- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2003

CocoMoka Cafe has teamed up with mega music store Virgin Records to put its gourmet cafe concept in 11 of its best performing stores.
   
   The cafe chain, which is a part of Columbia, Md.-based Candy Express Inc., offers gourmet soups, salads and sandwiches, pastries, fine chocolate and Seattle’s Best Coffee.
   
   Within the next two months, Virgin Records will open CocoMoka Cafes in four of its stores in Orlando, Boston, Phoenix and Dallas, said Joel Rosenberg, president of Candy Express.
   
   ”[Virgin Records] is a great brand to be associated with,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “This will definitely expose the CocoMoka concept.”
   
   CocoMoka got its start inside a Macy’s in Sacramento, Calif., and has three other locations one in Texas, one in New York and another in California.
   
   A new cafe is expected to open in Potomac Mills within the next several weeks and there are plans to open another four locations in the D.C. area. Mr. Rosenberg is also working with Macy’s to open other cafes in the department-store chain in California.
   
   The cafes range in size from about 1,500 square feet to 2,500 square feet and are located in street-front locations, regional malls and upscale lifestyle centers, Mr. Rosenberg said.
   
   CocoMoka Cafe is the second specialty retail concept from Candy Express. The company started in 1989 operating gourmet chocolate and candy stores under the Candy Express name in malls, airports and train stations. It now operates about 40 Candy Express stores.
   
   Flocking to Ocean City
   
    Gigantic birds have flocked to Ocean City for a new exhibit.
   
   The beach mecca is home to 80 5-foot-tall uniquely decorated fiberglass birds.The O.C. Beach Birds are similar to the 150 6-foot-long fish reeled into Baltimore in 2001 and the 300 life-size cows grazing in Chicago in 1999.
   
   About 500 applications were sent to artists, designers and architects to solicit design ideas for each bird. Local companies, organizations and individuals are sponsoring the birds and have selected the designs. The results include such birds as “Gull Scout” fashioned after a Girl Scout; “Dough-Dough Bird” covered with pizza toppings, “Surfer Bird” and “Boardwalk Elvis.”
   
   The birds were installed the weekend of April 19 and can be found both indoors and outdoors throughout Ocean City. When the exhibit ends in October, the birds will be sold at a live gala auction and an online auction to raise money for future public art projects in Ocean City.
   
   Hyatt helps road trippers
   
    Hyatt Corp. is offering a little help on the road with its newest summer promotion. “Hyatt Road Trip” offers guests in Washington and Florida a $25 credit applied to their room bill when they check out.
   
   With higher gas prices, Hyatt says it wants to give something back to those who make the trip to participating properties.
   
   The program, which started April 21 and ends Sept. 30, is available at eight D.C.-area Hyatt properties including Grand Hyatt Washington, Park Hyatt Washington and Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.
   
   In other news
   
   Loehmann’s, an upscale off-price apparel retailer, has opened a new store in Chevy Chase. The official grand opening of the 30,000-square-foot store is Wednesday at Friendship Center on Wisconsin Avenue. The store is replacing Eddie Bauer.
   
   Loehmann’s, which has 45 locations, has three other stores in the Washington area in Falls Church, Rockville and Timonium.
   
   
   
    Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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