A look at what's going on in Trinidad, on H Street, and in the larger area north of Capitol Hill.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Organic Grocery to Replace Z Mart at 806 H Street

Today's exciting news (via Elevation Media) is that the space currently occupied by Z Mart (a dollar store at 806 H Street) is slated to become Chez Hareg Organic Market. The new business owner will be Hareg Messert, who is actually the sister of Z Mart's owner. Currently, Messert owns and runs a pastry shop in Edgewood.

The new space will be about 4,000 sqft, and will offer local eggs, produce, meats, and more. Z Mart opened its doors in 2010, but Messert became convinced that taking things in a new direction made more sense, and prodded her brother to try something new. Check out her quote (from EM's piece):

 'This area is changing. Nobody's coming to the dollar store anymore.'

The other bit of associated exciting news is that Messert has secured a production space at 1228 Mt. Olivet Road (the southern border of Ivy City). From the article:

The warehouse will be Messert's base of operations where the company will make bread, pastries and Messert's celebrated vegan offerings. Including the cost of new equipment, Messert is spending $450,000 on the remodel. While there won't be a dedicated retail area, customers will be able to call ahead to pick up baked items.


Anonymous Capital X said...

Oh thank you thank you thank you. This will be a great improvement.

Feb 11, 2013, 1:43:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Please don't change the "Bloody Hands" on the building's facade. They scream "Organic".

Feb 11, 2013, 2:05:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Z Mart is a complete dump; I'm happy to hear the owners are finally pulling their heads out of their rear ends and doing something better with the space.

But my biggest problem was that they never cleaned up the hand-print mess on the front of the store; just let it stay there as blight.

Feb 11, 2013, 2:20:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds great. I live in northern Trinidad, so I'm also excited about being able to pick items up at the "basis of operations." Can someone explain the deal with the handprints? I've always wondered.

Feb 11, 2013, 3:07:00 PM

Blogger Derek said...

They broke ground today on the site at 2nd and G Street NE.

From the Biznow email:

"This morning, Fisher Brothers broke ground on their yet-to-be named mixed-use project at 701 2nd St NE. We were on hand to hear the firm's Peter Cole (fourth from right) say linkage is what sets 701 2nd St apart; it's just blocks from both Union Station and the burgeoning H Street Corridor (and its upcoming streetcar line). How it's adding to the neighborhood's cool factor: StreetSense, which is handling leasing of the building's 23k SF of retail, already has interest from several local chefs, he says. We snapped Peter with Hickok Cole's Yolanda Cole, DC planning and economic development director of RE Jeff Miller, Fisher Brothers' Brian Collins, DC councilmember Muriel Bowser, DC government's Charles Allen, ANC rep Mark Eckenwiler, and Hickok Cole's Mike Hickok."


Feb 11, 2013, 3:19:00 PM

Anonymous Rayful Edmond said...

Thanks for posting, Derek.

This news just confirms that West side (H Street) is the best side.


Feb 11, 2013, 3:45:00 PM

Blogger Tom A. said...

Great news! I hope this really happens, and that she has great success!

Looking at her current website, we will REALLY need a gym ASAP. Everything looks amazing.

It's exciting to read short-term news like this, rather than posts that read something like "in a year or two or three, some hipsters are going to create something amazing on H Street."

Feb 11, 2013, 4:06:00 PM

Anonymous DT said...

Based on the bloody hands, I always figured "Z Mart" was short for "Zombie Mart". Never went inside.

Feb 11, 2013, 4:09:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just what the neighborhood needs. This place is going to be packed!

Will there be parking? 8th and H is a crowded intersection. Hopefully there will be some kind of dedicated parking space for customers.

Feb 11, 2013, 4:28:00 PM

Blogger Michael said...

Or you could just walk. Or take CaBi.

Feb 11, 2013, 4:39:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or take the streetcar (ducking).

Saw the tent for the 701 2nd street groundbreaking today going by. That's big deal. It's going to fill a dead zone and help bring the corridor closer to Union station and downtown. I believe the building will have an entrance on the hopscotch bridge.

Feb 11, 2013, 5:05:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: 2nd & G...I hope that the builders have some plan to link 2nd street to H Street in a way that Senate Square and Station Place failed to do. There's a two-block hole down under the H Street bridge that requires pedestrians to make a 3-block diversion to get up to H Street. All these private property interests do not create a pedestrian-friendly streetscape!!

Feb 11, 2013, 5:05:00 PM

Blogger Derek said...

I remember attending the community review of that project several years ago. It has been on hold since about 2007 or 2008. I don't know if there will be a connection to the Hopscotch Bridge, but what I would like to know is if there has been any serious changes since the last time they presented to the community or ANC.

Feb 11, 2013, 5:19:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Messert took the time to design, print and put up a new "Organic Market, coming soon" sign. But he didn't bother to do anything about the "bloody hands". Do you think I will pay double for groceries from just some boob off the street who learned the word "organic". You must know that people are watching. Dirty store....dirty food.

Feb 11, 2013, 7:56:00 PM

Anonymous Carver Resident said...

awesome - more for me then! Really REALLY looking forward to this opening!!

Feb 11, 2013, 9:12:00 PM

Anonymous 4th and G said...


Why should condo developers make plans for the hopscotch bridge? The street car developers didn't see the need to plan for it...

Feb 12, 2013, 6:47:00 AM

Anonymous Tony Goodman, ANC 6C06 said...

@Derek & @5:05

The plans for the new development include a public staircase from H Street down to 2nd, which I agree is very much needed. This will also help the new retailers they are going to have on 2nd. The developer will also landscape (pavers and lighting) the area underneath the bridge.

Feb 12, 2013, 7:52:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This news makes me a happy camper. My house is equidistant between the new Giant and this. Yay for options!

Also, the 2nd and G project sounds promising. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Feb 12, 2013, 9:02:00 AM

Blogger Michael said...

For the record, I like the bloody hands on Z Mart, although I don't know when or precisely why they were put there. I'd like to see H Street retain some of that weird character. We need t-shirts: "Keep H Street Weird"

Feb 12, 2013, 9:50:00 AM

Blogger caroline said...

The funny thing is, I think a nicer dollar store would do really well here. Don't laugh-- have you ever been to a Dollar Tree in the suburbs? They don't feel dumpy or sketchy at all, and a lot of the items there are of good quality. I miss having a place to grab inexpensive birthday balloons, hair ties, paper towels.

Nevertheless, I'm glad the owners have the business sense to change their operation. I just hope they know or learn enough about the organic grocery business to make it work. If it's all overpriced packaged snacks I don't think they'll do well.

Feb 12, 2013, 10:56:00 AM

Anonymous Roxanneismyalterego said...

Caroline - Check out the new Big Lots near 4th and Rhode Island NE (next to Forman Mills). It's great for exactly what you're talking about. Bought some delicious organic instant oatmeal ($1 per box, 5 packs in a box) and tupperware there on Sunday.

Feb 12, 2013, 11:11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think it should be "Keep HstNE weird". If you just say H street you could be talking about several places in DC.

Feb 12, 2013, 11:24:00 AM

Anonymous npm said...

We do have Family Dollar. It's sometimes a bit messy and has longer lines at peak times, but it's great for picking up the basics. I went in to Z Mart a few times but their selection was much less predictable.

Feb 12, 2013, 11:27:00 AM

Blogger caroline said...

Thanks, roxanneismyalterego. I've never been to a Big Lots and thought it was more like a Kmart. That location's not very convenient but it's better than going to VA. :)

Feb 12, 2013, 1:42:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why do you think the painted bloody hands *outside* Z Mart mean that the store is dirty on the *inside*? WTF?

Feb 12, 2013, 2:23:00 PM

Blogger Tom A. said...

Folks. We ALREADY have those keep "H street weird" shirts. There are a couple other options as well. They've been available at The Argonaut and other locations for a couple years.

Feb 12, 2013, 5:43:00 PM

Anonymous diane said...

Keep H St NE weird reminds me of when I lived in Austin, TX..they have Keep Austin Weird shirts also. So it is hip

Feb 12, 2013, 5:48:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of painting it in big block letters on the side of my rowhouse

Feb 12, 2013, 6:41:00 PM

Anonymous tubbs said...

bad handies with double dot twists have been available at the Argo for even longer. Doesn't mean it gets the job done. Try again, TOM A.

Feb 12, 2013, 10:54:00 PM

Blogger Michael said...

Ah I forgot there were already shirts, the ones with the cartoon hipster I've seen at SOVA. Wasn't impressed, which explains why they were forgettable.

Also, I realize DC has quadrants as all of us who live here do. However, when you refer to "H Street" or "U Street" you're only talking about one place. No one needs to specify "NW" when they're going out for drinks on U Street.

Feb 13, 2013, 10:16:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we really need to steal Austin's trademark saying? Seems kind of pathetic and unoriginal. We should be better than that and come up with something all our own.

Feb 13, 2013, 11:54:00 AM

Anonymous reflexive said...

"However, when you refer to "H Street" or "U Street" you're only talking about one place. No one needs to specify "NW" when they're going out for drinks on U Street."

agreed. everyone who cares knows what you're talking about.

Feb 13, 2013, 3:57:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea! Organic market. Nice alternative now that the farmers market is gone.

Feb 13, 2013, 7:01:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of keep H st. "weird", how about we go for "clean??" We love a lot of places here but just tired of all the trash that makes the corridor look like a dump.

Feb 14, 2013, 9:51:00 AM

Blogger inked said...

Just to be clear, the farmers market isn't actually gone. It's just out of season. It will return next spring.

Feb 14, 2013, 10:19:00 AM

Blogger pat said...

There is a small farmers market Friday and saturday in the RFL Parking lot on Benning.

Maybe some more traffic would help that out.

Feb 14, 2013, 9:12:00 PM

Blogger pat said...

I would be happy if some of the crazy characters could be removed from the X2 bus.

Feb 14, 2013, 9:13:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


There is a property on H street that is for sale for only 200K. Wait a minute.......thats H street SE not H street NE....man do I feel stupid now.

Branding is everything.

Feb 15, 2013, 7:26:00 AM


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