Atkinson ’s design partook of the supermarket aesthetic with its
clean lines, bright colors, and large windows, especially when
contrasted with the dim galleries and dark Victorian bulk of the New
Center Market across the intersection. His building
also advertised its use the latest
Washington Post interview, Atkinson's collaborator, builder-engineer
Morris Gumenick, extoled the new building's “ultra-modern” features such
as central electric refrigeration, glass-enclosed, temperature
controlled meat cutting sector, and the “total elimination of vermin”.
evoked the supermarket aesthetic by remarking “we have seen to it that
there shall be plenty of light and fresh air. This is a primary
consideration wherever food is handled.”
immodestly concluded “I have created a job well-done. The plant is made
so as to be scientifically perfect.”
On April 29, 1932, most of page 9 of the Washington Post
was occupied by a display ad proclaiming the opening of “A Modern Food
Center” at the southwest corner of Fifth and K Streets NW. Below a
photograph of the new building and the announcement of a $25.00 prize
for the best building name.
The winner of the $25.00 prize was never announced
and Wittlin and Deckelbaum’s building never had an official name.
However, as 1933, the worst year of the depression, turned to 1934, the
building was near full occupancy. Besides the Washington Supply Market
and Wittlin Beef companies, its early tenants included the Albert Briggs
Wholesale Meat Company, the Mendolson-Selfon meat and grocery firm, and
Engineers Local 67 in the upstairs offices.