbia."

The Harris Teeter will employ 82 full-time workers and 100 part-timers, Fenty said. Developer Doug Jemal said he waited years to find the right tenant for the quirky space, which has a domed ceiling and parking on the first level.

"I look at the big picture, not the small picture," Jemal said.

The store was first announced in 2005 and was originally slated to open about a year later. But Jemal's son and business partner, Norm, said permit issues delayed work on the building.

The store is Harris Teeter's 20th in the Washington region. The North Carolina-based chain opened its first location in 1998 on Glebe Road in Virginia and began expanding beyond that state two years ago. It now has a store in Maryland and another planned to open soon in Columbia. It is slated to open its second District location next month in Capitol Hill.

"We're newcomers to the market. Not a lot of people had heard of Harris Teeter five years ago," President Fred Morganthal said. "We are more happy than you'll ever know to be here."

-- Ylan Q. Mui


© 2008 The Washington Post Company