- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 15, 2001

Giant Food Inc. will allow vendors near the market at Seventh and O streets Northwest to stay through the holidays.
Giant officials had originally told about a dozen vendors they had to leave the site by the end of this month because the company planned to redevelop the property. But after The Washington Times reported their plight, Giant spokesman Barry Scherr said they may stay another month.
"We will be notifying the vendors they have until Dec. 31," Mr. Scherr said.
Giant owns the property on Seventh Street NW between O and P streets, and leases portions of the building to a liquor store, a cleaners, small merchants and a fast-food restaurant. Outside street vendors who pay $15 a day sell clothing, food and perfume.
Grover Brice, who has sold clothing and shoes on the corner of Seventh and P streets for four years, said he was glad to keep the market open another month so he and other vendors can liquidate their stock. He also said it will help the community financially through the holidays.
"That will help us out a lot if we can get through Christmas," said Mr. Brice, 76.
Mr. Brice said he tried to provide good quality merchandise at prices the residents of the Shaw neighborhood could afford.
He said the business slacks off after the holiday until Valentine's Day, and during that time he and the other vendors can find somewhere else to work.
"This way we can get through this year and figure out where we'll go next," he said.
Leroy Thorpe, an advisory neighborhood commissioner, had complained to Giant that the small merchants were being forced out just when the area was beginning to improve financially. The market is about two blocks north of the new convention center and is across the street from the Kennedy Community Center, which is under construction.
"It is a small victory," Mr. Thorpe said.
Although the street merchants can stay another month, Mr. Scherr said the tenants inside the building will have to leave by the end of November. He said Giant wants to stabilize the building, which is located in front of the Giant Food store located in the block.
"Giant has spent over $2 million re-doing that store," Mr. Scherr said. "We want to enhance the neighborhood and develop a parcel everyone will be proud of and with vision in some direction, as opposed to an ad-hoc presence."
Mr. Scherr said the decision to evict the current tenants has nothing to do with Giant's application to sell beer and wine in the grocery. He said a new D.C. law recently approved allows large grocers that have made $500,000 in improvements to sell beer and wine, like suburban stores.


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