Ralph Lauren has closed its doors at the Collection at Chevy Chase, where high-end retailers have fled along with their fabulously wealthy clients. Such clients usually sustain these posh boutiques through economic bubbles and recessions alike, so their downfall has been solid evidence that those clients are largely seeking greener pastures - and pastures that let them keep more of their green.
The grand windows of Ralph Lauren are now papered over. Letters announcing the store's name above the stately entrance have been pried off, leaving worn shadows behind.
Next to go will be DePandi at 5518 Wisconsin, which is currently holding a closing sale. The front windows of the shop are plastered with the GOING OUT OF BUSINESS and EVERYTHING MUST GO! signs so ubiquitous around Montgomery County these days. The high-end suit shop was opened five years ago by famed master tailor Eduardo DePandi.
Montgomery County is in real trouble, as the County's $120,000,000 budget shortfall - and structural budget deficit - prove. We haven't attracted a single major corporate headquarters in two decades. MCPS has been in a steep decline since 2010. Thirteen nightspots have closed in downtown Bethesda since County Council President Hans Riemer's "nighttime economy" initiative instead tanked the nighttime economy. The County has lost over 2000 retail jobs since the turn of the century, according to the Maryland Retailers Association. Even Riemer's former chief-of-staff and the Washington Post have taken to calling our private sector economy "stagnant" and "moribund."
Montgomery has fallen well out of the Forbes "Top Ten Richest Counties in America" list. We can see that on Montgomery County's "Rodeo Drive" these days.
|Smashed-out bus shelter on|
Wisconsin Avenue. Stay classy,