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Bethesda Businesses Struggle With High Rent, Slow Economy

As Bruce Variety announces its closure, The Gazette reports on the plight of Bethesda business owners, who pay some of the highest rents in the county.

As the community grapples with the upcoming closure of Bethesda institution The Gazette reports that many Bethesda businesses are struggling with high rent and a down economy.

Owners of Bruce Variety, a 60-year fixture on Arlington Road, announced that they would seek a new location because they could no longer afford the $22,000 monthly rent, Patch reported.

Retail rates have risen in Bethesda and parts of Rockville in the last year and a half, The Gazette reported, and businesses along Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase and on Bethesda Row pay the highest rents in the county.

In Bethesda, retail space can cost anywhere from $30 per square foot to more than $100 per square foot, according to the report.

“We’re all struggling,” Nina Embrey, owner of told The Gazette. “It has not been easy.”

Embrey told the paper she has worked seven days a week since Thanksgiving because she can't afford extra help.

Read the full story at The Gazette.

Are you a small business owner in Bethesda? Have you changed your business strategy to be able to afford to stay here? Are you a patron who is concerned high rents are forcing out your favorite shops? Tell us in the comments.

Brad Smiley January 08, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Once again developers esentially "bully" small business owners by creating higher retail prices, building where it is not necessary or needed, and through these tactics change flourishing areas into waste lands, then scratch their heads at "why"...we see it everywhere around the area. The greed and unrestrained access of developers to local politicians, quid pro guo's, FAR swaps, and on and on...it kills small business, changes the complexion of once thriving areas, increased traffic, and congestion. GIVE SMALL BUSINESS GREATER ACCESS TO POLITICIANS AND A GREATER VOICE IN AREA DEVELOPMENT.
Monique Darvish January 09, 2013 at 04:07 PM
I so agree with Mr. Smiley. It is a very difficult time for small retailers, as we do not only the high rents to pay, but we have to include health insurance, store insurance, and salaries so that our employees can live. How greedy are developers that they only think of their pocket and no one else? When we called to see if we could get a price reduction on our rent; we were told that they could give us a 15% reduction, but we had to pay this after six months with interest. Thank you for letting small businesses vent!

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