Photo by Judith Beermann
House of Sweden's general manager, Cecilia Browning and GBA president Joe Giannino
House of Sweden's general manager, Cecilia Browning and GBA president Joe Giannino

Washington's only embassy on the waterfront, The House of Sweden hosted the Georgetown Business Association (GBA) and 400 of their closest friends Wednesday evening for a sparkling midsummer’s evening of cocktails, music and a special tribute to the Furin family.

House of Sweden's patio on the Potomac (Photo by: Judith Beermann) House of Sweden's patio on the Potomac

“This time last year, we had 25 people come to our event at Chadwick’s,” GBA vice president Rokas Berseniovas wasn’t complaining as he surveyed the guests packing Anna Lindh Hall and happily spilling out onto the patio.  

Erwin Gomez, Sherie Gabriel and Rokas Beresniovas (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Erwin Gomez, Sherie Gabriel and Rokas Beresniovas

Zubair Popal, Justin Shine, Mary Kay Williams, Hope and Ed Solomon and Pat Tally (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Zubair Popal, Justin Shine, Mary Kay Williams, Hope and Ed Solomon and Pat Tally

Jennifer Altemus and Holly Styles (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer Altemus and Holly Styles

Matt Cheney, Joe Giannino, Rokas Beresniovas and Catherine Olive-Treyvaud (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Matt Cheney, Joe Giannino, Rokas Beresniovas and Catherine Olive-Treyvaud

A meeting place as well as home to the embassies of Sweden and Iceland, this gem on the Potomac was designed with many poetic nods to life in Sweden, from frosted glass walls symbolizing the early spring melting of ice to pixelated lighting in the ceiling mimicking a starry sky.

GBA fills Anna Lindh Hall (Photo by: Judith Beermann) GBA fills Anna Lindh Hall

ANC commissioners Jeff Jones and Bill Starrells (Photo by: Judith Beermann) ANC commissioners Jeff Jones and Bill Starrells

View from House of Sweden's patio (Photo by: Judith Beermann) View from House of Sweden's patio

As guests enjoyed each other, stellar views of Virginia, and boats docked at Washington Harbour, GBA president Joe Giannino thanked everyone for coming, and especially the evening’s sponsors: House of Sweden for the dazzling venue, Ridgewells for the catering, The Georgetown Business Improvement District for beverages, and Chris Furin for desserts.  

Kevin Lee, Janine Schoonover, Liz Sara, and Ayda Saenver (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Kevin Lee, Janine Schoonover, Liz Sara, and Ayda Saenver

Jennifer Snell, BMI's Fred Cannon, Karen Schandler and Ellen Grantham (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jennifer Snell, BMI's Fred Cannon, Karen Schandler and Ellen Grantham

Music for All Occasion's DJ Oscar Braithwaite (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Music for All Occasion's DJ Oscar Braithwaite

Cecilia Browning and Bo Jonsson (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Cecilia Browning and Bo Jonsson

Andrew Osbborne, Cecilia Browning and Stephen Brown (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Andrew Osbborne, Cecilia Browning and Stephen Brown

Cecilia Browning, House of Sweden’s general manager thanked everyone for coming and introduced Andrew Osborne, director of conferences and events.

Joining real estate agent Nancy Iiteilag, Joe Giannino and Sue Hamilton saluted the Furin family for 27 years serving the community with their baking and catering business.

Also today, longtime GBA representative Sue Hamilton was quoted at length in The Washington Post on the changing nature of business in Georgetown. “Family businesses  . . . are the heart of Georgetown,” said Hamilton, a 26-year Georgetown resident, told the Post. “You can go to a national chain anywhere. But here you have [surviving independent businesses like] Georgetown Tobacco, Georgetown Floorcoverings, Cannons Seafood, Weaver’s Hardware, Bistro Francais.”

Chris and Bernie Furin, Wendy Kerr, Joe Giannino, Sue Hamilton and Nancy Itteilag (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Chris and Bernie Furin, Wendy Kerr, Joe Giannino, Sue Hamilton and Nancy Itteilag

”It’s difficult closing a restaurant.” Thanking the crowd, and their legion of loyal customers, Chris Furin said. “We’ll miss you.” Furin’s of Georgetown may be leaving but the baking tradition continues with Cakes by Chris Furin.

D.C.councilman at-large, Vincent Orange addresses the crowd as Cecilia Browning, Joe Giannino and Fred Cannon listen in (Photo by: Judith Beermann) D.C.councilman at-large, Vincent Orange addresses the crowd as Cecilia Browning, Joe Giannino and Fred Cannon listen in

As chair of a new D.C. Council  small business development committee, Vincent Orange thanked the community for their support, and had good news for Georgetown's business leaders. "President Obama has made 13.5 million dollars available for small businesses in D.C."

On that sweet note, it was time for desserts by Chris Furin.

GBA at House of Sweden, August 17, 2011 (Photo by: Rokas Beresniovas) GBA at House of Sweden, August 17, 2011