For immediate release


Community Overwhelmingly Supports Barracks Row Businesses through Pandemic


On Monday April 26, Barracks Row Main Street released a study conducted by Jon Stover & Associates which concluded that Barracks Row businesses experienced a 75% increase in neighborhood traffic through 2020 during the height of the pandemic. The report analyzed credit card data and ESRI data to carefully study the impacts of the pandemic on customer traffic and spending habits and has been recognized as one of the most comprehensive data driven analysis of any of the Main Street programs in the country.


Located on 8th Street Southeast steps from Eastern Market and the Capitol, Barracks Row is famous for Rose’s Luxury, Belga Café, Ambar, Sweet Lobby and many other exceptional businesses.


The findings highlight Barracks Row out-performed most other commercial districts in Washington, DC; a fact not lost on Executive Director Martin Smith, “our community loves our local businesses. At the onset of the pandemic, we launched an aggressive campaign to help our businesses to adapt to the changing landscape, and a social media marketing campaign to keep our restaurants and businesses top of mind with our residents. We are grateful that they overwhelmingly responded.”  Notably, the data illustrated consistent traffic through the week and at all hours of the day which has helped businesses staff to meet demand and engage their customers.


"The local customer traffic has been the most significant factor in our ability to stay in business" says Kim Hawkins, who recently relocated her store Howl to the Chief from 733 8th Street, SE, up the block to 719 8th Street, SE. "Our Capitol Hill customers have always been a significant amount of our sales, but even more so during Covid. Between the local customers stepping up and the help that we have gotten from the Barracks Row Main Street program, that has made the difference for our ability to stay in business", she continued. 


Despite the significant increase in residential traffic, Barracks Row saw a net decrease in regional tourism which prior to the pandemic comprised 40% of sales; work remains for businesses to return to pre-COVID levels.


“We want to recognize our residential customers and continue to engage with them” said Mr. Smith, adding “while providing as much real time information, connection to resources, and other support to our businesses as they emerge from the pandemic.”


Retailers have noticed.  Vacant storefronts and upper floor spaces along Barracks Row have experienced exceptional demand since the pandemic began, resulting in over a dozen new businesses that have signed leases and begun buildout, or already opened their doors since March of last year.  “Businesses want to open where there is proven customer traffic and a neighborhood that supports them” said Brian Ready, Chair of the ANC.  "Barracks Row Main Street’s efforts supporting their businesses through the pandemic and providing real time customer market data and analytics reinforce a business friendly environment for owners to thrive".

Barracks Row Covid Economic Report Cover