Arlington GOP Votes Down Anti-Trump Measure — The Arlington County Republican Committee voted 27-10 against a proposal that would support an anti-Donald Trump coup at the Republican presidential-nominating convention. “Supporters of the resolution, which called on delegates to the upcoming national convention in Cleveland to be freed to vote their consciences, said the Republican brand would suffer with Trump at the top of the ticket in November.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Built Temporary Bikeway — During the Air Force Cycling Classic bike races in Clarendon, Arlington County converted a block of Wilson Blvd into an “Active Streets Festival” with “bike-oriented games and activities, plus a collection of temporary bikeways ‘built’ with tape, paper, and potted plants.” [Greater Greater Washington]
‘Bike to the Beach’ Happy Hour — A happy hour is being held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on the Whitlow’s rooftop in Clarendon for “Bike to the Beach,” which raises funds for The Autism Society of Northern Virginia and Autism Speaks. Bike to the Beach is a 100+ mile bike ride from D.C. to Dewey Beach, Delaware to raise money and awareness for autism. [Event Calendar]
Anti-Gang Soccer Tournament — On Sunday the Arlington Gang Prevention Task Force will hold an all-day soccer tournament at Washington-Lee High School. “No city or town is immune to gangs,” said Robert “Tito” Vilchez, the task force coordinator. [Arlington County]
(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Arlington has more to do to make the county friendlier to small businesses, particularly those with brick-and-mortar storefronts.
That was one of the messages sent by Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey during her State of the County talk this morning.
Garvey discussed the county’s efforts to compete economically during the talk, which is hosted by the Arlington County Chamber of Commerce. While Garvey lauded the county’s push to attract large employers — particularly tech-related firms — to Arlington, she lamented that small businesses are still encountering regulatory road blocks. As an example, she cited the experience of former Democratic state delegate Rob Krupicka, who opened a Sugar Shack Donuts location along Columbia Pike in February.
Garvey noted that Krupicka — who served in the House of Delegates for four years, representing parts of Arlington and Alexandria — had been expressing frustration on Facebook with the process of opening a shop in Arlington. She later reached out to him, asking that he share his experience with county staff.
“It was a little hard as a Board member to sit there and hear it,” she said. “He had to come in six times to get approval for a sign… And this was a small business, [Rob] is the one doing it all. [He also] had to come in to pay for permits and things because you can’t pay online.”
“We need to be thinking of the big guys, going to China [to attract businesses],” said Garvey, “but we also need to be down on the very granular level and make sure people don’t have to come six times for a sign — and can pay online. We’re working on it, we’re not there yet, but we’re absolutely committed to making it work.”
Asked about his experience, Krupicka said it was “definitely easier” to open his first donut shop in Alexandria than it was to open his second in Arlington.
“Both have their issues. Both have good staff. Alexandria has put a lot of effort into streamlining and it shows,” Krupicka told ARLnow.com. “The Arlington permitting process is in need of streamlining and modernization.”
There were five areas in particular where Arlington County could improve, according to Krupicka.
- “Payments have to be made by mail or in person rather than online and for some things you can’t move forward without payment, so that means waiting in line in the planning office for hours to get your name called so you can hand a check to somebody.”
- “Planning, Zoning, Health, etc. don’t talk to each other and it appears they don’t understand where each other fits in the process. The process actually seems to assume the small business person will force that communication and coordination. That is crazy, as the small business person shouldn’t have to be an expert on government process, the process should be designed to be easy. The big guys just hire lawyers. Small businesses should not have to.”
- “Many permits need to be applied for in person. You can’t just submit them online. You have to sit in the office and wait to be called, wasting hours of time. I have spent days waiting in the county offices. I have overheard a lot of very unhappy individuals and business people. The elected officials should spend some time walking through this process.”
- “In Alexandria you only need one permit to put up a building sign. It takes 20 days or so. In Arlington, you need two permits, zoning and construction, and it takes 60 days plus. In Alexandria you can apply online and never have to go into the office. My Arlington sign had me to to the County Offices at least 5 times wasting a lot of money on parking and more importantly time.”
- “There is an online system for some things, but in my experience, it was very cumbersome and I spent hours working with tech support to get it to work. I’m hoping that is fixed now.”
“All of this could be streamlined without impacting the proper county regulatory role,” Krupicka concluded. “I was impressed the way Libby Garvey reached out to me, tried to help and then made time and organized county staff to listen to my experience in order to try and fix it. She, [County Board member John] Vihstadt and Commissioner [of Revenue] Ingrid Morroy were the three that made a real effort to help me.”
Mission 2 Market, a hyperlocal consulting and marketing company, has assembled some of the best talent to help small businesses build success.
In their 30+ years experience in marketing strategy, merchandising, brand management, product launches and relationship building, the team behind Mission 2 Market has developed a network of industry experts who, like them, have a passion for helping others grow. They’re inspired to share their knowledge and resources.
Join Mission 2 Market and friends for an evening of one-on-one coaching, practical and real world business advice from the area’s top seasoned professionals. Topics include marketing, branding, design and packaging, social enterprise, finance, e-commerce and more. No small business subject is off-limits.
Speed coaching is free, but pre-registration is required. Please come prepared with question regarding specific concerns or challenges your business is currently facing along with any samples of product, packaging, or logo design you seek feedback on. The event is hosted by Link Local and NeoNiche Strategies with refreshments provided Cava Grill and Whole Foods Market.
What: Mission Possible: Speed Coaching for Local Makers and Entrepreneurs
When: Thursday, June 23 from 6-9 p.m.
Where: Link Locale at 3140 Washington Blvd (Wells Fargo Building, 2nd Floor, two blocks from the Clarendon Metro)
The preceding post was written and sponsored by Mission 2 Market.
A decade ago, the picture for Crystal City looked bleak.
Despite its proximity to D.C. and National Airport, Crystal City was not seen as a particularly desirable place to live, work or go out. It was most commonly associated with blocky office buildings and an underground shopping center that was a useful passageway in bad weather but a somewhat sad place to be on a nice day. On top of all that, its aging office buildings would soon start emptying due to DoD offices moving out as part of BRAC.
It was in that context that the Crystal City Business Improvement District was born.
“When the Crystal City BID was formed in 2006, many aspects of the neighborhood had already started to change, the perception, however, had not,” said Crystal City BID president and CEO Angela Fox.
While there’s undoubtedly still room for improvement, Crystal City has come a long way in the 10 years since the BID’s founding. At its annual meeting this week local business and government leaders detailed some of the ways the BID has helped Crystal City achieve a newfound vitality.
For one, the BID’s events and arts initiatives — everything from 5K Fridays to beer and wine gardens to Artomatic to fashion shows to Synetic Theater — have helped to made Crystal City an increasingly popular place to run, bike, eat, drink and otherwise spend time in.
“We host literally hundreds of events each year — from 5Ks every Friday in April, to fun sipping and tasting events throughout September, weekly farmers markets, art markets and world-class theater,” Fox said. “We’ve brought hundreds of thousands of people to the area each year. We have shown that if you create a place that people chose willingly to spend their time, the businesses, residents and investment will follow.”
(Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser and frequently advertises events on our site.)
There’s also behind-the-scenes work, helping with the marketing of Crystal City as a business destination. Recently, trendy restaurants and bars like Taylor Gourmet, Good Stuff Eatery and Highline RxR have opened, with the encouragement of the BID and local property owners.
Customers of such places include both long-time residents and workers and relative newcomers, many of whom work in Crystal City’s burgeoning tech and innovation scene. High-tech membership-based workshop TechShop, incubators 1776 and Eastern Foundry, co-working company WeWork and its residential living experiment WeLive all have set up shop in Crystal City within the past few years. In deciding to locate in Crystal City, many such companies cite what they view as an upward trajectory for the neighborhood.
There’s plenty still to come for Crystal City, said Fox.
“We envision Crystal City to be not just a place for tech and innovative companies to locate but also a place where new ideas, concepts, technologies and strategies can be actively tested and brought to market,” Fox continued, “a true innovative laboratory, as well as an awesome place to live, work, play and stay.”
The Lucky Seven convenience store in Nauck closed after a fire in the summer of 2012, but the brand is now making a comeback.
The 7-Eleven at the corner of Shirlington Road and 24th Street S., which opened in 2014, has dropped its corporate affiliation and is now being rebranded as Lucky Seven.
The store closed over the weekend to facilitate the changeover. It was open on Monday, but many shelves were bare and the store was only accepting cash.
We’re told that the owner of the 7-Eleven was the owner of the Lucky Seven store and that the owner decided to make the switch after the expiration of the store’s contract with 7-Eleven. More products are expected to hit the shelves within the next week — and Slurpee-like machines and other convenience store staples are expected to be installed as well.
The Bank of Georgetown branch at 2300 Wilson Blvd in Courthouse has closed permanently.
The branch closed Friday afternoon, as the $269 million acquisition of Bank of Georgetown by competitor United Bank was completed. It is being “consolidated” into the United Bank branch at 2930 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.
The closed bank branch was located on the ground floor of the Navy League building, near the Five Guys burger restaurant.
Photo via Google Maps
The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has recognized seven local businesses for its 30th annual Arlington’s Best Business Awards.
The award ceremony was held Tuesday at the Sheraton hotel on Columbia Pike.
The seven business honorees were:
- Strategic Consulting Partners – Home-Based Small Business of the Year 2016
- Virginia Center for Orthodontics – 2016 Service Small Business of the Year
- Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta – 2016 Retail Small Business of the Year
- Design TLC, LLC – 2016 Technology Small Business of the Year
- Phoenix Bikes – 2016 Nonprofit Small Business of the Year
- Crystal City Marriott – 2016 Business of the Year
- Snagajob – 2016 Business of the Year
Three local business luminaries were also inducted into the Chamber’s Arlington Business Hall of Fame:
- Emerson G. Reinsch (posthumously)
- Bill Buck of Buck & Associates
- John Shooshan of The Shooshan Company
Photo courtesy Arlington Chamber of Commerce
It’s finally going to feel like May today, with the temperature nearing 90 degrees — just in time for some outdoor chocolate sampling.
The event is being held from 6-8 p.m. at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia Square (3550 Wilson Blvd).
Andelman and Springfield will be discussing their methods and how they got their start in art and business. Chocolate samples and light refreshments will be provided. Admission is free, but registration is required.
A new pie store is now open along Lee Highway.
In April, two Arlington moms, Wendy MacCallum and Heather Sheire, opened Livin’ The Pie Life on 2166 N. Glebe Road. “We are happy to be here, it’s our dream home,” said MacCallum.
Before opening up their store, MacCallum and Sheire sold pies at the Clarendon and Westover farmers markets. Sheire also has a food blog that she said has contributed to the growth of the business.
They sell both savory and sweet flavors; customers are able to choose from a variety of sizes and flavors, which rotate seasonally. Large sweet pies range from $24-36.
Some flavors include strawberry rhubarb, Wendy’s Key Lime Pie or their most popular flavor, apple. Livin’ The Pie Life makes certain that the ingredients they use to bake the pies of the highest quality, with fresh, locally-sourced fruit in season or top quality frozen fruit out of season. One of their biggest mottos is that “if it’s in the name it better be in the pie,” said Sheire.
In addition to pies, the store offers coffee from Virginia-based Red Rooster Coffee. Plus, there are t-shirts for sale.
For both MacCallum and Sheire, one of the most important things to them is the strong bond that they have with their customers.
“The most rewarding thing is that we’ve met really great people who have become consistent customers at the shop,” said Sheire. For die hard customers the store offers a Pie of the Month Club — $370 for a year’s worth of pies.
Aside from just dropping by the store, customers can order pies online for delivery or pickup.
Dominion Pet Center, which first opened in 1981, is closing.
The pet supply store is located at the Lee-Harrison shopping center at 2501 N. Harrison Street. It has survived for five years following the opening of a large chain competitor, Unleashed by Petco, across the street.
In a Facebook post, Dominion blamed its closing primarily on the internet. The store will be holding a going-out-of-business sale over the next few weeks, before it closes for good.
This is probably the hardest post I have ever written. We have spent the past 35 years serving our community. We absolutely love what we do. But recently, too many people have chosen the convenience of online ordering over coming in to our store.
So, Dominion Pet Center will be closing in the next few weeks.
Everything must go. Starting tomorrow, EVERYTHING is at least 25% off. All shelving, fixtures, freezers, etc are also for sale. No reasonable offer refused. If you are local, PLEASE SHARE THIS POST. We need to clear out the store and need your help.
The store’s owners, Steve and Kendra Green, said in a separate post that the business was their “heart and soul.”
“I hope our customers know how much we loved that store,” the post said. “It’s like losing a child. Words cannot begin to express how hard this is.”
Photo via Facebook
In honor of National Small Business Week, Arlington County is taking another step forward in its mission to educate and assist the region’s small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs by hosting Arlington’s first Small Business Summit.
The half-day summit, which is called “Open for Business” and takes place in connection with Arlington’s award-winning BizLaunch small business assistance network, will take place on Friday, May 6 at The Spectrum Theatre in Rosslyn and is designed to provide resources and information for anyone who may be considering or already own a small business venture. More than 300 people interested in small business are expected to attend.
“Fostering the growth of small, local businesses and entrepreneurs is the key to keeping local dollars here and building a successful business community,” said Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt. “The Summit will not only provide valuable hands-on information, but it will also provide the opportunity to share candid feedback with us and examine new ways to foster small business growth and sustainability.”
“Open for Business” will offer complimentary Business Express Clinics, which are one-on-one scheduled appointments with experts in areas including law, finance and business development. An InfoExpo will provide access to information about regulatory requirements, available resources, certifications and much more. There will also be a Feedback Booth, designed to provide businesses an opportunity to share their experiences and thoughts to help Arlington improve its ability to best meet the needs of the small business community.
“Every year, BizLaunch helps hundreds of small business owners with everything from securing permits and space for their business to marketing plans and employee networks,” says Tara Palacios, director of the BizLaunch program at Arlington Economic Development. “This one-stop-shopping approach with the Summit is a way for anyone thinking of starting or expanding a small business to find answers to any questions they have and learn some valuable skills and resources along the way. I can’t think of a better way to honor our businesses during Small Business Week.”
Open for Business is sponsored by the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union. Attendance for the summit is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
The preceding post was sponsored and written by Arlington Economic Development.
The forum is being organized by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. It will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Hyatt in Rosslyn (1325 Wilson Blvd). ARLnow.com, a Chamber member, is the event’s media sponsor.
During the forum, incumbent Libby Garvey and challenger Erik Gutshall will be asked a variety of questions, with a special focus on local business.
“This business-themed candidate forum will feature a moderated discussion of topics important to the Arlington business community, and will provide each candidate with the opportunity to engage with local business leaders and address the key issues for the business community,” the Chamber said. “This event will also offer attendees the chance to gain an inside look into the candidates’ views on business in Arlington County.”
(Perennial independent candidate Audrey Clement, who has qualified for the ballot again this year, has also been invited to participate.)
In a debate earlier this month, Gutshall lamented that Arlington County’s economic development efforts are “geared towards the types of businesses that are going to fill office buildings,” more so than helping small businesses. Garvey said the county is “aware that small businesses are having issues” and is holding a small business summit next week.
Meanwhile, the county’s high office vacancy rate — some 8 million square feet of office space is vacant in Arlington — remains a significant issue.
This candidate forum is open to the general public. Registration is $10. Light refreshments will be provided.
The Arlington County Democratic Committee is planning its own candidate debate from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4. The debate will be held at GMU’s Founders Hall (3351 Fairfax Drive).
A new Caring Hands Animal Hospital location is “coming soon” to Clarendon.
The facility is currently being built out in the former Henninger Media Services space at 2601-A Wilson Blvd, behind Current Boutique. The local veterinary chain announced the new location on its website.
“Caring Hands Animal Hospital of Clarendon is an AAHA accredited veterinary practice with a state-of-the-art surgical suite, complete in-house laboratory, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff,” the company said. “With ultrasound and digital dental radiography capabilities we strive to provide the best care for you and your pet.”
Building permits for the interior construction were first issued in December.
Photo via Google Maps
What you hear of less often are the transactions in between — like when a business is sold to a new owner — even though business sales are quite common.
We took a look through the Arlington listings of a major business broker marketplace and sure enough, there are a number of businesses you’ve heard of offered for sale.
Often the business is not named, but there are details that provide clues as to which business it may be. (Worth noting: because of the nature of an online platform like this, we can’t be 100 percent sure that all listings are up to date.)
Here are just some of the businesses that are currently listed on the site. We are only naming the business if a name or website is provided in the listing.
- Il Forno restaurant in Ballston. “Reason for selling: investor owned. Needs operator-owner.” Listed for $400,000.
- A “profitable frozen yogurt biz” in Rosslyn, located near Ben’s Chili Bowl. Listed for $145,000.
- A “Tex / Mexican restaurant” that “has been established for nearly 10 years” and is located in a “stand alone building with 20 parking space[s].” Listed for $299,000.
- A “profitable, clean, new pizza shop” located in a “small strip center on high traffic roadway.” Listed for $150,000.
- A “grill & diner in busy restaurant district. Gross annual income of $1.4 million. Paying $16,000 per month in rent for 2,900 square feet. Listed for $350,000.
- A “leading national smoothie/fresh juices franchise” in a “great location.” Listed for $149,000.
- The Auntie Anne’s store in the Crystal City Shops. “Possible to add coffee & franchise ice cream.” Listed for $130,000.
- A restaurant in Clarendon that’s located “on a main road with outside seating.” Listed for $199,000.
- An “absentee owned branded gas station” that’s “very profitable” with $214,000 in annual cash flow. Listed for $550,000.
- A “high end salon and spa” in a “busy urban-mall type setting with restaurants, shops and movie theater.” Listed for $699,000.
- The Fast-Fix Jewelry & Watch Repair store in the Pentagon City mall. “A very experienced staff, a built-in salary for the owner and an annual six-figure profit.” Listed for $715,000.
- A “currently operating restaurant with large format bar, 8000 s.f. of interior restaurant space, grand commercial kitchen, significant outdoor patio and modern, sophisticated build out in the heart of Clarendon.” Listed for $295,000.
New Traffic Pattern on Route 1 — There’s a new traffic pattern for the lefthand turn from southbound Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) to 23rd Street S. in Crystal City. The change was necessitated by operations of the new Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. [Facebook]
Aurora Hills Library Eyed As School Site — The current Aurora Hills library and senior center is being looked at by Arlington Public Schools as a possible site for a new elementary school. Meanwhile, even though nearby Oakridge Elementary is over capacity, Superintendent Patrick Murphy says there’s actually a more pressing need for additional elementary capacity in north Arlington due to population growth around the Rosslyn-Ballston and Lee Highway corridors. [InsideNova]
Australian Company Says G’Day to Ballston — The Australian investment firm QIC has taken a 49 percent stake in Ballston Quarter, the soon-to-be-renovated shopping center currently known as Ballston Common Mall. The majority of the mall is still owned by Cleveland-based Forest City. [Washington Business Journal, Crain’s Cleveland Business]
Local Named New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess — The 2016 New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess is a 24-year-old Hoboken native who now lives in the D.C. area and works at Rosslyn-based CEB. [Hudson Reporter]
CEB Acquires Portland Firm — Rosslyn-based CEB is getting bigger. The company is acquiring Portland, Oregon-based Evanta Ventures for $275 million. CEB will be moving into a new namesake CEB Tower in Rosslyn after construction wraps up in 2018. [StreetInsider]
Arlington’s Top Bond Rating Affirmed — Arlington County has once again earned the highest bond rating from the three major rating agencies. “The County works hard to maintain these AAA ratings to finance critical County infrastructure projects with bonds that carry the lowest interest rates available,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. [Arlington County]
Photo via @WLHSIBProgram