They grew up together in Iran, and in 1971, Ahmed Loghmanian and Hossien Garakyaraghi made the move to America to study at George Washington University. But it wasn't long before the pull of the family business back home beckoned them to open Old Town Masterpieces, a landmark Oriental rug store closing its doors after 35 years in business.
“King Street was dangerous when we first came here. It seems like we've seen every change in Alexandria since the beginning.” - Old Town Masterpieces owner Ahmed Loghmanian
“I think he met George Washington,” Loghmanian said in jest to Garakyaraghi, his lifelong friend and brother-in-law. “That's how long we've been here.”
First opened at 1632 King St. in 1978, Old Town Masterpieces was forced to relocate when its original building was torn down as part of the redevelopment of Upper King Street.
”King Street was dangerous when we first came here,” Loghmanian said. “It seems like we've seen every change in Alexandria since the beginning.”
A longtime fixture at the corner of King and Alfred streets, Old Town Masterpieces quickly became the go-to place for designers and residents from throughout the region when it came to Oriental rugs.
“We have family in the carpet business in Hamburg, Germany, which is the international hub for Persian and Oriental rugs in Europe and the U.S.,” said Loghmanian, a third-generation rug importer. “That is why we were always able to get the best for our customers.”
But after 35 years, the partners have decided it's time to close up shop.
“It's time for us to retire,” Loghmanian said. “We still have some business dealings in real estate but that will be easier to handle in retirement.”
Loghmanian said the store will close its doors at the end of May and the retail store White House Black Market will open in the space sometime over the summer.
“We want to thank our Alexandria and D.C. customers for supporting us for so many years,” Garakyaraghi said. “I hope in our final weeks we will have a chance to say goodbye to everyone who helped make us a success.”
Old Town Masterpieces is located at 903 King St. For more information call 703-836-9028.