After the biggest turnout and the closest vote in Heart of Del Ray history, the Del Ray Business Association presented the 2024 Heart of Del Ray to The Dog Store/Your Dog’s Best Friends and The Duncan Library/Friends of Duncan Library. The annual award, given to the business or organization that represents the heart and soul of Del Ray, is determined by a public vote of neighbors and customers.
“The community made it clear that they love these businesses more than anything, so for the first year we are going to actually have two Hearts of Del Ray,” said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter.
The Dog Store fosters community among both two- and four legged friends in Del Ray by participating in community events, decorating for all the holidays, and doting on the pups in the neighborhood. “They are always friendly, helpful, and clearly love their community of dogs and humans,” read one nomination. “On walks down the Avenue, every pup MUST stop to get love and treats from the staff. Mine drags me in there every time!” wrote another.
One of Del Ray’s favorite “third places,” Duncan Library brings the community together with programs and resources covering a wide variety of interests and causes — and, of course, books. “It is the epitome of the heart of Del Ray. It’s a gathering place for everyone and it embraces you the second you walk in the door,” wrote one nomination. “The library’s programming for ALL ages is incredible, the staff is warm and welcoming, and the Friends of the Library works so hard fundraising behind the scenes to make all the extras that make Duncan so special possible,” wrote another.
Nearly 2,000 neighbors, friends and customers participated in online voting. Past winners of the award include A Show of Hands, Jen Walker of McEnearney Associates, Bobi Bomar Homes of Alexandria, The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray, Greener Cleaner of Del Ray, Del Ray Pizzeria, Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga, Caboose Cafe, Del Ray Cafe, HomeGrown Restaurant Group, Taqueria Poblano, Ms. Preeti’s 7-11, Dolce & Bean, Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, and the Del Ray Farmers’ Market.