- The Washington Times - Monday, March 3, 2003

Gina Schaefer has hammered out a plan to fulfill her dream of being in the retail business.
This week, the Logan Circle resident, along with her husband, Marc Friedman, are opening Logan Hardware.
Based on her own experience and consumer research, Mrs. Schaefer knew the neighborhood was in dire need of a conveniently located hardware store, especially with the number of homes in the area and renovations taking place.
"We so desperately wanted a hardware store," says Mrs. Schaefer, who has lived in the neighborhood for almost five years. "We wanted to start something we knew was in hot demand."
Mrs. Schaefer started the planning process about a year ago and researched several hardware chains. The store has teamed up with Ace Hardware through its co-op program, which serves as a support system. Ace Hardware gives co-op retailers group buying power, allowing for competitive prices.
The 5,000-square-foot store will carry more than 15,000 items from paints and home and garden products to power tools and pet supplies. Mrs. Schaefer said the store is catering to the neighborhood's many homeowners and renters.
A city homeowner with limited lawn space doesn't want an industrial-size bag of fertilizer, so Logan Hardware offers a smaller, more manageable size.
The store's average customer isn't in need of a riding lawn mower, so Mrs. Schaefer said she wouldn't even consider carrying it in the store. But Logan Hardware can order one at a customer's request.
The partnership with Ace Hardware gives the store access to more than 86,000 products, which can be ordered in any quantity, she says.
Mrs. Schaefer is not worried that she is entering an industry dominated by Home Depot and Lowe's the two largest home-improvement stores in the country. She says Logan Hardware's location and ability to locate hard-to-find items for customers will make the store competitive.
Logan Hardware, located at 1416 P St. NW, does not have parking, but Ms. Schaefer says the store eventually will offer delivery service and pickup at the back door.
Logan Hardware will have seven full- and part-time employees, including Mr. Friedman, who will keep his full-time job as a management consultant for Vienna, Va.-based Acumen Solutions.
A purr-fect amenity
Cats are being treating like VIPs at the Washington Plaza.
The hotel, located at 10 Thomas Circle NW, is offering a new amenity for cat owners and their feline friends. The "Here Kitty, Kitty" package includes a cozy kitten bed, a matching meow pillow, mouse-shaped catnip treats and even a bedtime storybook with classics such as "Snow White and the Seven Kittens." A litter box is available for a $10-per-night rental fee.
Last month, the hotel began its "Smooch and Pooch" package for dogs, offering canine-themed amenities. Dog owners even get "doggie bags" for fast cleanup around the hotel's 3-acre grounds and dog-friendly parks nearby.
The hotel has noticed an increase in guests wanting to travel with pets since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"There's something comforting about traveling with your pet," said Crawford Sherman, general manager of the 340-room hotel. "In these times, it's all about comfort."

Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.

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