French Holiday

It's not easy serving the rich and famous, especially when they leave the city en masse for vacation in August. So the staff of the Lespinasse restaurant at the St. Regis Hotel in downtown Washington is following the example of its customers -- shutting the doors of the five-diamond French eatery for the month. But don't think the restaurant's staff will be resting on its pommes frites. When the doors reopen Sept. 8, Lespinasse will have a new fall menu. In addition, the restaurant will begin serving lunch in its informal Library Lounge, with a menu featuring more casual cuisine.

-- Judith Evans

DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"In our economic system, no one can support the continued existence of such a monopoly."

-- Rep. Ron Klink (D-Pa.) on Network Solutions, the Herndon firm that assigns most of the world's Internet addresses.

One-Stop Conversions

After a late start, Shoppers Food Warehouse is adding pharmacies and banks to its supermarkets in a bid to grab more sales from rivals Giant Food and Safeway.

Lanham-based Shoppers, which is expected to be purchased this fall by distributor Supervalu Inc. of Minneapolis, is better known for its "bag it yourself" policy and discount prices. But lately, its outlets are looking more like its competitors' stores.

Shoppers, the No. 3 grocer in the Washington area, recently opened pharmacies in its College Park and Olney stores. By next April, as many as 14 of its 37 area stores will have drugstores. Provident Bank of Baltimore also plans to open branches in about 16 Shoppers stores by January 2001.

The new services will "cement the relationship with the customers who want one-stop shopping," said Richard Pasewark, a Shoppers vice president.

But if you're tired of bagging your own food, you'll have to wait a bit longer. The retailer still needs to reconfigure the area near cash registers so employees can bag purchases.

Competitors say they'll be watching to see if the grocer can keep prices down as its labor and capital costs increase. But Supervalu chief executive Michael Wright says higher prices won't be an issue.

-- Stephanie Stoughton

Quick Hit

When it comes to road warriors, consistency rules. Marriott Hotels, Resorts and Suites has been ranked the "best hotel for business travelers" in the latest reader survey conducted by Travel & Leisure magazine. The survey's 1,000 respondents gave Marriott hotels high marks for location, price, overall quality and frequent-guest program.