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ROCKVILLE – Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, one of the Metropolitan region’s most recognizable grocery store chains, will be shutting its doors for good in 2020, starting with 18 locations including three located within Montgomery County. United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), the parent company of the grocery store chain, announced on Dec. 6 that it will […]

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By Ivan Torres Special to The Sentinel BETHESDA – The Montgomery County Green Bank, a nonprofit created by the county, brought together several of its partners to celebrate the completion as a significant energy savings project in Bethesda on Dec. 12. The Green Bank, located in the Glascock Office Building in Barlow Place, was authorized […]

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SILVER SPRING – A new building is slated to be erected at the site of the former Progress Place becoming the tallest building in Silver Spring and the first to feature a food hall and city market in Montgomery County. Solaire 8200 Dixon apartment community, which received site plan approval in the spring, will be […]

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ROCKVILLE — On Nov. 12, Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro and County Executive Marc Elrich announced a new County Economic Development Platform. The new platform will focus on business development, housing transportation and workforce development. In addition to the development platform, Navarro introduced a resolution to unify the council’s focus on economic development. The […]

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BETHESDA – Roger Wallace of Bethesda knows about a lot about the art of flight. He is a pilot of small aircraft. But, on Oct. 30, he “flew” a much larger airplane, a Boeing 737NG. “The controls are much heavier and slow to respond, but it was really good,” Wallace said of his turn at […]

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SILVER SPRING – Manna Food Center, which strives to end hunger in the county, added a community food market in Silver Spring and showcased its newly renovated Gaithersburg warehouse amidst multiple celebrations on Oct. 19 and 20. A red ribbon was cut Oct. 19 at a new food pantry in the eastern part of the […]

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ROCKVILLE — GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) celebrated the opening of its new expanded manufacturing facility in Rockville, which will add 100 new high-paying jobs, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 3.  GSK is a multinational pharmaceutical company based in the United Kingdom. According to GSK, over the years the company has become a leader in products designed […]

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GAITHERSBURG – Grants, loans and rewards to local businesses for creating jobs were some of the topics that came up during a Gaithersburg City Council work session Sept. 23.  Representatives from state and county governments joined Assistant City Manager Tom Lonergan in presenting about economic development incentives available to local businesses. They spoke after councilmembers […]

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ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Craig Rice announced legislation that would prohibit vape shops from opening within a half-mile of middle and high schools in the county on Sept. 16.   The legislation would also prohibit e-cigarette and vape manufacturers, like Juul, from distributing their products near schools.   “The goal of these prohibitions […]

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ROCKVILLE — The start of school is only a few weeks away, and to help parents get their students ready to hit the halls, Maryland’s Tax-Free Week has begun. The cost-saving event runs from August 11-17 this year. Retailers in Maryland will not charge the usual 6% sales tax on apparel and footwear that are […]

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KENSINGTON – During its monthly meeting Aug. 13, members of the Kensington Town Council reviewed the pros and cons of allowing the county to oversee its alcohol licensing. Because several areas in the town are zoned so as not to permit liquor licenses, Kensington has found itself turning to the state for permission to allow […]

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By Lyna Bentahar Special to the Sentinel ROCKVILLE – Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant officially opened its doors on Research Row on July 15. It is the restaurant and wine bar’s second location in Maryland after Montgomery County opened its laws to allow for a liquor license that suited the enterprise.  Tim McEnery founded Cooper’s […]

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BETHESDA – Several hundred business professionals listened to seven startup owners explain their ideas in less than 10 minutes in the hope of obtaining investors for their new companies. The Big Idea Connectpreneur Forum, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda on March 14, brought together corporate executives, entrepreneurs and angels. The by-invitation-only participants […]

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By Kathleen Stubbs    @kathleenstubbs3 ROCKVILLE — Patients who seek to purchase medical marijuana will be able to do so in Rockville, perhaps in 2019. People driving on Hungerford Drive may notice a sign for “Sugarloaf Wellness Center” near Mannakee Street. The property owner has permits from the City of Rockville for the space to […]

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By Neal Earley    @neal_earley Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have filed lawsuits against two major financial institutions and their subsidiaries claiming they violated the Fair Housing Act by purposely offering bad loans to African-American and Latino borrowers. The counties filed their lawsuit Nov. 20 in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, and have named Bank […]

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By Neal Earley CHEVY CHASE — Development was the key issue in one of the last Montgomery County Executive candidate forums before Tuesday’s elections. For voters in the Friendship Heights area of Chevy Chase, how each of the candidates is going to guide their neighborhood through rising density, increasingly tall buildings, overcrowded schools and traffic […]

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By Michael H. Shuman Nancy Floreen is justifying her independent bid to become County Executive of Montgomery County with the claim that she is “business friendly” and Marc Elrich, the official Democratic Party nominee, is not. As someone who has spent his 25 years working on economic development with hundreds of cities worldwide, I beg […]

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By Neal Earley ROCKVILLE — For Chris Zhu, owner of Pandora Seafood and Bar in Rockville, the reality that her restaurant would close has not fully hit home. Just one year after she opened her restaurant in Rockville Town Square, Zhu announced this week that she will have to close it for good. When Zhu […]

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Montgomery County may now have a new unofficial, self-appointed ambassador. Last week, attorney and Republican candidate for Montgomery County Executive Robin Ficker said he traveled to Seattle to meet with representatives from Amazon. Montgomery County is on a list of 20 possible jurisdictions, where the online retail giant said it could possibly locate its second […]

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Cisco Systems, the major Internet hardware provider, is buying Gaithersburg-based Broadsoft, Inc. for $1.9 billion; the companies made a joint announcement Oct. 23.

Broadsoft, which according to securities disclosures has about 200 employees at two locations in Gaithersburg, supplies corporations with software platforms for customer service, internal communications, and cloud migration. It has customers in 80 countries, including 25 of the 30 largest Internet service providers worldwide, ranked by revenue.

While headquartered in Gaithersburg, Broadsoft has more than 1,700 employees worldwide.

For San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco, the Broadsoft acquisition is part of a wide-ranging move in the last several years to add web and cloud applications and services to its product portfolio, explained Rowan Trollope, Cisco senior vice president, in a telephone press conference. Broadsoft also brings in many small- and medium-sized businesses to Cisco as customers, he said.

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Sites in the White Flint area of Rockville and the White Oak area of Silver Spring may be included in Montgomery County’s proposal to Amazon to host the latter’s second headquarters.

As previously reported, as many as 100 states and localities in the United States and Canada are submitting proposals, which are due to Amazon on Oct. 19. Amazon will sift through these first-round bids, and from them choose semi-finalists and finalists in second and third rounds of bidding, before choosing a single location sometime next year. Amazon expects the second headquarters to bring 50,000 mostly high-skilled, high-paying jobs to the winning jurisdiction.

There is no clear public information on what sites, financial incentives, and other features are in the County’s proposal. Amazon is demanding that jurisdictions applying for “HQ2” keep their proposals out of the public eye. David Petr, CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, told the Sentinel that he is under a nondisclosure agreement with Amazon on this matter. MCEDC is the entity submitting the County’s proposal to Amazon.

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Four Montgomery County companies are among 19 firms nationwide selected by the General Services Administration to provide satellite services to federal agencies.

There are at least 1,500 mostly high-tech jobs in the satellite industry in the County. That’s based on figures provided by Germantown’s Hughes Network Systems, by far the largest satellite company in the County and among the largest in the nation, as well as information from UltiSat in Gaithersburg.

The other companies selected by GSA were AIS Engineering of Silver Spring and RiteNet Corp. of Rockville. There were also 11 firms chosen from elsewhere in the D.C. area, and four firms outside the area.

Federal agencies use satellites for many functions, including communicating between and within agencies, military surveillance, earth and space observation and other scientific uses, satellite research and development, navigation, broadcasting, emergency assistance both domestic and foreign, and operational activities like employee training and fleet and asset tracking.

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Fox Broadcasting Company affiliates WTTG and WDCA will move from Northwest D.C. to Bethesda in 2021, bringing more than 200 employees to the County.

Discovery Communications will consolidate 230 technical and creative people, now working on Kennett Street in downtown Silver Spring, to its headquarters on Georgia Avenue in 2018.

Economic development incentives from Montgomery County and the State of Maryland are fostering both moves. The incentives include grants from the County, loans from the State, and tax breaks from both.

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Registering a company as a “benefit corporation” gives a for-profit company official recognition “as a business that has a purpose,” says Gary Skulnik, CEO of Neighborhood Sun, a Bethesda startup that fosters “community solar” projects.

Perry Hooks, president of Hooks Book Events, another benefit corporation in Bethesda, said, “Business can be for good. Business should be part of the solution.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8), back in 2010 when he was a state senator, led the effort to add benefit corporations to Maryland statutes, said Skulnik. He added that Maryland was among the first states to have such a law, and the first to allow limited liability companies to designate themselves as benefit LLCs.

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Many thousands of marijuana plants began growing in the last two weeks in Maryland, as the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission licensed eight more growers, to join the one licensed back in May.

Because the growers were not allowed to begin planting until they were fully licensed and the plants have a three-month or slightly longer growing cycle, the state is not likely to have substantial amounts of medical marijuana product available until November, as previously reported, or even December.

MMCC also licensed four processors on Aug. 14. They work as “middlemen” between growers and dispensaries and create products for administering and ingesting cannabis materials.

Forward Gro in the Baltimore area, the grower licensed in May, declined to say whether it had begun crops back then or waited until processors and dispensaries were available for its output. “Forward Gro is working diligently to get its first product to market,” said spokesperson Vicki Bendure of Bendure Communications. “Timing on processing and distribution is still to be determined.”

As of Aug. 22, the state still had only one fully-licensed dispensary: Wellness Solutions in Frederick.

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Bethesda is one of the top places in the country for companies on both the ownership and management sides of the hotel business.

J.W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr., CEO of Marriott International Inc. from 1972 to 2011 and still executive chairman, led the lodging industry’s separation of management and ownership functions for larger, higher-end properties. Until the 1980s, hotel owners in all price ranges generally managed their own properties, and chains had either central ownership or franchising deals holding them together.

Marriott concentrated on the management side of the business, developing the powerful marketing synergies of nationwide and worldwide hotel brands, as well as expertise and cost savings in hotel operations.

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Founders of successful Montgomery County businesses discussed why they’re in the County and how they thought it can maintain the inflow of innovative businesses and jobs in a June 20 learning session with all nine County Council members.

David Petr, CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, who organized the event, said the many key components of an attractive package for innovative businesses include: (1) a talented workforce; (2) good real estate space in which to locate; (3) capital access through banking and venture capital; (4) good transportation within the jurisdiction and to the rest of the country and the world; (5) clusters of expertise in particular businesses; (6) good local education systems, both K-12 and university; (7) an effective workforce development program; (8) openness to change and innovation; (9) nurturing small businesses and incubator programs in fields with special promise; (10) and a good community in which to live.

“We crush Fairfax County” on standards such as place to live, education systems, work-life balance and traffic, said Tien Wong, founder/CEO of Opus8 in Chevy Chase, a statement that brought smiles and support from Council members.