About The Phoenix

Original Painting by Fernando Olivera
Original Painting by Fernando Olivera

The Phoenix has one of the richest histories in Georgetown. We opened our doors at 1514 Wisconsin Avenue, NW in 1955 and now, after almost 60 years in business, we are still family owned and operated.

Betty and Bill Hays fell in love with the vibrant folk art, fine art, jewelry and home décor of Mexico, returning  home with a station wagon full of treasures. Their interest in Pre Colombian art combined with their spirit of adventure led them around the globe. After Bill's death in 1977, Betty continued to travel and explore her interest in archaeology.

She was an intrepid and fearless traveler, a generous friend, and an enthusiastic participant in life. Even in her nineties she trekked through jungles and climbed mountains, rode camels, studied lemurs and dolphins and orangutans, and sifted for bones and pot sherds in archaeological sites around the world. She was a staunch political progressive, and spent much of her volunteer time working for progressive causes. She inspired legions of friends around the world to live their lives to the fullest by her example. Although she loved her adventures around the world, she loved coming home to her family and The Phoenix as well. She worked in the store well into her nineties.

It was Betty and Bill's interest and affection for Mexico that drew their son John and his wife Sharon to leave their farm in Maine, where they were working with at-risk children, to try out the business. That was over 30 years ago...

Today John his wife Sharon, and their daughter, Samantha, travel extensively and work directly with artists and artisans to select the highest quality items for The Phoenix and its customers.