Capital Buzz: A

January 27, 2013

Forget the dog park or dog run. Now there’s a fitness club for little Fido.

Zoom Room, a fitness club for dogs, opens its first Washington area location Feb. 15 in Rockville.

Zoom Room will serve up doggie birthday parties, senior stretch classes (we are serious), core strength workouts and even Pilates for pups — known as Pup-lates— for man’s best friend. There are one-on-one sessions with trainers, obedience training, and scent discrimination and shy-dog classes for introverted puppies. There will even be a disco laser show.

The 2,739-square-foot puppy palace includes a “private gym” that is sure to tire out the little four-legged friend, just like a long walk.

“You can’t take your dog to Starbucks, but you can bring him or her to Zoom Room,” said former lobbyist Steve Mulder, who has invested less than $250,000 in the franchise.

Mulder adopted a dog a year ago and fell in love with the Australian shepard named Abby.

This isn’t doggy day care where you drop the pup off and head to work. Every owner must stay with the dog for the workout. But no worries. “We have a bar with stools and free WiFi and free coffee,” Mulder said. “You can just sip and hang out.”

Mulder said he put a bunch of his retirement fund into the project. So he is betting that it’s going to work.

The California-based company has more than a dozen franchises, and Mulder said all of them have been successful.

“It’s not McDonald’s,” he said. “But it’s not a mom-and-pop start-up, either.”

Curry joins the hybrid game

Gainesville-based Curry’s Auto Service wants a piece of the hybrid vehicle business. The company, which has nine service centers in the Washington market, has invested $50,000 in equipment and training so it can recharge batteries in hybrid cars and trucks.

“We’re going to go after this market aggressively,” said company president Matt Curry, who has a 10th store opening in Leesburg in March. “We’re going to pioneer the hybrid maintenance and repair market.”

Curry estimates he can gross $500,000 this year alone. He added that he expects revenue from hybrid services to double to $1 million by the end of 2014.

As hybrids age, their batteries become less efficient, causing the vehicles to use more gasoline. The battery reconditioning restores horsepower and reduces the amount of gasoline used. Curry said more than 100 hybrid models will be on the auto market within a couple of years.

Curry partnered with Automotive Research and Design to provide the service.

The Buzz hears:

Leesburg’s Willowcraft Winery, owned by Lew Parker, begins bottling its line of Chardonnays, Rieslings and other white wines Feb. 4. The bottling is done by Mid Atlantic Bottling LLC, a cooperative formed a decade ago by seven wineries in Virginia and Maryland. In addition to Willowcroft, the other members include Loudoun Valley, Lake Anna, Sugarloaf, Elk Run, Basignani, and Woodhall. Parker is a founder of Leesburg-based K2M Inc., which makes instruments for spinal surgeons.

Television investigative reporter-turned-entrepreneur Anna Prendergast brings Penn Station East Coast Subs to the Washington area next month. The first restaurant is in Haymarket, and the second opens on Route 50 and Lee Highway in Fairfax County in March. Penn Station plans to open between five and seven restaurants in the region over the next three years.

Prendergast, 34, is a Vienna native and Clemson graduate who was a television reporter covering Iraq at 22. She talked her station in Clarksville, Tenn., into sending her to Iraq by promising 100 soldier Christmas greetings a day, sponsored by a company. The Leesburg resident saved her money from her television days, and is now headed into the restaurant franchisee business. (The average initial investment for a Penn Station Restaurant was approximately $345,000 in 2011.)

Factoid of the week

$270,000That’s the auction price that General Motors chairman Dan Akerson’s 1958 Chevrolet Corvette brought in for charity on Jan. 18. Akerson’s prized Corvette was one of five Chevrolet autos, including a 2014 Stingray, that were auctioned for charity in Scottsdale, Ariz. The five cars raised $2.14 million. Akerson’s share is going to the Habitat for Humanity in Detroit. The money is helping rebuild a neighborhood near GM’s world headquarters in downtown Detroit. Akerson, a former managing director at District-based Carlyle Group, still maintains a home in McLean.

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