Civil rights activist builds business in Bethesda

WASHINGTON – A Bethesda sports bar was on the verge of closing down until a civil rights activist stepped in to rebuild the business.

Benjamin Chavis, chief executive officer of Dry Fried Wings, is taking over the Box Bar & Grille, located at 7525 Old Georgetown Rd.

He stepped in before the company went under to keep it from doing so. Chavis will take over a majority of the stake in the restaurant, but the previous owner will also still have a stake in the company. The name will eventually change to the DFWC, though it will remain as is for now.

According to Chavis, the new partnership will give the restaurant a new focus and a new mission. Chavis says the venture is a great way for him to teach young people how to run a business.

“If you invest time and effort in young people and give them a higher consciousness about how to pull their resources, it can make a difference,” says Chavis, who hopes the venture also leads to an economic boom in the area.

He says his partnership with the Box has led to negotiations to partner with businesses in D.C. His goal is to establish an economic footing for struggling businesses there as well.

“One of the things I’m doing in terms of economic transformation is taking communities that may be on the edge, may be on the border of a downward spiral, and try to turn that around,” he says.

Chavis is a member of the Wilmington 10. The group was granted a pardon of innocence recently after being wrongfully convicted of a firebombing more than 40 years ago.

WTOP’s Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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