‘Local Charm Is Going Away’: Residents React to Anthropologie Replacing Bethesda’s Barnes & Noble

Several express regret, while some shoppers and businesses welcome new store


Walkers pass by the Barnes & Noble on Wednesday.

Joe Zimmermann

Residents and shoppers walking Wednesday along Bethesda and Woodmont avenues in downtown Bethesda had fond memories about time spent in Barnes & Noble, the Bethesda Row bookseller that will close at the end of this year.

Adrienne Hand of Bethesda said it was a special place for her because she wrote a book sitting in its cafe—Make Way for Women. Along with others, she said she was disappointed by the news that Anthropologie would be replacing the bookstore, which she said was loved by writers, but also served as a gathering place for the community.

Federal Realty Investment Trust announced Wednesday that Anthropologie & Co., a large-scale model of the clothing and accessories retailer, will open in the corner space in fall 2018. Barnes & Noble has operated there for 20 years, but in March a spokesperson announced its planned departure.

“I think that Bethesda is turning into an upscale any town, and the local charm is going away,” Hand said.

Rachel Cokinos, a Potomac resident, said she takes her 7-year-old daughter to Barnes & Noble every day. After her husband died a few years ago, they continued going to the store where they used to meet him as a way to memorialize him, she said.

“Every day in the summer we go there, that’s our routine and our unique place,” she said, noting the trip wouldn’t be the same with another retail store. “That’s our sentimental place. We have a lot of good memories there.”

Though several people interviewed reacted with disappointment at the thought of Anthropologie & Co. taking the space of Barnes & Noble, a few expressed excitement at the pending arrival of the department store-style retailer that will offer a full-service restaurant and café as well as special sections for gardening supplies, furniture and other products.

Elizabeth Owen said she loves Anthropologie and thinks it’s a creative and unique chain, but still doesn’t think it will replace the void left by Barnes & Noble. The bookstore appealed to all ages, especially kids, she said.

“I think it’s going to be a hole [in the community] because that’s another retail clothes store,” the Bethesda resident said. “Nowadays [Bethesda Row is] all the stores you can find anywhere.”

Managers of nearby stores were more optimistic about the new retailer, and several businesses said they expect the same or better foot traffic once Anthropologie moves in.

“It’ll definitely be good business for Bethesda,” said Kolu Ziama, acting manager at Luna, a women’s fashion store next to Barnes & Noble. “It will help the area grow definitely and it’ll be a good competition also.”

Still, nothing will beat what the bookstore has offered to the community over the years, according to one local mom who wasn't happy about the news.

“It stinks,” said Florine Hamilton of Glover Park. in Washington, D.C. “We should read. Enough of the clothing.”

Other reactions to the news poured in on social media Wednesday:

On Bethesda Beat's Facebook page the story generated hundreds of reactions.

"It's sad that one of the "most educated" towns in our country won't have a book store!" wrote Jen Madison. "Love Anthropologie but not enough to replace the neighborhood book store and gathering spot!"

"I grew up in Bethesda and loved that chapter of my life," Scott Simpson wrote. "I still enjoy my annual summer visit there with my parents & brother's family but am a little saddened by how Bethesda has grown & changed over the years."

Not everyone was disappointed though.

"All the haters.... I LOVE THIS!!!" declared Blaire Kelleher on the Facebook post.

Back to Bethesda Beat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

County Police Release Surveillance Video from Series of North Bethesda Home Burglaries

Two burglars are believed to be behind burglaries at five houses

Firm Building Purple Line Changes CEO

Alfred Craig replaced former CEO Rob Chappell last month and is now overseeing light-rail project

‘Particularly Heinous’: Man Allegedly Drove With Body of North Bethesda Woman in Car for Two Days After Fatally Stabbing Her

Judge denies bail for Germantown suspect accused of stabbing hair stylist 30 times, setting her car on fire

Blair High Student Creates Voting-Year Stickers To Put Politicians on Notice

Silver Spring teen said she’s made tens of thousands of stickers for March For Our Lives
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »

Beautiful and Spacious

Potomac $1,450,000

Custom Dream Home

Bethesda $2,695,000

Renovated and Expanded

Bethesda $1,425,000

Lovely Home in Chevy Chase View

Kensington $1,949,000

Stunning River Views

Potomac $2,770,000
Edit Module


Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit Module