Oct 01, 2012 (Richmond Times-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
RICHMOND, Va. -- Ellwood Thompson's Local Market is not quite as Richmond-centric anymore.
The natural-foods grocer, which has operated at Ellwood Avenue and Thompson Street near Carytown since 1993, opened its second store Saturday, nearly doubling the size of the company.
The new store, called Dawson's Market, is in Montgomery County, Md., at the Rockville Town Square, an upscale community with restaurants, shops and apartments.
"We really didn't want to open another store if we couldn't find a community who wants what we are, which is locally focused, community-based," said Rick Hood, Ellwood Thompson's owner.
Hood said that like the Richmond store, the new 17,500-square-foot location will focus on local products from nearby farms and on community involvement.
The store name reinforces that emphasis, Hood said. Dawson's was chosen to honor the Dawson family, who farmed in the area from the mid-1800s through the 1970s.
One major change coming with the new store is how Hood operates the business. With the new location, the company has grown from 130 employees to 230.
"This is a big step," he said.
To keep up with the demands, Hood leased an apartment near the new store, where he plans to spend one or two nights per week in order to work at Dawson's. "It's kind of a new lifestyle for me," he said.
The Rockville store is Ellwood Thompson's second attempt to break into the Washington market.
The company signed on to the DC USA project in Columbia Heights in 2008 but put that plan on hold in April 2009. It backed out of the deal last year.
It is also the second time the company has operated two stores.
Ellwood Thompson's had a store at The Shoppes at Bellgrade shopping center in Chesterfield County, but it closed that location in 2000 after eight months because of poor sales.
A doughnut battle could be brewing in Carytown.
Dunkin' Donuts is getting ready to open a location on Nansemond Street between Cary Street and Ellwood Avenue.
The space, which had formerly housed a 7-Eleven, has been vacant since last year.
The company is working on the building and expects to open later this year.
This is the second doughnut shop to come to Carytown this year.
Dixie Donuts, which is identifiable by the huge doughnut attached to the side of its building, opened this spring. It serves Korean-style double-fried chicken and Belgian frites, as well as doughnuts.
The new Dunkin' Donuts is also the latest national chain to move into Carytown, an area mostly known for locally owned restaurants and boutiques.
The Fresh Market and Panera Bread opened last month in the former Verizon building on Nansemond Street.
Kimberly Ann's, the well-known Petersburg estate dealer, has moved into a new space.
The new shop, at 230-B E. Bank St., is in a 6,000-square-foot warehouse that formerly housed an auto repair shop.
Kimberly Ann's Petersburg Pickers Warehouse, as the shop is known, opened last week.
The new location is a direct response to the popularity of tag sales store owner Kimberly Ann Calos began hosting in the spring.
Calos held the sales in homes and at her previous location on Sycamore Street but quickly ran out of space.
She was initially able to borrow space from a local developer but eventually decided she needed a permanent location.
West Coast Kix in Carytown is expanding the number of items it carries for women.
Shop owner Ben Margolis said he's increasing the offerings in response to customer demand. About 30 percent of the shop's merchandise had been geared to women, but that's jumping to 40 percent.
The shop, which specializes in high-end sneakers but has a large apparel selection, will carry more bottoms, dresses and accessories while beefing up the shoes and tops it now carries.
Margolis, who previously worked in finance and spent time on Wall Street, opened the shop in 2010.
App store opens
The Greater Richmond Chamber has launched an online app store geared toward small businesses.
The site, appstore.GRCC.com , has about 1,300 software applications designed to help companies in a host of areas. The available applications range from administrative and office tools to business management and analytics.
The local business advocacy group worked with SaaS Markets, an international business application provider, to come up with the product mix.
Applications bought through the Chamber Small Business App Store can be accessed on desktop and mobile devices.
Contact Louis Llovio at: (804) 649-6348 LLLovio@timesdispatch.com Twitter: @RTDBizBuzz
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