- The Washington Times - Monday, December 3, 2001

Washington native Tom Shannon hopes to strike it big in Bethesda.The owner of Bowlmor, a trendy bowling alley hot spot in New York's Greenwich Village, is opening a new 27,000-square-foot location on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda on Dec. 8.
Strike Bethesda is replacing a former Bowl America site adding about $3 million in funky, hip renovations.
"It's more of a Broadway set as opposed to a bowling alley," Mr. Shannon says.
The upscale bowling alley, which will employ about 50 people, will have 34 Maplewood lanes, two 30-foot bars, a VIP room and full-service restaurant.
"The problem with the bowling experience is that the aesthetics, the service and food are not appealing," Mr. Shannon says. "We raise the caliber that surround the bowling experience and people really like it."
In 1997 Mr. Shannon bought and renovated Bowlmor, a run-down alley in operation since 1938. In four years Bowlmor's revenue has increased tenfold and now has an operating profit margin of greater than 60 percent.
Strike Holdings, the parent company of Bowlmor and Strike Bethesda, plans to acquire and renovate bowling alleys around the country. The next location is opening in summer 2002 on Long Island, N.Y.

Apple takes another bite
Apple Computer Inc. opened its second store in the Washington area Dec. 1.
The computer giant, which makes the popular iMacs and PowerBooks, started its retail venture at Tysons Corner Center in May. Since then the company has opened about two dozen more stores around the country.
And now Apple has come full circle returning to its debut market with its newest 6,000-square-foot store at Clarendon Mall in Arlington.
The company isn't stopping its expansion there. Although officials won't disclose specific plans, Apple is actively seeking other locations around the country.

D.C. hotel closing to renovate
One Washington Circle Hotel closed its doors to guests yesterday and began a four-month renovation today to give the downtown boutique hotel a new modern look.
The hotel, owned by George Washington University, will have among other things a completely renovated lobby with marble floors and all of the 151 suites will be redone with new carpet and furniture.
The suites, which range from 500 to 900 square feet, cost about $130 per night before the renovation. When the hotel reopens the rooms will run about $160 to $170 per night, says Don Minkler, executive vice president of Potomac Hospitality Services, which manages the hotel.
The decision to renovate the hotel was made long before the September 11 terrorist attacks, which has left much of the local hospitality industry struggling. As the industry begins to come back, hotels will be more competitive than ever to bring in new business.
"This is actually a good time to close and reopen," says Mr. Minkler. "To compete you have to stay modern."

JW Marriott opening new eateries
The JW Marriott hotel has invested $3 million in two new restaurant concepts.
Bar 1331
, named after the hotel's 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue location, opened in October. The new chic 115-seat restaurant replaces the hotel's upscale Celadon restaurant. Bar 1331, which is about 3,300 square feet and includes a 10- to 14-seat private dining room, has a seasonal menu with an Asian and Mediterranean twist including items like the paella for two, and sesame charred Asian tuna.
The second restaurant, called Avenue Grill, is scheduled to open in late January. It will replace Allie's American Grill and the sports bar SRO. The 4,400-square-foot restaurant, which will seat about 192 people, will have a more casual atmosphere than Bar 1331 and will have an American-style menu with some international fare.
Both restaurants will have about 60 employees total.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or ddemarco@washingtontimes.com. Retail & Hospitality runs every other week.

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