A new gift shop, Two the Moon, is now open in the Williamsburg Shopping Center (6501 29th Street N.).
Two the Moon opened on Sept. 2 and is owned by Williamsburg resident Johanna Braden. Braden retired earlier this year as an end-of-life specialist with Virginia Hospital Center, where she had worked the past 10 years. She said she retired “for about a half a day, until the house was clean,” before she decided to get to work opening up a gift shop.
“The kids don’t need me anymore, so my husband asked me what I wanted to do,” she said in her Boston accent. “Who asks a 56-year-old woman what she wants to do?”
She said she knew immediately she wanted to open a gift shop in her neighborhood, so she leased the basement space in the strip mall, which had been vacant for seven years since Action Music moved out of the space. It was “in ruins” she said, but in six months she, her family and friends fixed it up and made it ready to use.
Now open, the shop features gifts and wares from about 20 Arlington vendors as well as people from the surrounding area and up and down the East Coast. Braden keeps a book with the stories of each artist or vendor sold in the shop, so she and her employees can give the full story to every customer.
“It’s a fun place,” she said as she waltzed around the store, proudly showing stationery with drawings of Westover landmarks, blankets made from recycled cotton and linens made by a cancer survivor that say “Fork Cancer.” “I think it’s going to be a hit. I really want it to be about community, because I live in the community and I care about the community.”
The store is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays. For one weekend a month, Braden is planning on holding a showcase for an Arlington artist and serving wine and cheese. This past weekend, the artist was Jessica Lee Designs, which specializes in handmade jewelry.
All Access Taxi has submitted applications for 60 taxi licenses with Arlington County, which allows companies to request additional taxi licenses for two months every other year, according to county Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel.
All Access Taxi COO Rick Vogel told ARLnow.com that his company would be the first in the region to offer 100 percent of its fleet as wheelchair accessible. The former Envirocab executive claimed that the standard wait for a wheelchair-accessible cab in the D.C. area is about three hours.
“There really isn’t anything for spontaneous service,” Vogel said. “Reagan lies within our boundaries, yet there’s no accessible service there. About once a week, someone gets stuck there with no way around. There are just no taxis.”
“I think Arlington has always been a leader in disabled issues,” Vogel continued. “All our buildings are accessible, everything is, except our cabs. At first I thought of it as a business idea, but now it’s becoming a cause. It upsets me because they can’t get around town.”
Vogel said he plans for the company to be headquartered in South Arlington and to train drivers in assisting people with disabilities. He plans on purchasing vehicles like the Ford Transit Connect (pictured), the Dodge Caravan, the Honda Odyssey and others. Each cab will be equipped with a wheelchair ramp in the back, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit.
To operate as a taxi service in Arlington, however, a company needs to own a county taxicab certificate. There are 787 certificates in the county right now, only 37 of which are wheelchair accessible. County Manager Barbara Donnellan, however, recommended in a July 1 memorandum that no new taxicab certificates be issued until 2016, specifically including accessible taxis in her recommendation.
“Based on staff’s quantitative analysis,” Donnellan wrote, “there are sufficient bases to justify maintaining the existing number of taxicabs (750 vehicles and 37 wheelchair vehicles) authorized to operate in the county.”
Donnellan and her staff will make her final recommendations by Oct. 15, the Transportation Commission will make its alternative recommendation on Nov. 15 and the County Board will decide whether to approve new certificates, if any, at its December meeting. The county issued 22 new licenses in 2012, and didn’t issue any in 2010.
According to Donnellan’s memorandum, the county’s population has increased by 3,300 since 2012, but the workforce has shrunk by 6,900 jobs. While there are roughly the same amount of cabs per person now than before the new certificates were issued, there are now 3.47 taxicabs per 1,000 employees, as opposed to 3.36 in 2012. The overall number of cabs dispatched has increased 1.1 percent over the course of the last two years.
Donnellan wrote in the memorandum, however, that a new application for a certificate might be considered if the applicant provides adequate reason or innovation. Vogel believes his company deserves to be awarded certificates to serve a chronically underserved populace.
“I think this idea’s time has come,” he said. “These people have money to spend, but they can’t get to where they want to go. I think at the end of the day, we can make people’s lives better.”
Photo via Ford
Crockett and Tubbs may be long off the air, but two men are trying to bring the flair of the “Miami Vice” TV show to their new Arlington-based food truck.
Miami Vice Burgers opened its window for the first time last Thursday on N. Stuart Street in Ballston. Owner Santo Mirabile and his partner, Gary Romain, have manned the truck in matching Hawaiian shirts on weekdays since then. Mirabile said he plans to continue to park in Ballston this week before circulating to Courthouse, Rosslyn and Crystal City.
“We have something nobody else has,” Mirabile said about his menu, which includes a Tubbs Burger, Sonny’s Burger and a Don Johnson Special — a 6-inch roll with Italian or Chorizo sausage, Chimichurri sauce and grilled onions and peppers. “We’re trying to bring a South Beach taste to Northern Virginia.”
Mirabile owned the El-Chaparral Meat Market in Clarendon for 27 years before he closed it and moved back to Florida; he grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and he said he’s always been a huge fan of the TV show. He said he couldn’t sit around the house all day, and his children always encouraged him to try to sell his burgers, so he decided to give it a whirl.
“I worked for Marriott for many years and I learned to love the food business there,” he said. “I love working with food and people. The food truck is a fun job.”
The burgers have eclectic toppings and sauces — Sonny’s Burger is a quarter-pound angus beef patty with guacamole, grilled onion, jalapeño relish, cilantro sour cream with a “Sonny” side up egg on a brioche bun. Mirabile could neither confirm nor deny the inclusion of an Edward James Olmos burger in the future.
Streets Market and Café, a new grocery store in Lyon Park, is now open.
The boutique grocery opened Friday at 2201 N. Pershing Dr. Though the store is small, “this is not a bodega,” said company vice president Campbell Burns.
The store carries beer, wine, toiletries, produce, sandwiches and sushi, which is made fresh every morning at the company’s D.C. outpost on 14th Street NW. (The Pershing Drive location is Streets Market’s second.)
“It’s a full-on Whole Foods in 3,000 square feet, minus the kitchen,” Burns said. “It’s all geared toward the surrounding community. We’re flexible. If consumers prefer a different brand or more variety of a product, we can adjust as needed.”
Burns said the company was thrilled to be in Arlington is already thinking about expanding.
“We’re excited about the market and the neighborhood,” he said. “We think our concept is going to be well-received.”
A new restaurant from a new restaurateur is planning to open at 3001 Washington Blvd by the end of the year.
“Bowl’d,” with its storefront at the corner of N. Garfield and 11th Streets, will specialize in affordable, healthy food that’s made-to-order within five minutes. Owner Allen Reed, who is also the president of local executive recruiting firm Reed & Associates, said he had the idea for the concept while on the road and unable to find healthy, fast food options.
“I wanted something that was hot and satisfying with more vegetables and proteins,” Reed said, “so people could feel good about something they’re eating, but also make it delicious and enticing.”
Bowl’d will start with bases like rice, quinoa or lettuce, then layer in marinated proteins like chicken, beef and tofu, with an assortment of vegetables and “sauces and garnishes to give it a bang of flavor,” according to Reed. The dishes will range in cuisine from Mediterranean, Asian and Tex-Mex.
“We’re going to be working across different flavor profiles and inspirations,” Reed said.
The restaurant won’t serve beer and wine — “there are enough neighboring establishments that serve liquor,” Reed said — and will offer vegan and low-gluten options for those interested.
Reed said he hopes to be open before the holidays, but avoided giving a firm opening date because of the inevitable construction delays most new restaurants face.
The Italian Store that is coming to Westover is now under construction, and the owner hopes to be open in time for the holidays, before the end of 2014.
Construction was delayed for several months due to permitting issues, owner Robert Tramonte told ARLnow.com, but has been underway for three weeks. Tramonte announced last December that he was planning on opening a second location of his popular Lyon Village shop in the former 7-Eleven space at 5839 Washington Blvd.
The store will be 6,000 square feet, not including an outdoor café, Tramonte said. As opposed to the current Italian Store, at 3123 Lee Highway, the new location will have an on-site liquor license, so customers can drink the beer and wine sold on the premises.
“There are a lot of breweries coming up in Italy,” Tramonte said. “It will be a very eclectic beer list. Wine is kind of my specialty, and we’re going to have about three times as much space for wine as we do now. It’s the Italian Store on steroids, basically.”
The Westover location will have another feature the original does not: an Illy espresso bar, which will also serve gelato, and fresh-baked Italian pastries like cannoli and cornetti.
“I’ve always felt like even in my own store, if somebody asked me where can I get a good Italian pastry, and there’s no real answer to that in this area,” he said. “We have a lot of good sources right now and some that we cook ourselves, but I’ve never marketed them well in a display case. Over in the other store at Westover, we’re going to have the space to merchandise really well and people would see them fresh out of the oven.”
A store selling civilian and military-grade weaponry and tactical gear is planning to move into the ground floor of a condominium building in the Nauck neighborhood.
SpecDive Tactical, which currently operates out of an apartment building on S. Abingdon Street in Fairlington, hopes to move into the ground floor of 2249 S. Shirlington Road, next door to Pizzoli Pizza. When contacted, SpecDive Tactical’s owner Gerald Rapp confirmed an agreement was in place to move into the space, but otherwise declined to comment on the record.
SpecDive’s initial building permit application was rejected, according to Arlington Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Helen Duong, “because there were no parking spaces available for the new retail.” CPHD has asked for a new plan with parking provided, Duong said.
The shop has been in business since 2012, according to the owner profile section of SpecDive’s Yelp page. It has a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Federal Firearm License, according to ATF records. On the Yelp page, Rapp says he was in the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1994 and a U.S. Navy deep sea diver after that.
“SpecDive, LLC., a veteran owned small business, was created in direct response to the need for the Military and federal law enforcement to partner effectively with private industries to meet the current and future needs of a citizen-centric government and world leader,” the Yelp page reads.
The shop was the subject of a petition from Nauck residents back in March, who were hoping to prevent it from moving in.
“We, the members of the Nauck Civic Association Executive Committee are very concerned about locating this business in our community,” an email announcing the petition stated. “Although, we are attempting to solicit businesses to locate within our community, we are not convinced that this type of business fits the description of what the residents seek.”
Reached for comment last week, Nauck Civic Association President Alfred Taylor said nothing has changed regarding the NCA’s position on the gun shop. He noted that Rapp is expected to attend the September NCA meeting.
“The position of the Association has not changed in that they would rather not have a facility of that sort at that location,” Taylor wrote in an email, “but realize it is a by-right retail business in accordance with all zoning regulations.”
Rapp has already met with representatives from the county and Arlington Public Schools and members of the community, including Drew Model School Parent Teacher Association President Evan Thomas. Thomas said the PTA has no formal position on SpecDive’s planned move, and may or may not take one when its membership reconvenes after the school year begins.
“The general tone of the meeting was pretty cordial,” Thomas told ARLnow.com today. “What Jerry spent most of his time discussing was their security protocols, what they do, their process for selling firearms, answered questions in regards to how a person could go about obtaining a firearm, what types of firearms they could purchase and the difference between the requirements for a shotgun or rifle or pistol. Those are the items you can buy off the street, assuming you can pass the background check they do.”
Thomas, speaking as a parent and resident of the area, said Rapp assuaged some of his trepidation about a gun dealer moving into the neighborhood.
“I have two kids who attend Drew… so you’re always concerned about the safety of the area where there school is,” Thomas said. “At the end of the meeting I felt as comfortable as you can with a business like that. He’s very cognizant of the perils, the need for security and the implications of what could happen to him in terms of losing his business, losing his license, facing potential jail time if he slips up. I felt comfortable with him as a business owner.”
A new “Catholic gift store” is getting ready to move into Cherrydale next month.
Joyful Spirit Gifts is a new business owned by Meg Miller Rydzewski, a parishioner at Saint Agnes Catholic Church, and it says on its website that it plans to open its brick-and-mortar and online store Sept. 1. The shop is located at 3315 Lee Highway, in the Lee Centre strip mall.
On its Facebook page, it describes itself as a “religious book store and gift shop.” Its slogan, posted on the Facebook page and in its window, is “Faith, Home, Sacraments, Holidays.” The store posted an ad on Craigslist seeking part-time employees to staff the shop, and this morning construction workers could be seen entering and exiting the storefront.
Rydzewski is a published novelist who says on her website she has been a stay-at-home mom in Arlington after a career as a “Wall Street equity analyst and portfolio manager.”
The gas leak in Clarendon that caused several buildings to evacuate last weekend was caused by unauthorized construction, ARLnow.com has learned.
Interior construction on the small, vacant space of 3127 Wilson Blvd caused the gas leak, and Arlington County’s department of Community Planning, Housing and Development said they have not approved any permits for work, and ordered the work to stop after the gas leak.
“On Saturday, our Building Inspector issued a notice of violation on the business and posted a stop work order,” CPHD spokeswoman Helen Duong said. “The business was doing major renovation without a permit.”
The small space, next door to Goody’s pizza shop, is owned by Tara Sharma, who also owns Classic Cigars & British Goodies (2907 Wilson Blvd). Sharma, who bought the space two months ago, said he doesn’t know what he plans to put into the space — except it won’t be a restaurant, coffee shop or ice cream store — but plans to make a decision in the next few weeks.
Sharma told ARLnow.com today that Washington Gas, which owns the gas line and the right-of-way for construction work, turned off the gas meter in the space at his request because “we don’t need the gas for the business.”
“I called them and told them there was a pipe there,” Sharma said. “They said ‘do whatever you want, there’s no gas in the pipe.’”
According to county staff, any penalties for unauthorized work in the right-of-way that caused the gas leak would be levied by Washington Gas. Representatives from Washington Gas did not return multiple messages seeking comment. Sharma said he hasn’t had any indication he’d be penalized for causing the leak.
Sharma agreed to stop construction while waiting for the county to approve his permit.
This won’t be a full-service salon offering haircuts and coloring. In fact, the website explains, “We do two things… and we do them extremely well.” Those two things are hair blow outs and extensions.
Cherry Blow Dry Bar offers $35 blow outs every day, regardless of hair length. Extensions are described as “premium, long-lasting, and beautifully blended tape extensions that won’t damage your hair.”
The goal, according to the website, is to transport customers to a world of celebrity-level luxury. Some of that luxury includes the ability to enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne or cocktail, in addition to soft chairs in a modern and relaxing environment.
Blow Dry Bar was founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2008 and now has 23 locations there. The owner began franchising in the U.S. last year under the name Cherry Blow Dry Bar. Currently there are two locations in Florida and one in Tennessee. Four others, including the Arlington location, are expected to open soon. No word yet on an exact date for the Clarendon opening.
Hat tip to @CommonCenser
Orangetheory Fitness, an interval-training gym with heart rate-focused workout sessions, plans to open a location at 1776 Wilson Blvd by the end of the August.
Orangetheory employees have been signing up passersby for discounted memberships this week in the storefront next door to its planned location, near Ray’s to the Third restaurant. The gym is offering specials ranging from $8 to $17 per session to those who sign up for a month of group classes between now and its planned grand opening opening at the end of the summer.
Franchise owner Mark Steverson told ARLnow.com that the gym plans to have a soft opening the week of August 18, and will offer free sessions to curious parties. The gym will also celebrate its grand opening with a weight loss challenge, with a $2,500 cash prize, in early September.
The group workout sessions with Orangetheory combine cardio and strength training by using blocks of treadmills, indoor rowing machines and weight-training. Steverson said the goal is for members to reach between 81 percent and 94 percent of their maximum heart rate for 12-20 minutes of their workout, to maximize calorie burn for 36 hours post-workout.
“So you’re still burning calories when you go to Ray’s next door or Ben’s Chili Bowl or wherever,” Steverson said.
The closest current Orangetheory location of its 110 U.S. gyms is in Fairfax. Orangetheory says those interested in pre-sale memberships should call 571-431-6140.
Green Tomato Cars Co-founder and Vice President Jonny Goldstone said the car service launched in Arlington in May and has more than 25 cars in its fleet that are licensed to operate in Virginia, and he plans to add five to 10 more every month, as allowed by Virginia law for operating a car service as opposed to a taxi company.
“We’re looking at getting to 70 to 100 vehicles within the calendar year,” Goldstone told ARLnow.com. “With that sort of number, we’re pretty comfortable we’re going to be able to offer a car in 10 minutes wherever people are. At that point, I think we’re really a viable competitor to Uber for the on-demand rides. Right now we’re most convenient as a pre-scheduled ride service.”
Goldstone said Green Tomato has a “more intimate and personal relationship” with its drivers than Uber and Lyft, and all drivers either rent their cars — all black Prius Vs — from the company or can buy their own. Goldstone said all drivers go through a full criminal check, drug test, have their driving record for the last 10 years reviewed and have to go through a multi-layer interview process.
“About one in seven drivers get through the whole process,” he said. “There’s much more partnership between us and our ambassadors, which we call them because they’re representing the company.”
Green Tomato Cars launched in London in 2006 and is also launching in Paris in the near future. The D.C. area is its first market in the U.S.
Green Tomato charges customers for distance, not time, Goldstone said, except for a $5 rush hour surcharge to account for traffic. A trip from the Pentagon to Dulles International Airport costs $54.99, according to the in-app rate, and from Rosslyn to the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C. costs $29.99.
In addition to the app, customers can book trips online and over the phone. Goldstone said each car is equipped with free WiFi for the customers.
While Green Tomato boasts its regulatory approval to operate in D.C.’s Virginia suburbs, Uber and Lyft have submitted requests to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requesting “temporary operating authority” and a broker’s license, which will “go through the proper channels” to determine if the two ridesharing services can legally operate in the state, a DMV official told ARLnow.com last week.
Goldstone said that even though Green Tomato is a licensed operator, and he believes “everyone is a little bit in the wrong” in the fight between Uber, Lyft and the DMV, that doesn’t mean Green Tomato is without worry.
“There is a concern that even as a legitimate operator, we are still going to be targeted, especially by D.C. regulators,” he said. “The Virginia regulators are perhaps more aware of what we’re doing, but the D.C. regulations are so unclear that it’s going to be difficult.”
Photo (top) via Green Tomato
A Maserati dealership appears close to opening in the former M. Slavin & Sons Seafood site on S. Glebe Road, just south of I-395.
“Maserati” is already displayed on the side of the building, at 2710 S. Glebe Road, and the business says it’s just weeks away from opening the doors of the dealership (and the Italian sports cars inside.)
The dealership has not returned phone calls from ARLnow.com, but the Washington Business Journal reports that it is planning to open by the end of the month, and plans to renovate the 18,000 square foot building within the next year. The dealership will be an affiliate of Maserati of Washington in Sterling.
“For us to have a location on 395 and South Glebe is perfect, so they don’t have to drive all the way out here,” Maserati of Washington General Manager Alex Macatuno told the WBJ.
The building has been unoccupied since M. Slavin & Sons closed in 2011.
Hat tip to Thomas Block
A new grocery store is expected to open in Lyon Park on Pershing Drive within the next month or two.
A boutique grocery store called Streets Market is hoping to open by late June or early July on the ground floor of the new 2201 Pershing apartment complex, at the corner of Pershing and Route 50, according to company official Kathryn Lee. Streets Market just opened its first location, at 2400 14th Street NW in D.C., last month, but they have been undergoing construction for seven months, Lee said.
“We are a more of a healthy, natural store,” Lee told ARLnow.com this afternoon. “We have everything you would need with natural, plus organic, plus generic, instead of just health nut stuff. You won’t have to make another stop.”
The grocery store will be 3,300 square feet of space — about half the size of its D.C. location — and ground-level customer parking will be available at the 2201 Pershing building, Lee said. The grocery store was founded by owner Jimmy Na, who works as a wholesale distributor in Maryland.
“We have a lot of wholesale background, and now [Na] is venturing into retail,” Lee said. “He has a lot of insights into the market, new trends and customer’s needs.”
Streets Market is planning to have a grand opening celebration when it opens this summer. It will sell beer and wine along with its produce and grocery offerings.
TechShop, a subscription-based, high-tech workshop, has opened its 20,000-square-foot space at 2110-B Crystal Drive, in the Crystal City Shops.
The shop opened last Wednesday after eight weeks of construction. It offers its members access to millions of dollars worth of equipment to use to build prototypes, new inventions or anything else they can dream up.
“There’s a deficit in people knowing how to make things with their hands,” TechShop’s interim general manager Isabella Iglesias Musachio said. “We’re giving people access to the tools to build their dreams.”
TechShop has computers uploaded with $20,000 of software, a high-powered water jet that can cut through several inches of steel, a fully-equipped wood shop, 3D printers and its most popular item, a laser cutter and etcher.
Memberships cost $349 for three months, $1,095 for a year and $7,500 for a lifetime. TechShop offers corporate memberships for companies, either startups or larger firms, that need to use the equipment to develop new products. TechShop also offers classes to teach how to operate each of the machines, but the classes are sold out until May, according to Iglesias-Musachio.
More than 250 people have purchased memberships so far, Iglesias-Musachio said, and more than 100 military veterans have gotten free memberships through TechShop’s partnership with DARPA.
“Our typical member is anyone,” Iglesias-Musachio said. “You could be sitting next to an engineer, an art teacher or a 12-year-old kid. For a few dollars a day, really, you can have access to more than $1 million worth of equipment. That sort of thing appeals to everyone.”
Crystal City is TechShop’s eighth location nationwide and its second on the East Coast, after its Pittsburgh location, which opened in 2013. Several technology and equipment companies, like the mobile transaction company Square, have been helped along by TechShop’s equipment, Iglesias-Musachio said.
“Crystal City was perfect for our next location because it’s extremely innovative and creative,” she said, noting how many people have peered into the window during buildout. “We were looking for a creative and educated community, and one that is accessible by transit.”