The District's best-known destination for independent home furnishings stores just got a new tenant: a national furniture chain.
Storehouse Inc., purveyor of trendy but mid-priced couches and lamps, yesterday said it will build its first District store on 14th Street NW in the heart of the city's boutique home furnishing district.
Nearly a dozen furniture stores, such as chic housewares seller Home Rule Inc. and hip furniture vendor Muleh, have opened along 14th Street NW in the District during the past five years, helping lead the commercial rebirth of the corridor.
Now the gentrification they spearheaded has begun to attract national chains, store owners said. "Chains are never the first one to go into an exciting area, but once they do, there is a sense that it has arrived," said Muleh owner Christopher Reiter.
John Asadoorian, the broker who represented the property owner in negotiations, said the arrival of a national furniture chain in the neighborhood is "somewhat inevitable." The neighborhood already has attracted a Whole Foods supermarket, a Starbucks and a CVS pharmacy.
The 8,000-square-foot store, which is to occupy a former Cadillac showroom, is expected to open this fall, Asadoorian said.
Storehouse sells a variety of home furnishings, from $1,000 beds to $25 sets of flatware. The 35-year-old chain, which operates in more than a dozen states, has 60 stores nationwide, including 11 in the Washington area.
Furniture store owners on 14th Street NW said the chain's broad lineup posed little competitive threat to their businesses, which are more focused on niche products and design themes.
Jason Claire, co-owner of the 18-month-old contemporary furniture store Vastu, said the chain is likely to attract more foot traffic to the street and improve business for boutique stores.
"A store like that is spending money on national advertising," he said. "That is good for all of us."
Christopher Walsh, co-owner of Maison 14, which opened two years ago, predicted there will be little overlap when it comes to merchandise. Maison 14 specializes in modern furniture and French antiques.
"Each of the furniture stores on 14th are pretty different," he said.