Picking Up Stix

The newest flavor of frozen cappuccino -- white chocolate macadamia nut -- is a hit among 7-Eleven franchisees deciding whether to offer it in their stores. So are the low-cal Raspberry Creme fruit coolers.

But what about the new sausage, egg and cheese sticks?

The new Bakery Stix, which look like sealed hot-dog buns with filling inside, are hot sellers at the 460 7-Eleven convenience stores in the Washington area. The chain's stores in Prince George's County, for instance, are among 7-Eleven's leaders nationally in sales of Bakery Stix.

Commuters in the Washington area are demanding carryout food that doesn't slip and drip in their cars, said a company spokeswoman.

This "dashboard-driving" niche has been growing rapidly for the chain. And the retailer is taking full advantage of it by introducing more easy-to-nibble foods and more drinks in bottle sizes that fit snugly into cup holders. Many of the new products were on display last week at the University of 7-Eleven expo at the Washington Convention Center.

Not everyone likes 7-Eleven's latest offering, judging by the grimace of one convention attendee. Although the new egg and sausage stick tastes like the real thing, appearance is another matter -- a grayish matter. Then again, you probably shouldn't be taking your eyes off the road, anyway.

-- Stephanie Stoughton

Notable Omission

Washington is chock-full of people who try to shine a spotlight on their events, organizations or causes.

Few hit the jackpot as solidly as Pamela McKee, who runs a program that links the area's biggest businesses to some of its smallest.

But last week, McKee orchestrated an event so successful that she almost didn't get a chance to savor the moment.

Largely at McKee's doing, President Clinton and Vice President Gore descended on the Powell Manufacturing Industries plant in Northeast Washington on Tuesday, with the media in tow, to announce a new national program of big-to-small business assistance.

James L. Powell Jr.'s company, a mop and broom manufacturer whose employees include former welfare recipients and parolees, is a case study for the program.

His business has grown steadily with help from Giant Food Inc., which began buying its products a decade ago and has set up sales contacts with other retailers. Powell is the model for a Greater Washington Board of Trade effort run by McKee that has channeled more than $1 million in orders from large companies to 42 small D.C. businesses.

The plant made the ideal site for the Clinton visit, and McKee was pinching herself when the event was finally scheduled. That is, until a last-minute White House phone call disinvited her. Seems there wasn't room at Powell's shop for McKee. No way, she replied. Some heavy hitters intervened, and the invitation was renewed.

As it should have been, says Powell. "She's the anchor of the program."

-- Peter Behr

All Pleasant and Accounted For

Seems like an oxymoron: the 1999 VaultReports.com list of the best law firms in the country to work for. However, quite a few D.C. legal houses have made the list, which is based on responses from 1,711 attorneys from 47 law firms around the country.

Here are the top 10:

1. Covington & Burling, Washington

2. Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Washington

3. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Philadelphia, New York and Washington

4. Winston & Strawn, Chicago and Washington

5. Fulbright & Jaworski, Houston and Washington

6. Sidley & Austin, Chicago and Washington

7. Fish & Neave, New York

8. Ropes & Gray, Boston and Washington

9. Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco and Washington

10. Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago and Washington

Two other Washington firms made the top 20 list: Hogan & Hartson (No. 15) and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (No. 16).

-- Judith Evans

DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"We paid zero, they paid zero. It's odd, in that AOL usually gets a marketing fee for everything it does."

-- Raul Fernandez, chief executive of Proxicom Inc. of Reston, which signed a deal with America Online Inc. to offer World Wide Web services to big corporate clients.