Capital Buzz: Lexus dealers join in ‘Take Back the Park’

The Lerner Family — which owns the Washington Nationals baseball club — is tired of seeing all those Philadelphia Phillies fans screaming their heads off for the opposing club.

They’re also tired, no doubt, of seeing those unsold premium seats behind home plate, too.

As part of the team’s Take Back the Park plan, Washington area’s four Lexus dealers have gotten together to shell out $40,000 to purchase about 200 of the best seats in the park — the Lexus President’s Club seats behind home plate — for the May 5 tilt against those pesky Phillies.

“It was a commitment to support the Nationals and to bring both their clients and customers and employees and ultimately to be part of the Take Back the Park promotion,” said Andy Feffer, the Washington Nationals’ chief operating officer who talked about the initiative at a Greater Washington Board of Trade luncheon for the team last week.

The four dealerships are John Darvish Jr.’s Darcars of Silver Spring; Lindsay Lexus in Alexandria; Pohanka Lexus in Chantilly; and Lexus of Rockville.

“I assume most will entertain their most valued clients,” said Tammy Darvish, vice president of Darcars.

The President’s Club seats normally retail for about $300 each, per game. For that, you get a great view, food, in-seat service, parking, beer and wine.

And for the May 5 game, the Lexus dealers are throwing in a Nationals cap emblazoned with a Lexus logo.

Craig who?

MicroStrategy’s foray into the online classified advertising business, known as Emma, is bagging some interesting clients who are using the service to post job openings.

Nearly 30 Washington establishments — including the Georgetown waterfront restaurant Nick’s Riverside Grill and upscale spots such as Cafe Milano — are using the service to post for positions from bartenders to busboys, and from hosts to sous chefs.

Even Central Casting, which is a D.C.-Baltimore talent agency, is using the service to find 1,300 extras for Kevin Spacey’s new Netflix series, “House of Cards,” being filmed locally.

MicroStrategy senior vice president for marketing, Glen Goldstein, tells us the Tysons Corner-based data company has started a year-long promotional campaign to publicize the service.

“We are giving away a trip for two to Monte Carlo to see a Grand Prix race and a trip for two to the London Olympics,” Goldstein said.

Emma has already sent a handful of aspiring actors, including three women from D.C, to the recent Oscar events in Hollywood as part of its “Experiences of a Lifetime” campaign.

Emma uses Facebook to help users narrow the market for their classifieds to people they know and are comfortable with, Goldstein said.

Moving away from daily deals

Jamie Ratner of Bethesda-based Certifikid, the online daily deals site geared to families, sent us a report from last week’s Daily Deal Summit East in New York City .

“The energy level of the discussion, speakers, panelists and audience was considerably lower than last year’s experience,” Ratner said. “A good number of businesses that attended the conference last year are now out of the picture, having burnt out, been transformed or bought out.”

Ratner said smart companies are innovating away from doing just daily deals and into other areas, just as District-based LivingSocial has done by sponsoring live events at its downtown clubhouse.

“All the big sites are beginning to blend,” Ratner said. “Groupon, Living Social, Gilt, Daily Candy … are now hard to distinguish as they all are offering deals for local restaurants, spas, goods and travel categories.”

The Buzz hears:

Bethesda-based ZenGo, an indoor studio for cycling fanatics, is searching for a second location in the D.C. area.

Matt Williams, who was head of communications when the late Abe Pollin owned the Verizon Center, the Wizards and Capitals, is now chief communications officer at the Washington Animal Rescue League. His most recent stint, after leaving Pollin’s group, was with Maroon PR in Columbia.

Mark Dumas, who sold Spadac to GeoEye in 2010 for $45 million, will speak at Ingar Grev’s National Capital Region Entrepreneurs Forum at the Tower Club April 23. Seats are $55 online; $65 at the door.

Grev started the forum two years ago. He tells us the lunches break even.

Factoid of the week

Two local Ritz-Carltons — one on M Street and one in Georgetown — are offering an overnight “Live Like A First Kid” fairy tale stay in their presidential suites for a family that wants to roll like royalty. For $4,995, you get 24 hours in the two-bedroom suite, a personalized VIP tour (i.e., you cut any lines) of major monuments and hot attractions, overnight valet parking, an in-house movie and a VIP backpack. And wait, there’s more: As Ritz-Carlton publicity honcho Colleen Evans points out, “breakfast is included.”

$4,995

The cost of the Ritz’s presidential treatment.

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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