Downtown business roster grows: New logo unveiled Bassett/Boynton Home Page
by Liz M. Zylwitis
Staff Writer Gazette August 18, 1999
The number of businesses set to be part of the nearly half-billion-dollar redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring is growing.
Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan and Silver Spring officials held a press conference Monday outside the new offices of the Silver Spring Urban District at the corner of Georgia and Wayne avenues to announce that 151 businesses have chosen to locate or expand in Silver Spring since last year.
Joined by Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce President Roger Bain, Silver Spring Urban District Chairwoman Carol Rubin and other local business leaders, Duncan revealed the names of 88 new or future Silver Spring companies and 63 expanding firms.
The list of new companies not only includes big corporations, such as Discovery Communications, Fresh Fields and American Film Institute, but also small restaurants that came onto the local business scene quietly, such as Paddy Mac's Irish pub, Bombay Gaylord, Georgia Express and Tijuana's Mexican Cafe.
McDonald's, Burlington Coat Factory, Industrial Photo and Holiday Inn are just a few of the companies expanding their existing businesses downtown.
The first phase of the three-year, $320 million retail redevelopment project, now under way, includes Fresh Fields and other stores and is set to be completed next year.
Duncan invited Willie Davis, president of the Silver Spring-based Birch and Davis, a national health-care management consulting and program operations firm, to represent the new and expanding businesses on his list.
"Willie Davis' company has 10 offices in eight states, but is based on Fairview Road in Silver Spring," Duncan said. "Ernst & Young has recognized him as its 1999 Greater Washington Entrepreneur of the Year award in the health-care and life sciences category."
Davis lives three blocks away from the busy intersection where the press conference was held and operates a business a block from where he lives. He came to Silver Spring in 1972 and remembers going to the Silver Theatre and shopping at the old Hecht Co., like many other longtime residents.
"What is exciting about this is that it shows we are going to get [things to do] back," Davis said. "I feel like a stepchild when I go to Bethesda and see all the vibrant activity happening there, but I believe Silver Spring will soon become Maryland's hallmark."
The new growth also benefits the rest of the business community, by creating a concentrated work force they can draw from and helping enhance their revenue, he said.
"Hopefully, we will be able to contain our business costs by taking advantage of more accessible products and services," Davis said.
Of the 151 new or expanded companies, roughly 60 have capitalized on property tax credits from the state or received grants or loans from the county's economic development fund. These businesses, alone, have helped stabilize and rejuvenate the area's office market, retaining or creating almost 3,200 jobs in Silver Spring, Duncan said.
In announcing the recent surge in Silver Spring business locations and expansions, Duncan contrasted the latest numbers with those he unveiled at the end of 1997 when county officials and business leaders joined to celebrate that year's addition or expansion of about 30 companies.
At Monday's press conference, Duncan and other county officials also unveiled a new logo designed to strengthen the downtown's identity.
The new logo, which incorporates an image of a spring above the words Silver Spring, will be displayed on street banners and signs throughout the downtown, on uniforms and equipment of the Silver Spring Urban Crew and Service Corps, and on promotional items and marketing materials. Foulger-Pratt Cos. also will use the logo in permanent elements of its downtown redevelopment project.
"People are excited because they can see what is going to happen in the near future," Duncan said. "In the last year and a half, there has been one success story after another. We are still actively pursuing businesses. Every few months something else is going to open. A year from now there will be another big story."
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