Martins help nurture downtown Washington

Published 12:59 pm Monday, July 28, 2008

By Staff
Believe teamwork is key to making improvements to central business area
Contributing Editor
Bob and Anne Martin are much more than the owners of The Meeting Place. They’re promoters of downtown Washington and what it has to offer.
The Meeting Place, a cafe and catering establishment, is one of the signature businesses in the city’s central business district, according to Rebecca Franks, owner of A Slice of Heaven, a dessert-coffee-tea eatery.
The Martins moved to Washington from Piney Flats, Tenn., which is in northeastern Tennessee. They recall that when they opened The Meeting Place, the only other eateries in downtown Washington were Bill’s Hot Dogs and the Mecca.
Since moving to Washington, the Martins have become involved in efforts to improve the city’s central business district. Bob Martin has served as vice president of the Historic Downtown Washington Merchants Association. The Meeting Place regularly hosts meetings of that association. Anne Martin said she and her husband are ready to help do what it takes to make those improvements.
The key to seeing the several plans for improving downtown become a reality is “working together,” according to the Martins.
Working together means downtown merchants and business owners looking out for one another, the Martins said.
That’s why, according to the Martins, they recommend their patrons visit other downtown businesses. Anne Martin said she is quick to tell those patrons about the shops in the city’s central business district and what each of those shops has to offer.
As for what makes The Meeting Place a success, Franks has some thoughts on that subject.
Anne Martin said the success of The Meeting Place is easily explained — a combination of providing patrons what they want and deserve.
Bob Martin is quick to point out that The Meeting Place serves made-to-order food, meaning customers won’t be served something that’s been prepared and sitting around for several minutes.
The Meeting Place is known for two signature food items — poppy-seed muffins and quiche.
As for quiche, the Martins believe they’ve made that dish well-known in Washington. Before they set up shop in the city, some people in Washington and surrounding areas knew about quiche. By serving quiche day in and day out, the Martins believe they have exposed many people to quiche who may not have been exposed to it without The Meeting Place offering it to them.
As for their success with The Meeting Place, the Martins believe that success will grow as Washington grows and prosper. If that means having the doors open seven days a week, so be it, they said.