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Yet More on the Caps, and Their Smoothies, and Al Saunders' Hair Salon

With the Caps having inhabited Ashburn Ice House for three of the past four days, I thought I'd check into whether the rising tide of NHL hockey has raised all Cameron Chase Village Center boats. Coming from right-to-left across your strip mall dial:

Goodyear Gemini Automotive Care and Fast Lube: No obvious benefits, although service manager Ryan Graham told me that they opened an hour early on the Caps' first day of practice, because "we knew there was going to be a lot of people here, and if somebody was in need of service we wanted to be available for them."

Let's Dish!: This chain, for those who don't know, lets you can make your own dinner or something. I don't really get it. Maybe cooking seems like more fun if you pay to do it. The Food section recently wrote about them, and business spiked. Caps practice hasn't caused a similar spike, but customer service manager Melanie Feig, whose knowledge of hockey comes primarily from DC101, brought fans complimentary scones on the first morning of practice.

Pho Bistro: Have had "a lot of customers come from practice," according to manager Todd Duong, who has the Caps practice schedule taped to the front counter.

Bean Scene Cafe: Bear in mind that my original goal was to go to local business owners and get them to admit their lack of NHL knowledge. Anyhow, that plan was stoned on a breakaway by Bean Scene co-owner Huy Thai, who told me that the Caps eat lunch at Bean Scene virtually every day, en masse. In fact, I had just missed about a dozen of them today, plus one or two coach-types. Yes, that's right, 12 members of the Caps exited practice, took a hard right and walked down lovely Cameron Chase Village Center Boulevard to the Bean Scene for lunch.

Apparently a trainer at the AIH recommended Bean Scene because of its healthy menu. Huy reports that players have ordered chicken melts, tuna melts, soups, turkey breast and provolone sandwiches, hot roast beef sandwiches, chicken Caesar salads and fresh fruit smoothies. Me, I went for some bubble tea.

"[The Caps] were here yesterday," pointed out the customer behind me in line, Jennifer Briley. "Me and my friend were so excited! We never see celebrities, except at work." Which celebrities does Jennifer see at Bonefish Grill, you ask?

"Joe Gibbs comes to my restaurant probably once a month," Jennifer said. "You should go there." Soon, Jennifer, soon.

Anyhow, Huy is trying to get a Caps team picture so he can get it autographed and framed, but he doesn't really know any of the players' names yet.

"They're pretty cool," he said. "If nobody said that they were Caps, you wouldn't know. I mean, they're big guys, they're solid, but they're normal."

Then Renaldo Wynn's next-door neighbor came into the Bean Scene and asked me about Wynn's health. It's sports heaven out here at Cameron Chase Village Center.

Divine Nail Spa: No idea what I was talking about.

Dejeure Salon (Indulge Yourself): "The hockey players, no, but we have Redskins players a lot for hair cuts," an American board certified hair colorist and hair design artist named Rino told me. "Al Saunders, he comes here, and a couple more. He's a wonderful guy: extremely, extremely, extremely nice. A really nice person."

Saunders' hair style is "just a regular men's hair cut," Rino said, and indeed, it's straight out of the gym teacher/football coach handbook. I asked why the Redskins haven't scored all that much, and Rino said she didn't know, but a customer whose hair was being done in the back shouted out that she would also like to know the answer to that question. I was just waiting for Rino to blame everything on Mark Brunell.

Butterfly Life Women's Fitness Solutions: Sadly, it's not yet open.

Quizno's: "I know a lot of players have been coming in here, but the person in charge is not here now," the on-duty sandwich professional told me apologetically.

Smoothie King: More of the same. Players have been coming in, but the resident hockey fan wasn't at work when I stopped by. Smoothie professional Scott Smingler told me that he's served a few Caps, and that he would be able to pick one in particular out of a lineup, but that he doesn't know his name. Something Russian-sounding.

Cameron Chase Cleaners: Drama! Business has been hurt by the Caps! an employee named Tim told me. "People can't find parking," he told me. "One day, 11 till 2 o'clock was jam-packed, all the way to the fire lane in the back, and I had several customers complaining, 'What the hell is going on?' Other than that, there is no boost in business."

Asia Palace: Business is maybe up a little.

SnappyAuctions.Com (Drop Off Your Stuff and We'll Sell it on eBay):"Nobody's mentioned anything about that, no," said part-time eBay consignment specialist Adam Blackington.

"We haven't gotten any hockey skates or anybody wanting to sell old gear, but hockey equipment does sell pretty well," said co-owner Nicole Chapell. "Since Monday it's been busy, but I don't know if it's because of hockey. I think it's people going back to school and getting back into a routine. We just took in a horse saddle and some Christmas stuff today. We do a lot of horse saddles....We do have a lot of Redskins who come in; one has asked us to remain anonymous. We also had a former coach who brought some Redskins jackets in that we sold for him: John Dunn."

(Nothing against, but the Web site really bugs me. The magic marker writing on all those "signs" that the franchise owners are "holding" is obviously bogus; all the handwriting is the same. Why? Why fake something like that? Why not just ask the franchise owners to write that their particular city is "Snappy!" in their own particular writing styles and then pose for a photo? Every business is different; Virginia Beach probably doesn't sell many horse saddles. So why must all the writing be the same?)

Beef O'Brady's Family Sports Pub: They haven't noticed any pick-up in business, but it's hard to tell, since there's already so much going on. Including the Brian Mitchell Show, which broadcasts live from Beef O'Brady's on Fridays. I wanted to ask all the employees whether they receive hazard pay on Fridays, or complimentary ear plugs, or post-BMitch sessions with Rino at Dejeure Salon, but instead I just left.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 19, 2006; 5:53 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Next: What You Need to Know, in Fewer Than 200 Words, Wednesday Morning


Look at that. One trip to Ashburn, and you've got one (kinda) hard-hitting interview with the GM, international political analysis with real interantional people (albeit minor league), and real world financial impact analysis.

You're a one man news organization......

Posted by: Kim | September 19, 2006 8:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sooo changing my internet chatroom name to Beef O'Brady

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2006 11:09 PM | Report abuse

It is sad to me that Redskins get their hair cut at a strip mall in Ashburn. I guess technically Ashburn is ALL strip mall, but that strip mall in particular seemed so unglamourous. That is, until you came and made it seem like the most hoppin' joint in Loudoun.

Posted by: Maggie | September 20, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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