Business in the Blood

Monday, July 9, 2007

Many of the items that appear in our new local business blog wind up in the next day's paper. Here's a few that didn't. For the latest, check daily athttp://washingtonpost.com/washbizblog.

Business in the Blood

I was eating lunch in downtown Washington with Mike Fitzgerald, the chief executive of the new Bank of Georgetown . . .

Fitzgerald is a former employee of Riggs Bank, which is now part of PNC. He's hoping the B of G will be a community-based commercial bank . . .

Mike is 50, lives in Bethesda, and graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School (1975), received a BA (economics) from Fairfield University in 1979 and completed an MBA at Loyola College in 1981.

The Fitzgeralds are no strangers to business. Mike's grandfather on the Fitzgerald side ran Hubert's bakery at 20th and S streets. His great grandfather was a D.C. policeman. His grandfather on his mother's side? You guessed it: a bank regulator. . . .

The B of G has three branches: in its headquarters on 31st Street in Georgetown, in Friendship Heights and in Arlington.

-- Thomas Heath

It's in the Vision

After my (July 1) magazine cover story on Bill Marriott, a lot of people asked how I was able to connect on such a personal level with a guy who is more than four decades older. The answer is very simple: the New Garland Coffee Shop.

Back in the late 1970s, my grandfather and father owned the New Garland, a 108-seat diner in a bustling office building in downtown Chicago. I was just a little kid then, but I have fond memories of my dad parking me in a corner booth and feeding me french fries all day. . . .

I told Bill Marriott the story about the New Garland and I tell it again now because I think it represents what separates the Marriotts from the Rosenwalds, and perhaps the thousands of other family restaurants around the country today. That is the ability to see around the corner to that next opportunity, and not only to see that opportunity but to have the tenacity, the vision, and the sheer guts to make it work. The Marriotts did that, and today they have a company worth $18 billion.

As for my father and grandfather, they sold the New Garland after a few years to an entrepreneur who turned it into a restaurant called Heaven on Seven. It is wildly popular, and the company now has several locations.

-- Michael S. Rosenwald

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