The newsstand in The Shops in 2000 Penn has stacked shelves with newspapers, colorful copies of foreign journals and niche music weeklies for more than two decades. But after failing to pay rent and other fees for the last three years, One Stop News is facing eviction.
The University, which owns the block-long property along Pennsylvania Avenue, is suing the business, claiming it is behind on almost $63,000 in rent, late fees, maintenance, utilities and taxes, according to D.C. Superior Court documents filed Feb. 7.
Jim Kostoff, working behind the counter of the family-run business Saturday, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said the University has done little to help the struggling newsstand stay afloat.
The owner, Carla Kostoff, whose name was on the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment. She is slated to appear in court for an initial hearing Feb. 14.
Employee Josh Venne said the store has taken a hit from electronic readers and free online content, which have made newsstands obsolete to some readers.
“It’s an awesome little store. It’s buried away here, and it’s like a hidden treasure for a lot of people,” said Venne, who was a frequent customer before the store’s owner offered him a job less than a year ago. “I think there’s enough people that still want to hold a physical publication in their hands and also accidently find something that they weren’t intending to find.
Still, the store, which features copies of the New Yorker alongside British tabloids and cooking magazines, failed to draw in enough of those customers.
Hamid Shah, who works at the apparel store Expressions Boutique, said the arrival of CVS in 2008 seemed to catalyze One Stop News’ business troubles, and said its failure to pay rent was unsurprising.
“They had good business. Everything was good,” Shah said. “So CVS opened, these people, they’re dead – finished. So what do you want? What would you do if you were these people?”
Unlike CVS and other shops in the plaza, One Stop News does not accept GWorld.
The newsstand has been a staple at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue as many other ground-level restaurants and shops have filtered in and out. Over the last two years, The Shops at 2000 Penn lost Mexican eatery The Burro, Wasabi Sushi and Kinkeads, as PAUL Bakery moved in and Chipotle Mexican Grill signed a lease.
One of the store’s regular customers Michelle Budd said when she walks in, employees have a copy of Bazaar magazine and The Washington Post waiting for her behind the desk.
“This is like a mom-and-pop. Everybody knows them, they know everybody,” Budd, who has shopped at the newsstand for about 10 years, said. “There’s not a lot of traffic coming in anymore. There used to be a whole lot more.”
University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing GW’s policy to not comment on pending litigation.