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The Hecht Company, last of DC's department stores

When Hecht's finally ceased to exist in 2006, it was more than just the end of one of Washington's oldest and most successful businesses. It was the end of large-scale, locally-owned retail as an industry. Other local department store giants, some of which we have previously chronicled, had already fallen: Lansburgh's in 1972, Kann's in 1975; Garfinkel's in 1990; and Woodies in 1995. For a long time, Hecht's bucked this trend. When the company built a brand-new, freestanding store downtown in 1985, it seemed to breathe new life into a tired enterprise and bolster the resurgence of downtown as a shopping destination. But nothing lasts forever.

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