Outside City Sports: five hours, freezing temperatures, no sweat

Photo by Katie Manning
50 people.
50 people.
Three 20-somethings with hand warmers in their boots and smiles on their pink faces huddled together against the glass of City Sports' front doors. At 4:45 a.m. this morning, Eric Owens, Holly McHugh and Stephen Slocum claimed their front-of-the-line spot at City Sports' 3338 M Street location, which just opened today.  The Baltimore natives were three of 50 cold-weather warriors, who came to collect gift bags of City Sports gear worth over $250 dollars.
From left: Eric Owens, Holly McHugh, and Stephen Slocum huddled together for warmth (Photo by: Katie Manning) From left: Eric Owens, Holly McHugh, and Stephen Slocum huddled together for warmth

Slocum called his group, "a bunch of idiots." Doubtful. He is earning his masters in chemistry and molecular biology at John Hopkins University.

Owens, an ultimate-Frisbee enthusiast with half of his face hidden by Polarfleece, described their trio -- in a muffled voice -- as, "three particularly motivated grad students." McHugh jokingly said she thought the experience was "brisk."

Inside the store, which was at least 50 degrees warmer, employees hustled through the rooms to the beat of electronic-instrumental Christmas music.  Kirsten Lannon, the marketing manager, weaved through the store's racks of sports apparel, which included tennis equipment, running shoes, yoga mats, compression gear, swim wear, and much more.

She stopped to point out one of their most popular items, a "trendy commuter brand" called Timbuk2, for those who choose to bike or walk to work. Lannon said that shoppers are also snatching reflective gear and Vibram Five Fingers shoes off the shelves of their other D.C. locations.
reflective gear on the second floor (Photo by: Katie Manning) reflective gear on the second floor

According to Lannon, their high-end merchandise is tailored to Georgetown.

The building's character is largely preserved, as is the case with many M Street stores. The sports gear hangs attached to -- but not hiding -- the exposed brick walls. Grafitti remains unobstructed on the second floor. Hand weights surround the art because "it could look like it was a downtown boxing gym," said Michael Mosca, executive vice president of merchandising.

Mosca said that they picked the Georgetown location because "it's sort of a sweet spot for us in terms of demographics. People work here, live here, go to school here."

Lannon  said that City Sports hopes to create a relationship with the community by partnering with area gyms, hosting morning classes with local-yoga clubs, and sponsoring Georgetown University's runners.
View from the top (Photo by: Katie Manning) View from the top

A sizeable community was already eager to get inside. They extended down the sidewalk braving wind so cold that it stung tears out of their eyes.

The frosty temperatures didn't keep George Washington University student, John Macchione from joining the end of the line. Even though he arrived too late to take home the coveted bag, he stayed in line to shop. His patience paid off. City Sports gave $20 gift cards to everyone in line after the first 50 people. In reference to the first few people in line, the GWU student said, "people need to sleep later."

Owens, Slocum and McHugh disagreed. They said the fives hours of seeing surprised reactions from people was "entertaining." After collecting their prized-giveaway bags,  Owens said his plans involved breakfast and "taking off a couple of base layers."

No, it's not candy. These are jars of energy bars. (Photo by: Katie Manning) No, it's not candy. These are jars of energy bars.