Two Firms Receive Small-Business Loans

Two Loudoun County businesses have been selected as the first area recipients of the federal government's new national Small Business Administration (SBA) program.

Empower Security in Ashburn and Uno Communications in Sterling were presented last month with $5,000 checks from the SBA's Small Office/Home Office loan initiative. Under the program, home-based and office-based businesses with fewer than 10 employees are eligible for $5,000 loans and technical assistance from the Service Corps of Retired Executives and counselors at Small Business Development Centers.

The initiative's goal is to prevent small-business owners from having to use personal assets or obtain consumer loans for business start-up expenses. Loudoun was selected as the kick-off location for the Washington district of the SBA program, which also includes Prince George's, Fairfax, Arlington and Montgomery counties and the District.

New Restaurant to Open in Leesburg

Blue Ridge Grill, a restaurant featuring steaks, ribs and pasta, will open Monday at the Route 15 Bypass and Fort Evans Road in Leesburg. The restaurant is the creation of John Carroccio and Michael Norton, longtime friends who met while working at a Rockville restaurant.

After years in restaurant service and management, the two met again in Argentina, where Norton managed a 320-seat restaurant for three years. They said they plan to hire about 70 employees.

Manager Named for Marshall Properties

Vaaler Real Estate Co. in Leesburg has been named property manager and exclusive leasing agent for George C. Marshall Foundation properties at the gateway to Leesburg's historic district. The properties include boutiques, antique shops, food retailers and offices, as well as Dodona Manor, where Marshall once lived.

Vaaler also announced that it has appointed Joyce Cooper as managing broker of its residential division. Cooper was most recently a managing broker with Avery-Hess Realtors in Centreville.

Merchant Discounts for Senior Citizens

The Loudoun County government and Chamber of Commerce are working to update the county's Senior Citizen Merchant Discount Directory Program.

The directory, a service provided for more than 20 years by Loudoun County and operated by the county's Area Agency on Aging, provides residents older than 60 with a list of merchants that offer discounts.

The chamber is distributing sign-up forms to member companies and encouraging them to participate.

For information, call the Area Agency on Aging at 703-777-0257 or e-mail supervisors Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) at syork@loudoun.gov.

Sessions on County's Procurement Process

The county government's purchasing staff will hold Buyer/Seller Information Exchange sessions today at 3 p.m. and Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. to give area businesses an opportunity to meet them and become familiar with the county's procurement process.

The informal sessions will be open to all vendors to discuss the county's processes, upcoming contracts and questions or concerns.

Sessions will be held in the Lovettsville Room on the first floor of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE, in Leesburg. To reserve a seat, call 703-777-0403 or e-mail pcogle@loudoun.gov.

Coming Events

The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce will host the 2002 Small Business Awards from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Lansdowne Resort and Conference Center, 44050 Woodridge Pkwy., Leesburg.

Tickets are on sale through the chamber offices at $50 a person or $500 for a table of 10. For reservations, call 703-777-2176.

Please fax items for Thursday's business page to Amy Joyce at 703-777-8437, mail them to 305 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg, Va. 20175, or e-mail joycea@washpost.com.