- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 8, 2005

The Grooming Lounge, where men can get a hot lather shave and manly manicures and foot treatments, is expanding with more locations and its own product line.

The District’s upscale barbershop and spa combination, exclusively for men, will open two stores in Tysons Corner and Miami later this year and in early 2006, respectively.

Co-founders Michael Gilman and Pirooz Sarshar started the company after their “beer-drinking, football-watching” guy friends constantly complained about the embarrassment of buying grooming products.

“We wanted to open a store where guys could get the services they were reluctant to get in a standard setting,” Mr. Gilman said. “We’re trying to break down the taboos that stand in the way of men taking care of themselves.”

The Grooming Lounge first opened online in 2000, offering products and grooming advice including the remedies for embarrassing issues such as bad breath or athlete’s foot.

In March 2002 a 1,500-square-foot store opened at 1745 L St. NW.

Mr. Gilman says the company will open two new stores each year for the next three years. Possible locations include Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.

“There’s a demand for this no matter what city you’re in,” he said.

The last two years have been spent perfecting the company’s products. The result is a new line of shaving products including a face wash, shave oil, shaving cream and aftershave, which cost between $18 and $21. The products will be available in July online and at Grooming Lounge locations.

Mr. Gilman said they are also negotiating with several high-end retailers to carry the line. Later this year, the Grooming Lounge will introduce a skin-care line and hair products will be available in 2006.

“This is not a fad,” Mr. Gilman said. “Guys are going to continue to take care of themselves.”

Macy’s to open soon

Westfield Shoppingtown Wheaton still doesn’t have an exact date for the opening of its 175,000-square-foot Macy’s, which was suppose to open in March.

Mall spokeswoman Debbie Young said the new department store anchor should open its doors within the next two to three weeks.

The delay is due to some structural issues in the new parking garage that was built next to Macy’s. The garage is undergoing safety testing.

The mall began a $130 million renovation and redevelopment in July 2003, which has included a relocated food court, an interior redesign and upgraded amenities. A new lower level will include dozens of new stores including Hollister, Ann Taylor Loft and Guess.

Opening soon

• California Pizza Kitchen is opening a 5,900-square-foot restaurant at the Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg. The 188-seat eatery, slated to open tomorrow , will have about 100 employees.

• Two new hotels will be built by Brentwood Hotels near the Baltimore-Washington International Airport in the next two years. A 203-room Sheraton is slated to open fall of 2006 on Old Elkridge Landing Road in Linthicum. A 260-room Westin is scheduled to open next door in spring 2007. The hotels will be managed by LTD Management Co.

Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.

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