DMV CEO Entrepreneurship in Washington D.C., Maryland & Virginia Thu, 04 Jan 2018 13:23:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Arlington Company Fills a Gap in Advocacy Building the First Mobile Responsive All-in-One Platform Tue, 02 Jan 2018 21:16:06 +0000 Share

Co-Founder Jeb Ory

We had the opportunity to hear from Jeb Ory, the co-founder of Phone2Action, a technology company based in Arlington, Virginia for civic participation and stakeholder engagement.

Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?

We founded Phone2Action to solve a problem Ximena Hartsock, my cofounder, had. She was managing advocacy campaigns and noticed that there was no way for people to take immediate action on issues they cared about. Connecting people with policy-makers is a huge problem throughout our country and the world – people want to be involved in the political process, in making the world a better place, but don’t always know where to start. We created Phone2Action to give people a voice.

Tell us about your products and services.

We make software for public policy campaigns. Organizations like the American Heart Associations or Patagonia use our technology to make it easier for their supporters and customers to play a part in the civic process, allowing supporters to email, call, Tweet, and Facebook their elected officials.

Take us through what you do for your clients.

Our clients use Phone2Action to create public policy campaigns. They will embed a Phone2Action Action Centers on their website to inform people about issues and give the tools to act, letting lawmakers know how they feel about specific policies or laws. Other times, clients use our event advocacy tool, Advocacy Live, which allows people at an event to engage on a campaign at the same time and see their participation displayed publicly on a map that updates in real time, showing people’s names and location on a map.

Who are some of the clients that you’ve worked with and what results have you had?

We work with more than 400 clients, ranging from local issue groups to social justice groups like the United Church of Christ to the Consumer Technology Association to Patagonia and Lyft. Our clients have led more than 25,000 campaigns that have generated more than 20,000,000 connections with lawmakers. Clients have won issues both large and small, from winning from city councils the freedom to operate within a city jurisdiction to major social and political issues of our day.


Where do you see advocacy in the next 3-5 years?

Advocacy will permeate every facet of our life. Imagine watching a movie or TV show about an issue, then being able to ask your TV to connect you with policy-makers so you can weigh in on the issue. We will eventually see public sentiment available to elected officials before they make any vote, so they know exactly how their constituents feel about a matter.

Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?

We will continue to innovate within the field of advocacy to create new, powerful ways for people to engage on things they care about. Key to this will be integrating advocacy into a virtually limitless cross-section of consumer goods and retail locations to create opportunities for people to act wherever they are.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or business owners?

Take your time before jumping full-time into starting your company. Because when you do jump, you will need to be completely committed and focused on pushing your business forward.

Why is the DMV (Washington D.C, Maryland & Virginia) a great place to be a business owner?

Three reasons:

  1. There is a density of world class colleges and universities in the DMV that give local companies access to the most educated talent pool in the world.
  2. Each area is committed to attracting entrepreneurs to drive the economy, so there is a plethora of strong business incentives to make operating a business in the area more cost effective
  3. The DMV has top notch public schools and wonderful cultural resources like the Smithsonian Museums

Any additional things to tell our readers?

Starting and growing a business is a long process. Success doesn’t happen overnight. You need to mix the long view – and a sustained vision – with short-term, execution to realize the success you are looking for.

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7 Entrepreneurs Explain Why The Washington DC Area Is a Good Place for Business Sun, 17 Dec 2017 17:16:41 +0000 Share

There are few areas more energized and engaging with entrepreneurs than the Washington D.C. area. The area is quickly becoming the haven if you’re looking to form your own company or find bright minds to partner with. The proximity to the White House and an ever-evolving entrepreneurial spirit makes the area a perfect place to be if you’re looking to start a business. We wanted to hear from some of those business owners on why they believe Washington D.C. is such a good place for being an entrepreneur.

#1- It’s at the crossroads and has motivated people

Photo Credit: Frances Reimers

I’ve lived in the Washington, DC metro area for more than 15 years. Last year when I decided to strike out on my own I could have moved myself to anywhere else in the country, but knew that DC was the best place for me and my growing company. The DC metro area is ideal for any entrepreneur because it is at the crossroads of sports, entertainment, politics, nonprofits, technology, culture, and so much more. While DC is a densely populated area, it has always felt like a small town to me. The area is home to some of the most intelligent, thoughtful, innovative, and motivated people I’ve ever known. DC professional truly know what it means to network and help one another not just grow, but thrive.

Thanks to Frances Reimers, Firestarter!

#2- People

Photo Credit: Jason Patel

DC is not only the home of a diverse population of people from all walks of life, but the workforce is relatively well-educated. This means you can walk into a bar, restaurant, martial arts gym, or weekend activity and find people who have interesting perspectives and harrowing stories. Veterans, college students, longtime DC natives,  executives, government workers, nonprofit employees, education  professionals — DC hosts people who are ambitious, can provide great advice, and tell a good story. Furthermore, if you’re looking for great contractors, employees, or interns, a business owner has an array of different people to choose from. A healthy diversity of perspectives makes a business stronger.

Thanks to Jason Patel, Transizion!

#3- Income, population and reasonable locations

Photo Credit: Adam Nations

Washington, DC and the surrounding area is an incredible place to own and operate a business. Compared to other markets, average income is high, average population density is even better and you can still find reasonable locations for lease if you know how and where to look. The problem with this market in my experience has not been how to drum up traffic, but how to deal with the traffic that this city naturally creates.

Thanks to Adam Nations, uBreakiFix!

#4- Network and ready market

Photo Credit: Lynda T. C. Peralta

D.C.’s mayor has declared her intentions for making DC the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States. As a woman entrepreneur with a women focused product, that’s awesome, but I specifically love how many universities are in the city which gives me access to students who want to produce quality work for free. In just two semesters, I’ve had students reach out to me from George Washington University and the Washington School of Photography who have asked to work with me for a class assignment. I’ve received free product photography, a newspaper profile, a price sensitivity analysis, an international expansion strategy, an offer to be the case study of a pro bono marketing  competition, and a PhD student in journalism is writing and producing a feature story on my work that will be submitted to local news stations. All this doesn’t even begin to cover the conferences and events that are held by universities that are great places to both network and sell my product. I just love being an entrepreneur in Washington D.C.!

Thanks to Lynda T. C. Peralta, Pocket Palette!

#5- Several things

The Washington, DC metro is chock full of ambitious, highly educated and passionate people with great ideas. Combine that with the area’s unique focus on addressing the nation’s and world’s most pressing problems, and you have the perfect recipe for entrepreneurship.

Thanks to Karen Bate, KB Concepts P.R.!

#6- Various benefits

The DMV area (DC, Maryland and Virginia) offers a variety of benefits and incentives for entrepreneurs. DC boasts income tax credits for startups, Virginia offers great incentives for moving businesses and training employees, and Maryland is committed to revitalizing their metropolitans areas for entrepreneurs. There is also a nexus of smart, talented people in the DMV area, thanks in part to more than a dozen world renowned colleges within a hundred mile radius of the District. If you are looking to attract talent outside the area, DC and Arlington (among others) have transformed into smart cities that offer great transportation, fitness, and food options all which attract high caliber talent. Finally, the mid-atlantic location and the excellent airport and train options make the DMV a great region for startup headquarters. Traveling to PA, NYC via Amtrak is a breeze and you can fly to almost any city in the US from the three different international airports.

Thanks to Jeb Ory, Phone2Action!

#7- Plenty of labour

Photo Credit: Bobby Montagne

More than eight universities in the D.C. metro area attract and keep bright people, the kind of employees you want for a start up business. The recent development of neighborhoods in D.C. (upper 14th street, H Street Corridor, andTrinidad just to name a few) keeps expanding urban living options for D.C. proper. The D.C. area economy, buoyed by a combination of government jobs, beltway bandits, and industry has remained strong for decades, even as most of the country faced economic downturns. As a result, unemployment rates in the D.C. metro area have remained among the lowest nationwide for decades while housing resale prices have stayed strong — all qualities that attract good employees to a region.

Thanks to Bobby Montagne, Walnut Street Finance!

Why is DC a good place to do business? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.


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Executive Director of Northern Virginia Franchise Creates Jobs Providing Support for the Aging Population Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:39:30 +0000 Share

Michael San Juan the Executive Director of Always Best Care of Arlington which provides multiple options for seniors including an assisted living finder/referral services, in-home care and remote safety monitoring/remote home automation. Michael spoke about the following:

• What the franchise do?
• What a typical day is like for him
• How the company has leveraged technology to be more efficient and effective
• Why it’s important to be informed in business and for your health
• How he’s improved his health and the impact that he has had on his life
• Preparing for your retirement as a business owner and for any bad things that

Contact Information:
• Website:
• Facebook Page:
• E-mail:

Originally Posted on CEO Chat

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100+ Local Business Resources You Need to Know About in DC, Maryland & Virginia Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:52:14 +0000 Share

Networking is alive and thriving in the DMV. There are so many organizations and groups to be a part of in D.C., Maryland and Virginia so, we decided to start making a list of some of the resources, organizations or groups that you could join or visit in the area. While it’s not comprehensive (yet) we, have taken a try before and we are always looking for additional resources to add to our directory and our resources page, please check it out and leave us a comment if we left something out.


Chambers of Commerce

  1. Alexandria Chamber – monthly breakfasts, after-hours network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheons sponsored by the Alexandria Small Development Center
  2. Arlington Chamber – monthly breakfasts, evening network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheons& small business roundtable
  3. Central Fairfax Chamber – monthly evening network mixers; some breakfast and luncheon sessions
  4. DC Chamber – monthly evening network mixers, periodic educational presentations, plus bi-weekly “Leadshare” sessions for exchanging referrals, with a focus on economic development, tourism, and advocacy
  5. Dulles Regional Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts, evening network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheon workshops
  6. Fairfax Chamber – non-routinely scheduled events emphasizing state and global trade issues, with a focus on advocacy
  7. Greater McLean Chamber – monthly luncheon and evening network mixers
  8. Greater Springfield Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts, evening network mixers, and (free) brown bag/roundtable luncheon workshops
  9. Mount Vernon-Lee Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts and luncheon seminars
  10. Prince William Chamber – monthly networking breakfasts, luncheon roundtables, and after-hours networking mixers
  11. Reston Chamber – monthly luncheon and evening network mixers, lead shares
  12. Vienna-Tysons Chamber – monthly luncheon and evening network mixers
  13. South Fairfax – meetings 3-4 times a year
  14. Prince William Chamber of Commerce – after-hours mixer, networking events
  15. Greater Washington Board of Trade – a Chamber-like regional organization holding non-routinely scheduled events, including the resources of its Small Business Network division
  16. Maryland Chamber of Commerce–events, start-up in Maryland, after-hours networking mixers
  17. Anne Arundel County Chamber – networking breakfasts
  18. Loudoun Chamber–leadshare, after-hours mixers, workshops, networking events
  19. Chamber Frederick – leadership program, young professionals events, networking events
  20. Rockville Chamber – networking, roundtable, mastermind
  21. Calvert Chamber – after-hours mixers, young professionals, after-hour mixers, workshops
  22. Howard County Chamber – training, workshops, networking, after-hour mixers, lunches, breakfasts
  23. Greater Bowie Chamber – breakfast mixer, special events
  24. Prince George’s Chamber–committee meetings, forum
  25. Charles County Chamber of Commerce – mixer, breakfast mixer
  26. Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce – special events, monthly networking, lunch & learns

Chambers for Affinity Groups

  1. Northern Virginia Black Chamber – events, mixers, expo (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
  2. Asian American Chamber – mixers, referral groups, networking events
  3. Virginia Hispanic Chamber– conference, gala, clinics (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
  4. Maryland Black Chamber – lunch and dinner networking, workshops, fairs

Local Business Groups & Organizations

  1. Alexandria Region – each group serves as a hyper-local chamber of commerce and is comprised of businesses located in the same general geographic area, often represented by a number of retailers, which meets periodically for presentations, networking, and to address issues affecting their members. Among them are the West End Business AssociationEisenhower PartnershipDel Ray Business Association, and the Old Town Business & Professional Association.
  2. Rosslyn BID – The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is a designated 17-block mixed-use, an urban center in the heart of Rosslyn. Funded by a special tax paid by property owners within the BID boundaries, the Rosslyn BID provides services to enhance, grow and maintain the neighborhood through a public/private partnership with Arlington County.
  3. Crystal City BID – The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established in April 2006 to promote the vibrant Crystal City business, retail, restaurant and residential community. The BID is committed to showcasing the area as a world-class destination for visitors, employees and residents.(Check out their DMV CEO Post)
  4. BizLaunch of Arlington Economic Development is Arlington’s small business and entrepreneurial assistance network, and your one-stop-shop for everything you’ll need to know about starting or growing a business in Arlington. BizLaunch partners with a wide variety of small business organizations to provide you with information on writing a business plan, taxes, permits, licensing, marketing, financing and just about anything else you’ll need to know to start or grow your business in Arlington. Additionally, the BizLaunch center offers information, counseling and research opportunities, all free of charge.

Quasi-Government Sponsored Organizations

  1. Small Business Development Centers
    • Alexandria Small Business Development Center– 2-3 monthly educational sessions per month on topics relevant to small businesses, focusing on those in Alexandria
    • George Mason University – Small Business Development Center– located at 4031 University Drive Suite 200 Fairfax, VA 22030-3409. Phone: 703-277-7727
    • DC SBDC – The District of Columbia SBDC network is the only Districtwide, nationally accredited program that provides high-quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to empower new and existing businesses.
    • Maryland SBDC – The Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is dedicated to helping you start and grow your business. We provide training, confidential consulting and market and industry research to help aspire and existing small businesses make sound decisions for successful operations.
  2. SCORESCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters.

Economic Development Organizations

  1. Southeast Fairfax Development – 9 monthly panel presentations on business growth topics on the 1st Thursday.
  2. Fairfax County Economic Development Authority – business growth workshops every 1-2 months
  3. Washington DC Economic Development Partnership – business management and growth panel presentations on the 2nd Wednesday

Independent Networking Groups

  1. Old Town Alexandria Connections – upper echelon small businesses and organizations as eager to grow their business as they are to share tips, leads, and referrals with other OTAC Members Meetings are held between 12:00 and 1:30 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month
  2. Washington Network Group – an organization of business, finance, technology, foreign and government affairs professionals holding special networking events, innovative educational forums, and professional development opportunities
  3. Northern Virginia Business Referrals – weekly breakfast meetings of Northern Virginia small businesses
    For Technology Organizations
  4. Northern Virginia Technology Council – the region’s premier networking and educational organization, holding a variety of breakfast, luncheon, and evening events for a wide range of technology firms
  5. Technology Council of Maryland – non-routinely scheduled educational events for District of Columbia and Maryland technology firms
  6. MIT Enterprise Forum – for entrepreneurs of all types, with 24 worldwide chapters, including this one in D.C.
  7. TIE-DC – for entrepreneurs of all types, with a lot of IT, having 53 chapters in 12 countries, including this C.C. chapter
  8. The Hub – for telecom and related industries.
  9. Entrepreneur’s Organization – Washington DC – Founded in 1991, EO is the premier, peer-to-peer, global community, network and resource for entrepreneurs.
  10. Beacon – BEACON is a community-led campaign to make Washington DC the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States.

Women’s Networking Groups

NOTE: Although created for women professionals, many women’s networking groups accept men

  1. National Association of Women Business Owners (Greater DC Chapter) – NAWBO Greater DC works to promote interdependence among the more than 45,000 women business owners in the Washington, DC area and holds monthly educational luncheons, plus other events.
  2. eWomen Network (Tysons Corner Chapter) – monthly breakfasts, periodic educational activities, and an annual convention for women entrepreneurs
  3. Women Building & Investing in Success – Sheila Dixon, Founder, 703-327-7624 – this is a fairly new group created for women business owners and a mentoring and educational resource.
  4. Women in Technology – monthly lunch forums, evening network mixers, and ongoing educational events for women technology professionals
  5. Women’s Business Center (under the umbrella of the Community Business Partnership) – monthly breakfast educational presentations (First Friday of the month), plus a variety of structured training classes and resources for business startups
  6. SheCapitol – SheCapitol facilitates monthly events that bring women entrepreneurs together to share and discuss ideas, brainstorm and support each other along our journey to success.
  7. Beacon – BEACON is a community-led campaign to make Washington DC the most influential and supportive city for women entrepreneurs in the United States.
  8. Awesome Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) – Awesome Women Entrepreneurs – AWE is a diverse group of talented, energetic and caring women who cheer each other on. What makes us unique is our mission to inspire, connect and collaborate with women business owners in our local community — and have some laughs too!

For Nonprofits/Associations

  1. The Alexandria Brown Bag – associated with A.S.A.E., this group arranges for speakers on topics of interest to associations/nonprofits during its free “bring-your-own” monthly luncheon meetings, on the third Thursday, between 12:00 and 1:30 in Old Town Alexandria. Receiving invitations and making reservations can be done through its LinkedIn Group, or by contacting its coordinator, Talisa Thomas-Hall at or 703-981-1143. The meetings also are posted for registration on S.A.E.’s Website.
  2. Ashoka Youth Venture – Youth Venture inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own “Ventures” – community-benefiting initiatives, clubs, organizations and businesses. Teams access workshops, adult allies (non-controlling adult team advisors), a global network of like-minded young changemakers, and fundraising tools to establish their Ventures that solve problems around them.

Franchised Networking Groups

NOTE: These groups operate under a franchise or franchise-like arrangement, with a central headquarters and separate chapters with their members

  1. BNI (Business Networking International) – thousands of chapters world-wide and numerous in Northern Virginia, holding weekly meetings
  2. Network Referral Group (NRG) – about 50 chapters in the region meeting at least monthly
  3. Team Network– about a dozen chapters in the region meeting at least monthly
    For Government Contractors
  4. The American Small Business Coalition a membership organization offering networking and educational events for both federal governmental contractors and federal agencies.
  5. SECAF (Small and Emerging Contractors’ Advisory Forum)– SECAF provides an environment for small/emerging governmental contractors to learn, network, and be an integral part of the contracting landscape, through (usually monthly) educational programs that incorporate successful business practices, business growth, contract partnering, recruitment and retention, and program development.
  6. Quantico-Belvoir Regional Business Alliance – the mission of the Quantico/Belvoir Regional Business Alliance mission is to position the region as a welcoming and supportive community to the military and their business partners, in order to facilitate positive outcomes from growth, both within and outside the MCB Quantico and Fort Belvoir and to convey information on BRAC and other DOD-related growth opportunities. In doing so, Alliance identifies and communicates DOD-related business opportunities, through partnerships, advocacy, training, networking, and community outreach.
  7. NeXco – neXco is a multi-faceted networking organization that provides multiple platforms to help you grow your business. At our core are our lead share groups, which meet twice monthly and include one seat per profession.
  8. Northern VA Business Roundtable – To give true value to each member via weekly networking luncheon, strategy sessions, on going training,  create  thought provoking brainstorming, idea sharing, problem solving, business development with the Masterminds of other business professionals who help with accountability and Team building.
  9. Freedom Networking Group–networking centered around passing referrals. (Check out their DMV CEO Post)
  10. NOVA Networking – A professional group focused on growing business by passing referrals and networking.

For Veteran-owned Businesses

  1. Capitol Post/The Bunker@DC – several business management workshops each month attended by (mostly) veteran and non-veteran business leaders
  2. DCORP (Objective Rally Point) – monthly workshops designed to support Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

Meetup Groups

  1. I am CEO – Our meetup! Powered by CBNation & Blue 16 Media, workshops, networking mixers and more for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners.
  2. DC Tech Meetup (+8,000 members) – With over 8,000 members, the DC Tech meetup brings together, technologists, entrepreneurs, investors and other innovators to “learn and share.” Each month over 800 innovators gather to see demos, product launches and meet potential co-founders, partners and funders.
  3. DC Lean Startup Circle (+2,000 members) – Based on the Lean Startup methodology coined by Eric Ries, the DC Lean Startup Circle description explains the group is “not a general entrepreneurship, networking or professional meetup group.”
  4. DC Nightowls (+1,400 members) – An after hours community of “self-starters” that are looking to take ideas and make them happen.
  5. Tech Breakfast (+4,000 members) – This monthly breakfast in Baltimore, Columbia, DC and NoVA where entrepreneurs, techies, developers, designers, business people and others congregate to see new technology and interact. Each TechBreakfast starts at 8:00 AM and goes until 10:00AM. It’s also free.
  6. DC-MD Small Business Owner Networking (+2,000 members) – DC-MD Small Business Owner Networking offers business related networking meetings and workshops for Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners throughout the DC & Baltimore Metropolitan areas (DC, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Anne Arundel County & Baltimore).
  7. DC Young Entrepreneurs – DCYE is a networking and educational organization for young entrepreneurs  located in DC. The Meetup has events such as Fireside Chats, happy hours, Business Book Clubs and co-working sessions.
  8. Femworking  – is a powerful mastermind networking experience for female entrepreneurs. We believe in giving, rather than receiving, and adding value to each other’s businesses and supporting each other as we grow. We have meetings in Washington DC, across Northern Virginia, Richmond, VA, Columbus, OH, and Virtual Daytime and Evening options.
  9. Productcamp – ProductCamp DC is a series of community organized gatherings focused on product related topics. Professionals interested in designing, building, launching and marketing great products gather to learn from one another and share their experiences.
  10. Tech in Motion – Tech in Motion is broad by design, the goal of this group is to be interactive and allow technology enthusiasts to learn from other professionals, have questions answered in real-time, discover new tech, and hear stories that inspire. This group is a place for technology professionals who wouldn’t usually cross paths to meet, collaborate, and learn about what their peers are doing across the city.
  11. Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers, D.C., Networking – Please come and team up with other changemakers and social entrepreneurs looking for partners! It will be fun and stimulating!
  12. Startup Grind – Startup Grind is an event series and website designed to help educate, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs. Each month we welcome a fantastic speaker who shares their story with our community and tells us what worked, what didn’t, and what they’ll do differently next time. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the best, network with other members of the startup community, and improve your chances of entrepreneurial success.
  13. Women Coach and Consultant Business Owners Mastermind – This group is for women-owned small businesses that provide coaching and  consulting services. The group meets at least once a month in Arlington or Alexandria.
  14. Loudoun Tech Startups is the local group for the emerging and growing Loudoun Tech community to relax, network and learn together. Come out monthly to meet your tech-minded peers, discuss what you’re working on, learn from a trending speaker and maybe even find your next opportunity.
  15. 1 Million Cups (Prince William County / Loudoun County– not a Meetup) – Based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee, the Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups – a free program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs with their communities.


  1. 1776 – At 1776, we’re a global incubator and seed fund that believes startups can change the world. We’re building a global community to provide the intellectual, social and financial capital these startups need to succeed.
  2. Community Business Partnership – Community Business Partnership (CBP) provides education, technical assistance, business incubation services, access to capital and networking opportunities.
  3. The Flory Small Business Center, Inc– The Flory Center, Inc. a non-profit, tax-exempt organization was established in 1991 to assist existing small businesses and start-up entrepreneurs access capital for expansion, increase sales, and create and retain jobs.
  4. George Mason University – Small Business Development Center– located at 4031 University Drive Suite 200 Fairfax, VA 22030-3409. Phone: 703-277-7727

Facebook Groups

  1. I am CEO – Our Facebook Group! Powered by CBNation & Blue 16 Media, workshops, networking mixers and more for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners.
  2. DMV Deal Makers – Where real estate dealmakers in the DC metro area come together
  3. Northern Virginia Events & Vendor Directory – A listing of all upcoming events & vendor opportunities. Feel free to list any future events or vendor opportunities that are in the Northern Virginia area.
  4. NoVA Business Referral Roundtable – This is a group for northern Virginia and DC metro area professionals to network, share referrals and does business with some of the Best of the Best entrepreneurs, business owners, and sales reps.
  5. DC Social Media – A space for connecting, communicating, and collaborating with social media enthusiasts and professionals in Washington DC and local surrounding areas.
  6. DC Tech – This is from DC Tech. Meaning that the content and conversations should be related to the greater DC Metro region and have a focus on technology or technology-enabled businesses.
  7. Gainesville Encouraging Networkers – Welcome to Gainesville Encouraging Networkers, a business networking group built on covenant relationships in the Virginia/ Washington DC Area. We focus on helping each other network and grow our business through monthly luncheons and business spotlight. (Check out their DMV CEO Post)

Online Resources

  1. DMV CEO – DMV CEO is a niche blog that captures the essence of entrepreneurship in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. DMV CEO is a member of CEO Blog Nation.
  2. Business One Stop is a step-by-step guide from that provides a step-by-step guide including considering starting a business, starting a business, running a business and expanding a business.

Did we miss any resources? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to check out our Startup DMV eBook

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DC Startup Helps People Find Non-Membership Based Fitness Activities Thu, 28 Sep 2017 13:16:57 +0000 Share

Being able to find a gym or fitness class can be an arduous process. Often people have to search based on price, location, reviews and many other variables to find the perfect class to attend. Reghe Ojaide, the founder and CEO of ReserveKing hopes that her DC based startup that launches this month makes the process easier for fitness seekers. We had the opportunity to hear from Reghe.

Tell us your story

I developed ReserveKing out of my own frustration of not being able to easily find accessible, non-membership based fitness activities in the D.C. area. I couldn’t readily book a class on the go without spending an enormous amount of time researching it.

Tell us about your company and what you all do.

ReserveKing is a non-subscription-based online reservation service that enables users to discover and book curated fitness activities in real-time, affordably, while on the go. No longer do users have to search endlessly for local options or be limited with the number of classes they can take. ReserveKing is a central platform that provides a community for fitness enthusiasts. Additionally, ReserveKing connects local boutique studios, gyms and personal trainers with consumers via “pop-in option” (a-la-carte) classes.

How did you come up with your company name? 

Since it’s a reservation service, I knew the word reserve had to be in it; and then King because it’s catchy and shows competence.

What makes you company unique? 

Grass root local D.C. company that caters to both the consumer and partner fitness services.

How does it work? 

Users select the date, time, location and category (yoga, barre, boxing and etc.) then search for available classes. A selection will populate and the user can select, pay and show up ready to sweat – it’s that easy! For local gyms and fitness studios, they simply enter services and class details. Each time a user that purchases a class, the gyms and fitness studios get notified and paid.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

Expanding in both coasts.

Why is the DMV a good place to be an entrepreneur or business owner? The DMV is a good place to be an entrepreneur in the fitness industry because it is ranked one of the fittest areas in the U.S.

Anything additional you would like to tell our readers? 

Our platform will be live September 29, so sign up and start booking!

Contact ReserveKing on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

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Entrepreneur Creates Mobile Marketplace for Men’s Fashion Resellers Sat, 22 Jul 2017 13:16:28 +0000 Share

Often a business starts when an entrepreneur or business owner has a pain point or something they wished existed. After research and searching, an entrepreneur might realize that whatever their idea is doesn’t actually exist. This is when a true entrepreneur develops that solution. This was the case for Eric Niu, the CEO & Co-Founder of Swaggle, a DMV based application that the “Tinder for Men’s Fashion.” 

Image Credit: Eric Niu

What’s your story?

Swaggle was created out of a problem that the cofounders couldn’t find a solution for. We were young professionals working in Washington DC and didn’t have much money to keep shopping designer men’s wear. One of the hardest thing for me was to pick a outfit for work. We started to swap clothes from each other and shop from each others closets. That’s when we realize the potential of Swaggle.

What does your business do?

Swaggle is a mobile marketplace connecting high-end men’s fashion resellers and interested buyers for a curated and personalized shopping experience. Our platform helps consumers easily find quality men’s wear at discounted prices while helping fashion resale sellers expand their market reach gain business insights and increase their revenues. Our secret sauce is that every feature on Swaggle is tailored for men’s shopping habit. We personalize shopping experience using a peer-to-peer model and a learning adaption technology to solve sizing and styling needs.

What inspires you?

As a first-generation immigrant from China, start a business has always been my American dream. Many people often ask me, have you ever have doubts? Of course, I have.. Through, it’s more fearful to not take the chance and pursue your dream

Who is an entrepreneur you look up to and why?

Elon Musk, because he has big dreams and the tenacity and persistence to pursue them despite doubts and setbacks.

What exciting things can we look forward to from your company?

When consumers clean out their closets, they make room for new items and get more use out of the clothing in the ecosystem by reselling and donating. If 1 in 100 American households resold the items in their closets, it would keep 95 million pounds of clothes out of landfills every year. With resale becoming a natural part of the social conversation around smart and conscientious living, Swaggle is inspiring men to become accustomed to decluttering and consignment shopping.

What are some of the things that make your company unique?

Swaggle aspire to set a new standard for the way men shop. The world is constantly evolving towards a more shared economy with global communities. We look forward to, not only, electrifying the overall mobile shopping experience but also curating and leading a community around fashion.

We want men to be environmental conscience when they buy new fashion and get accustomed to resell and recycle fashion and save the planet.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

Entrepreneurship is in my blood.

What do you think is unique or special about being in the DMV (D.C., Maryland or Virginia area) as a business owner?

We are launching Swaggle in the DMV area because we have an influx number of young professionals who needs alternatives to designer goods at a fraction of the retail price. The region has becoming a startup hub in recent years and we are fortunate to have so much support from startups, incubators and investors in the area.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The popularity of consignment shopping exploded in the wake of the Great Recession; the online resale market is valued at $25 billion today with a 10% growth rate mostly come from women and kids. As consumers, we couldn’t find a consignment shopping experience that is tailored for men, so we started Swaggle.

Check out GoSwaggle on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.  

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Northern Virginia Based Company Revolutionizing The Way People Move Mon, 05 Jun 2017 13:16:24 +0000 Share

Moving is a frustrating experience. For many people they dread the experience and Northern Virginia based PockitShip is focused on revolutionizing the experience and improving the overall experience. We had the opportunity to speak with Garrett O’Shea, Co-Founder to learn more about how they’re creating the “Uber for moving,” what inspires him and some of the exciting things that they are working on.


What’s your story? Please tell us about you and your background and why you started your business.

As a Former Executive SVP of RedPeg Marketing (a top 25 marketing shop), for over 17 years (where I started as an intern and worked my way up). I left my long time career in marketing to help start PockitShip. Having helped build RedPeg into a nationally recognized shop, serving fortune 500 clients, I loved the idea of building a brand from scratch. I knew PockitShip was the kind of idea that could have the potential to scale and serve customers nationwide. That challenge excited me and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join forces with Steve Senkus. Steve is a 20 year logistics veteran who had already successfully build NonstopDelivery a nationwide last mile delivery service.
What does your business do? 

PockitShip, is the on-demand moving and delivery company revolutionizing the way both consumers and retailers ship furniture, exercise equipment, appliances or other bulky items across the DC metropolitan and Baltimore, MD areas. PockitShip brings transparency to the moving and delivery industries by eliminating hidden fees and removing complicated service charges for easy-to-understand flat rate quotes and offering real-time communication with drivers throughout the delivery process. Our goal is to provide the best customer experience possible, exceed your expectations, and operate with integrity. If you are ever dissatisfied with your service, we will do everything we can to make it right.

Any entrepreneur knows that just getting your business off the ground and servicing your first paying client is a major challenge. PockitShip began with a simple website where we beta tested the concept. Would people even want a service like ours? We learned quickly that they did and wanted it for more than we had originally planned. We started the business with the idea to service the Craigslist market for used furniture and other heavy items. We realized that we could service all sorts of needs from the platform and we started moving small apartments, and joined forces with small local retailers to become their go-to shipping and delivery service. Our mission is to never fail on a delivery for a customer and to provide the best quality experience. Our vision is to be the absolute best in the business and transform the moving and delivery industry to one that is more transparent and consistent. There are over 15,000 moving companies in the US. 50% of them are less than 5 people. We believe we can join forces with both larger and smaller moving and delivery companies to help them provide a better experience by working with PockitShip. Think of the taxi and black car service before Uber and Lyft, it was severely fragmented with no national players.

What is your favorite business quotation?

That’s easy… Sir Richard Branson says, “finding something frustrating and seeing an opportunity to make it better is what entrepreneurship is all about” – That’s exactly what we are doing with PockitShip. Who hasn’t been frustrated or anxious about moving? It’s an old, antiquated business ripe for disruption and we are here to make it a better experience.

Any major accomplishments?

Successfully launching the company, having over 1100 customers in our first year, launching 4 apps back in October and launching our first new market (Baltimore) all within 12 months, feels major to me!

What inspires you?

In life, my kids. In business, it’s making a customer happy. Everytime we get a great review, I’m over the moon because we are exceeding customers expectations.

Could you tell the story of your business? 

PockitShip was founded in 2014 and launched a year later in the summer of 2015. PockitShip, CEO and Founder, Steve Senkus and I have been friends and neighbors for over 7 years. Steve had the idea to create an on-demand pickup and delivery company that operated similar to Uber. With Steve’s 20 years of delivery and logistics experience he knew there was a need in the marketplace. However, he was not sure how to proceed as this concept was a consumer play vs. a business to business. With my background, I had vast experiential (consumer) marketing experience which was a perfect for for what Steve was trying to create. Steve and I had a conversation over a BBQ one night and decided that “project X” (as we called it then) could be a good idea. It was a few months later that I decided to leave RedPeg Marketing and pursue PockitShip. The next day Steve offered me the opportunity to head up “project X” as the President and CMO and the rest is history!

I came up with the name PockitShip while sitting at my kitchen table with his wife. After several months of trying to create a “cool startup brand” and paying thousands to brand experts he said, “this doesn’t have to be this hard… where do most people keep their phone?

A: in your pocket?

Q: what are we trying to do?

A: make it easy to ship via an App. And BOOM! PockitShip was born.

The switch from spelling Pockit with an “i” vs and “e” was due to grabbing the right URL and “i” lends itself more to information technology. I also just had a relevant personal experience when I sold an exercise bike on Craigslist. The guy came to my house and the bike wouldn’t fit in the back of his car. After the use of some tools a lot of sweat and a few bungee cords I tossed in he drove away with it sticking out of the back of his car and I prayed it wouldn’t fall out and hurt anyone. We’ve all had that time when the BIG ITEM wouldn’t fit in your car. That’s when the lightbulb went off for me. When Steve told me his idea I said, “wow i could have just used that” and I haven’t talked to a person yet who hasn’t said the samething to me. It’s a lot easier to start a business when you truly believe there is a need in the marketplace because you can personally relate to it. It’s not an idea for ideas sake or just a business where you think you can “make a lot of money” it’s real because then it’s personal.

Who is an entrepreneur you look up to and why?

Of course I look up to a lot of the big ones like Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, and Daymond John. But if I had to pick one, it would be local DC legend Ted Leonsis. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ted several times and he is one of the most humble people on the planet. He’s an amazing speaker and everything Ted does is about giving back while making money in the process. He bought up all the sports teams (or close to it) in DC because of what it does to revitalize neighborhoods. He’s proof that you can both give back tremendously and profit from it at the same time. He strikes the perfect balance of what it means to be a decent human being.

What exciting things can we look forward to from your company/organization?

My team and I are working hard everyday to make customers happy. If we can do that consistently then we will be able to grow. We are planning for a significant capital raise this summer and with those proceeds we will be able to bring PockitShip into new markets. We are planning to be in 8 new markets by the end of 2018.

What are some of the things that make you unique?

PockitShip is unique for many reasons. We offer transparent pricing and instant quotes. We don’t do pricing on the size, weight, or how far an item is traveling. As long as it’s within our service area, it’s all the same price. Sure there are exceptions- For example, if an item is over 250lbs, but we know most of what we ship is under that. If it’s too heavy for 2 guys we will work with the customer to get them additional labor to get their items moved. Our app is especially unique. We haven’t seen much like it out there, it’s super easy to use and customers love it. Our driver app is one of the first of its kind as well. It was build with the driver in mind and gives our drivers a ton of control while in the field to best service our clients, and they love it.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

Like Richard Branson said above, I think it’s about identifying a problem and finding a way to fix it. That doesn’t’ mean anyone can find any problem and fix it. You have to have the right set of tools and skills to address the problem. Once you assess if you and/or your partner/s are the right people to tackle the problem, then it’s about building something. It’s about building a business or company that can create jobs, be a place of learning for your team members, and always striving to be better than you were yesterday both personally and with the business.

What do you think is unique or special about being in the DMV (D.C., Maryland or Virginia area) as a business owner?

I couldn’t imagine a better place to launch a business than DC and the surrounding areas. There are so many different levels of uniqueness. From the “city” to the suburbs you have tons of diverse regions and people to market to to test your idea/ business. The whole area is growing exponentially as well, which makes for more potential customers and bodes well with that PockitShip is trying to accomplish.

Check out PockitShip’s website and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

]]> 0 Husband & Wife Focus on Incredible Customer Experience at their NoVa Salon Mon, 29 May 2017 13:16:03 +0000 Share

Today it’s become more and more difficult to get people to visit small business in person. However, many small business owners like Jonathan Elkhouri focused on creating an incredible customer experience to encourage clients and customers to keep coming back over and over again. We spoke with Jonathan, the owner of Salon Khouri located in Fairfax, Virginia about how he got started, what makes his business unique, some of the things that he and his team are working on and what an incredible customer experience looks like.

What’s your story? Please tell us about you and your background and why you started your business.

I began my career at 18 as a shampoo technician. I was working hard to learn the trade and put in a lot of long hours. I then signed up for an apprenticeship program with Antoine Chahine and later worked in that program as his assistant for two and a half years. I met my wife, Jennifer, while working there, and we hit it off right away. We like to joke that it was “love at first clip.” I have always loved the leadership potential of being a hairstylist and really wanted to lead and train a team of stylists, plus Jennifer has always had an entrepreneurial bug, so in 2005 we decided to open our first salon, Salon Khouri, in Fairfax, VA. We both had a very specific vision for the salon. We both knew the customer experience had to be incredible. Jennifer had definite goals for systems (as her background as a systems engineer) and I had clear goals about technical standards in hairstyling. We put all of that together and before we did anything, we created a vision and mission statement.

What does your business do?

In a big picture sense, we are helping change the world. Our team has the opportunity to touch so many people every day. Our clients range from educators, to vets, to local celebrities, to stay at home moms, to lawyers and doctors. Their experience with us will shape their experiences with others. We treat others how we wish to be treated, we serve our local community and we are adamant about our commitment to quality. We have the ability to help people feel more confident about themselves and to set the tone of their day, week or month. Our clients then go into their day touching thousands of others. In a nutshell, we help people love their hair and skin, which changes the world.

We feel we are unique in our commitment to our vision, and by the systems we have put in place to ensure consistency in our client experience. We have an extremely low team member turnover as well, which is quite unique in the salon industry. We also would never recommend a service or sell a product to one of our clients that they do not need. We are also a teaching salon that fosters and trains the next generation of excellent hairstylists.

What is your favorite business quotation?  

I’m not sure who said it, but my favorite business quote is “Instead looking at things as challenges, see them as opportunities.”

Any major accomplishments?

Marrying my wife Jennifer ;-). Our salon has been named ‘Best Of’ in Northern Virginia Magazine in 2013 and 2015. That was a tremendous honor for our entire team!

What inspires you?

To mentor and guide our team members to be successful – to watch them grow, prosper and overcome obstacles. I also really like seeing clients enjoy their experiences at the salon and the relationships we have built with them over the past 12 years.

Could you tell the story of your business? 

My wife Jennifer and I had a very specific vision of the salon we wanted to create. We really wanted to create something unique – a business that would serve not only our clients, but our team members and our community. I had a great experience in the apprenticeship program I was in, and that really drove me to want to open a salon. I wanted to help grow and train stylists. Jennifer is really strong with creating systems and ensuring customer experience. We really pushed hard to create what we now have, and we still have more to learn and areas in which we can grow. The fun in being an entrepreneur – you are never really “done.” There’s always more learning, more leading and more growing.

Who is an entrepreneur you look up to and why?

We look up to Andy Stanley who hosts a leadership podcast and Leadercast events. We love his Godly wisdom and discernment and how he himself is a servant leader. He may not run a for profit enterprise, but we still very much consider him an entrepreneur.

Also, we were blessed to meet two owners of a very successful salon in another state – also a husband and wife team — Alfredo and Amy Lamparelli of Salon Bogar. They are now mentoring us. They are incredible leaders, consistent in their training, and uncompromising in how they run their business. We have learned a tremendous amount from them and are so incredibly thankful for their guidance.

What exciting things can we look forward to from your company/organization?  

Today we have two salons, our original salon located in Fairfax, VA, plus our Dulles Landing location which opened in 2015.

We will be working hard to continue raising the standards of our industry. We recently adopted a new color line from Kevin Murphy. We’ve been carrying the Kevin Murphy product line for a number of years now and have just been so impressed with the standards of the company and the performance of the product. When they introduced a color line, we knew it was something we needed to bring in. The color line is ppd free, ammonia free and has naturally derived ingredients such as aloe vera, honey, shea butter and pomegranate. And it performs beautifully.

We have our in-salon education calendar chocked full of classes this year, as well, and are excited to bring to our clients the many new techniques we are learning. We are dedicated to staying on top of new industry trends. Our team was one of the first in the area to learn and master the balayage technique. And we are the first salon in the DC Area to offer a Japanese Air Wave texture service, which is a beautiful way to achieve a soft, textured, permanent wave to your hair.

What are some of the things that make you unique?

My sense of humor is unique – I can be very serious but also, in the weight of a serious moment, crack a joke that will lift the air a bit. I feel that I am good with people and building relationships. I am patient, although my kids might not agree with that. And I am a strong multi-tasker.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?

It’s sheer joy one moment and sheer terror the next. It’s full of rewards and full of risks. But, you always have to push through. And, you cannot do it alone and you can never quit.

What do you think is unique or special about being in the DMV (D.C., Maryland or Virginia area)?

It’s an area rich in history and yet culturally diverse. It’s a great area in which to live – you meet a lot of amazing and interesting people.

Check out Salon Khouri’s website and also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Yelp (Fairfax & Dulles)

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Entrepreneur Continues His Families Legacy with His Painting Business Wed, 08 Mar 2017 14:16:28 +0000 Share

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This phrase comes from the Bible and goes back to the idea that a child learns values and even interests early in life. For some, it might be manners but sometimes for entrepreneurs and business owners it could be learning how to run the business. Victor Tirondola of Manor Works Painting started working for the family business when he was 17 years old and eventually purchased his painting company continuing the legacy that started with his grandfather.

Tell us a little about your background and why you decided to start your business?  
I have been in the painting industry for 18 years. I started my painting career in Essex county NJ. It all started when my Grandfather (also named Victor Tirondola) started his own business in 1955. My grandfather taught my Uncle Mark everything about painting and he then started his own business in the 1980’s. I started working for the family painting business when I was just 17 years old. I learned not only the best painting and renovation techniques, including how to work with plaster and lead based paint safely, but also how to run a large painting company. After over a decade’s experience with my family’s business, I left New Jersey for Northern Virginia. I starting working with Manor Works Painting four years ago. When I recently had the opportunity to purchase Manor Works I had to accept the challenge. I felt the opportunity was a direct call from God. Somehow it feels like owning a painting business is in my DNA.

What does your company do? (Products and services)
Manor Works Painting offers interior and exterior painting and carpentry. For the painting portion we offer all different levels of interior and exterior preparation. Preparation is key to a successful paint job. On the exterior of a house we offer the option to fully sand the house to the bare wood, as well as power washing and hand sanding. On the interior we offer a variety of services, from sheetrock replacement to fixing nail pops in walls. For the carpentry portion we offer all types of wood replacement and molding installation. On the exterior we offer wood rot replacement with PVC boards. On the interior carpentry we offer molding installation like crown moldings, baseboard, and chair rail moldings. We install custom wainscoting and coffered ceilings.


What makes your company unique? 
Our company has been offering the greater DC area top-notch painting services for the past 19 years. We bring years of experience in multiple different facets of the home industry. We provide an all-inclusive comprehensive detailed contract, and we deliver on that contract. We use high quality paints and products and each of our team members is highly skilled and knowledgable in paint and carpentry.

Our customers our pleased to work with a contractor that delivers on what they promise. There can be a disconnect when it comes to contractors and customer service. Manor Works excels in customer service, by keeping all customers fully aware of next steps, the customer schedule, and follow through with our extensive warranties. How we stand behind our work is a testimony as to how we feel about our customers.

Our clients have left us many positive online reviews, making us one of the most talked about local painting contractors with over 600 reviews on Angie’s List.


What are some future trends that you see in the industry? 
A trend that I am seeing more in my industry is the use of PVC. This is both by builders and carpenters. Some of the moldings used in the past are just not lasting anymore. It is a shame to go on an estimate of a house that is only 5-10 years old and see a huge amount of wood rot. PVC is now available in almost any style and once painted the difference between PVC and wood is not noticeable.


What would you tell someone who is a DIY (Do it Yourselfer?) 
The most important thing I can say to a DIYer is to research the products you are using. Just as preparation of the surface is important, product knowledge is essential. Putting the wrong paint or primer on a surface it was not intended for can be disastrous.


What has been the secret to your success as a business owner?  
I would have to say that my success is attributed to hard work and Jesus Christ. Anything I do, I give it 100%. I put in the time and the work and God does the rest.


What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners? 
I would encourage an aspiring entrepreneur to find a business in which you are passionate and have great knowledge. I have been in the painting business for a long time. I have grown to love the people that I work with and the industry that we serve. I read a quote on Linkedin a while back that stuck with me. “I work 80 hours a week so I don’t have to work 40.” There is nothing worse than waking up and hating what you do for a living. Owning a business is a lot of work but if you love what you do it doesn’t always feel like work.


Any big plans or things that you are working on that you can tell us about over the next few years?  
My big plan for the future is to be more involved in the communities we serve. Our company believes in serving as a family and we are excited to make a greater impact as we give back as a company. We also plan to continue to grow our loyal client list.


What makes the DMV a great place to be an entrepreneur or business owner?
The DMV is a great place to own a business. I have met some wonderful people here in Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland who come from all over the world. I have learned a lot from our very diverse community and all of the many professional journeys they have shared with me.


Manor Works Painting is the DC Metropolitan area’s premier, full-service residential painting company.  Manor Works Painting offers year-round interior and exterior painting as well as carpentry services. 
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Transitioning Our Directory to CBNation’s New Directory Site Tue, 01 Nov 2016 19:43:17 +0000 Share

One of the goals and purposes of this new directory site is to consolidate a lot of our efforts across our different sites. We had very specific directory listings on DMV CEO, Rescue a CEO and even our business blog directory on our main site CBNation. We are hoping now that we are able to consolidate one of our best features in to our new directory site. It’s ironic that we created the directory listings to provide greater visibility to business owners but we had them hidden our sites. This ends now. Over the next few weeks, you will see your directory listings transfer over to the official directory site. We are making it easier to find the directory listings and businesses in the area.

Take the site for a test drive and let us know what you think!

Sample Directory Listing on the new Directory Listing Site

Sample Directory Listing on the new Directory Listing Site


Originally Posted: CBNation Directory Site

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