- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 11, 2007

Generous George is planning to share the wealth.

Generous George’s Positive Pizza & Pasta Place, a family-friendly pizza chain founded in Alexandria 30 years ago, has plans to open 13 franchise stores. The first is slated to open in Ashburn in August and the second in Centreville before the end of the year, said Anne Hyde, chief operations officer at Generous George’s.

The restaurant started in 1977 as a sub and pizza shop in a house on Duke Street. It became the Yellow Deli Belly Buster, a full-service restaurant, in 1987. Later, it was renamed Generous George’s, probably to the relief of those who answered the phones.

George’s opened four more locations throughout the Washington area between 1990 and 1992. Ten years later, owner George Mansy and his family let the leases at four locations expire, citing family health issues, leaving only the Duke Street restaurant open.

This time, the owners are expanding through franchising instead of company-owned stores.

“Franchising … is easier to spread out, and it’s a lot less headache for the owner,” said Ms. Hyde.

Fransmart, an Alexandria franchising company, presented George’s with a franchising plan, and the owners started the process last year.

After the first two franchises open in Ashburn and Centreville, a third is scheduled to open early next year in Camp Lejeune, N.C. George’s hadn’t planned to open that far away, at least initially, but was sold on the idea by a military family that had been transferred there.

Ms. Hyde said the franchise locations will be similar to the original location.

“They won’t be as quirky as far as the physical building, which had pieces added on,” she said. “But it will have the same feel inside with the pink stuff hanging from the ceiling, kids running around and parents sitting back. That will be the same.”

Retailers converge on D.C.

Generous George’s was one of the presenters at the annual International Council of Shopping Centers’ Mid-Atlantic conference last week. The event drew prospective retailers and developers to the District to make deals.

Other retailers at the conference who are looking to open Washington-area locations included Room & Board furniture store and Bruegger’s Bagels.

The conference is a precursor to the group’s annual convention in Las Vegas in May.

For the Washington, DC Economic Partnership, the public-private organization responsible for bringing retailers to the city, the conference was the first chance to use the city’s geographic information system (GIS), said Barney Krucoff, GIS director for the city’s chief technology officer.

GIS is an intricate computer mapping system that allows the partnership to show potential retailers a 3-D map of the city with layers highlighting available retail space, area demographics, zones or property lines.

The GIS map system is tailored for each city agency and is available to the public at dcgis.dc.gov. There, residents can enter a home or work address and find their political ward, area schools, Metro station, police or fire department and other information. The program could be expanded to include other city information, such as bridges and tunnels, cemeteries, child care providers and even liquor-license holders.

Retail & Hospitality appears Mondays. Send news to Jen Haberkorn at [email protected] or 202/636-4836.

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