Capital Buzz: Get ready for more natural food choices

The local natural food market is about to get some more competition.

A joint venture of grocers Mrs. Greens Management Corp. and Village Supermarkets picked up 10 Superfresh grocery stores scattered throughout the Baltimore-Washington corridor in an auction conducted as part of A&P’s bankruptcy restructuring proceedings.

According to my colleague Danielle Douglas, New Jersey-based Village will operate a store in White Oak and one in Lutherville, Md., while Mrs. Greens, a natural-food outfit out of New York, will run the rest, including a location in the Spring Valley neighborhood of the District. All told, the auction garnered proceeds in excess of $40 million. The winning bids are still subject to court approval.

Regarding Regardie

The Buzz checked in with longtime Washingtonian Bill Regardie, 70, the colorful former publisher of Regardie’s magazine, which was a must-read for the business community in the highflying 1980s and ’90s.

How has Washington business changed from when you were running Regardie’s 25 years ago?

It’s as if I went into amnesia for 20 years and came out of it. It’s a market I don’t recognize and don’t understand. It’s like a neutron bomb went off. When I left it, I knew a lot of local players and local people. A few months ago, I went to a Greater Washington Board of Trade “Man of the Year Award” and I knew seven people there. It’s gone from a locally dominated market to a nationally dominated market of interchangeable parts and interchangeable people.

What people do you pay attention to around town?

I pay attention to [Capital One chairman and founder] Rich Fairbank. He has done an extraordinary job of building Capital One, not into just a regional company but a national powerhouse. He had great vision when he took over that bank in Richmond and persuaded them what the segmented credit card market could be.

Parting thoughts?

How the military-industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned us about, has truly taken over Washington. Every defense establishment corporation understands it must be here and know the leaders on Capitol Hill and at the Defense Department on a first-name basis.

The Buzz hears . . .

Ripken Baseball, the company that oversees the business interests of Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken Jr., has hired Glenn Tilley as president.

Tilley, 49, has been a consultant to Ripken Baseball the last six months. He is a Philadelphia native and longtime Baltimore resident. Tilley was chief executive of Baltimore’s Becker Group, best known for its mall Christmas displays, until it was bought for $24 million by a Phoenix firm.

Curry’s Auto Service, the Sterling-based repair shop for high-end autos, will open its first Maryland location Aug. 1 at 457 North Frederick Ave. in Gaithersburg. Curry’s Auto has signed a 10-year lease with Alex Associates LLC for the property, which includes 5,500 square feet with six service bays.

• MusicSkins, founded in 2007 by Chevy Chase natives Vince Bartozzi and Jed Seifert, is headed on tour. The company signed on as a sponsor of the Vans Warped Tour, a touring music fest that runs from June through October.

The company, based in Washington and in Brooklyn, sells removable, illustrated protective vinyl skins for mobile devices. MusicSkins features thousands of music-industry related images of bands, brands and artists.

Georgetown Business

Harvard Business School professor David A. Thomas, 54, on Aug. 1 becomes the new dean of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, vowing “to ensure MSB’s place as one of the preeminent business schools in the world.”

Thomas said he has several other goals for the Georgetown professional school, including spending more time on the students’ post-graduate lives.

“I want to make all of our educational programs transformational, which means students leave with not just technical and analytic skills, with a sense of themselves as leaders and a sense of themselves having the possibility to make a difference in the world.”

He also wants to expand MSB’s global presence and take greater advantage of the other schools at Georgetown.

Thomas currently is the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professor of Business Administration at Harvard, and he directs the school’s organizational behavior unit. He has three degrees from Yale University: a BA in administrative sciences, and a master’s and doctorate in organizational behavior.

He also has a master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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