Z-Burger co-owner Peter Tabibian has announced the launch of his chainlet’s new Z-Burger Mobile.
The entrepreneurial Tabibian, an Iranian immigrant who sold neckties and ran a vending machine business, has six Z-Burgers, including the flagship Tenleytown store founded in 2005. Now there is a truck and two more stores in the works, one of which will be in the Dupont Circle neighborhood.
The burger joints are famous for their shakes, onion rings and hot dogs.
“Not everyone has time during their lunch break to visit a dine-in Z-Burger,” he said in an e-mail. “With this truck, I intend to reach as many of them as I can.”
Z-Burger Mobile plans to offer the same burgers and shakes that have made Z-Burger an easily identifiable brand throughout the region. Tabibian said the key to success is simple: “Make a quality product and sell it at a fair price. And be creative in promoting your brand.”
Tabibian, who is in the midst of a lawsuit with his financial partner over profit distribution, will use the truck for weddings, picnics, corporate events, birthday parties and other special events in addition to lunches.
To travel light, the truck will feature daily, fresh-cut potato chips instead of french fries.
The operation hasn’t been cheap.
Tabibian said he has invested a total of $61,000, including buying the truck for $38,000. The other add-ons include $3,200 for maintenance, $5,000 on stainless steel shelves and other customized accessories.
“I bought an ice cream dipping cabinet and brand new state of the art grill for ... close to $4,800,” Tabibian said.
A point of sale (fancy talk for modern-day cash register) cost $1,700. Insurance is $3,200 a year. Finally, the first food — plus knives, forks and napkins — will run $3,500.
Look for the Z-Burger truck in various District locations around Jan. 19.
Tabibian will keep his customers notified of the truck’s location on Z-Burger’s Twitter site. He already has a second truck in the works.
Beltway Supply proves you can network — even at church.
The woman-owned Springfield retailer has started selling an automatic locking pliers called the Auto-Grip, which owner Christine Heiby contends is the first improvement to the tool in 56 years.
The Auto-Grips are manufactured in China and Taiwan by C.F. Cooper Tools, which is owned by a member of the same church — Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria — that Heiby attends along with her husband and co-owner, David, 55.
“Gerry Cooper is married to my best friend at church,” said Christine, 59. “He mentioned he had this tool he wanted to bring into the U.S. market, and we were looking for a way, no pun intended, to retool our own company.”
The Heibys started Beltway Supply in 2006 after quitting their jobs. David spent 30 years in industrial sales and also some time as a deputy sheriff with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office. Christine worked 30 years in human services, including at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital.
“I didn’t know anything about tools, but Dave did. And I knew how to run a company from being a manager in human services.”
The Heibys’ first customers were federal, state and local government agencies. The pair did well until government sequestration in March 2013, followed a few months later by a 16-day government shutdown.
“We decided we had to change our business plan from government sales if we were to survive,” Christine said.
Now they also sell to the do-it-yourself crowd and to professional trade markets.
$1B That’s the total amount of revenue earned by Shapiro & Duncan, the Rockville-based mechanical contractor owned by brothers Jerry and Sheldon Shapiro, since the company started in 1976. The company has a state-of-the-art pipe prefabrication plant in Landover, which helped boost revenue to $101 million last year because it allows the company to bid on bigger jobs. The revenue is 25 times what it was two decades ago.
That Kit Check, the Chinatown-based company that helps hospitals process and track medications, will receive an eight-figure funding round any day now. The start-up’s last funding in 2013 was $10 million. The cloud software company reported big growth in 2014, adding 101 hospitals as customers. It doubled its staff, adding more than 30 employees last year.
A remodeled Georgetown Park unveils fashion retailer Forever 21 this Saturday at 10 a.m. The 20,772-square-foot, split-level retail space is the most recent retailer to unveil its showroom under the mall’s new owner, Jamestown. The opening includes DJs, a photo booth and store giveaways.
Call it the boomerang deal. Six years after selling military axle supplier AxleTech International to General Dynamics, Carlyle Group recently bought it back from the defense company for an undisclosed amount. Carlyle originally acquired Troy, Mich.-based AxleTech in October 2005, doubled the number of employees to 900, expanding the business deeper into military vehicles and increased revenue before Carlyle’s large-cap buyout fund sold it to the defense contractor in 2008. Six years later, General Dynamics sold it back, but this time to Carlyle’s mid-cap buyout fund. Looks like AxleTech shrunk in the meantime!
An earlier version of this column incorrectly stated when Shapiro & Duncan was founded, and how fast the mechanical contractor’s revenues had grown. The column has been updated with the correct information.