Locals Worry That Olney Is Becoming Too Gentrified

by Josh Averbach ‘18 and Lexi Matthews ‘18

Olney has welcomed a score of new businesses to bolster the booming metropolis. One developer called the new Olney “an oasis in the desert that is Northeastern Montgomery County.” While many are excited to see their doors open, some worry that the Washington suburb may be losing touch with its roots.

“I’m sick of these vultures coming in and stealing what our town has stood for,” said Sherwood senior Ruth Huffman. “Our town has always been known for BJ Pumpernickel and Cheeburger Cheeburger and … Cheeburger Cheeburger.” Huffman seethed. “The sight of these slimy, white-collar bigwigs ruining that makes me absolutely sick.”

The corporate grip on Olney’s throat first tightened with the fall of the beloved Olney Bagel Bakery in late 2016. Crowds gathered and openly wept as construction workers hoisted down the ‘Olney’ part of the sign and replaced it with ‘Royal’ to signify its absorption into the Germantown-based chain. Protesters held signs with slogans such as “Royal Bagel Bakery? More like SPOILED Bagel Bakery am I right,” “Occupy Town Center Drive,” and “We’ll never be royals.”

The transfer of power in the now-regal breakfast establishment was instantly met with plummeting Yelp scores from disgruntled locals. “I will NOT be buying my no-foam, half-soy, double-whipped cream caramel latte from these sellouts any longer. Where did Olney’s integrity go? I guess it got torn down with the movie theater,” wrote soccer mom Linda Johnson on the reviewing website. Johnson then vulgarly responded to several comments suggesting that it was too soon for jokes about the movie theater.

Many wonder about the economic impact of the changes to the Olney skyline. These concerns come as Olney struggles to be taken seriously among Montgomery County’s “superpowers,” such as Rockville and Gaithersburg.

“All of our hard-working people are getting shipped off to places like Rockville. This town just isn’t the same anymore…” junior Scott Young could be heard mumbling wistfully as he sat on the curb just outside of the nowclosed Sakura. Young then proceeded to scoop up a handful of dirt and watch it blow away in the wind somberly before getting up and skateboarding to the Starbucks in Harris Teeter.

The last straw for many Olneyites was the construction of the brand new Chick-fil-A in the heart of downtown Olney this fall. “First the evil one percent infiltrates our breakfast with Royal Bagel Bakery, and now they’ve got their greedy hands on our lunch too?!” cried local man Greg Lowry while waving a fist in the air. “The real zest, the real salt of our hometown is lost now that we’ve torn down that weird karate studio slash nail salon that no one really went to.” Lowry then told reporters that, despite his convictions, he still plans to eat regularly at the restaurant.

The anger truly became palpable once it was discovered on a brisk October morning that someone had spray-painted ‘capitalism kills’ onto Chick-fil-A’s fresh brick. “Haha, that’s crazy … Who would have been brave enough to do that … and so smart to do it so close to the 100-year anniversary of the communist revolution,” a red-bandanna-clad Huffman commented as she scrambled to shove a spray paint can-shaped object into her backpack.

While many have resigned to overcome this tragedy with their heads held high, some locals fear their small-town lives are forever tainted. “At least we’ll always have Brookeville…” Young sighed dreamily, a single tear rolling down his cheek.