Chef Geoff’s closes on Rockville Pike
Chef Geoff’s closed its doors this past weekend after three difficult years in the former home of Houston’s on Rockville Pike. “That spot just turned out not to be good for me,” says owner/celeb chef Geoff Tracy. “I’ve been doing this work for 15 years, and every once in awhile you lose one. If I’d been smart about this financially, I would have bailed on it 18 months ago.” Chef Geoff’s was a hit when it first opened, Tracy says, but sales soon declined and the overhead was too high. Over the weekend, a broken water heater was the last straw. “We tried all kinds of things — switching around the menus, offering discounts, lowering prices,” he says. “But it was a big, expensive place, and I just couldn’t generate enough sales to make it work.” Tracy, who splits his time between D.C. and New York with news anchor wife Norah O’Donnell, says he’s been working to find jobs for his 40-plus Rockville employees. “When you’re responsible for people’s rent, getting their kids through school, it’s pretty stressful. I wanted to make sure that I could keep a lot of those people working. And now I actually feel a sense of relief, just knowing that I’ve made my decision and I have to move forward.”
Saks Off 5th coming to Congressional
Saks Off 5th, the discount sister chain to posh Saks Fifth Avenue, will open a 40,000-square-foot store next fall at Congressional Plaza on Rockville Pike. This is big news for fans of the New York-based company, who’ve been trekking to Leesburg, Arundel Mills and Potomac Mills for their Fifth Avenue treasure hunts. Off 5th is something like a Nordstrom Rack for Saks, carrying leftover goods from its sister store mixed with designer items and merchandise created specifically for its own stores. At Congressional, Off 5th will take the storefront formerly occupied by Tiara Galleries as well as a portion of the office space that currently houses landlord Federal Realty. Off 5th should be a good fit for Congressional’s increasingly luxury-oriented tenant mix, which includes Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus, White House/Black Market, The Container Store and gourmet grocer The Fresh Market. A beer and wine store recently joined the mix, and Chop’t is set to move in this spring.
Win this $150 outfit from Equilibrium Activewear
This week we’re offering a giveaway from Equilibrium Activewear, a Miami-based brand that’s newly available in our area. Equilibrium’s colorful styles are made with Supplex Lycra fabrics, which combine the feel of cotton with the benefits of advanced fiber technology — meaning they dry quickly, resist odors and wrinkles, provide a slimming and flattering fit, and won’t shrink or fade over time. Choose from cute styles for the gym or the tennis court, or edgier pieces that work for a night on the town. Click here for more on Equilibrium and its local rep, CORETASTIC. Check out the goods in person Nov. 15-17 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Holiday Boutique. And be sure to enter our drawing for this Equilibrium top and bottom (a $150 value). Click here to enter by email (subject line: Equilibrium) or click here to enter via our Facebook page. Update: Susan Murphy Hughes of Potomac won this giveaway; keep reading Store Reporter for your next chance to win.
Alex and Ani opens at the mall
Alex and Ani, the jewelry chain known for its stackable bangle charm bracelets, opens tomorrow (11/6) at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Made from recycled materials and priced from $28, Alex and Ani bracelets feature charms for everything from sports teams and universities to animals, zodiac signs and Disney parks. The eco-conscious company also donates a significant portion of its profits to charity — an important hook for its core customer base of teens and millennials. Alex and Ani can be found in the mall’s lower level near Macy’s, next to the recently opened sweet shop Lolli and Pops.
Holiday shopping at Washington Hebrew
Get a jump on your holiday shopping Nov. 15th-17th at the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center, 11810 Falls Road, when Washington Hebrew Congregation holds its 29th Annual Holiday Boutique and Silent Auction. More than 50 vendors will be on hand with jewelry, clothing, gourmet foods, Judaica and much more. Take a shopping break at the in-house cafe, and browse the silent auction to bid on one-of-a-kind items: sports and theater tickets, beauty and fashion products, restaurant gift certificates, airfare for two to Israel, a dream vacation week, even a chance to go behind the scenes at “Meet the Press.” Proceeds will benefit a number of charities, including Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Suited for Change. Click here for more.