How Metro’s partial shutdown affects Alexandria businesses, foot traffic

Justin Titus, manager at Comfort One shoes, said there was less business on Sunday, but didn’t blame it on the Blue and Yellow Line shutdown alone. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Storefronts are decorated to get passerby to stop and take a look at what’s for sale. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)
Inside Twist Boutique, where they sell new and consignment womenswear and accessories. (WTOP/Liz Anderson)

Balloons wave in the breeze, some blazoned with one word — “SALE” — to beckon passersby out of the heat and to hopefully partake in discount deals from shoes to jewelry and everything in between at Alexandria’s annual Sidewalk Sale.

But how’s foot traffic to businesses since Metro’s ongoing Blue and Yellow line shutdown to stops south of Reagan National Airport?

It depends who you ask.

There didn’t seem to be a dearth of customers at Comfort One Shoes at the corner of King Street and North Lee Street. Their city manager Justin Titus said there has been less traffic, although he doesn’t pinpoint the shutdown as the sole reason. He said excessive heat and timing could be other factors.

“Could be just a Sunday thing. It could’ve been that this day’s a little hotter than yesterday — that’s hurting us, too — so you have that in addition to the 90-something [temperatures] that it was in June,” said Titus, who tells WTOP he has been with Comfort One for seven years.

“When it gets anywhere above 85 — we also usually have to shut the door at 90 because it’s too hot. That kills our business, too.”

He said they still have steady traffic, though.

“Overall [the shutdown] has hurt us as far as the amount of people that come through, but we are lucky in that we have quite a steady fan base, so people come in regularly. And we’re getting nicer and nicer shoes in, so that’s helped sort of combat that a little bit.”

Down King Street and around the corner of North Fairfax, Kristen Moore at Twist Boutique hasn’t noticed changes during her year and a half in business here.

“I haven’t seen much impact because of where we’re located — across from City Hall and next to the Visitor Center. We have had plenty of traffic both local and out of town guests as well,” Moore said.

Metro Blue and Yellow line service south of Reagan Ana National is scheduled to resume on Sept. 9.

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