As Montgomery County continues to grow and wealth trickles out into formerly rural places, lots of things change, including the food needs of residents.

Take Darnestown, for instance. The area has long been home to a Food Lion grocery store. But bigger houses and bigger incomes bring different tastes, so the Food Lion is about to become Harris Teeter, a popular upscale grocery store.

"We thought it would be a better location for Harris Teeter," said Scott Spector, a managing member of Kodiak Properties, an area shopping center developer. "Harris Teeter appeals to a more upscale consumer. Food Lion is more middle of the road. The demographics have changed in the area."

Kodiak, along with Finmarc Management, bought the building housing the Food Lion from the Landow family. Then, in a rather unusual move, Spector said Harris Teeter and Food Lion swapped stores.

Harris Teeter got the Darnestown location. Food Lion got a Harris Teeter location in North Carolina.

Spector said the Darnestown store would be expanded by about 9,000 feet, to about 44,000 square feet. The store should open within a year, he said.

"Harris Teeter is a great grocery store, and they will appeal to a lot of people in the area," Spector said.

The chain operates about 140 stores, mostly in North Carolina, but it has been making a big push into the Washington region, with more than a dozen stores planned for the area. Harris Teeter had sales of $2.57 billion in 2004.

Proxy Aviation Honored

Proxy Aviation Systems Inc., a Germantown company that develops unmanned aircraft systems, has been named this year's Most Promising Newcomer by Unmanned Vehicles magazine.

The trade publication's staff recognized Proxy Aviation for its work on SkyWatcher, an unmanned aircraft system designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

"Proxy Aviation is committed to closing the gap in unmanned aviation capabilities between what is needed and what is currently available within the battlefield," said Don Ryan, the firm's chief executive, in a statement. He added that he was confident that his firm's technology "will continue to support this mission and help the warfighter to more efficiently and safely execute critical missions."

Proxy Aviation decided to locate in Montgomery County over the summer.

"We were very excited this past summer when Proxy Aviation chose to make its home in Montgomery County, and we are very proud of the tremendous work it is doing here," County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) said in a news release. "Proxy Aviation's cutting-edge work is a perfect fit for the flourishing technology-driven economy of Montgomery County. I am confident this is the first of many honors for Proxy Aviation, and we look forward to working with them as they grow and expand here in Maryland."

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