Early Briefing: Chevy Chase Drops Chevys

Chevy Chase Cars, whose Chevrolet sign on Wisconsin Avenue has been a Bethesda landmark for decades, is dropping Chevy in favor of Nissans, the company told its customers this week. Tom Heath reports that the 70-year-old dealership will continue to sell Acuras, Honda's luxury brand, but is ending ended its agreement with Chevrolet due to slowing sales.
"We have made the decision to replace Chevrolet with Nissan," the company said in a letter to customers. "We believe that Chevrolet produces a world-class lineup of vehicles. Unfortunately, our client base is very import-minded and we need to satisfy that base."
The company said it will continue to employ Chevrolet technicians and to supply service and maintenance for its Chevrolet customers.

McLean candy giant Mars said yesterday that all its chocolate products will be made from sustainable sources by 2020, and it will begin next year with a popular candy bar sold in Britain. That means it will buy cocoa from suppliers that meet certain environmental, labor and production standards. The company said the move is intended to help secure a steady supply of a crop whose price is volatile and whose production is often threatened by harsh weather in West Africa and whose price is volatile.
Although the initiative will cost tens of millions of dollars over the next decade, a Mars spokeswoman said Mars does not intend to charge more for its candy.

Gannett shares gained 39 percent yesterday as investor Ariel Investments more than doubled its stake in the company. The McLean-based media company's shares jumped $1.06 to close at $3.75. Chicago-based Ariel boosted its stake in Gannett last quarter to 28.8 million shares, or 12.5 percent of the company, according to a regulatory filing. Ariel held 11.1 million shares as of Dec. 31, according to Bloomberg data.

Alliance Bankshares of Chantilly named
William M. Drohan chairman. Drohan was a founding director of Alliance and is chief executive of Drohan Management Group and a member of the Board of Advisors of the George Washington University School of Business. The previous chairman, Harvey E. Johnson, died recently.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 10, 2009; 9:43 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Morning Brief
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Check out this press release from the International Labor Rights Forum and the Organic Consumers Association in response to Mars' sustainability announcement: http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-labor/cocoa-campaign/2010

Posted by: tnewman2 | April 10, 2009 5:31 PM

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