Business Notes: Metro Considers Allowing Food Retailers; Second Solidcore Coming to Bethesda
Plus: Bethesda Softworks prepares for Fallout release; Montgomery County's solar panel partner sees stock prices plummet
Bethesda Metro station
Metro may consider adding food and beverage retailers, alcohol ads
The longtime ban on food and beverage retailers in Metro stations could be lifted. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is considering allowing vendors to sell food and drinks while retaining the prohibition on individuals eating or drinking on trains and buses.
A finance report issued before the Nov. 5 Metro board meeting reads, “A scan of other major transit properties found that all allow the sale of food and beverages. Based on this research and WMATA’s experience in attempting to market retail spaces, the sale of food and drink is considered critical to a successful transit retail program.”
The report notes that Metro is evaluating allowing small newsstands and vending machines that could sell “grab & go” items like packaged food and beverages as well as other convenience items.
The board is also evaluating whether to allow alcohol companies to advertise in the system. The companies are currently banned from doing so, although other major transit systems, such as the one in New York City, allows alcohol ads.
The policy shifts are being considered as the embattled transit operator looks to replace the approximately $2 million to $5 million in annual revenue it previously received from issue-based advertising that it banned in May. Metro banned such ads that were popular among lobbying groups after the American Freedom Defense Initiative attempted to place cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in the subway system, which officials feared could result in terrorist attacks.
Solidcore plans to open second Bethesda gym
Solidcore is planning to open a second Bethesda gym at 7101 Wisconsin Ave. in downtown Bethesda this winter. The announcement of a Wisconsin Avenue location comes after the fitness studio announced its first Bethesda location at Wildwood Shopping Center in September. The company specializes in 50-minute intense workout sessions.
Rockville-based Bethesda Softworks prepares for Fallout 4 release, leaks begin
It’s one week before Rockville video game publisher Bethesda Softworks releases Fallout 4, the latest title in its flagship open-world game, and the leaks have begun. Over the weekend, a number of images and gameplay videos reportedly of the new game, which will be released Nov. 10, appeared on gaming forums. The company hasn’t publicly responded to the leaks, but the tech website The Daily Dot reported “the two likeliest explanations for the leak are either someone got their hands on a stolen pre-release copy of the game or someone broke a confidentiality agreement.”
The much-anticipated game is expected to sell millions of copies. The previous game in the series developed by Bethesda, Fallout 3, sold 4.7 million units and earned $300 million worldwide in its first week of sales.
Montgomery County’s new solar panel partner sees stock price plummet
SolarCity, the company that Montgomery County partnered with last month to install solar panels on dozens of county properties, saw its stock price fall nearly $10 per share Friday from $38 to $29. The stock dropped as the company announced plans to cut back on its rapid growth in order to focus on cost savings in overhead and its sales department, according to Bloomberg. Over the past three months the company’s stock has lost more than half its value.
On Oct. 19, the county announced it cut a deal with SolarCity, which will install and maintain solar panels on county buildings in exchange for the county paying the company a rate of 5 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity over the next 20 years. The county estimates the deal will result in energy savings of nearly $11 million over that time period.