Barkley Square to Close Its Doors on Sunday
Neighborhood Restaurant Group pursuing purchase of Barkley Square, Card and Collectorama buildings
Del Ray dog boutique Barkley Square will be closing its doors at 2006 Mt. Vernon Avenue for good on Sunday. In a statement sent to newsletter subscribers, owner Kristina Robertson cited “recently-discovered unsafe building conditions” as reason for leaving the current building. According to another member of the staff, the building has also grown too small for the business.
Del Ray Patch has learned that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which owns and operates the Evening Star Cafe and several other restaurants in the region, has a contract to pick up the Barkley Square property as well as the Exotic Planterium and Card and Comic Collectorama located at 2008 Mt. Vernon Avenue.
The group of buildings is listed as one parcel and is owned by Walker Real Estate.
“The property is for sale,” said Donna Walker James of Walker Real Estate. “[The Neighborhood Restaurant Group has] the right of first purchase. What they’re going to do with the property is up to them. They don’t own it yet. … There’s a contract between Walker Real Estate and the Neighborhood Restaurant Group.”
Barkley Square’s Naomi Kennedy said the pet boutique will move to e-commerce, while Karing by Kristina, the company’s pet-sitting business, will be run out of a home office.
In her e-mail, Robertson said “Email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing address stay the same. You will continue to use the website for scheduling appointments, etc.”
Robertson told Del Ray Patch that she will be looking for a new building for Barkley Square, but not until 2012. When asked if she would be looking for space in Del Ray, Robertson was unsure.
"In the Alexandria area," she said. "I love Del Ray and consider it home, but I think it's becoming almost an exclusively restaurant area like Shirlington."
Robertson said she will be looking to sell a large amount of the Barkley Square inventory and will have select items reduced as much as 80 percent. She said she's looking to get rid of office and patio furniture as well.
Barkley Square moved from Old Town to Del Ray in 2008, while the Exotic Planterium and Card and Comic Collectorama, owned by Dennis Webb, has been in business on the Avenue since 1973.
“[Evening Star Cafe] was the first restaurant for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. It’s also their headquarters,” James said. “They’re wonderful people. We like them very much. We like Barkley Square and Dennis at the plant store as well. ... We all have the best interest of Mt. Vernon Avenue at heart. I hope things turn out well for all of them in the end.”
James said she expects final word on the property sale later this winter. According to James, Webb has said he would like to stay in the building. She said Webb and Robertson have known about a possible sale since mid-summer.
Robertson, however, says that's "not true." She said she has only found out about the sale fairly recently.
Evening Star Cafe and NRG staff did not want to comment on this story.
Along with the Evening Star, NRG owns Vermillion, Rustico, Buzz and Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria, Tallula and Eatbar in Arlington and Churchkey and Birch and Barley in the District.