By: JULEKHA DASH
The Takoma Park Busboys and Poets will have a space dedicated to coworking when it opens at the end of the year, owner Andy Shallal says.
Takoma Park is one of at least three Busboys that are in the works, along with Brookland and Anacostia. The venues are known as a community gathering place that hold poetry readings, book signings, film screenings, political and social discussions, live music and other events. Each new Busboys requires about a $2 million investment and employs about 100.
Located at Takoma Central, the coffeehouse and performance space will have computers and self-service area for ordering drinks, Shallal says. The computers will house some sort of software that will make it possible for workers who share common interests to connect with one another. Shallal says he’s still working out the details.
Shallal decided to go with the coworking concept instead of his original idea of farmer’s market or grocer, which didn’t come to fruition. The Takoma Park store will seat 250 inside and about 50 outside.
Meanwhile, Shallal’s Brookland store is also expected to open by the end of the year. That, too, is opening in a new mixed-use development, called Monroe Street Market. It will join Barnes & Noble and Brookland Pint. The Brookland store will seat 250 inside and 70 to 100 outside.
And in about a year and a half, expect another Busboys to open in Anacostia.
“There’s lots of new developments happening in the city and where there’s development there’s funding ,” Shallal says. “Lots of developers like us. They seek us. We’re like an amenity, a place to hangout.”
Asked why he’s opening so many, Shallal says that he thinks there’s a need for a Busboys in many D.C. neighborhoods.
“There’s always a need for a community gathering space that’s a cultural center for an area. We’re becoming one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. That adds up to a need for a Busboys & Poets in many different communities.”