Arlington Earns ‘B+’ For Budget Transparency — Arlington has earned a grade of “B+” from the Virginia Coalition for Open Government for the ease of finding budget information on the county’s website. While better than average, the score is below Fairfax County’s “A+” grade. [Sun Gazette]
New Optometrist Open in Clarendon — A new optometrist clinic has opened in Clarendon. New Era Eyecare opened at 3105 10th Street N. last week. It’s the company’s second location; its original clinic is located in Clifton. New Era isn’t the only optometrist to recently open in Clarendon’s main business district. Visual Health Doctors of Optometry opened at 3102 Wilson Blvd in 2011.
APS Offers Car Maintenance Course for Women — Arlington Public Schools is offering a car maintenance course specifically for women as part of its adult education program. The course “is designed specifically for women who have limited to no knowledge of car maintenance.” It’s the only gender-specific class currently offered as part of the program. As of this morning, there was only one remaining student opening for the class, which begins on March 11. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
The Old Bike Shop, located at 2647 N. Pershing Drive, specializes in vintage and refurbished bikes and bike parts. Owner Larry Behery, a former car mechanic and carpenter, says there was an unmet need for a used bike store in Arlington.
“There are a lot of shops in the area, but they serve a higher-end clientele — someone who’s already into bikes, already into racing, someone who’s into spending a couple of thousand dollars on a bike,” he said. “But there was nobody really just being a liaison for the beginner,” for people who “need something inexpensive to ride to the Metro… something solid and something that’s not stolen or broken off of Craigslist. ”
Behery and a business partner have been selling used bikes at the Courthouse flea market on Saturdays and at the Georgetown flea market on Sundays. Behrey, who started out collecting old bikes and bike paraphernalia before deciding to sell them as a side business, said he buys his bikes at auctions and from charities that receive bike donations. Before the shop opened, he fixed them up in a garage outside his Springfield home.
Business was good enough at the flea markets that at one point last year Behery decided to go all-in and open a stand-alone store.
“It ended up kinda snowballing and increasing in demand… and finally it got to the point where there were enough [customers] to justify doing something like this and actually having a shop,” he said. “I couldn’t not take advantage of that opportunity.”
Behery says he still plans to sell bikes at the Courthouse market but is planning to discontinue his visits to the Georgetown market. He says he thinks the quality of the bikes at his small shop will help him compete against nearby higher-end bike stores and the Wal-Marts of the world that sell cheaply-made budget bikes.
“We made a lot of really good stuff back in the day that can’t be produced any more — recognizing that there was a need for good quality bikes that were inexpensive,” he said.
The Old Bike Shop is open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. The store is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
In addition to bikes and bike parts like locks and tires, the Old Bike Shop will offer bike repair services.
The new Tutti Frutti store is located in Pentagon City on the 1300 block of S. Fern Street, near the U.S. Post Office and Epic Smokehouse. The store is the second Tutti Frutti in Arlington, after a location at 2439 N. Harrison Street, in the Lee Harrison Shops.
“I feel very confident in the product,” owner Geoff Trout told ARLnow.com. “I don’t think Pentagon Row is close enough.”
Tutti Frutti serves dairy- and gluten-free, soy-based frozen yogurt made with no artificial sweeteners. The stores typically have a rotating menu of flavors and 35 to 40 fruit and candy topping options.
A sign in the window says the store is “now hiring.”
(Updated at 12:35 p.m.) The Potomac River Running store (PR) is leaving its Ballston location (3924 Wilson Blvd), but the store isn’t moving far. It’s heading to the other side of Ballston in the old Alliance Bank (4501 N. Fairfax Drive) space along Glebe Road.
Ray Pugsley and his wife Cathy own the family business along with Cathy’s sister, Margie Shapiro, and Margie’s husband, Brendan. Pugsley said a number of factors contributed to the couples’ decision to move.
First, PR currently rents from Freshbikes, and the lease is up at the end of January. Pugsley said because of the sublet situation, PR doesn’t have long term control over the space. The owners of PR had concerns about what ultimately would happen to the single-level building.
“All low buildings in Arlington become tall buildings, so there was uncertainty going forward what would happen to that spot,” said Pugsley. “There’s no plan, but given that other things were important to us, we figured we would not wait until the time when everyone had to get out because someone is building there.”
Pugsley said another factor that’s been nagging him for years is the inability for customers to see the store due to the county’s sign restrictions. The new location will allow for high visibility at the corner of N. Fairfax Drive and Glebe Road.
“We just had a lot of people who said, even years after we were open, ‘I didn’t even know you were there!’” said Pugsley. “The way sign laws are in Arlington, we didn’t have a sign that was visible from the road because of our location in the building. We were thinking where can we go for better visibility and this spot was open.”
The final element making the location ideal is its proximity to trails. PR offers various training programs and running groups which will benefit from being closer to trail entrances.
“We put a lot of emphasis on our training programs, especially for beginner to newer runners. Not having to run around city blocks is more attractive to someone who is just getting into running,” said Pugsley. “It’s got a lot of good options for folks who can’t run that far or haven’t built up their fitness yet. In the current location, by the time you get to a trail you have to turn around and come back.”
As far as parking concerns at the new, higher traffic location, the building offers parking in its underground garage. PR will validate on weekdays from 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. for half an hour, and for an hour after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends.
Although no definite moving date has been set yet, Potomac River Running will be in its new space by the end of January. There will be a grand re-opening at some point, but the owners haven’t decided if they would prefer to wait until the spring for better weather. The owners will send out a notice on social media before the current location closes, and they’ll try to do the entire move in one day.
“We’re excited about this location,” Pugsley said. “It’s a little bigger and we liked the idea of being closer to the trails. I really hope this conveys how much we’re looking forward to being in the new place.”
When is a restaurant not just a restaurant? When it’s connected to a framing store, like the new Rus Uz in Ballston.
The restaurant is connected to Ballston Art and Framing (1000 N. Randolph Street), which is owned by the family behind the KH Art and Framing store on Lee Highway. Jamil Hakimi runs the framing business and said he originally had planned on just running his store, until he was approached by the Rakhmatullaev family about sharing the space, which previously had been occupied by Daily Deli.
“I’ve been in the framing shop business for a long time. I was going to turn this into a whole frame shop. We actually put up walls around the kitchen,” Hakimi said. “Then these guys came in one day, we introduced each other, and from there we just went half-half, basically.”
Prior to moving to the Ballston location, Rus Uz had been a catering business in Alexandria specializing in cuisine from Russia and Uzbekistan. Bek Rakhmatullaev said his father has been a cook for more than three decades and served several different presidents and embassy officials as a caterer. However, he had been toying with opening a restaurant for years, and finally saw the perfect opportunity.
“He saw a demand and he always wanted to open a place. Everyone was always asking for a tasting room,” Rakhmatullaev said. “With catering, you have to have big orders.”
The family believes the combination of Russian and Uzbek foods will make their restaurant stand out from others.
“There isn’t anything around like us that combines the two,” Rakhmatullaev said.
As far as the framing portion, it’s connected to the restaurant via an open doorway. Hakimi is still working out a schedule and how closely it will coincide with the restaurant hours. He notes that for food safety reasons, no framing work will be performed at the new shop; all of the framing orders from the Ballston location will be worked on at the Lee Highway location.
Rus Uz is currently in the process of obtaining its license to serve alcohol. The owners plan to have grand opening sometime in the near future, after the business has more time to get everything running smoothly.
A new Dunkin’ Donuts store is coming to Courthouse.
The store will be opening at 2201 Wilson Blvd, in a space formerly occupied by a Quiznos restaurant. A construction crew was hard at work on the store’s interior today.
No official word yet on when Dunkin’ Donuts might be opening in Courthouse, but we hear they’re hoping to finish the build-out next month. A sign in the window says the store is currently hiring crew and managers.’
Hat tip to Starlync
FroZenYo was originally expected to open at 1735 N. Lynn Street, in the former “News and Necessities” space, this past summer. The froyo chain opened a location in Ballston in August, but the Rosslyn location has yet to materialize.
In a tweet this morning, the Rosslyn Business Improvement announced that FroZenYo is now expected to open at some point this spring.
FroZenYo lets customers pick any combination of yogurt flavors and toppings, as detailed in a press release earlier this year.
Fro.Zen.Yo’s frozen yogurt is low fat and low calorie. The Fro.Zen.Yo menu features 16 flavors of frozen yogurt and a variety of fresh fruit and candy toppings. Customers get to choose any combination of flavors and toppings. Fro.Zen.Yo offers free hot fudge and also offers Deer Park bottled water for $.29.
(Updated at 1:20 p.m.) Two new stores are coming to the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, while another is closing at Pentagon Row.
A new Oakley store and a new Sperry store are both under construction on the second level of the shopping mall. The stores are directly adjacent to one another. Oakley is best known for its sunglasses, while Sperry is best known for its boat shoes. Oakley also sells clothing and Sperry sells other types of footwear.
Both stores are expected to open in time for Christmas shopping, with the Sperry store hoping to open around Dec. 7 and the Oakley store hoping to open around Dec. 14, according to a PR rep for the mall.
Lucy, an women’s activewear store, will be closing soon at Pentagon Row. A sign in the window advertises a 25 percent off sale at the store, while directing shoppers to other locations at Union Station in D.C. and Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County.
Photo (right) courtesy Desiree Lomer-Clarke
Developer Vornado is in negotiations to bring a new Whole Foods grocery store to Pentagon City.
The store would located on the ground floor of Vornado’s planned Metropolitan Park apartment building at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street. The building, currently in the Site Plan Review stage, will replace a dilapidated warehouse and is part of a larger effort to turn 12th Street into a mixed-use commercial corridor.
Vornado’s Metropolitan Park building will the fourth in the overall Metropolitan Park development. The development will also result in an extension of 12th Street between Eads Street and Fern Street. Vornado’s planned, 2 million square foot PenPlace office and hotel development will be located across the future 12th Street, which is now a pedestrian path.
Met Park 4-5, as the Vornado apartment building is being called in planning documents, is expected be up to 22 stories tall, with two connected towers, and will contain just shy of 699 apartments. A 37,000 square foot grocery store space on the ground floor is being incorporated into the building with the express purpose of attracting Whole Foods, though no lease or letter of intent has been signed yet, we’re told.
An official with the Crystal City Business Improvement District told us the organization is “thrilled” with the prospect of bringing Whole Foods to the area. Currently, Whole Foods’ only location is the perpetually-crowded Clarendon store at 2700 Wilson Boulevard.
Developers hope the building plan will go before the County Board at some point mid-2013. No word yet on how long construction would take.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
According to its website, national chain Zinga Frozen Yogurt plans to move into the vacant space at 2914 Sycamore Street, which used to house Garden City Florist.
Like many of the froyo stores popping up around the county, Zinga allows customers to serve themselves one of the three dozen rotating frozen yogurt flavors. There are more than 50 toppings to choose from, and the finished product is sold by weight.
Zinga sets itself apart from similar establishments with its freshly baked “bottomz” — such as waffle bowls, brownies and vanilla cake — which customers can use as a base on which to build their frozen creations.
So far there has not be an announcement about when construction will begin or when the store is expected to open.
LED Street Lights Draw Complaints — New energy-efficient LED street lighting has been drawing complaints from Arlington residents. Residents have complained that the new lights are too bright and too white. That has prompted county officials to install dimmers on the lights, which has driven up the cost of the new lighting. The county is also exploring the use of lighting that is less harsh but also less energy efficient. [Sun Gazette]
‘Chiefs vs. Chefs’ Cooking Challenge Tonight — Some of Arlington most notable chefs will be battling some of Arlington’s top firehouse cooks in a cooking challenge for charity tonight. The chefs — David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Todd Pozinsky of Carlyle in Shirlington and Adam Barnett of Eventide — will go up against the tastiest creations from Arlington’s bravest. ‘Chiefs vs. Chefs’ is taking place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. tonight at the Key Bridge Marriott (1401 Lee Highway). Tickets to the event, which benefits the Arlington Food Assistance Center, start at $100. [AFAC]
Transportation Advice for APS – Writing in response to the recent controversy over changes to busing at Arlington Public Schools, Greater Greater Washington writer and Arlington resident Steve Offutt says APS should look to Arlington County government for guidance on how to create a “real, 21st-century transportation plan” that isn’t so focused on buses. [Greater Greater Washington]
New Jeweler Coming to Clarendon — Alexandria-based B&C Jewelers will be opening a second location in Clarendon. The store will be opening at 2729 Wilson Boulevard, in the storefront once occupied by the Sisters3 boutique. [Patch]
All of the products in the store are handmade by people in lesser developed countries including Kenya, Guatemala, South Africa, Nepal and Madagascar. Rather than resorting to working in a sweat shop, the laborers receive a fair wage for their products and are involved with a system that helps the goods get to market in more developed nations. Many of the items are created from recycled goods and promote sustainability.
“Fair trade is huge in Europe, it’s quite big on the West Coast and I think it’s going to continue to grow here,” said owner Lisa Ostroff. “When people come in they’ll see this is not a charity. They’re all beautiful things and they secondarily help someone struggling in some of these countries.”
Ostroff has lived in Arlington for nearly 30 years and wanted to open a store that tapped into her time spent studying international relations and non-profit management.
“It sort of brings all my skills together,” said Ostroff. “I’m not able to go there and be in the Peace Corps at this time in my life, but this was a good way to help people without actually being over there.”
Fair trade coffee will be sold by the bag, and customers can sample freshly brewed java. Ostroff hopes customers will visit the store for more than picking up a birthday or holiday gift. She pointed out that some smaller items could be hostess or teacher gifts, and many of the items can simply be a personal treat.
“Think of it as a little something for yourself, because it’s not expensive,” she said.
For now, Ostroff is working to stock the last few shelves and tie up loose ends. Trade Roots will officially open once its occupancy certificate is approved, which Ostroff hopes is in the next two weeks.
“I just think this is great for Arlington. Arlington is a liberal community,” Ostroff said. “I’m actually surprised that there isn’t something like this already. I’m hoping that this really grows.”
The former Daily Deli at 1000 N. Randolph Street is becoming “Ballston Art and Framing.”
The store, which is hoping to open at some point this week, will sell artwork and offer framing services. A banner announcing the store is now covering the existing Daily Deli sign. Artwork and sports memorabilia can be seen in the window.
Ballston Art and Framing has the same ownership as K.H. Art and Framing at 4745 Lee Highway, according to building permits. A store rep tells us that the new store is the business’ fifth location; other locations include Falls Church, Lorton and Washington, D.C.
The store is moving into the former Saah Furniture store at 2330 Columbia Pike, according to permits.
Dinette Design sells custom-designed furniture, including couches, chairs and tables. It’s unclear if the Ballston Common Mall location at 4238 Wilson Blvd is still open; no one answered the phone there earlier today (Thursday) and the store was recently holding a “closing” sale.
No word yet on when Dinette Design will be open on the Pike, but interior construction appears to just be getting underway now.
More changes are coming to The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.
A Fire and Ice jewelry store is expected to open tomorrow, Sept. 1. The store specializes in “hand crafted creations, with a focus on vibrant gems and jewels that evoke the colors and textures of our planet’s rich natural history.” The 500 square foot store will be opening on the second level of the mall, next to L’Occitane.
A Kate Spade store is set to open in Pentagon City mall in “early fall,” according to a press release. Kate Spade’s diverse set of offerings include handbags, clothing, jewelry, shoes, stationery, eyewear, baby items, fragrance, tabletop goods, bedding and gifts. The 1,450 square foot storefront will be opening on the second level of the mall next to Club Monaco.
Finally, an Oakley store is also opening on the second level of the mall, according to the mall directory. While not officially announced, it appears that the Oakley store will be replacing another store that’s currently open. It’s not clear which store that may be, however. Oakley is best known for its sunglasses, but it also sells apparel, bags and footwear.
There are more than 170 stores in the Pentagon City mall, which is anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s department stores.