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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.
In a shocking playoff game, Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard won the series against the 76ers with a buzzer-beating three-point shot.
The tense moment of the ball bouncing precariously around the rim of the basket kept viewers glued to their screens and sharing the moment across social media.
BreakingT turns popular sports moments into authorized fan paraphernalia produced with a rapid turnaround, cofounder and CEO Alex Welsh said.
“The sports fan apparel market is a massive market,” Welsh said. “You can look it up, it’s between $25-$30 billion globally. It’s a global industry. We have found with our data-driven, real-time approach that there’s absolutely a demand.”
The company recently celebrated its five-year anniversary and Welsh has ambitions to keep growing. The company raised $400,000 in angel investments in 2017 and hired its first full-time employee. Now, Welsh said his goal is to raise $2 million to expand licensing and marketing.
“One of our biggest corporate objectives is to make our service and company indispensable,” Welsh said. “We have deals now with 30 pro sports teams. They see the value in what we do — the social value in these big moments.”
Beyond just tracking trending sports moments on social media, the company also has a revenue-sharing agreement with SB Nation — a blogging network owned by D.C.-based Vox Media — where team blogs promote those viral moments and BreakingT’s associated paraphernalia.
Welsh said the NBA playoffs have been a big focus lately. The group has a license from the NBA Players Association that allows them to make official merchandise.
“We’re looking for the very specific moments in these games and what the fans are talking about,” Welsh said. “When he shot the ball at the buzzard, the basketball bounced four times on the rim before it went in. Everybody was holding their breath. It was a massive moment for Toronto fans.”
Welsh said the company’s proximity to D.C. let it build a relationship with the Washington Nationals, which Welsh credits for helping to put BreakingT on the map. From there, the company was able to expand into partnerships in other locations and sports, like a partnership with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Welsh said one of his favorite sports moments captured on BreakingT apparel was when a team leaned into being called a “bunch of jerks.”
“A sports broadcaster called the [Carolina] Hurricanes players a bunch of jerks because they started doing choreographed celebrations on the ice,” Welsh said. “It was breaking with the tradition of hockey, but fans loved it. Our social data monitors were going off about this moment. The team leaned into that, and that’s been one of our biggest hits of all time. We sold over 20,000 units of that one shirt.”
Photo via Facebook
County Board Roundup — As expected, the Arlington County Board on Saturday voted to approve a contract for Nauck Town Square, a purchase agreement to acquire Virginia Hospital Center-owned property, and a permit to convert former administrative offices next to Washington-Lee High School to classroom space for up to 600 students.
Adding Amazon Acquisitions in Arlington? — “Keep an eye on what companies Amazon.com Inc. buys next. It could be what fills HQ2. Acquisitions will likely determine what jobs and teams develop at the second headquarters in Arlington, said Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s head of worldwide economic development.” [Washington Business Journal]
Drivers Work to Inflate Prices at DCA — “Every night, several times a night, Uber and Lyft drivers at Reagan National Airport simultaneously turn off their ride share apps for a minute or two to trick the app into thinking there are no drivers available — creating a price surge. When the fare goes high enough, the drivers turn their apps back on and lock into the higher fare.” [WJLA]
Garvey Endorses Stamos — “I believe we could use a healthy debate about equity in Arlington and how our legal justice system works. However, a healthy debate means using facts about what is working and what is not… I hope you will join me in voting for Theo Stamos for Commonwealth’s Attorney on June 11.” [Libby Garvey]
Sun Gazette Endorses Favola, Lopez — “In its endorsements, the paper said neither Nicole Merlene (who is challenging Favola) nor Julius Spain (who is taking on Lopez) has reached the rather high bar set for an endorsement of challengers to sitting office-holders.” [InsideNova]
Merlene on Kojo — “On @kojoshow, @NicoleMerleneVA says a second bridge over the Potomac, perhaps in Loudoun County, is needed, especially in light of the recent Beltway closure. She also expresses support for marijuana decriminalization and medical marijuana in Va.” [Twitter]
Arlington Firms in Fortune 1000 — Four Arlington-based companies are in the new Fortune 1000 list: AES, CACI International, Graham Holdings, and AvalonBay Communities. Fairfax County, meanwhile, is home to ten Fortune 500 companies. [Fortune, Twitter]]
Man Sentenced for Threatening Ajit Pai — “Threatening to actually kill a federal official’s family because of a disagreement over policy is not only inexcusable, it is criminal. This prosecution shows not only that we take criminal threats seriously, but also that online threats of violence have real world consequences.” [Twitter, USDOJ]
Another Amazon-Adjacent Acquisition — “Amazon’s planned second headquarters continues to attract the interest of major investors to the National Landing area. Newmark Knight Frank announced Friday it brokered the sale of Presidential Tower at 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway on behalf of the seller, Beacon Capital Partners. The building sold for $123M, according to CoStar information.” [Bisnow]
Photo courtesy @zachzsnapz/Instagram.
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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 presentation
(Update 1:25 p.m.) Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters (CWJ) has a shop in Pentagon City, but the company has its eyes set on bringing cold brew to vending machines nationwide.
The company recently closed on $1.2 million in funding aimed at continuing deployment of Kegerator Vending Machines (KVM), on-tap vending machines that operate as a pay-by-the-ounce self-service kiosk. The company plans aims to raise $4 million.
The coffee shop opened in 2012, but the company pivoted toward delivering office coffee in 2017. The company currently operates the portable machines in D.C., New York, and Philadelphia.
“The $4 million raised in this round will be used to fuel CWJ’s continued growth in vending, as the tech-enabled coffee brand develops closer ties with [KVM] and continues to take a vending-first approach with its coffee program sales strategy,” the company said in a press release. “The KVM is the only one-of-its-kind in the commercial coffee market, essentially acting as a gas pump and only charging the end-user for the amount of liquid dispensed.”
The machines also allow CWJ to track statistics like consumption habits and inventory depletion. The press release noted that some of the funding is planned to go toward including new features like digital payments, automatic reordering, maintenance issue identification and service ticket creation.
A new restaurant is planning to open soon at 3207 Columbia Pike, though the exact date is still unclear.
The sign over the former Mexican Bar and Grill still advertises a karaoke night grand opening for March 8. A man associated with the new restaurant said it is being renamed “El Campesino Mix” and an opening is planned for sometime next week. He added that he is still awaiting permit approvals from Arlington County.
An ABC license for the restaurant is also pending. “El Campesino” translates to “the peasant.”
El Campesino Mix is on the second floor of a small building that hosts a variety of international cuisine — with the Chinese restaurant Panda Bowl directly beneath it and Indian/Pakistani eatery City Kabob and Curry House on the other side.
If you worked at the Pentagon, the man behind the clippers at Blades Like New, a new barber shop at 2461 S. Clark Street in Crystal City, might look familiar.
For 14 years of the 25 total he’s spent working as a barber, Delonta James was working at a barber shop inside the Pentagon. But now, James is striking out on his own.
On April 11, James opened up Blades Like New as his own barber shop inside a Crystal City office building, right in the center of a military contracting hotbed where military uniforms are as common as suits and sundresses in the hallway.
James said his goal is to bring some of his military hair-cutting experience into a civilian atmosphere. For years, James worked in the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) branch of the military, and both his father and sister were in the military. But now, James said he’s excited to do something new.
“It’s been awesome and it’s getting better,” James said. “We do all kinds of hair, but I’m focusing on military [haircuts].”
To that end, James said he’s planning to bring on another barber sometime soon to handle a broader range of haircuts.
Prices range from $18 to $22.
The barber shop is open Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m., with appointments available by email ([email protected]) on weekends.
James said his favorite thing about being a barber is the new stories and lessons people bring with them into the store.
“I love the communication,” James said. “You get different people in here all the time and you’re learning new things. People teach you new things. You find out about a lot of stuff barbering.”
Two major coworking companies, which operate coworking spaces blocks apart in Ballston, are merging.
TechSpace has been acquired by the larger coworking provider Industrious, according to an email from TechSpace CEO Vic Memenas. ARLnow’s parent company is based in a TechSpace office and both companies are ARLnow advertisers.
“I am pleased to announce that, as of today, TechSpace is now part of Industrious, the largest premium flexible workspace provider in the U.S.,” Memenas wrote to tenants yesterday. “Over the next few months, the Industrious team will begin integrating TechSpace into their larger network.”
Memenas said the change “will have little impact” on TechSpace members. Thus far both the TechSpace and Industrious locations in Ballston are expected to continue operating despite their close proximity, we’re told; the Ballston TechSpace is almost completely full.
Did you know Arlington is home to almost 10,000 business establishments, including thousands of small and independent businesses and four Fortune 1,000 companies?
Each year during the month of May, which is Business Appreciation Month, we try to find as many ways as possible to showcase our local businesses and highlight their contributions; after all, studies have shown (and our data supports) that existing businesses are responsible for roughly 80% of job growth in an economy.
So, it is only fitting that we should make an extra effort during this month to recognize those companies whose success and innovation have made the Arlington economy what it is today.
But this work of highlighting our local businesses is not confined to just one month per year. We carry out year-round business engagement activity at Arlington Economic Development (AED), otherwise known as our Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) program.
While BRE activity doesn’t often make headlines, it’s an important part of our economic development strategy, and we spend a lot of time and effort finding creative ways to engage local companies in ways that add value.
What constitutes “value add” is not the same from one company to the next. For companies seeking connections to potential customers, partners or decision makers we offer networking events such as the Arlington Premiere, executive lunches, industry roundtables or, simply, introductions.
For smaller companies, or those that may not have the bandwidth or in-house expertise, we offer a variety of marketing and promotional activities including ribbon cuttings, media promotion and award nominations. Similarly, AED’s business intelligence team performs ad-hoc research on everything from real estate options to demographics for companies looking to move or expand.
What remains constant is that our team is always focused on what might help our companies grow and succeed and we build our work plans based on what companies tell us they need. We are a small but nimble team with a solid track record of trailing recommendations into new programming by leveraging our creativity and our strategic partners.
We are always eager to hear new ideas, let us know yours!
Neapolitan pizzeria Pupatella, which was a popular food truck before opening its acclaimed bricks-and-mortar location in Bluemont in 2010, is opening a second Arlington location in the restaurant “Bermuda Triangle” at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive. The opening is planned for this summer.
“The restaurant is 2,200 square feet and will seat approximately 60 guests inside,” a press release said of Pupatella’s new location in the Nauck neighborhood. “The location also features a covered patio area that will have seating for another 40 or so guests.”
Pupatella also announced plans today to open a 2,700 square foot location at 1821 Wiehle Avenue in Reston by early 2020, as part of a new expansion push fueled by a $3.75 million investment.
“More company-owned locations are currently being pursued in Fairfax County, Montgomery County and Washington, D.C.,” said the press release.
“The community in Arlington has been so wonderful to us over the past decade that it was a simple decision for us to open a South Arlington location,” Pupatella founder Enzo Algarme is quoted as saying in the press release. “The area is exploding with growth, and we want to be sure that growth includes great pizza!”
Algarme did not respond to multiple inquiries from ARLnow.com last week seeking to confirm that they were behind the new restaurant at 1621 S. Walter Reed Drive. A spokeswoman said today that he was out of town.
Eater, which reported the Pupatella news late Thursday morning before the press release was sent to ARLnow, quotes another company co-owner as saying the Walter Reed Drive location will help fulfill “spillover demand” from its busy, original location.
The full press release is after the jump.
By Shilpa Gogna
Business owners and residents near Crystal City’s Restaurant Row are gearing up and adapting in anticipation of Amazon’s planned HQ2 nearby.
Freddie Lutz has owned Freddie’s Beach Bar for 18 years and shepherded it through changes in the gay and straight communities. This week Lutz shared that more and more small-business owners are expressing interest in opening up shop or expanding on Crystal City’s 23rd Street S. now that Amazon inked its move-in deal.
“Restaurant Row continues to thrive, with a steady increasing flow of consumers” Lutz shared with me, adding “this trend fueled my recent decision to open up Frederico.”
Lutz also serves on the Crystal City Business Improvement District board and is the president of the neighborhood’s business development group. He said other surrounding small-businesses anticipate an increase in customer traffic in the near future, which should help business.
It’s a bonus many restaurants have looked forward to after years of lean time after BRAC and other federal government moves emptied out Crystal City office buildings and resulted in the loss of thousands of potential customers.
Fiona’s Irish Pub owner Martin White previously told ARLnow that he had chosen the former Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grill location before Amazon selected Crystal City for its second headquarters, but it was a “happy coincidence” his new restaurant would have the customers.
Now, Lutz says he’s thinking of expanding weekday business hours at Freddie’s to accommodate the growing lunch crowd.
“I imagine customer traffic will increase well with future development coming to Crystal City, and after losing some customer traffic following the Department of Defense relocations almost a decade ago, which impacted business sustainability, small-business owners here are excited about the future,” Lutz noted.
Many buildings in and around Restaurant Row are part of a trust owned by Stratis Voutsas and Georgia Papadopoulos, who seek to improve neighborhood infrastructure so that Restaurant Row can continue to flourish.
The pair told the Washington Business Journal they plan to build a park and plaza in the neighborhood, with subsidized artist housing nearby.
Restaurant Row’s unique community boasts a charming and eclectic conglomeration of small businesses, ranging from shops selling some sweet fashionable finds, like vintage dresses and post-war era accessories, shops selling prized collectables like NFL Lombardi trophies, and quaint long-time restaurants serving up food from all over the world.
The charm is also about the people behind the counters.
As I walked with Lutz, who introduced me to the owners at a few other nearby establishments, it warmed me up to see how sociable he, other shop owners, and passing patrons were.
The co-owner at neighboring Royal Pawn of Arlington, Nicholas Rizer, shared a story that exemplified just that.
“Recently, we saw a nearby shop owner having difficulty moving a bulky piece of equipment off a truck into his establishment,” said Rizer. “Within a few minutes, staff from nearby shops were outside lending a helping hand, and the job was done in a few minutes.”
Rizer noted that such behavior was common on Restaurant Row, which makes him proud to be part of the community. And the community feel is one of the reasons why Los Tios chose the spot.
Los Tios’ owner German Mejia thanked the community for spreading the word after the restaurant opened its Crystal City doors last month.
“In just our first week of opening, without much advertising, we were seeing high volumes of customers,” said Mejia.
Crystal City to Grow With Amazon — “‘Amazon, and its 25,000 employees, coming to Crystal City will change everything,’ [Vornado Realty Trust Chairman and CEO Steven] Roth wrote in the letter. ‘Crystal City will become a teeming metropolis of apartments, shops and offices.'” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Couple Talks About Deadly Accident — “An Arlington couple is making a personal plea for a recall of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘N Play sleeper after their son died while laying in the product. Arlington parents Evan and Keenan Overton’s baby son Ezra died in the Rock ‘N Play sleeper right before Christmas in 2017.” [WJLA]
FLIR Moves to Pentagon Row — Infrared camera manufacturer FLIR Systems is moving its D.C. area headquarters to Pentagon Row, in the former LA Fitness space. The company recently announced an investment in a drone company and a large new DoD contract. [FLIR, BusinessWire, BusinessWire]
Confusing Signs Corrected on the Pike — A pair of seemingly contradictory direction signs on Columbia Pike, at the Washington Blvd interchange, have been corrected, county officials say. [Twitter]
Arlington Holds #MeToo Event — “On Wednesday, several Arlington County groups and Arlington’s ‘Project PEACE,’ held an event named ‘#MeToo: Being Men – Raising Men’ at the Arlington County Central Library. Lisa Tingle, the senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Fairfax County and Falls Church, said it is important to teach men about sexual harassment at an early age.” [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin