- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 1999

The Business Times makes a practice each year of revisiting some of the businesses we have written about in our weekly “The Entrepreneurs” feature. It is an opportunity to go back and find out whether the plans mapped out months and years ago have come to fruition.

The companies revisited this year on these pages and on pages D14 and D15 have both fallen short of and exceeded expectations. In one case, a company name was changed as a business grew. In another, one simple idea was expanded into another. And a third company appears to be in a “quiet period,” usually a sign something major like a sale is in the works.

As always, “The Entrepreneurs” feature offers lessons about what works and what doesn’t.

Jendell Construction remains grounded

Stable but busy is how Phil Cantor likes his construction business to be. “It’s not slow and it’s not overwhelming,” Mr. Cantor said.

But Jendell Construction is making money with nearly $3.2 million in revenues this year.

The business, named after Mr. Cantor’s grandmother, custom builds homes, remodels them and has recently opened a kitchen showroom in Kensington.

In the spring, the company even hired a kitchen designer to add to the in-house architect.

“We really put together a great team going into 2000,” Mr. Cantor said.

In fact, one of Mr. Cantor’s main goals is not only to prepare for the next year, but to create a business that will be efficient as well as trendy for the next century.

“We don’t want to be a Monday morning quarterback,” Mr. Cantor said. “By having the architectural design and kitchen planning and the building in house, we just feel we are set up for the next wave.”

Jendell Construction will also have a Web site running soon with the company’s history and a portrait gallery of jobs the company has done.

Mr. Cantor said the company, which does most of its work in Montgomery County, is getting more remodeling jobs because of the trend to fix up old houses to preserve neighborhoods.

“The remodeling market is huge,” said Jay Shackford of the National Association of Home Builders. “There are 30 million homes this year in America that are making additions.”

Mr. Shackford said, by extending resources and diversifying services to customers, the company can continue its success.

He said that way, the company does not rely on the real estate market to the degree that other construction companies might.

“It’s a good way to hedge your bets,” he said.

Baylor keeps company on the move in Maryland

Lawrence Liston Baylor III hoped moving his moving business, Concord Movers, from the District to Prince George’s

County would save him money on taxes, insurance, rent and even parking tickets. He was right.

Now, his business has grown so much that Mr. Baylor intends to open another branch of Concord Movers in, of all places, the District.

“Money well spent is money well invested,” he said. “Our company has grown at least 100 percent since moving.”

The company moved to Hyattsville on March 15.

“I left because I didn’t like the politics of the District and I was sorely disappointed with the District’s provided services,” he said.

Mr. Baylor said he pays the same rent he did while in the District, but he gets 1,500 more square feet in Maryland.

“To be honest, everything is actually cheaper in Maryland,” he said. The extra space allows the business more trucks and essentially more clients.

The money the company earns from its expanded number of clients, as well as its savings on insurance and taxes, gets reinvested into the company.

Mr. Baylor’s decision to leave is the type of move D.C. officials are trying to prevent. The District is increasing efforts to lure businesses and cut taxes to create a more level playing field with suburban competitors.

Mr. Baylor said business in any case has been heavy since the move. “A lot of people feel more comfortable storing in Maryland and I don’t know why,” he said.

He said, though winter is not exactly a busy season for movers, Concord Movers is booked to capacity.

“It’s pretty phenomenal. It’s almost unheard of,” Mr. Baylor said.

Mr. Baylor has expanded his clientele as far as Chicago where his company has worked on logistical consulting. Logistical consulting involves being able to move businesses in a way that minimizes disruption.

The company, which planned and moved the Chicago Police Headquarters, counts Office Depot among its largest clients. Concord Movers also does residential work.

Carl Douglas Hayes Jr. has been Mr. Baylor’s partner for over a year and a consultant for over 10 years.

“Liston already has strength in execution,” Mr. Hayes said. “It’s just a matter of packaging his services. It doesn’t seem to me that there are that many movers that are able to do that.”

Mr. Hayes said he has seen how quickly the company has expanded into a national franchise and believes in five years, Concord Movers could become a global name.

“There are not that many small businesses or independent movers who can offer logistics consulting as well as execution,” Mr. Hayes added.

“We’ve been blessed and I think that God is in the full steam of things,” Mr. Baylor said.

The U.S. Department of Justice is already a client. In the next two years, Mr. Baylor said he would like to become an agent for large national carriers such as United Van Lines or North American Van Lines to gain enough revenue to take the company public. “I see this in the next 12 to 24 months,” he said. “They’ve got the horses and the guns to catapult us.”

Mr. Baylor said that the change in the District’s leadership has helped restore his faith in the District, which is part of the reason he plans to open an office in the city. “I’ve seen some drastic positive changes,” he said.

Shark Club owner bets on Fredericksburg site

John Tsiaoushis owns upscale pool halls in Falls Church, Va., Centreville, Va., and Bethesda, Md. But his attention is focused about 60 miles down Interstate 95 on a new location in Fredericksburg, Va.

Mr. Tsiaoushis had planned to open locations of the Shark Club in Fredericksburg, Va., Alexandria, Va., Rockville, Md., and the District this year.

He instead opened one Shark Club in Alexandria, and another is under construction in Fredericksburg. He’s putting his energies into a billiards room, restaurant and brewery at his newest site.

The $3 million, two-story project includes a new concept for Mr. Tsiaoushis, the Safari Steakhouse and Lounge. Downstairs will be the Shark Club, including the brewery, another new concept.

Two of his investor-partners, Tom and John Varlas, are moving to Fredericksburg to oversee the operation, which should open just after the new year.

“I want to make sure it gets the attention it deserves,” Mr. Tsiaoushis said.

He opened the first Shark Club in Falls Church in 1995, after working for his father, Andreas, who had owned restaurants in Alexandria. The other locations soon followed, along with Pacific Grille, a restaurant chain in the Shark Clubs.

The Alexandria Shark Club and Cafe, and Mount Vernon Family Restaurant, opened in September.

At the Bethesda restaurant, Mr. Tsiaoushis just hired a new executive chef and enclosed an outdoor patio, adding 50 seats year-round.

When the Capitol City Brewing Co. up the street closed, he saw an opportunity, and bought its brewing equipment. He moved it to Fredericksburg, and hopes to have a first batch of beer brewed by his new restaurant’s opening.

Because he hasn’t established the other new billiards rooms, his latest projection of revenues for this year, $7 million, is $13 million less than he projected in February. But Mr. Tsiahoushis expects the Fredericksburg location alone to bring in $5 million next year.

He’s banking on the Pacific Grille and the Safari Steakhouse to take his business into the future.

ServInt’s backbone firms up connections

Reed Caldwell’s backbone has grown substantially in the past year. Mr. Caldwell, 24, is the president of

McLean-based ServInt, an Internet backbone. The company leases lines in various cities, forming a mini-Internet. It then connects to other backbones to form the complete Internet.

A year ago, the company offered service in a handful of cities. It now offers Internet connections to businesses in metropolitan areas from Boston to Miami, St. Louis to Seattle.

“We’ve expanded beyond our expectations,” Mr. Caldwell said.

That’s something of an understatement. He started the business in 1994 after dropping out of the University of Richmond. He has gone from an initial investment of $10,000 and maxed-out credit cards to revenues of more than $9 million in 1999. And ServInt has grown from 25 to 45 employees in the last year.

By the end of 1994, ServInt had signed on a large number of small accounts and was in financial trouble. Mr. Caldwell decided to reorient the company, which now targets large corporations. He said the number of clients is not what’s important at ServInt it’s how big each client is.

ServInt’s customers are large companies that need Web-hosting services or an Internet service provider. Some of ServInt’s newer customers are Telefonica, the largest phone service provider in Spain, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Internet Industry Association, Fox Japan, and Vibe magazine.

He’s a bit close-mouthed about the upcoming year, though he did say the company will be introducing new products.

“We’re exploring various options for aggressive growth in the coming year including releasing several new products which are currently unavailable on the Internet,” he said.

As for any plans to sell ServInt in the future, there are none.

“We’re not going to sell the company. We’re growing internally, still 100 percent cash-flowed based,” Mr. Caldwell said.

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