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by Chris Teale — May 19, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Since opening Filipino grocery store Fiesta Oriental in 1991, Fred Sunga and his family have done much more than sell food and provide other services to a bevy of loyal customers.

“When you have a Filipino business, your country people, they come to you for information,” he said. “They always call you, if they have a problem they will call you. Even if sometimes their car won’t start they will call and ask if I know a mechanic.”

But next month marks the end of an era, as the 67-year-old Sunga is set to retire on June 30 and close the Arlington Forest staple at 4815 1st Street N. That means that the area’s growing Filipino community must go elsewhere for groceries or to send money and packages to family back in the Philippines.

Sunga moved to the United States in 1978 and started working in a bank before opening Fiesta Oriental. He prides himself on staying true to his Filipino roots, right down to watching television shows from the Philippines in the store and speaking to customers in Tagalog, the country’s official language, or one of its many dialects.

And in addition to Filipinos, who come from as far away as Manassas and Maryland to shop at his store, local schoolchildren will now have to go elsewhere for their after-school snacks.

“When the school bus stops there, the kids are going to come and get their candy and soda,” Sunga said. “Just last week I told them that I’m closing up the store next month, and they said, ‘Why? Why are you doing this to me?'”

For the family, Fiesta Oriental was a major part of growing up in Arlington. Sunga’s three daughters, Audrey, Alyssa and Angelica, all worked there at least part-time from elementary school onwards and helped on Sunday when they would cook and sell homemade Filipino dishes.

The store is open every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., except Sundays, when it closes at 6 p.m.

Audrey Sunga, who has a 2-year-old son, Emmett, and another baby due in August, said it is a shame that the family business will close before they are old enough to appreciate it.

“We’re going to start buying rice for the first time in our lives,” she joked. “For Emmett and the baby on the way, it’s kind of sad they won’t be able to see this. We grew up with it our whole lives, so it’s sad to see it go.”

Fred Sunga, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to being a “stay-at-home grandpa,” and enjoying more time with his family. Both Audrey and Alyssa work in Arlington and graduated from VCU, while Angelica is still there studying electrical engineering.

While he is excited to start the next chapter of his life, Fred Sunga said it is hard when customers are clearly upset he is leaving.

“I’m going to miss the store that I’m doing every day,” he said. “Especially when my customers, when they come here and I’m telling them I’m retiring next month, I feel so sad when they say, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to miss you.’ Some old people, they cry when I tell them I’m retiring.”

by Chris Teale — May 9, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

With redevelopment just around the corner, the Food Star grocery store on Columbia Pike will close as early as next week according to a sign on its entrance.

Its lease at the property is set to expire on May 25. The grocery store is expected to move to 206 W. Glebe Road in Alexandria’s Arlandria neighborhood and replace the Foodway currently there.

The sign, written in English and Spanish, reads:

Dear Food Star customers:

After 32 years of business it is with sincere regret that we inform you that Food Star supermarket will be closing permanently at this location between April 30 and May 15, 2017. It is our utmost priority to inform you of this decision as you are a very important part of the Food Star family. We appreciate your business and are thankful for your loyalty. We hope to have the opportunity to continue serving you at our new location at: 206 W. Glebe Road (formally Foodway), Alexandria, VA 22305.

We will notify you which day we will open. Thank you for your business and continued support.

The store at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive is set for demolition along with several small retail businesses for the “Columbia Pike Village Center” development. More than 1,800 people who wanted to “Save Food Star” signed a petition against the plan last year.

In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square. The project also includes a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units, retail space and a three-level parking garage.

The Harris Teeter is expected to open in late 2019.

Arlington County has posted a list of other food stores in the area, the closest of which is 0.5 miles away from the Food Star, that residents can go to during construction of the new grocery store.

Of the other stores in the plaza, the Para Ti hair salon has already relocated to S. Carlin Springs Road. April was its last month in the strip mall.

by ARLnow.com — March 31, 2017 at 10:10 am 0

A food delivery service that’s popular in New York City is coming to Arlington and some other D.C. area locales.

FreshDirect, a well-funded online food retailer that delivers “farm-fresh produce, high-quality meat, seafood, dairy, prepared meals and grocery staples,” is launching in Arlington, Bethesda, McLean and parts of the District next week on Wednesday, April 5.

FreshDirect will offer next-day delivery to just about every Arlington ZIP code: 22201, 22202, 22203, 22204, 22205, 22206, 22207, 22209, 22211, and 22213.

“The service will offer 12,000 high-quality products and give residents the chance to try popular specialty foods such as Roberta’s pizza from Brooklyn, Wandering Bear Cold Brew Coffee, dairy-free yogurt from Anita’s, premium deli meats from Boar’s Head and JUST FreshDirect Wild Caught Albacore Tuna,” a PR rep said.

More from a press release:

FreshDirect sources from farms in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

No-subscription meal kits will also be part of the offering, giving D.C. consumers more options for dinner tonight. In addition to home delivery, FreshDirect also feeds D.C.’s busy workforce with an ‘At The Office’ service, which includes chef-prepared breakfasts, luncheon platters perfect for business meetings, catering services for events, and popular brands of snacks, beverages and pantry items…

FreshDirect customers can order next day delivery in the two hour window of their choice via web or mobile app as early as 6:30 a.m. through 11:00 p.m.. Customers can either pay per order for the service cost of $7.99 with a $40 minimum spend per order or pay an annual fee of $129.00 for unlimited free delivery through DeliveryPass. DeliveryPass members enjoy unlimited free deliveries and exclusive special offers and savings. First timers can get a 2-month trial for 1 cent.

FreshDirect opened its new D.C. facility in Prince George’s County and has hired more than 50 local employees as part of the expansion. For more information, visit www.freshdirect.com or download the iPhone, Android and iPad mobile apps.

by Katie Pyzyk — October 31, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

There’s a well-known phrase claiming that from necessity comes invention. But sometimes it’s more the case of “from annoyance comes invention.” That’s exactly what prompted a local entrepreneur to invent an app to ease lost wanderers’ frustration at the grocery store.

Basket Helper app by Safety Now SolutionsMinh Tran, of Safety Now Solutions, has created an app called Basket Helper that points users to desired items at a Giant grocery store. It’s not for all Giant stores; very specifically, it’s for the Virginia Square Giant at 3450 Washington Blvd. Right now it’s a pilot that Tran hopes will expand to include other locations.

He took this on as a personal side project, unrelated to Safety Now Solutions’ typical work.

“We usually do public safety software, but this project I made kind of for myself because I was so frustrated with the shopping process,” he says. “Basically when I go to the supermarket I often don’t know where things are. It’s frustrating to walk up and down the store [aisles] staring at the sign that’s above you just to find the right aisle.”

Although some grocery stores have similar apps that show customers which items are in which aisles, Giant does not. Enter Tran and his test pilot.

Basket Helper app by Safety Now SolutionsThe app functions simply: Users type in the items they want to purchase, hit “search” and the store aisle number appears. The platform is programmed to accept many partial word matches or alternate spellings, so entering “lightbulb” and “light bulb” should both provide the correct aisle. Some brand names also come up with a match.

A unique way Tran envisions the app helping people is when they send someone else on an errand to the store. Users can go onto the website app and “actually send your partner the link” showing all the items’ locations, says Tran. “You can type in the things you need and then copy and paste the search link to your partner and they would know which aisle to go to,” he says. That means no more “I couldn’t find it” excuses from the person who went on the errand.

The pilot launched earlier this month on iOS, Android and a website app. Currently it is independent of the Giant grocery chain, but Tran hopes to change that. He has pitched the app idea to Giant and is waiting to hear if they’ll buy it and expand it to other stores. He’s also considered contacting Safeway, because that chain’s app only allows users to search for one item at a time.

Devising the app itself only took a day or two; what’s been time consuming is entering all the items into the database. But Tran only expects to deal with that for the pilot. Once stores purchase the app, they’ll then enter the information themselves. “You can do it quickly if you have multiple people doing it in multiple aisles,” Tran says. Perhaps, for example, employees could add the items to the database as they restock the shelves.

Keep in mind that this prototype can’t guarantee that every single item in the Virginia Square Giant is listed. But so far it comes pretty darn close; with about 3,000 searchable items, Tran estimates about 75 percent of the store’s items are in the database.

“I thought a tool like this would be helpful,” he says. “I wanted to see if people would embrace the idea.”

by ARLnow.com — September 30, 2016 at 9:05 am 0

Person walking near puddle in Clarendon on rainy day, Sept. 30 2016

Food Star Not Responding to Pleas to Stay — The Food Star grocery store apparently doesn’t have much interest in staying in Arlington after the store, at the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive, closes to make way for a redevelopment. Despite resident interest in keeping the Food Star, county officials say their efforts to reach out to the company and help them relocate to another location in Arlington have not yet yielded a “substantive” response. [InsideNova]

LEGO Store Grand Opening — The new LEGO Store in the Pentagon City mall is holding its grand opening celebration starting today. The store will be hosting a LEGO Master Builder who will construct a huge LEGO model for display. The first 400 customers Friday, Saturday and Sunday will receive free gifts with qualifying purchases. [LEGO]

Olympic Athletes at Elementary School — A group of Olympic athletes will talk with students at Carlin Springs Elementary this morning. Among the group are shot put gold medalist Michelle Carter, gold medal-winning sprinter Natasha Hastings and long jump gold medalist Jeff Henderson. The athletes will be at the school as part of the Let’s Move! Healthy Schools campaign.

Notable Tree Nominations — It’s that time of the year — if you think you have a truly exceptional tree in your yard that deserves recognition, you can now nominate it for Arlington County’s annual Notable Tree awards. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 15. [Arlington County]

October Is Affordable Housing Month — Tomorrow is Oct. 1 and October is Affordable Housing Month in Arlington, “a month-long celebration of the County’s long-term commitment to preserving and creating housing opportunities that benefit the whole community.” [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — September 8, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

The Harris Teeter at the Lee-Harrison shopping center is currently being remodeled.

The supermarket is adding a full-service wine bar, an expanded salad bar, a “cheese island” with hot pizza options, American and Asian hot bars, a breakfast bar and more.

Harris Teeter sent the following email to customers this week, discussing its plans for the store.

Dear Valued e-VIC Member,

Our records indicate that you shop at our Lee & Harrison location. We are currently in the process of ongoing renovations at this store, and we appreciate your continued patience as we work to bring new and exciting features to your Harris Teeter. While we understand that this transition presents some inconveniences, we wanted to take the time to familiarize you with what amenities we are adding to enhance your shopping experience.

In the upcoming months, expect to see a full service wine bar, an expanded seafood department, an extended salad bar, more LaBrea bread options, a more extensive cheese island with hot pizza, and American and Asian hot bars for you to enjoy. We appreciate your patience during this remodel, and as always, thank you for shopping at your Harris Teeter!

During the remodel, our hours of operation will be as follows:
Monday – Thursday: 7 am – 10 pm
Friday – Saturday: Open at 7 am Friday, then open 24 hours
Sunday: Close at 10 pm

If you have any questions or concerns about the remodel process, please visit the

Hat tip to Chris Slatt

by ARLnow.com — June 28, 2016 at 11:50 am 0

The new Whole Foods store in Pentagon City will open its doors at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

Located at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., two blocks from the Metro station, the 36,800-square-foot store will serve both those who live and work in the area — Pentagon City is growing with new apartment towers and other planned development — and those driving in from elsewhere. Underground parking is available.

As part of tomorrow’s opening, the store will holding a “bread-breaking ceremony.”

“The public is invited to join team members and community leaders in a bread-breaking ceremony that begins at 8:45 a.m. and will include the presentation of a $2,000 check to the Arlington Food Assistance Center,” said a press release. “Opening day shoppers will experience first-to-market exclusive products and special door buster savings. The first 500 shoppers who spend $50 will receive a limited edition Whole Foods Market Pentagon City canvas tote bag.”

“Those who can’t make the bread-breaking ceremony will want to stop by for the store’s inaugural happy hour from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, when chef, restaurateur, reality TV star and winemaker Fabio Viviani will meet customers and sign bottles of his wine collection – Fabio Viviani Wines,” said the press release.

On Thursday, its second day in business, the store will donate 5 percent of the day’s sales to two local nonprofits — Blue Star Families in Falls Church, which supports D.C. area military families, and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

In Pentagon City, Whole Foods is seeking for be more than a grocery store — there’s a bar, a coffee shop and other features intended to get customers hanging out instead of just shopping.

Among the store’s features are:

  • “A full service coffee and juice bar with nitro dispensed cold brew coffee, hemp milk lattes, cold brew teas, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and acai bowls.”
  • “Farmstand Freeze. Fruits and veggies are frozen overnight, put in a Pacojet machine and shaved while injecting air to create a light, fluffy, fruity frozen dessert. Low sugar, only sweetened with honey and dates, and also non-dairy.”
  • “The Basin Barroom, offering 15 beers and one flavor of kombucha on tap, as well as wine and cocktails.” Plus a seafood-focused food menu that includes “a must-try lobster roll served on local favorite LeoNora Gourmet Bakery’s split top roll.”
  • “Paper Horse, ramen master Erik Brunner-Yang’s latest venue.”
  • “In-house smoked and dry-aged meats.”
  • “Eight varieties of scratch-baked bread daily.”
  • An extensive bulk foods aisle.
  • A barbecue station, featuring smoked meats and sauces.
  • A kitchen that includes a large pizza oven.
  • A dog-friendly outdoor patio.
  • “More than 2,500 organic offerings in the grocery aisles… Every product in the store will be free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.”

Disclosure: Whole Foods is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

by ARLnow.com — May 19, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

The new Whole Foods grocery store in Pentagon City will be opening on Wednesday, June 29, the company announced today.

The nearly 37,000-square-foot store is located on the ground floor of the Bartlett, a new 22-story apartment building at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street.

The new store will feature:

  • An expansive organic salad bar
  • Prepared foods hot bars
  • Several unique food venues
  • Made-in-house and artisan charcuterie
  • An extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese
  • A scratch bakery
  • A coffee/juice bar
  • A pub
  • A dog-friendly patio

Whole Foods is now hiring for the store, as detailed in the press release below.

Whole Foods Market, America’s healthiest grocery store™, will open its ninth Northern Virginia location on Wednesday, June 29, in Pentagon City. The 36,800 square-foot store is located at the corner of 12th Street South and South Eads Street.

“Our newest Whole Foods Market will reflect the energy and vitality of this growing Arlington community,” said Mike Ameg, the store’s team leader. “This store will offer Northern Virginia families the highest quality natural and organic products, including seasonal, locally-sourced produce, sustainable seafood and high-quality meat and poultry – all free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. We’re also excited to bring an extensive offering of fast-casual dining options to the many residents who live and work in the heart of Pentagon City.”

Along with the expansive organic salad bar and prepared foods hot bars pioneered by Whole Foods Market chefs, this store will feature several unique food venues, made-in-house and artisan charcuterie, an extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese, and a scratch bakery. The store’s many seating areas – which include a coffee/juice bar, pub, and dog-friendly patio – are also sure to become popular meeting places.

Whole Foods Market team members will be organizing and attending events in and around the community over the coming weeks and there are also openings for new part-time and full-time team member positions across a variety of departments. Interested applicants can apply at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers.

Follow news about this store’s opening and about all of the Northern Virginia Whole Foods Market happenings through social media: Twitter @WholeFoodsNoVa; Instagram: @WholeFoodsNoVa, and on Facebook: Whole Foods Market NoVa.

by ARLnow.com — May 12, 2016 at 11:30 am 0

The existing Food Star on Columbia PikeMore than 1,800 people say they oppose replacing the Food Star supermarket on Columbia Pike with a new Harris Teeter store.

A Change.org petition called “Help Save the Food Star Supermarket” had 1,817 supporters as of 11 a.m. today.

The petition is a response to the redevelopment of the Food Star strip mall site, which was approved by the Arlington County Board in February. The shopping center is slated to be torn down and replaced by a six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate units and, on the ground floor, an array of retail locations including a 50,000 square foot Harris Teeter store.

The petition paints a picture of Harris Teeter as a “high end” grocery store and Food Star as an affordable, unique neighborhood institution that should be preserved.

I am very concerned that the Food Star grocery store is being targeted for demolition. A well-known business that has been at the same location since 1984, Food Star has become a cultural hub for residents in Arlington County.

  • It is centrally located (within walking distance of most of our residents) and caters to our culturally diverse population. Anywhere between fifteen – sixteen thousand residents (maybe even more) will purchase groceries from Food Star every month and even every week.
  • It serves as a place of employment. Thirty – forty residents that live in the area work there full-time.  The employees are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about the products that are being sold.
  • It serves as a “home away from home” for many of its patrons. Food Star sells unique products from all over the world that caters to many different multiethnic groups. Most of these products cannot be found at any other grocery stores.

While it is understandable that Harris Teeter is looking to expand into Alcova Heights area (at the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive), it seems like a very unnecessary business practice that is driven purely by profit and not by necessity. A cursory search on Google Maps indicates that there are at least 7 other high-end grocery stores located within a ten mile radius of the Food Star grocery store. However, if Food Star were to be torn down, most of the residents in the area would not be able to afford the costs associated with traveling to or shopping at these stores.

For the residents of Alcova Heights (Arlington) and other patrons from Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland, The Food Star grocery store is more than just a grocery store. It serves as a cultural icon, valuable resource, and a place of employment. I firmly believe that it should stay open. I am calling on Harris Teeter to reconsider adding a new location at Food Star’s current address, and to cease any actions related building a new store.

by ARLnow.com — April 14, 2016 at 9:35 am 0

Plants rising on the forest floor (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Arlington Man Found Dead in Canal — Police have identified the man found floating dead in the C&O Canal in Georgetown as 51-year-old Arlington resident Osbaldo Lemus Bernal. So far, his death has not been deemed suspicious. [DCist, Patch]

Gutshall Steps Up Campaign Against Garvey — Planning Commission member and County Board hopeful Erik Gutshall is stepping up the rhetoric against his Democratic primary opponent, County Board member Libby Garvey. Gutshall, in an email, called Garvey a “failed… career politician.” At an event last night he blasted her tenure on the School Board — saying she did not do enough to address the school system’s capacity crisis — and her alleged lack of effort in addressing transit issues along Columbia Pike, following the cancellation of the streetcar project. [InsideNova, Blue Virginia]

Gutshall Wins Straw Poll Landslide — Those attending Del. Alfonso Lopez’s (D) second annual straw poll event on Columbia Pike last night favored Erik Gutshall over Libby Garvey in a landslide. One could argue that the event was attended by a select group of Democrats pre-disposed to oppose Garvey, but Gutshall captured 88 percent of the vote to Garvey’s 12 percent. The straw poll also asked attendees about the School Board race (Nancy Van Doren – 46%, Tannia Talento – 35%, Michael Shea – 11%, Chaz Crismon – 7%) and the Democratic presidential nomination (Hillary Clinton – 77%, Bernie Sanders – 23%).

Dancer’s Video Features New Local Art Wall — A local dancer used Crystal City’s new art wall along 23rd Street as the backdrop for a psychedelic music video. [YouTube]

Registration Open for Rosslyn Social Event — Registration is now open for City Social, Rosslyn’s annual meeting. The event, on May 11, is open to residents and will be attended by a number of Rosslyn movers and shakers. In addition to live music and giveaways, attendees at this year’s City Social will be able to enjoy wine, beer and a bourbon bar from Barley Mac, which is preparing to open in the former Red, Hot & Blue space on Wilson Blvd. [Rosslyn BID]

Wegman’s Inches Closer to Arlington — Arlington’s favorite unattainable grocery store obsession will soon be closer than ever. Wegman’s is reportedly planning to open a store in Tysons Corner in 2019. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2016 at 9:20 am 0

Tree in bloom in Fairlington

Arlington Man Killed in Motorcycle Accident — An Arlington man died Saturday after his motorcycle skidded out of control while he was trying to get on northbound I-395 from Route 236, near Landmark Mall in Alexandria. Altankhuyag Saintur, 26, was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital. [Washington Post]

Firefighters Battle Blaze in Cherrydale — Arlington County firefighters were able to quickly extinguish a house fire on the 4000 block of Vacation Lane in Cherrydale early Saturday morning. No injuries were reported. [Twitter]

Shamrock Crawl Arrests — There were no major incidents during Saturday’s Shamrock Crawl in Clarendon, but nine people were arrested for drunken behavior. The Arlington County Police Department maintained a significant presence at the bar crawl — paid for by the organizers — which kept unruliness to a relative minimum. [WJLA]

Another Grocery Store for the Pike? — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey would like to attract another food option for the western end of Columbia Pike, at least for the two years between when the Food Star store closes for construction and another grocery store opens in its place. [InsideNova]

Two Programs Planned at Arlington Mill Center — Arlington County has agreed to lease 9,400 square feet of third-floor space in the Arlington Mill Community Center to two local children’s programs: Aspire! After School Learning and Jane Franklin Dance. Aspire! will have 18 months to raise the funds to build out and lease the space, under a Letter of Intent signed with the county. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — February 22, 2016 at 11:15 am 0

A big new development is coming to the corner of Columbia Pike and George Mason Drive.

The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved the redevelopment, which includes new six-story apartment building with 365 market-rate residential units, new retail spaces and a three-level parking garage.

The “Columbia Pike Village Center” development will close and demolish the Food Star grocery store, along with several small retail businesses. In its place will be a new 50,000 square foot grocery store, 31,530 square feet of new ground-floor retail space and a 22,150 square foot public square.

The public square will “serve residents of the apartment, and the community, as a place to sit, enjoy the surrounding, or hold small-scale events and gatherings,” a county press release notes. “A garden, public art and a water feature are planned for the square.”

In order to accommodate residents, park-goers and shoppers, the parking garage will have 604 vehicle spaces and 152 bike spaces. Additionally, developer Orr Partners will help build new six-foot wide sidewalks and will make streetscape improvements along the Pike and George Mason Drive.

by Tim Regan — January 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm 0

Though the blizzard is long gone, some area grocery stores are still awaiting fresh shipments of milk, eggs, bread and meat to restock shelves stripped bare before and during the storm.

Shelves normally stocked with milk, eggs and bread were empty earlier this afternoon at the Safeway and Target stores on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. Though employees at both stores declined to say much, they did say it may take another day before they can restock.

An employee at the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Boulevard said the store had just four cartons of eggs left, and a worker at Mom’s Organic Market (1901 N Veitch Street) said milk supplies were running low.

Some residents also have reported shortages of certain items at the Clarendon Trader Joe’s (1109 N Highland Street). Joe Flinchum, a supervisor at that location, said his store hasn’t received a delivery since last week.

“Our warehouse is really far away,” Flinchum said. “They’ve obviously been impacted by the weather just as we have. We may get a perishable food delivery tentatively tomorrow morning.”

But not every store in the area is out of fresh food.  An employee at the customer service desk of the Harris Teeter at 600 N Glebe Road said the store has everything except snow shovels and salt.

by Buzz McClain — January 20, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

The seasonal ritual of stocking up on pre-blizzard household goods began in earnest this afternoon as shoppers clamored for bread, milk and other perishables in advance of Friday’s predicted double digit snowfall. Toilet paper, although not technically perishable, was also in high demand.

“I’ve been doing some recipe planning and planned out the week,” said Brittany Yam at Mom’s Organic Market at 1901 North Veitch Street. The mother of three from Donaldson Run was pushing a nearly full basket loaded with bread, fruit, frozen chicken strips and her daughter.

“You’re taking gamble with the snow,” she explained. “Is it going to be five inches or 20 inches? You have to take the bet and prepare for it.”

By the looks of the basket, she’s betting on a blizzard. And among other items, she’s anticipated the possibility of “cabin fever” and stocked up on baking supplies. “For baking projects, in case we get snowed in,” she said.

At the Safeway at 3713 Lee Highway at Maywood, all the shopping baskets were in use at 1:30 p.m. Meanwhile, at the Giant Food at 3115 Lee Highway in Lyon Village, the lines to the cashiers were prohibitively lengthy, snaking a distance down the aisles and creating a mournful pallor over the customers.

Things were calmer at Westover Market at 5863 Washington Boulevard, but the frequent customers also concentrated on the essentials, particularly the T.P. and bread.

Owner Suki Hicks said in 10 years, “we never close–not for snow or rain or anything. We will stay open.” As for the store’s well-known wall of beer, “and we’re never going to run out of beer,” she said.

Hicks adds that the popular fire pits in the adjacent Westover Beer Garden will be burning as well, no matter what the weather.

by Jennifer Currier — November 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm 0

Police car lightsArlington County Police are searching for the suspect following an armed robbery at a gas station along Lee Highway.

The robbery occurred around 11:30 a.m. at the Shell station at 5630 Lee Highway, near the intersection of N. Kensington Street.

According to scanner traffic, the suspect is a white male wearing gray pants and a gray sweater, described as approximately six feet tall and in his 40s.

Early reports said he robbed the station at gunpoint with a semi-automatic weapon and stole $400 to $500. Police said he fled the scene on foot, traveling south on N. Kensington.

A K-9 unit was dispatched from Alexandria to help the search. Police also went to the Rivendell School, which is across the street from the station, to notify administrators about the situation.

No injuries were reported.

Earlier this morning an armed robbery was reported at the Giant supermarket at 2901 S. Glebe Road near Arlington Ridge, prompting administrators to secure the building at nearby Gunston Middle School, according to scanner traffic. So far police have not responded to a request for comment about the earlier robbery.

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