DID YOU HEAR? . . .

"I feel terrible that they are closing. I had to dress in black. I'm mourning the loss of these grits."

-- Evelyn Minor, a longtime customer of the Hot Shoppe in Marlow Heights, which closed its doors Thursday, bringing an end to a 70-year-old Marriott Corp. tradition.

Editor's Note:

We've decided to make some changes to Washington Business.

Some of the changes are subtle, others more noticeable.

The most obvious ones relate to the look of the publication, like the new "teasers" on the front and the new logo. The rest were done to make WashBiz better organized, easier to navigate and, hopefully, harder to put down. These include the expanded table of contents below, which now has a description of every story you'll find inside.

Most of the features that regular readers of Washington Business have come to know are still there: Jerry Knight's Washington Investing, Peter Behr's By the Numbers economic analysis, Margaret Webb Pressler's inBusiness feature on entrepreneurs, Rudolph A. Pyatt Jr.'s commentary, Career Track and Hearsay: The Lawyers Column.

To these we've added two new regular features. Shannon Henry, our local technology columnist, debuts in this issue with Digital Capit@l, an every-other-week column exploring the trends and issues in the local technology community.

Also, each week readers will find Around the Region, a roundup of local business news, with short items about companies, events and people from the District's fast-growing suburbs. InBusiness will now also be host to other resource-related features designed to give entrepreneurs practical help and advice.

Lastly, we'll begin a weekly rotation of features focusing on four industries: health care, retail, finance and real estate. Of course, technology will continue to be a mainstay of our news coverage.

We plan to make other changes to the mix in the coming months: Look for more news about Washington Business on this page after the holidays. In the meantime, feel free to let me know what you think of the changes we've made.

One thing won't change. Washington Business will continue to be committed to covering the trends, companies and people that shape our local business scene.

-- Terence O'Hara (oharat@washpost.com)

Closing the Book?

Changes are afoot at TechCapital, the Washington Post Co.-owned regional technology magazine.

Insiders at the magazine have told at least three local tech execs that the two-year-old pub is on its way out, possibly melding into another regional technology publication owned by The Post, Tech Gazette. Tech Gazette has been around for two years, focusing on the Maryland technology community.

Rumors of TechCapital's demise have been on the upswing since Charles Lyons took over as president of Post-Newsweek Business Information Inc. Lyons had been president of the Gazette newspaper chain in suburban Maryland (also Post-owned) that publishes Tech Gazette. Post-Newsweek Business Information has a variety of technology-related publications and a World Wide Web-based news service.

Bev Keil, PNBI's chief executive, declined to comment, saying management wasn't ready to announce anything. Lyons, reached Friday night, also declined to comment until he talked to TechCapital's staff this morning.

-- T.O.

$2,500,000

That's how much Vienna software firm MicroStrategy Inc. is spending for five television spots during the Super Bowl in January. Actually, that's four pregame spots and one during the actual event.

The promotion is part of MicroStrategy's first national advertising campaign, which kicks off this month with ads in December issues of magazines including Fortune, Forbes and Business Week.

MicroStrategy chief executive Michael Saylor, who has a penchant for big parties, says he's still deciding where to hold his huge Super Bowl bash.

-- Shannon Henry (henrys@washpost.com)