Wheaton Businesses Considered for Revitalization Award

The potential nominees include the president of an art association, a property owner, a yarn shop owner, and several restaurant owners. Who do you think should win?

The Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee intends to recognize businesses or commercial property owners who have improved the viability of Wheaton's downtown area and created positive change.

The designated awardee would receive a plaque at this year's Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce community awards banquet.

In considering the nominees, WRAC will use the following criteria to judge: (1) business innovation, (2) business success, (3) business environment impact, (4) community impact, (5) area revitalization and (6) greenness.

These are the names under consideration by WRAC members:

Cathy Hirsh:  President of the Montgomery Art Association.         

Chris Georgatsos:  The shops at Amherst, which were improved about two years ago with fresh paint and awnings.

Craig Miller:  Owner of Good Time Ol' Fashion Service.

Sunil Maximus Martinus :  Owner of the Westfield Wheaton movie theater (Montgomery Royal Theaters) and the Royal Mile Pub.  

Tom Stanton:  Owner of Limerick Pub.     

Victoria Rothenberg:   Owner of The Yarn Spot on Georgia Avenue.       

Vilay Phanmanivond:  Owner of Ruan Thai.


Who do you think should receive the award? Tell us in the comments.

Chris Shafer January 31, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Sunil should never be allowed to win this. As a former employee, I can promise that he has done nothing but try to ruin what should be an amazing experience.
Lisa Lister-Conover January 31, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Victoria Rothenberg truly deserves this award. She's created a community gathering place that fosters community in the Wheaton area. Her business is unique to the neighborhood and serves it well while also attracting customers (for herself and surrounding businesses) from surrounding areas.
Erica January 31, 2013 at 04:38 PM
The Yarn Spot is warm, welcoming, and draws customers from around the region, not just Wheaton itself. Customers to The Yarn Spot end up patronizing local restaurants and other businesses in the area. If the award is for re-vitalization, I would definitely vote for Victoria Rothenberg and The Yarn Spot.
Claire Mickelson January 31, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I second that. Thank you, Victoria, for creating a truly local and lovable LYS (Local Yarn Store!). Not only is it a wonderful resource for Wheaton and Silver Spring knitters and crocheters, it is a welcoming meeting place thanks to Open Stitch sessions.
Karen Caplan January 31, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Ditto everything everyone's aid about Yarn Spot and Victoria!
Lyssa January 31, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Victoria has created a welcoming space that fosters and supports a growing community of fiber artists, crafters, and the curious. The kindness and professionalism are as cozy as the yarn and fiber they sell. Through their business, patrons get information and become connected to other communities in the area through word of mouth and love of fiber. I've made more new friends here than I have anywhere else last year, and I look forward to doing so for years to come.
Erica Spotts January 31, 2013 at 04:54 PM
The Yarn Spot, hands down! What a great, warm, welcoming place! It's what gets me into Wheaton.
Mackenzie January 31, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Here's another cheer for Victoria. I love the Yarn Spot. When I head up to Wheaton from Silver Spring, it's always an intent to visit the Yarn Spot that starts it. I'm always bound to meet someone interesting (get a few yarn people together, you'll find a historian, I'm sure of it). If it weren't for the Yarn Spot, I'd be having to drive to Pennsylvania or shop online to find the tools for my craft. Well, that or wait for the annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in Howard County. Victoria's shop is unique in the range of fiber arts it covers and therefore the range of people it brings together. And hey, how much greener does it get than non-electric clothing production? She sells everything I need to go from fleece to a garment using only human-power.
Varda Fink January 31, 2013 at 05:25 PM
I third that. Victoria has created a wonderful place to gather, create and socialize and this is despite the fact that Ruan Thai and the Limerick Pub are also wonderful places to go.
Jerry kickenson January 31, 2013 at 06:39 PM
The Shops at Amherst renewal was dramatic, turning a shabby corner into a bright, inviting destination. Limerick Pub has helped organize several community and street events, making that part of Wheaton a fun place to be.
Mindy Bickel January 31, 2013 at 09:34 PM
Victoria at the Yarn Spot truly deserves this award. She is a warm-hearted, generous, caring person who has created a business that is center on those same qualities. The Yarn Spot keeps me coming back to Wheaton - and helps fuel the other businesses because our knitting group has frequented Ruan Thai and other restaurants after a night of stitching. Victoria is truly the anchor where the Anchor Inn used to be. Wheaton needs more like her.
Diane S. January 31, 2013 at 09:35 PM
Victoria and the Yarnspot are my absolute favorite! I love it there, and think it is a huge asset to the community!
Miryam Weisberg January 31, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Victoria's yarn shop attracts people from several surrounding communities to come to Wheaton and stay to regularly patronize local businesses and restaurants. The events at her shop even bring in all day visitors from the wider DC Metro area who need food and services while they're here. She's done something really amazing by creating a community around knitting and crocheting!
kate chiocchio January 31, 2013 at 10:09 PM
The Yarn Spot's Victoria Rothenberg. She's created a community in her cozy, attractive, successful yarn shop.
Amy Polonsky January 31, 2013 at 11:32 PM
I vote for Victoria Rothenberg. I am a regular at The Yarn Spot. It happens to be my favorite place in all of Wheaton. Victoria has created a place where the knitting, spinning, weaving, crocheting, felting, crafting community can thrive. It is truly an oasis in the middle of otherwise pretty run down Wheaton and I am a huge fan!
Monnah Geiman February 01, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Victoria's Yarn Spot has brought a much needed business and back to Wheaton and with the Yarn Spot has come happy consumers from all over the Tri State area young and older and all of us in the community benefit from a happy solid consumer basis. Not only is Victoria a savvy and thoughtful business lady, but she is a mother, with a growing family who is very much concerned with our community and working very hard to make Wheaton once again a happy, safe and successful environment for all.
Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce February 01, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Cathy Hirsh, the president of the Montgomery Art Association, has created positive change in the area Arts community. She is the force behind the creation of the MAA Gallery and arts projects for children at Taste of Wheaton and at Westfield Wheaton Mall.
RebeccaEB February 01, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Victoria and the Yarn spot. It's not just a business, it's a community.
Lea Stern February 01, 2013 at 02:01 AM
The Yarn Spot is the best addition to this area in a very long time. It's a place of warmth, craft, art and creativeness. It is open to people of all ages and provides a learning environment that is unequaled by most businesses. It promotes a variety of educational opportunities that are both historical and cutting edge; that is is it combines the best of the old and the new in needlework and handcrafts. Lots of businesses feed us, cloth us and entertain us, but the Yarn Spot does all of these and then some!
Nancy Schnog February 01, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Victoria Rothenberg's Yarn Spot brings warmth, inclusion, and craftsmanship to the community. Thank goodness for the simple domestic virtues and this wonderful small business!
Hipknits February 01, 2013 at 11:00 AM
The Yarn Spot is my go to shop for all things knitting related. The community that Victoria has created there is an added bonus I've met lots of wonderful women there during the open knitting whom are now good friends. Thank you Victoria for creating a wonderful "Spot" for the community to gather.
J. Q. Public February 01, 2013 at 02:58 PM
I feel the need to pipe in here. Did any of the people praising The Yarn Spot bother to read the criteria for judging? 1. Business innovation. I guess it takes innovation to open a yarn store in Wheaton, better than a bakery or beauty salon. 2. Business success. It is still there so that is saying something. 3. Business environment impact. What impact? Did the store bring in additional businesses? Did they hire more than a couple of employees? The new stores going in the mall certainly have a much larger impact on the Wheaton business community. 4. Community impact. It sounds like a few people like it but the vast majority of the community has never set foot in the store. An impact on a few doesn't justify it being held up as an example of all of Wheaton. 5. Area revitalization. One store in a half empty strip mall? Again, other businesses have done much more. 6. Greenness. It is a store in a strip mall. I don't see how renter of a store front can have a significant impact. The developer of the building maybe, but not the renter. I have singled out The Yarn Spot here and I have nothing against the store. These arguments would apply to a number of the other nominees as well. My point is that if the WRAC is going to honor businesses based on certain criteria then the nominees should actually be able to meet most, if not all, of those criteria.
jdinerman February 01, 2013 at 03:28 PM
The Yarn Spot/Victoria Rothenberg - have created a community that draws from far beyond the Wheaton area. Victoria's vision of providing a comfortable and welcoming space for artists and would-be artists supports the individual creative spirit, and spirit of charity. Yes, knitters and crocheters do support hospitals, community providers, the military and many others with their donations - think warm hats, scarves etc. Because so many of the Yarn Spot's customers are from outside the Wheaton area, the shop is supportive of other Wheaton businesses. Yaaay for The Yarn Spot and Victoria and her wonderful staff for putting a new face on Wheaton! Visiting the Yarn Spot is a treat.
Jen Floran February 01, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I think every community needs a place where people can gather to eat, drink, celebrate and meet one another. The Limerick Pub provides that.
Diane Blake Harper February 01, 2013 at 08:54 PM
Victoria Rothenberg opened The Yarn Spot when it was the only business in a new block of storefronts on the old Anchor Inn property. This meant that she held onto and struggled toward a vision when nobody else was there, through all of the county/legal/business requirements. There were no other yarn businesses nearby and very few shops trying to cater to a wide customer base -- income levels, ethnicities, genders, and the like. She made sure to locate where there was parking and near public transportation. The presence of the shop has brought people from all over the metropolitan area to Wheaton, people who have no idea how to there and who would never consider making the trip were it not for this desired destination. The shop offers classes tailored to experienced and new needleworkers (knitting, spinning, weaving, crochet, and the like) and brings in shows from all over the country, and schedules special events (with refreshments!). It is open to those who want to sit and stitch or learn. Wandering in on a rainy Thursday one might find a class in one corner, a group helping one another with a new technique elsewhere, and folks just knitting. This is quite an accomplishment in the heart of Wheaton.
Diane Blake Harper February 01, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Perhaps, if you have nothing against the store you shouldn't have singled it out. Also. I suspect we all read the criteria. Insults aren't necessary.
J Burke February 02, 2013 at 12:58 PM
The Yarn Spot gets my vote. It is a warm, friendly, sunny spot bursting with color and texture where creativity for all ages is taught and encouraged. I have even heard Victoria use knitting as a vehicle to teach mathematics. What can be more "green" than recycling sheep wool, bamboo etc into a long string that becomes a warm attractive garment, blanket or purse. The act of knitting is very peaceful, creative and a form of meditation. It is GREAT the have a LYS (local yarn store)!
Jeff Forstner February 02, 2013 at 03:58 PM
When I visited Wheaton I felt as if the Limerick Pub was the most interesting and revitalized place I visited. I tell people about it on airplanes when I travel so that they know to go there.
Commentous February 02, 2013 at 04:47 PM
If you could let us know more about what he did/does, that might be helpful. Otherwise, a lot of us support the Royal Mile and are very happy it's open again after it closed suddenly under the previous owner.
Danila Sheveiko February 08, 2013 at 05:16 AM
My vote is for Craig Miller. Good Time Ol' Fashioned Service has kept my vehicles running in top shape for nearly a decade. Money well spent!


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