City Sports Opens Flagship Store in Georgetown
City Sports opened its Georgetown doors Tuesday at 10 a.m. The 8,500 square foot space is the sports retailer's flagship concept store and its second in the District.
A line of bundled masses clung to the building at 3338 M St. in Georgetown, braving the cold for the promise of free gear for the first 50 people in line and a chance at a shopping spree. The dedicated group awaited the opening of City Sports's new Georgetown location.
Friends Holly McHugh, Eric Owens and Steve Slocum arrived at 5 a.m. from Baltimore to be the first in line. Free stuff was definitely a draw, but the trio was actually there to surprise their roommate who will be one of the new store's employees.
Mike MacCarthy wore a knit Washington Red Skins hat and rubbed his cold hands together, shifting his weight to keep warm. MacCarthy was sixth in line, having arrived between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. He works at a gas station nearby and heard about the give-away in the paper.
Awaiting the line inside the new store were high-end gift bags: Timbuktu messenger bags brimming with water bottles, running gear, heart rate monitors, the works. Three lucky people would find a $500 City Sports shopping spree certificate in their bag.
The Georgetown location shows off new concepts for the retailer. Lockers located in the rear are dedicated for local running club use with an energy bar and refreshment stand nearby. Instead of the traditional sneaker wall, City Sports created a curved stand alone display, one side for women, one for men.
Michael Mosca, the executive vice president for marketing at City Sports, boasted of the originality of the new store and beamed about the "great architectural elements." City Sports "fell in love with the space," said Mosca. From the moment the team decided to lease the store to opening day was a mere four months.
The building's original brick walls are exposed, an old ad from its industrial past inspired the signage throughout the store and a fading mural is the backdrop for a free weights display. The floor-to-ceiling rear windows will soon have a custom-made blind with "City Sports" scrawled upon it, perfect for advertising to the snaking lines of cars along the nearby Key Bridge.
A new stair case connects the middle room on the first floor to the upstairs and a new bridge mirrors an existing bridge, connecting the front rooms of the second floor to the rear. Mosca said the space is divided into natural rooms and the company embraced that layout to create clearly delineated his and hers sections.
Last night at a very small VIP soft opening, Senator Scott Brown and his wife came by to check out the store; he is City Sports's home Senator after all. Brown, an avid triathlete, tried on a pair of FiveFingers shoes for the first time with his suit. Brown made the first purchase at the Georgetown location, taking home a pair of Men's Vibram shoes by FiveFingers, according to Mosca.
Other innovations at the Georgetown store, which Mosca described as part of the "evolution" of City Sports, include an i-Pad station where customers can look for local bike trails or find the next triathlon. Next to the inside front entrance is a nook where customers can secure their bikes to an indoor bike rack, safe from the vagaries of the street.
In an interview with Patch, EastBanc Inc.'s Anthony Lanier, who is City Sport's Georgetown landlord, said when dealing with chain retailers, he makes it clear that a Georgetown location must be better than all the rest. "I think you have to make a real effort, you have to set a standard, you have to differentiate this store from any other store you have in the market. So that it is viewed as your statement," said Lanier of the expectations he set for City Sports.
Mosca said the lease conversation felt like an interview as Lanier asked the retailer how they would meet his standards. But Mosca said Lanier's vision was a good thing because it pushed City Sports to move forward and quickly with innovative ideas to create a new flagship store right here in Georgetown.
(Correction: Holly McHugh's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.)