Scott Nash was driving up Rockville Pike about 15 years ago when he noticed a sign announcing that Fresh Fields was coming to town. He went home and cried.
Nash had just started his own organic-grocery company, financing it primarily by credit cards and operating from his mother's garage. He figured, well, that's the end of that.
"I didn't know how I'd be able to make it in this business," he said.
He did make it. There are now three My Organic Markets in the region, with plans for a fourth next year and 15 more by 2015. Nash recently opened a corporate headquarters in Rockville, near one of his stores on Parklawn Drive.
Whom does he thank for his success? You did not guess this answer: Fresh Fields. (Now it's called Whole Foods.)
"It's 15 years later and I realize that Fresh Fields and Whole Foods were a good thing," he said. "They expanded the marketplace."
They spent heavily on advertising and created a buzz about organic products -- doing everything Nash couldn't afford to do when he was starting out.
"We don't really consider them competition," Nash said. "If one day they went away, yeah, we wouldn't know what to do with all the business. But if they hadn't come on the scene we wouldn't have been as successful as we are today. We are thankful Whole Foods exists."
Nash is aware of how odd this must sound. Kmart certainly isn't thankful for Wal-Mart. But Nash thinks the My Organic Market story shows that the bigger guy can often help the little guy.
After all, it was only 15 years ago that he was so short on cash that he gave an employee his motorcycle on payday.
New Comcast Channels
Comcast Cable has good news for subscribers to its digital service in Montgomery County: five new channels.
AZN Television is now Channel 108. It targets the Asian American community, with "Asian and Bollywood films, dramas, anime, Asian pop music, sports, original products and news from Asia."
The Lifetime Movie Network (Channel 119) airs contemporary movies for and about women. On Channel 128: Sprout, for viewers under age 6, with reruns of public broadcasting shows. Movieplex (Channel 149) will feature a different Encore channel each day.
And Logo (Channel 163) is a new offering from MTV targeted toward the lesbian and gay community, with films, a documentary series and newscasts.
Asian American Conference
On Oct. 17, Rockville Economic Development Inc. will hold the D.C. region's first Asian American Business Conference.
Conference seminars at the county's Johns Hopkins University campus will include help with finding financing and locations for small businesses as well as tips for technology entrepreneurs and government programs for small businesses.
Speakers include John Young of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, Chih-Hsiang Li of the Monte Jade Science and Technology Association, and Joseph P. Loddo of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Conference attendance costs $20. To register, go to www.rockvilleredi.org.
Have some business news about Montgomery County? Send an e-mail to rosenwaldm@