Press Release: DC Mayoral Candidate Andy Shallal Calls Small Business Growth Key to Closing Inequality Gap in Washington

Washington, DC | | November 30, 2013 -- Andy Shallal, DC mayoral candidate and one of the District’s most successful restaurateurs, today vowed, “The small business community here will be at the head table in all major economic discussions, if I’m elected mayor. I view small businesses as not only the engine of long-term job creation but also as vital partners in closing the inequality gap that threatens to permanently polarize this great city into pockets of prosperity and communities destabilized by economic insecurity and political indifference.”

Andy Shallal will be touring several small businesses today, including the Farmer's Market at Columbia Rd and 18th, Idle Time Books, Kramers Books, Second Story Books, Busboys and Poets bookstore at 14th and V Streets NW with authors George Pelecanos and Natalie Hopkinson, and Busboys and Poets bookstore at 5th and K Streets NW.

Shallal is best known as the owner of Busboys and Poets (with DC locations at 14th & V Streets, NW and 5th & K Streets, NE) and Eatonville Restaurant (located across the street from Busboys and Poets at 14th & V Streets, NW). The 58-year-old artist, activist and entrepreneur has successfully expanded his Busboys and Poets franchise to Arlington, VA (2007) and Hyattsville, MD (2011), creating a multi-million-dollar company that employs more than 530 people. Click here to view Andy Shalla's business profile.

Shallal made his remarks on Small Business Saturday in the District. “I have built my success from the ground up. So I understand – like no other candidate in this race – the dreams, the frustrations with government and the urgent needs of the small business community – as an entrepreneur, not a public official who only shows up for ribbon-cutting ceremonies.”

Shallal said voters and business people have responded very positively to his insurgent candidacy. “Folks are fed up with the mess in City Hall – the betrayal of trust, the pay-to-play practices that have corrupted our elected leaders and discouraged honest entrepreneurs who want to do business with a clean government. I know how to lead and succeed – the right way. That’s what I will bring to the Mayor’s office. ”

Shallal is one of the co-founders of Think Local First, a DC organization that seeks to strengthen the voice of the local business community and help independent entrepreneurs implement programs that will boost growth and promote a fair, sustainable local economy.

Shallal said he is just as proud of being recognized for growing a popular “green business” as attracting famous clientele that includes Alice Walker, Larry King, Ben Jealous, Howard Dean, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Danny Glover, Stevie Wonder and – yes – First Lady Michelle Obama.

“I believe this election is about leadership with a different vision of economic development,” said Shallal. “I believe in job creation that reaches communities where it is needed most. That’s why small business owners can play a crucial role in addressing inequality in DC. It is unacceptable for 1 out of 5 DC residents to live in poverty while busy cranes turn more neighborhoods into hip, expensive havens for newcomers.”

Shallal also said his approach to small business development would be more creative. “As mayor, I would aggressively pursue renting unoccupied public buildings or spaces to small vendors and artists to display or sell their products or works. We must find more creative ways to nurture the entrepreneurial skills of our gifted youth and sustain start-ups that can eventually employ people.”

Shallal said he would review the licensing process for businesses to find ways to streamline the process to enable entrepreneurs to “spend more time creating jobs than wasting time on paperwork.”

Shallal, who was awarded the Champions of Democracy Award in 2010 by DCVOTE for his activism in support of voting rights for District residents, urged small business owners to become more involved in their communities. “I know the demands of running a business can sap time and energy and focus, but connecting with the community in a meaningful way yields shared benefits that make DC a more caring city that works for all.”

Shallal was the Keynote Speaker at the Washington, DC Economic Partnership's 2011 Small Business Awards (SBA). A full recording of his remarks are pasted below. 

For more information please contact Dwight Kirk (202) 257-3966 or

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commented 2013-12-04 21:53:15 -0500 · Flag
I like the comments you expressed here, but when I heard you speak at Bus Boys and Poets on November 25th about why you were choosing to run for DC Mayor, I drafted the following campaign slogan:

“Why vote for a special interest candidate for DC Mayor
When you can join a social movement to transform our society
By voting for Andy Shallal.”


Bob Griss

Paid for by Committee to Elect Andy Shallal. Robin Weiss, Treasurer.

A copy of our report is filed with the Office of Campaign Finance of the District of Columbia Board of Elections. (202) 733-6161

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