(Updated at 1:35 p.m.) After staying open for months on borrowed time, Ballston bar CarPool is preparing to close for good.
The popular local watering hole will serve its last customers in Ballston on Monday, April 3, says co-owner Mark Handwerger.
The announcement, below, comes seven-and-a-half months after the first reports that CarPool was about to close after it was sold to make way for a large redevelopment. That development was approved in 2015 but subsequently delayed.
More on the “closing night” plans from CarPool’s management:
Please join us on Monday, April 3rd, for Closing Night. It should be a grand day as we simultaneously celebrate Baseball’s Opening Day (and the start of the Nationals pursuit of a World Series crown), the culmination of another wonderful and wacky March Madness (and the crowning of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion: UCLA?!?!), and one final Last Call for CarPool. Please stop in and say “goodbye” one last time before the taps run dry.
Handwerger says the owners of CarPool expect to open a new location in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County as early as July or August.
Three businesses have closed in short order at the Dominion Hills Centre shopping plaza, worrying some local residents — but remaining businesses say there’s little cause for concern.
A tipster emailed ARLnow.com earlier this week lamenting the shuttering of the Little River Yoga Studio at 6025 Wilson Blvd. The tipster said it was the “latest to go,” following the departure of the Great Harvest Bread Company as well as the florist nearby.
But expiring leases and other circumstances were behind the closures, not a larger trend, we’re told. Business owners that have remained say foot traffic and sales remain healthy.
Great Harvest closed at the end of January. Franchisee Brad Hurst, who operates the bakery’s Alexandria location alongside his wife, said that it proved difficult to run two stores, especially as the larger Alexandria one took up more time.
After taking over the franchise’s five-year lease with approximately two years remaining, Hurst said they made the decision to close and focus their energies in Alexandria.
“Probably for the last year or so, we knew it was a lot of effort for what we were getting as far as traffic and sales,” Hurst said. “When the lease came up, we let that expire, much to the disappointment of several customers. We have to make sure our effort is rewarded with the business, so it was hard to keep it going.”
The shopping center’s florist had been in business for several decades at 6035 Wilson Blvd, but multiple business owners in the plaza said it closed when its owners retired and let the lease expire. It is now being marketed for another tenant.
Then Little River Yoga relocated its classes to Faith Lutheran Church at 3313 Arlington Blvd and rebranded as Ashtanga Nation. It made the move in mid-January.
Katie Gilman, owner of Taste by Katie, which provides reheatable meals to bring home, said business appears healthy for the dozen-plus stores that remain, including her own. When a reporter visited on Thursday afternoon, the plaza’s parking lot was about two-thirds full.
“Three [closures] seem like it could be a big percentage, but it’s really not when you consider all the stores open along here,” Gilman said.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) The Buckingham Florist, a long-time local business on N. Glebe Road, closed last week and appears to have relocated to Annandale.
Open since the 1940s, the florist delivered to Arlington County, Arlington National Cemetery and other parts of Northern Virginia.
Jean Tucker Bassin founded Buckingham Florist with her late husband Myer. Their son Neil Bassin is listed on various websites as having also owned it. In 2013, another website said Buckingham Florist was owned by Kim Park, who also owns Annandale Florist and Tysons Flower Affair.
As of last week, the flower shop’s location at 301 N. Glebe Road in the Buckingham Shopping Center was shuttered, an empty shell with no fixtures or fittings and some of its tiled floor ripped up. A retail leasing brochure lists the 1,460 square foot space as “coming available.”
An employee at the next-door Ravi Chatkhara takeout restaurant said he heard rumors the florist would be relocating elsewhere and would be replaced by a coffee shop.
The phone number listed for the florist is still active. A person at that number answered Tuesday and told ARLnow.com the store is now located in Annandale and open, but hung up when asked for further details.
Virginia Square restaurant Water & Wall (3811 Fairfax Drive) has closed its doors for good.
Water & Wall served its last dinner customers last night, the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema said on his “Ask Tom” chat today.
A year ago, during an ARLnow.com-organized panel discussion on the local restaurant industry, Water & Wall owner and acclaimed chef Tim Ma was asked about keeping customers coming back after the initial excitement of a restaurant’s opening.
“Everybody was coming through the door on day one, two years later, it’s all about retention,” Ma said. “Staying relevant is probably the hardest thing. There are so many new restaurants opening, so many different areas coming back to life, staying relevant is hard.”
Police Search for Missing Boy — Updated — Arlington County Police were looking for a missing 13-year-old boy who may have run away from home yesterday evening. The boy took his bike and possibly camping gear, according to police and to scanner traffic. Police say the boy has since been “located in good health.” [Arlington County]
Carpool to Close, Move — The end is near for Carpool, the popular Ballston bar has kept on ticking despite originally being slated to close this past summer to make way for a redevelopment. Management reportedly plans to move Carpool to the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County this summer. [Washington Business Journal]
Rep. Beyer’s Hat Get Noticed — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) wore a red “Keep the EPA Great” hat to a Congressional hearing about the agency on Tuesday, and the internet loved it. [Gizmodo]
Kudos for Ashlawn Crossing Guard — Ashlawn Elementary School crossing guard Ana Hernandez has been recognized as one of Virginia’s “Most Outstanding Crossing Guards.” Hernandez works “patiently but firmly to ensure the safety of students,” according to a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]
Optimism for N. Va. Economy — “The Northern Virginia region could see job employment grow from anywhere between 4 to 14.4 percent from 2014 to 2025,” according to forecasts from George Mason University’s Stephen Fuller. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
A national purveyor of women’s clothing has quietly shuttered its shop in Clarendon.
The Chico’s at Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) is now closed. The store’s exterior sign has been removed and its windows are now covered with paper. The location also is no longer listed on the company’s website.
It wasn’t clear what might replace the clothing retailer. Arlington County has not recently issued any building permits for the address.
A Chico’s representative wasn’t immediately available for comment. The company currently has another Arlington location at 1101 S. Joyce Street on Pentagon Row.
Waverly Hills Profiled By WaPo — In a profile of Waverly Hills, residents call the north Arlington neighborhood — which features kids walking to school, a variety of house sizes and plenty of tree cover — “very storybook” with a “really strong sense of community.” [Washington Post]
Go-Go Concert in Arlington Tonight — The Church at Clarendon tonight will host a world premiere performance of “JuJu Symphony” and “Down With You” by the Go-Go Symphony. The event, which mixes go-go and classical music styles, is scheduled from 8-9:30 p.m. [ARLnow, Washington City Paper]
Arlington Factors Into FC Development Editorial — The City of Falls Church must allow more development so it doesn’t have to raise taxes, which would in turn increase the likelihood that it would eventually get absorbed into Arlington or Fairfax. So says an editorial that also notes: “we’ve suspected on more than a few occasions powerful interests based outside our Little City have sought to meddle in our politics to the nefarious end of forcing us to give up our autonomy.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Nearby: Dairy Godmother Has Closed — Beloved Del Ray custard shop Dairy Godmother will not reopen from its winter sabbatical, the store announced yesterday. [Washington Business Journal, Dairy Godmother]
It’s Friday the 13th — But that doesn’t matter. [Vox]
The beer taps at Clarendon’s Sehkraft Brewing are now permanently dry.
That’s because the bar, restaurant and hangout at 925 N. Garfield Street officially closed today, with the help of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s deputies showed up today around noon to evict the business, according to Major Susie Doyel, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. A representative for the landlord said the business had until noon today to vacate the building but declined to give more information about the eviction.
Court records show that legal proceedings leading up to the eviction were first initiated in October.
A number of people could be seen inside the business this afternoon, talking and taking stock of the contents while workers with tools walked in and out of the building.
Sehkraft held one last hurrah for customers last night, with live music playing and the college football championship on TV. The brewpub first announced it was closing on Friday evening.
We were unable to reach a Sehkraft Brewing representative for comment. The business first opened a little more than a year ago.
(Updated at 7:10 p.m.) Sehkraft Brewing in Clarendon will be closing next week, ARLnow.com has learned.
“With deep regret Sehkraft is announcing that we will be closing our doors,” assistant general manager Ricky Shepherd wrote via email Friday night. “Please come out and commemorate with us all weekend as we say goodbye to GREAT friends and to Sehkraft. Last call, last call!”
The brewpub and entertainment venue will close on Tuesday, Jan. 10, just over a year after it first opened. Located at 925 N. Garfield Street, Sehkraft’s opening was stymied by months of delays and what its owner described as regulatory wrangling with the county’s permitting office.
“[It] was an unbelievably arduous two years,” said owner and CEO Devin Hicks.
Frozen yogurt fans who frequent the Menchie’s at Penrose Square will now have to go cold turkey.
The company closed its store at 2405 Columbia Pike on New Year’s Eve, according to a Menchie’s representative. The froyo shop opened roughly four years ago.
“We closed the location because it simply wasn’t making any money,” said company representative Camey Turpin. Menchie’s has no plans to open another location in the area anytime soon. The closest Menchie’s store is along U Street in Northwest D.C.
It wasn’t immediately clear what might replace the business. Arlington County has not recently issued any building permits for that address.
Photos by Dave Emke
Shawafel, a fast-casual restaurant near Courthouse, quietly closed earlier this fall after about a year in business.
The eatery opened at 1910 Wilson Blvd in September 2015, offering “an ‘Americanized’ twist to traditional Lebanese cuisine.”
According to Yelp users, it closed in October.
There was no announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page; its phone number has since been disconnected. The original Shawafel on H Street NE in D.C. appears to still be open.
Though such restaurants often appeal to a lunchtime crowd, the Arlington Shawafel was located on a big hill between the employment centers of Rosslyn and Courthouse.
Hat tip to Christopher Cahill
Struggling fast-casual restaurant chain Noodles & Co. has closed its location at the Pentagon Row shopping center (1201 S. Joyce Street).
The eatery closed last month after 14 years in business. The restaurant’s exterior sign has since been removed and its interior has been largely cleared out.
A sign on the front door directs customers to the Noodles & Co. location at 2011 Crystal Drive in Crystal City.
House of Steep, a tea house and “foot sanctuary” in Cherrydale, is closing after four years in business.
The well-reviewed business, at 3800 Lee Highway, is based around a number of relaxing offerings: loose leaf tea, foot soaks, massages and reflexology.
In an email to customers Friday evening, owner Lyndsey DePalma suggested that the store was not sufficiently profitable to justify remaining in business.
“The rewards are wonderful but unfortunately are not enough,” she wrote. The store is set to close on Friday, Dec. 30.
The full letter is below.
To our beautiful, loyal customers –
A deep, Steep thank you for supporting us over the past four years in our vision to spread peace and offer gentle reminders of health and wholeness to our community. Our mission has been successful and the TEAm is celebrating. The rewards are wonderful but unfortunately are not enough to continue on without innovation, which is more than our team has the capacity to do at this time. So effective December 30, 2016, we will lovingly serve our last cup of tea in our retail space.
Steep is a great company with great reviews and a loyal customer base. It’s quite difficult for small retail businesses to succeed in dynamic markets with growing real estate and workforce costs. A huge thank you for helping us defy significant odds in the start-up world and for taking the time to cheer us on along the way. Thank you for becoming our friends and for stopping in to catch up over a comfortable cup. The business has served many and created so many memories with couples first dates, moms spending cherished time with their children (or without), and so many people pausing to take advantage of the moment. Keep doing this!
A sincere thanks to the staff, as well. I don’t know of a more loved business in this area, and this is all thanks to the staff, especially Michael and his leaders who proudly served the mission and set great examples for the staff.
We wanted to give a month to anyone holding gift cards to be able to redeem for goods and services with ease (our reservation policy for foot massage/reflexology is still required). While we will serve our last cup of tea at the end of the month, a few staff members will continue to serve our wholesale accounts, as well as our online store, so you may continue to source our delicious, health-focused tea blends after we close the storefront. And we’ll continue to serve in the hearts and memories of those who appreciated us for the gentle, loving space we provided for so many years. All good things live on and we believe that to be true of Steep.
We hope you’ll come in for one last foot soak, hug, and/or a cup of healthy goodness to help lift your day. You’ve certainly lifted ours over the years.
Steeped in gratitude,
Lyndsey (and the Steep TEAm)
The Lee-Lex Service Center, a well-reviewed, long-time automotive business at the corner of Lee Highway and N. Lexington Street, has closed.
Lee-Lex’s website, which has remained largely unchanged for the past 12 years, says that the service center has “been a good neighbor in our Arlington community since 1978 and consistently receive[d] excellent ratings by consumer magazines.”
The service center was open for part of last week but closed just before Thanksgiving. This morning the shop’s technicians were clearing out their belongings and preparing to move to nearby service centers; signs were being posted on the windows, to let customers know who moved where.
Sources tell ARLnow.com that the property is being purchased by Southland Corporation, the parent company of 7-Eleven. It could not be immediately confirmed that a 7-Eleven store would be replacing the service center.
Photo (top) via Google Maps
There are a number of factors potentially at play: oversaturation of restaurants, a culling of less-compelling or outdated restaurant concepts, high rent, a national “restaurant recession” and even perhaps a local downturn in “disposable income” spending due to election-related anxiety.
There’s another intriguing theory that was relayed to us by our wine and beer columnist, Arash Tafakor, of Dominion Wine and Beer in Falls Church. Could it be that Uber and Lyft are hurting Arlington’s restaurant business by making it easier to head into D.C. for a night out?
Think of your own behavior: do you find yourself heading into the District to try new restaurants when you might have just stayed in Arlington before, had it not been for ride hailing services making it easy and relatively inexpensive to get into the city?
Let’s test the theory and see how many people would agree with that last question.