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The International Writers Magazine: Walking USA

A new tour of the National Mall conveys the history that inspired the monuments at a price perfect for any budget: FREE! The tours run six days a week, Tuesday- Sunday. They leave from the Washington Monument at 6 PM and last about an hour. The story- telling guides are recent college graduates who can best be described as "Part Professors, Part Performers." Since they work exclusively for tips, every tour is guaranteed to be the best in the city!
Ben Hindman

Thursday, August 9, 2007
Don't let the funky shoes and clever limericks fool you. Those two young guys commanding a crowd on the National Mall mean business—and they've pioneered a revolutionary business model in the process.
For starters, this hour-long tour is completely free. That's right, no cost—"priceless," as company founders Brody Davis and Ben Hindman, both 23, like to say. "This country was founded as a bastion of freedom," Davis says, "what could be more appropriate than a free tour?"

It doesn't take long to sense the commitment and enthusiasm that powers Davis and Hindman. They could have taken jobs on Wall Street or Madison Avenue, but they picked Constitution and Independence Avenues because they wanted people to love American History as much as they do. Says Hindman, "Our tours were inspired by our own terrific history teachers, and we hope to inspire a new generation of history students." For this reason, Davis and Hindman are always delighted when school groups and big families show up.

They call their tour 'MORE THAN MONUMENTS' because, "we tell folks the amazing stories that inspired the monuments." says Davis. But don't expect the classroom lectures that lulled you to sleep in high school. Davis and Hindman have meticulously researched anecdotes and factoids that keep you saying "wow!" Davis likes to tell the story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who was the last man to surrender from WWII in 1974. Hindman is always sure to remind the crowd that he has red hair, "just like Thomas Jefferson." But whatever they are talking about, these two deftly convey complex historical themes with humor and passion. Even the grandchildren stay engaged. By the end of the hour, both your IQ and patriotism are raised several notches.
And how does the business work? "Because we work for tips," says Davis, "we give every single tour our best effort so you can count on a tour of the highest quality. Since we know you'll love what you hear, we believe you'll tip what you can, and we believe you'll tell all your friends about what a great time you had.

Can a business model based on value received, mutual trust and idealism actually work? Here's a testimonial from City by Foot's opening weekend which suggests it might:

"Always informative, occasionally irreverent, and just plain fun, it was the highlight of our evening and something that we will recommend to anyone we know who plans to visit our nation's capital." -- JF, New Jersey

Tours leave from the East side of the base of the Washington Monument at 6 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. You'll know you're in the right place if the person leading the tour is wearing a baby blue T-shirt that says FREE TOURS! FOLLOW ME!—and if the crowd is having a complete blast! Check them out at
Ben Hindman
City By Foot Tour Company
Call (571) 431 7543

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