Pete's Gets Presidential Endorsement on National Stage

Obama recommends local restaurant during small business speech

WASHINGTON -- Nevermind that some people think it's a spelling error when they see the "Pete's Apizza"  name on its sign in Columbia Heights next to the Metro station, if the president recommends it, you know it's on the map.

President Barack Obama singled out Pete's during his speech today in suburban Maryland on ways the federal government can help small businesses.

Mike Wilkinson, one of five principal owners of Pete's Apizza, said the 18-month-old restaurant is thrilled that Obama mentioned their name. He agreed that more should be done to encourage small businesses.

During his speech, Obama noted how hard it is for many small businesses to get either initial loans or loans to expand. He proposed several steps to boost businesses through the Small Business Administration, and then got around to Pete's.

"And these steps will make a difference for more small businesses like Pete's APizza in Washington, D.C. I recommend it -- that everybody go out there. (Laughter.) When the three owners had little more than a dream of opening up a casual pizza restaurant, they found it challenging to get financing. Ultimately they got a loan through City First Bank, a community development bank right in Washington. Today, business is booming. And the initiative we're announcing today will help more banks provide more loans to businesses like Pete's."

Pete's is in a new development that has attracted several local, small businesses to Columbia Heights on 14th Street.  Developer Chris Donatelli said he makes it a point to look for local businesses, saying they bring more life and diversity to city streets.

Donatelli is developing in several city neighborhoods that want and need more small businesses.

Despite the poor economy now, Donatelli told NBC4, "Washington continues to be poised for (more) development … there are many neighborhoods yet to be fully developed and realized."

By the way, "apizza" is simply the way folks in New Haven, Conn., refer to pizza. There's a huge Italian population that loves the New Haven-style pizza with thin, crunchy crusts and fresh toppings.

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