Creating A Premium Retail Brand with Barth and Mary deRosa


At Founders Nextdoor, we believe that entrepreneurship is hard work, day in and day out. We believe the most amazing entrepreneurs are ordinary people living in every community. And those people, your neighbors, are the people you can learn the most from regarding how to run your business. Because just like you, they have mortgages to pay and families to feed, yet they manage to create amazing businesses that make the world a better place.

Today on the show, I’m interviewing two such founders. Barth and Mary deRosa, the husband-and-wife team who’re the owners of Secolari. Secolari is a retail chain of gourmet olive oil and vinegar that has four stores in Maryland and DC. Now if this is the first time you hear about them, you’re probably like…”Olive oil? Seriously? That’s basically a commodity, right? How can anybody make money selling olive oil?” At least that was my first reaction. But I’m telling you, this business is no joke. Barth and Mary started it in 2011 and since then, business has been booming. And if you look them up on the internet, you’ll also see that they are truly loved by very passionate customers. So what’s their secret for making a successful business in a product category that seems to be highly competitive and offers little differentiation? You’ll find out in this interview.

“Follow your passion. If you have a passion for something, no matter whether you’re older or younger, go for it.”

– Barth deRosa


Secolari Artisan Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room


Bethesda Row
7249 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

The Mall in Columbia
Out Door Plaza
10300 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, MD 21044

Towson Town Center
3rd Floor / Nordstrom Wing
825 Dulaney Valley Road
Towson, MD 21204

Sam’s Park and Shop
(@ Cleveland Park Metro Stop/Red Line)
3501 Connecticut Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram




Thor Cheston’s Epic Story of Fundraising for His Dream Brewpub


We’re living in the renaissance age of entrepreneurship. Starting a business and being your own boss is easier than ever. But even though it’s easier, it’s still hard, especially if you want to start a business in a relatively capital intensive industry. And today on the show, I interview a founder who demonstrated, realistically, what it’s like to go out and raise money for a new venture. Thor Cheston is the co-founder of Right Proper Brewing Company, which owns a very popular brewpub in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC and a brewing facility in Brookland, DC. Thor’s entrepreneurial adventure was nothing but easy. After he quit his job as a successful restaurant manager, it took him over two years to get the necessary funding to start the brewpub, with lots of twists and turns in the process. I really like Thor’s story because it shows you that, unlike the overnight successes you often hear in the media, entrepreneurship is not glamorous. It’s a daily grind, and possibly for a very long time before you see any result. And even after you see some results, it’s still a grind.

I really appreciate how open and candid Thor is about the challenges of starting a business. He also demonstrates that patience and perseverance is your friend when you’re starting something new. I think you’ll get lots of practical lessons and inspiration from Thor’s story, no matter what type of business you’re building.

“I took my business plan and I hit the streets. I took every meeting I could get and presented the business plan to as many (investors) as I possibly could.”

– Thor Cheston


Right Proper Brewing Company

Shaw Brewpub

624 T Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
202.607.BEER (2337)

Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 11pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – 12am
Sunday: 11:30am – 10pm

Brookland Production House

920 Girard Street NE
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 526-5904

Wednesday – Friday: 5pm – 10pm
Saturday: 1pm – 10pm
Sunday: 1pm – 8pm

Twitter, Facebook, Yelp


Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh

Setting the Table, by Danny Meyer

How to Start A Yoga & Wellness Business with Amanda Shipe


Amanda Shipe is the founder and CEO of Mind Your Body Oasis, a beautiful yoga studio and wellness center in Crystal City, Virginia that has a wide variety of offerings including yoga, spa services, nutrition coaching, and yoga teacher training. On this episode, Amanda offers tips on the steps you should take to open your own yoga business (hint: start small). She shares insights on business licensing/permitting, how she collaborates with other yoga teachers on Instagram to promote her studio, and what it’s like to be a business owner while holding down a full-time job. She also talks about the importance of having a good mentor and a support group when you start a new business.

“You need to tap into the social programming of our society when you own a business. You need to be aware of when people spend, when people vacation, and when people’re back in their groove.” – Amanda Shipe



Connect with Amanda:

Mind Your Body Oasis

Crystal City: 1750 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
Phone: (703) 567-1290

Primary Offerings Include:

  • Yoga, Hot Yoga and Pilates
  • Tailored Massage Offerings
  • Nutrition and Wellness Coaching
  • Infrared Heat Therapy


  • Monday-Friday 11:30 am to 7 pm
  • Saturday 9-4 by appointment
  • Sunday 9:30-6 by appointment

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram


000: Prologue

Founders Nextdoor is all about entrepreneurial knowledge-sharing. On this show I interview local entrepreneurs in Washington DC who have created successful businesses that make a positive impact on their communities. My selection criteria for interview candidates are 1) they started something interesting and unique; 2) they have a vision and are not in it just for the money; 3) their personal journeys are good learning materials for other founders and innovators. The purpose of this show is to provide inspirations, resources, and practical tips for any purpose-driven entrepreneurs on how to build a great business while making a difference in the world. In this inaugural episode, I talk about why I created this podcast and what you can expect from it.