Los Angeles-based apparel chain Buck Mason has opened its first D.C. location in Georgetown, among a respectable number of new retailers to open stores in the Georgetown neighborhood in the last two years, even as the pandemic has cost Georgetown dozens of other retailers that closed.
Buck Mason replaces the former Francesca’s apparel store at 3128 M St. NW, which closed in late-2020 after the parent company filed for bankruptcy protection. The 1,200-square-foot Buck Mason is in the historic Nordlinger Building, built in 1906.
The chain’s M Street store incorporates the building’s historic elements.
“There is a lot of amazing history in Georgetown, especially on M Street, and it was crucial to us that we preserve and celebrate that with this location. (The building) has been owned by the same family for more than 100 years and has been home to many amazing apparel brands over the years and we are thrilled to continue that legacy,” said Buck Mason co-founder Erik Allen Ford.
Buck Mason’s men’s and women’s apparel lines include Los Angeles-made T-shirts, Japanese denim jeans, leather jackets and affordable luxe sweaters. It says it has sold more than 1 million T-shirts since its first store opened in Los Angeles in 2013.
Buck Mason has about 18 stores, including locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and New York.
The Georgetown Business Improvement District has a running tally of restaurants and retailers that have opened new stores in Georgetown since the beginning of 2020, counting three dozen new stores since the pandemic began.
Georgetown is one of the oldest and largest restaurant and retail corridors in the D.C. area, and is more dependent on tourists and visitors than many other neighborhoods, and the pandemic negatively affected foot traffic.
Dozens of longtime businesses have closed in Georgetown since the pandemic began, including big national chains such as North Face, Kate Spade, Calvin Klein and Brooks Brothers, and restaurant staples such as Don Lobos Mexican Grill and Johnny Rockets.
Georgetown’s retail vacancy rate in the first quarter was 9%, counting leases signed for future use of vacant space, and visits by shoppers and diners were down 16% compared to 2019, though up 53% compared to a year ago.
The Georgetown BID undertook at $1.4 million project last year to expand M Street’s narrow sidewalks with decking that has added between 9 feet and 15 feet of extra pedestrian room.