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Top Area Entrepreneurs Feted in San Francisco

Three District area entrepreneurs have been invited to Yelp’s headquarters in San Francisco to represent the Greater Washington Area as being among the 100 top-rated businesses in North America.

Northeast D.C.’s &Pizza, Southeast’s District Doughnut and Peg Leg Vintage of College Park were invited to the Coast-to-Coast: Coming Together Because We Mean Business meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5.

Yelp officials said 100 entrepreneurs were nominated by the company’s community managers because they claimed their Yelp business page and used Yelp’s business tools to grow their business.

The attendees represent 86 North American markets, a wide range of categories and different levels of experiences and years in business, according to a news release.

“I’m excited and truly honored to be representing &pizza at the event,” said Sam Blum, the communications manager for the business known for gourmet handmade pies, flavor combinations and its trademark ampersand.

“Since opening the first &pizza on H Street, Yelp has played a key role in growing our business and building a community around our brand,” Blum said.

The business owners invited to the meeting don’t get hung up by one- and two-star reviews, Yelp officials said in a news release announcing those selected for the conference.

Instead, the entrepreneurs use feedback to make necessary changes, and social media plays a large role in their marketing strategy, which includes taking an active role in managing their reputation on Yelp and in the community.

“We are extremely humbled by and grateful to all of our faithful customers and followers for supporting us both in the store and through social media,” said Chad Hora, who along with Krisi Hora are the proprietors of Peg Leg Vintage, a shop that concentrates on well-priced, mid-century modern furniture and art deco furnishings.

“It is because of this support that we’ve been recognized by the very savvy people at Yelp as one of the 100 top-rated businesses across North America. The Yelp community has also been extremely supportive and helpful throughout our existence,” Hora said.

The Yelp Community Manager, who covers the Maryland suburbs, also has provided Peg Leg Vintage with numerous opportunities to participate in Yelp events designed to create buzz around small local businesses, he said.

“This sort of collaborative experience means a lot to us as a small business with a small budget competing for part of the market share with large companies who have increasingly aggressive marketing strategies,” Hora said.

“Supporting small business is critical to our communities and we plan to share what we learn at this event with other local small businesses.”

Leaders at Yelp said they’ll share expertise and arm attendees of the meeting with best practices that will help them continue to grow.

The San Francisco meetings also allowed for a platform for business owners to network and enjoy dialogue with their peers.

“I’m excited,” Blum said.

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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