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Archive for December, 2006

Businesses That Survived the Test of Time in Silver Spring, MD

I am amazed at several businesses that have survived and thrived the rise, the decline, the fall and the current surge in popularity of “Silver Sprung”, Md.  As a native of Silver Spring, I have lived, retro kit kat clock bluegone to school, played and worked here all my life.  I’ve seen the good the bad and the ugly times in Silver Spring.

There are several places in Silver Spring that are gone but not forgotten by me, such as Billy Boy’s Subshop, The Hecht Co., Hahns, Eddie Leonards, the bowling alley, the smell of the Heidi -Giant Food Bakery, the Hot Shoppes, the Old Armory Building, The Trojan Horse night club in the Holiday Inn, The Galaxy Room night club and Fire Fountain Restaurant in the old Sheraton Hotel, my Texaco Gas Station (on the corner of Wayne & Georgia), the Drug Fair, Solar Plexus, London Cleaners,Villa Rosa Restaurant, Kushner’s, Sakura Palace, Hofberg’s Deli, The Golden Flame, Fred & Harry’s, The Wachapreague, and Giffords.

Most of all I miss the Citizens Bank Building (my dad had his Woodside Realty Co Business on the 3rd Floor), this is where my brother and I watched the Thanksgiving Parade every year with an incredible bird’s eye view from our warm window perch, 3 stories above Fenton Street, we thought we were the luckiest kids in the world!

Some Silver Spring Businesses that have survived and still thrive:

Crisfield’s  The Original at Georgia Ave & EW Hwy with the “Early Bathroom” Decor still serving up the best seafood in the area since 1944.  Crisfields website.

Mamma Regina  opened in 1974.  The name was changed to SERGIO”S  in
1989 by the owner Sergio Toni who is still on the premises almost every night. Sergio acquired the restaurant in 1982. The quality of the food has not changed, this restaurant is always packed!  I would give it an A for it’s romantic upscale atmosphere. Sergio’s has survived how many hotel ownership changes? Has been in the same tucked away location (the very bottom/basement of whatever hotel is there at the time – (Currently Doubletree by Hilton)

Vicino’s  Open since the early 1990’s A popular, no frills, laid back, nothing fancy, “hole in the wall” on Sligo Avenue at Georgia (across the street from the newer Jackie’s) with plastic red checked table cloths, fake flowers and Excellent Italian food.

Hanagan’s Auto Body  Jim Hanagan and his brother opened up Shop in 1958.  They come very highly recommended and are well known for their satisfied customers. Hannigan’s is located on that teeny tiny road in Silver Spring named after the famous horse Selim (933 Selim Road, Silver Spring, Md 20910). People rave about Hannigan’s ability to match paint and their resonable prices.

Corner Pub  A pine panelled institution in 4 Corners known for it’s casual sports bar crowd and really good pizza.  The original owners are somehow related to the original Fred and Harry’s folks (the Pub is in the basement of the former Fred & Harry’s Restaurant in Four Corners (now an Asian Restaurant)). Now
Called the 4 Corners Pub and under new owners and managment.

Woodmoor Bakery actually named “Woodmoor Pastry Shop” A Real Bakery in the
Woodmoor Shopping Center since the early 1950’s. No need to say more about this shop -Just HOMEMADE cookies, pastries, pies and cakes made by people doing this for almost 50 years. YUM!

Santucci’s stands for Delicious and homemade with care, also in the Woodmoor Shopping Center, This tiny Italian Deli and Sub shop deserves mention here too, for surviving with the chains like Subway, Jerry’s and McDonald’s only steps away from it.

Atlantic Guns  The original location opened on Bonifant Street in 1950.  Still owned by the same Family, since 1950, they still do a brisk business (which is surprises me) and now have a second location in Gaithersburg. The only complaint they have about the Silver Spring location is the lack of parking spaces near the gun shop.

The Auto Shoppe  Randy Rodman, an expert Mercedes auto mechanic has been in business in Silver Spring for over 30 years, He started out in a tiny location across from Montgomery College on Fenton Street extended.  Has moved to a much larger spot on Philadelphia Ave, just 2 blocks away.  Mercedes owners will tell you he is by far the BEST, most reasonable and knowledgable Mercedes Mechanic around.

Headlines Hair Designers  started out as a small shop in the early 1980’s The owners, The Everline Family, occupied a space in an old building on Roeder Road.  They have sinced moved twice, first to First Avenue (at the back of Georgian Towers) and then to their “huge state of the art” current location at 8740 Georgia Avenue (the front of Georgian Towers).

Sniders Super Foods  On Seminary Rd in Montgomery Hills. In Business since the 1940’s, Local, Small, Family Owned, Friendly, Unique and not your average big Chain Grocrery Store. Their website.

Silver Spring Stage  in Woodmoor Shopping Center opened Over 30 years ago. Something I never knew was that it was built in a previous BOWLING ALLEY !

White Oak Bowling Alley  Still in White Oak Shopping Center. Opened in 1959.  Duckpin bowling and a snack bar – still takes me back to the 1960’s.  Now the only Bowling Alley in Silver Spring and the ONLY Duckpin Bowling Alley in Montgomery County.

Tastee Diner  Opened in the 40’s on the corner of Wayne and Georgia.  I can’t forget those shabby, falling apart booth seats in the place (kinda added to it’s charm)before it moved to it’s new home on Cameron Street.

Mi Rancho  opened up in the Old “3 Aces Restaurant” Space at Ramsey Avenue and Fidler Lane in the early 1990’s at a time when we had no really decent restaurants in Silver Spring much less any mexican restaurants. Became very Popular and still is!

Hoover Fisher  Florists in Woodmoor Shopping Center in Business for over 50 years occupies a really cool looking corner store of the Shopping center.

Chaconas Florist on Wayne Avenue – I think I remember them having a shop on Silgo Avenue many years ago? Or maybe that was Vincent  Agnes Florist?

Bell’s Florist – The grandaddy of Silver Spring Florists Same family since 1947.  The Mangum Family  have always been active Silver Spring Boosters.

Plaza Arts Store – What a Cool place to wander around in and I Love their CAT. The cat must be ancient though, I can’t remember NOT seeing it for the last 18 years.  Silver Spring Daily Photo has an awesome photo of the shop with this cat in the window! (Sadly the cat passed away within the last couple years).  This is going way back, but before Plaza Arts Store, it was LITTMAN”S or LIPPMAN’s art and framing.

Dale Music Since 1950  People are amazed that this little shop has survived.  Word of mouth and having a niche in the business has probably helped Dale Music survive.  I know people that have traveled from DC, PG and NorthernVirginia to this unique little store.
UPDATE:   Dale Music CLOSED in the summer of 2014 after 64 years


For these Local “mom and pop” small business’ to have survived our revitalization and inundation of huge new chains into our downtown and greater silver spring area, they must be doing something right!!  I applaud all of them and apologize if I have forgotten any.  Please let me know if you think of any I might have missed.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 1 Comment »

What’s Up with Home Features for 2007?

comhome.jpgDecember is when publications like to forecast upcoming trends for the new year. Mark Nash, author of a number of books on real estate, has come up with some good ones, based on a survey of more than 900 industry professionals.

Here’s some of the features homeowners should be looking to put in their dwellings in 2007: Upscale garages. “It’s no longer the out-of-sight-out-of-mind dumping ground. Today’s garage owners want them decked out with cabinet and storage systems, mini-refrigerators, insulation, heating and air conditioning and durable but residential-looking flooring.
” Man caves and Mom caves.”Personal dedicated space for one person in a household where they can go and work on projects or chill without being disturbed.”
kitchen2.jpgTwo home offices. “Rising gas prices and commuting times have created more two-work-at-home families. Size matters, make sure each is at least ten-by- ten feet.” Rejuvenation rooms. “A one-stop space for exercising, meditation, yoga, sauna and fancy steam showers. Showers are going upscale too. Waterfall fixtures, programmable temperature.” Heated patios, walkways and driveways. “Northern baby-boomers are tired of shoveling and are looking for ways to decrease winter maintenance, plus many have discovered how also heating the patio can add an extra couple of weeks enjoyment in spring and fall.”
Snoring rooms. “Adjacent, second bedrooms to the master, offer relief from the buzz saw and an alternative to the couch. A godsend for millions of relationships nationwide.” Modular Housing. “Many think of the out-dated double wide as the typical modular, but modular options and quality have exploded from the top end 11,000 square foot home, with every whistle and bell, complex finishing details.” Sustainable Design. “Energy conservation, indoor air quality, and resource conservation. Natural forms of energy, such as wind, solar, and geo-thermal if available on-site, are maximized.”
Structured wiring. “Right up there with all the buzz about green homes is structured wiring, now entering the main stream must-have for technology based home buyers. Coaxial TV cable (RG-6), Category 5E voice and data lines, distributed radio, remote camera security are wired through out a home into multi-outlet boxes called in the trade, home network centers.” Mixing finishes on kitchen base and wall cabinets. “Matchy-matchy is out in kitchen design. The new look is to have stained-wood bases and painted wood upper cabinets. The old-Europe-look rules, but with today’s appliances.”    

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Lots of New Faces Ditching the Burbs and Heading to Urban Condo Frontier

canada-dry-pic.jpgAre you part of the demographic trend that’s driving the rising cost of condos in recent years? According to the NAR (Nat’l Assoc of Realtors), increases in condo values have recently begun to outstrip those of single family homes for the first time ever.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Interest Rates Continue to Fall – Happy Holidays to Home Buyers

silverballs.jpgFreddie Mac‘s Primary Mortgage Survey reports the average interest rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage to be 6.08 percent for the week ending December 7th.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Wacky, Wierd and Wonderful? Historic Forest Glen, Silver Spring, Md gets long awaited Face Lift


Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

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