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Silver Line a boon to small business, too

Thursday - 7/24/2014, 11:19am  ET

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Finnegan's Pride is one of the many small businesses that hopes to see a boost in business with the opening of the Silver Line. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON -- Inside, Finnegan's Pride is an old-style wood-paneled Irish bar, while outside it looks like many other Tysons Corner strip mall storefronts. The bar hopes it will be among the small businesses getting a big boost from the Silver Line.

"We're really looking forward to the changes. We feel over the next six months we should see much bigger foot traffic outside our door on Leesburg Pike," Brendan Barry, development officer with Finnegan's Pride, says.

In addition to bringing more people to Tysons, the Silver Line will open thousands of jobs to people who could not apply for them before.

"It will help our staff obviously get here. One of the problems we've had up to now is our staff had to have their own transport," Barry says.

"More importantly, a lot of the offices that are vacant at the moment are waiting for the Silver Line for the reason that it's going to bring extra people in."

The bar sits over a parking garage, so management is not worried about a parking crunch with the Silver Line, but it is excited about the prospect of people coming by Metro, who do not have to drive home.

"The more people that come by Metro the better for us as far as we're concerned," Barry says.

The Tysons Corner stop is only a half-mile walk from the bar's front door at the corner of Va. 7 and International Drive, so Finnegan's Pride is looking at paid advertising and partnerships in magazines or on Metro to reach people who may be coming to Tysons only once in a while. But Barry does not think those steps will have the biggest impact.

"The biggest thing is marketing through social media. Our Facebook page, our website, our Twitter has to change, and in turn we've already looked at that and we're taking on someone new to concentrate solely on the social media marketing."

Even with increased competition from new restaurants opening in the area, Barry hopes a rising tide will list the whole Tysons area even beyond where it stands right now.

"It's very net positive, for the reason that it opens up the Tysons Corner area to people that wouldn't drive out here in the past," he says.

In addition, Barry believes the increased activity in Tysons will draw more people to live in the area, creating a larger market for bars, restaurants and other businesses.

Among the many projects under construction is a 429-unit apartment building at Tysons Corner Center, an easy walk from Finnegan's Pride.

The long-delayed opening of the Silver Line couldn't be timed much better for the bar.

"With the Silver Line starting, and the English Premier League starting on the 16th of August and the NFL starting in early September, we're really looking forward to having new people come to us," Barry says.

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