- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2001

RETAIL & HOSPITALITY

Mario's Late Night Services is expanding its menu.
The service that once delivered just food from Mario's Pizza House is now delivering food from 11 other restaurants in the Arlington area.
This carryout service, which will soon change its name to Doctor Delivery, has saturated the Arlington County hotel industry offering its service until 3 a.m. to hungry hotel guests.
Mario's, which delivers for restaurants like Hope Key, Bangkok Siam, Eat & Run Deli and Delhi Dhaba, is either advertised in the hotels' guest service directories or through laminated menus inside the guest rooms. All the restaurants have varying closing times though.
The service doesn't stop there.
It will deliver prescriptions, groceries and office supplies, if needed.
"Any time we can offer something extra to our guests, it's a plus for us," says Paul Hunter, general manager at the Quality Inn Iwo Jima.
The service doesn't compete with the hotel's on-site restaurant, which closes at 9:30 p.m. It offers delivery from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Owner Alan Levine decided to expand the business because of the success of Mario's Pizza House.
Delivery sales have increased 200 percent over the past year and half, proving to him that the demand was there for an after-hours delivery service, he says.
"We're attacking a niche," Mr. Levine says.
He isn't worried his business will follow in the same grave footsteps as competitors like Kozmo.com, which closed up shop in April. He points out that his delivery service, which gets a percentage of each restaurant's delivery sales, has no overhead costs.
The eight drivers are independent contractors who pocket the $3.99 delivery fee and the guaranteed 15 percent tip on orders of more than $30.
Over the next six months Mr. Levine will begin to incorporate the company's new Doctor Delivery name into its advertising, marketing and in-room menus.
The service is also available to residential customers and will eventually expand to the D.C. market, Mr. Levine says.

Coloring an expansion

Haircolorxpress International, a franchiser of salons specializing in hair color, plans to add some color to Maryland, Virginia, Washington and Delaware with more than 400 locations over the next eight years.
The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based franchiser has sold development rights to several groups that will eventually open 8,000 to 10,000 salons throughout the country.
Haircolorxpress, which currently has three locations in South Florida, is headed by Larry Feldman, who has developed nearly 700 Subway units in Maryland, Virginia, Washington and Delaware.
Tri-State Metro Territories LLC, a group led by Brian Sorrentino and Ellen Cole Ryder, will develop the Haircolorxpress salons in this area, with plans to open at least three by the end of the year.
"This is one of the hottest franchise opportunities that has come along in the past 20 years," Mr. Sorrentino says. "It's quality hair color service at reasonable prices."
For example, Haircolorxpress offers single hair coloring for $20 or highlights for $35.
Currently the group is looking at 1,500-square-foot sites in Towson, Bethesda/Rockville, Germantown/Gaithersburg and Arlington.

New business in town

Tysons Corner Center will add several new retailers to its store mix this fall, including the first Pottery Barn Kids in this area. The 10,000-square-foot store, which will carry everything from cribs and beds to toy chests and children's gifts, will open in November on the lower level of the shopping center in the Bloomingdale's wing.
Other new tenants include pre-teen girls clothier Zutopia, shoe retailer Steve Madden and Charlie Chiang's Asian Bistro.
The Washington Metropolitan Training Center, a new certified Tae-Bo facility, opened this weekend in Laurel. The 10,000-square-foot center will offer Tae-Bo, martial arts and dance classes, as well as a monthly gym membership.
Modell's Sporting Goods, a new 16,000-square-foot sporting goods store, signed a 10-year lease at the Hechinger Mall on Benning Road in Northeast. The 16,000-square-foot store opened Aug. 31.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other week.


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