Owned and operated by husband and wife duo: George & Sophia Jarrell; Bear Brick Oven Co., a pizzeria, located at 15410 New Hampshire Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland, reminds one of a local community hangout where a family can spend causal dinners out making memories of enjoying one another’s company. All the while giving mom and dad a much-needed break.
Upon meeting with Mr. George Jarrell, owner and operator, one is greeted with warmth and genuine hospitality. As we sit discussing the evolution of Bear Brick Oven Co., I learn it originated in December of 2019, with remodeling construction commencing the following month of January 2020. Then, the unthinkable happened. The COVID-19 pandemic struck in March. Which resulted in an abrupt halt in construction. In the face of adversity, George remained steadfastly undeterred to launch his restaurant. Part of the residual fallout from the pandemic, George needed capital to cover unanticipated expenses
compounded by delays. As a result, George, with his wife’s blessing, made a calculated decision to withdraw funds from their 401K to get construction back on course. Having previously owned a Jerry’s Subs and Pizzas franchise and former corporate trainer for the brand, George knew every faceted detail to address. The biggest decision he made was choosing to go with a brick oven to distinguish his pizzeria.
Readying a restaurant in the midst of COVID-19 was no easy feat. It would take 16 months from December 2019 for his restaurant to be fully operational. Finally, the day arrives to open. This time, George needs capital to cover day-to-day costs and staff wages. As he sat in the parking lot of his daughters’ high school, by divine intervention an advertisement for micro loans pops open on his phone screen. In that split second, George’s problem was answered. George immediately got to work researching; and, found the ECDC Enterprise Development Group (EDG). What appealed to him was that EDG is a community-based lender. George made a call to meet with a loan officer and received the $50,000 in capital needed. Bear Creek Oven Co.’s doors officially opened in April 2021;
and employs a staff of 25. When asked what’s on the horizon, George said, “I’m looking at a site in Damascus, Maryland, where more week-night family and
community-wide memories can be made.”