The Top 10 Stores in the Washington, D.C. Area

Whether you are planning a visit to Washington, D.C. and don't want to hit the usual tourist spots or you are a resident in search of a great birthday gift, long-time Washingtonians Karen Ertel and Stephen Koff give you a valuable resource from their new book "The Shopper's Guide to Washington, D.C." with their list of the top 10 stores in the Washington area.

Washington, D.C. February 22, 2005 -- Take a break from trying to get a job in President Bush's new administration or protesting his latestmove. Give the crowded tourist spots and the security guards surrounding them a rest. Have fun and see Washington, D.C. in a new light 每 through its stores. Stephen Koff and Karen Ertel tell you the best places to do it all in their new book "The Shopper's Guide to Washington, D.C."

The stores on "The Shopper's Guide to Washington, D.C."'s top ten list were chosen because, "Each represents the best quality and selection in its niche. Each offers good customer service (remember, we visited anonymously before deciding whether any store was worthy of your visit). And each was delightful to shop at," say Stephen and Karen.

Their top ten favorite stores are:
1) Artcraft Collection, Alexandria, VA 每 "We picked this store to be in the top 10 because it is festive looking〞even the outside is painted in bold purples and blues, and has a really cool sign. Of course, the inside isn't too shabby either, as you find yourself standing in a sea of brightly-colored, non-stodgy contemporary crafts, furniture, even jewelry made by more than 400 American artisans."

2) Backstage Inc, Washington, DC 每 "Backstage is the store to visit if you are an actor, and many professionals stop by when they are in town. Kelly McGillis has come in to buy makeup and Linda Carter, Stacy Keach, and Robert Goulet have been customers."

3) Boot Hill, Woodbridge, VA 每 "Tour groups from Europe and out-of-state vacationers traveling on Interstate 95 who make a stop at Boot Hill Western Store in Woodbridge may know something you don't: Northern Virginia has one of the very best western wear stores in the U.S."

4) CDepot, College Park, MD 每 "If you listen to a lot of music〞rock, punk, jazz, musicals, or R & B〞you have to go check this place out. CDepot is not only large, but it is also complete, selling a mix of about 60 percent new, 40 percent used."

5) Good Eye, Washington, DC 每 "If you remember Dino, Sammy, and the Rat Pack, and the days when cars had fins and highballs still referred to liquor, you'll find Good Eye one of the coolest stores in D.C."

6) Eatzi's, Rockville, Maryland 每 "The intoxicating smell of baking bread hits you as walk in this 12,000-square-foot gourmet food emporium/deli/carryout."

7) Old Luckett's Store, Lucketts, VA 每 "As you approach a town of sorts, you see a three-story white and green house surrounded by what appears to be junk sitting all of the side porch: old bathtubs and wooden doors, rusty lawn chairs, a green wooden bed frame. You have just arrived at Old Luckett's Store, a bargain hunter's paradise and one of our frequent country destinations."

8) Second Story Books, Rockville, MD 每 "Bigger than some library branches, Second Story's Rockville store is a Mecca for anyone who likes books."

9) Southworth Guitars, Bethesda, MD 每 "Some guys have midlife crises and buy Porsches. Others satisfy their urge at Southworth Guitars, one of the most amazing used guitar stores this side of New York's West 48th Street. Southworth doesn't merely sell vintage; it sells instruments that inspire awe."

10) The Toy Exchange, Wheaton, MD 每 "Walk into this fairyland of bright blue spike-headed robots, green Mister Peanut figures and die cast mini trucks around lunchtime any weekday and you'll more than likely find a bunch of men and women standing around, shooting the breeze about trains, trucks, and maybe The Three Stooges."

"The Shopper's Guide to Washington, D.C." is an insider's adventure guide to shopping. Based on exploration, a network of sources, and personal missions, Karen Ertel and Stephen Koff guide residents and visitors to the best shopping in Washington. Categories include: gourmet and ethnic food; beer, wine and spirits; unique clothing; consignment shops; jewelry; cosmetics; perfume; vitamins; toys; games; hobby stores; cameras; stereos and televisions; computers; furniture and home accessories; garden supplies; musical instruments; CDs and records; sporting goods; books.

"Karen Ertel and Stephen Koff are serious shoppers, and it shows. Whatever your interest, you are sure to find it here, from gourmet food stores and fashionable boutiques to record shops and independent bookstores, and D.C. is fortunate to have a number of them." - "The Resourceful Traveler" column, Chicago Tribune, January 9, 2005

"We've lived in Washington since the 1970s, and thought we knew the city and surrounding suburbs well. It took Karen Ertel and Stephen Koff to open our eyes to an array of specialty shops we never knew existed. This is investigative shopping at its best." - Eleanor Clift and Tom Brazaitis, co-authors of "Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling"

Stephen Koff is the Washington bureau chief of the Cleveland Plain Dealer where he directs the newspaper's coverage of the nation's capital and national political affairs. Besides assigning and editing a staff of reporters, he helps cover the White House, presidential and congressional politics, and regulatory agencies. With more than 20 years in journalism, his reporting experiences have ranged from the light-hearted (judging ice cream) to the serious and tragic (9/11). Karen Ertel is a writer, editor, attorney and shopping maven whose out-of-town friends have learned that visiting Karen is a member of the Virginia and Florida bars and the author of a guide for employers on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Stephen and Karen live with their two children in Vienna, Virginia.

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