- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 28, 2003

Maryland retailers are getting some holiday help from the state’s first lady.

Kendel Ehrlich has joined forces with the Maryland Retailers Association (MRA) to urge state residents to shop locally this season.

“Shop Maryland is a program to promote business and Maryland as a great place to shop and visit,” the wife of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said. “Shopping in Maryland is an investment in Maryland.”

The program will include a new Shop Maryland logo and Web site, as well as television ads and public service announcements that will run from mid-November to mid-December.

The first half of each 30-second ad will have 15 seconds featuring Mrs. Ehrlich. The remaining 15 seconds will feature different retailers, who will pay $335 to $355 each to have their names and locations included. Retailers also can pay $4,100 to have the second half of the 30-second spot devoted just to their store.

In the Washington area, the ads will air on WJLA-TV (Channel 7), the local ABC affiliate. The ads also will air on the CBS affiliates in Baltimore and Salisbury, Md.

MRA introduced its first version of Shop Maryland last year, where 30 retailers participated in the advertising, said Tom Saquella, MRA’s president. This year, the program is more comprehensive and the addition of Mrs. Ehrlich is a bonus, he said.

“After three consecutive disappointing holiday seasons, Mrs. Ehrlich’s participation is a well-appreciated boost for merchants, which can only mean positive things for the state economy and for revenue,” he said.

Going for Gold

The Fairmont Washington D.C. is rolling out the “gold” carpet.

The 415-room property has transformed its ninth floor into a “hotel within a hotel,” complete with its own staff and luxury amenities. The Gold Floor has 48 rooms and three presidential suites that have been renovated and upgraded. The Gold Floor has its own 10-member staff, who were hired from a pool of 200 applicants.

Other amenities include the Fairmont Gold Lounge, high-speed Internet access, private check-in and check-out, personalized wake-up call with coffee or tea and orange juice, evening turndown service and shoeshine, to name a few.

“There is no question there is a market for this kind of product in Washington,” said George Terpilowski, general manager of the hotel on M Street in Northwest. “This is a very highly positioned product. It’s exclusive and personalized.”

Rooms on the Gold Floor cost $100 more than regular rooms at the Fairmont, which could range from $175 to $250 per night.

In other news …

• Five Guys Burgers and Fries opened its first franchised location last week, on Georgia Avenue near Howard University in the District. It is one of six restaurants in the District that will be owned and operated by franchisee McCarthy Management Corp., which owns two Quiznos locations in Northern Virginia.

• Starbucks Coffee Co. and Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s development firm opened their third joint-venture location in the District earlier this month at 401 Eighth St. SE. Starbucks and Johnson Development Corp. develop Starbucks locations in underserved areas in the country.

• Got news? Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.

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