A new independent coffee shop is slated to open at some point in the near future in the Clarendon area.
The shop, called Blumen Cafe, is coming to the space that formerly held CD Cellar at 2607 Wilson Blvd, which is about halfway between the Courthouse and Clarendon Metro stations. Signs for the forthcoming cafe state that the business is “coming soon.”
Though we were unable to contact the proprietor behind the cafe, Andira Jabbari, for comment, real estate agent Kenneth Matzkin — who helped lease the property to Jabbari — was able to provide some insight.
The cafe will bring “high-end teas and coffee” and snacks to the space as early as some time this month, Matzkin said.
“They’re putting in a boatload of money to make it look nice,” Matzkin said. “They’re also going to open it up in the front so you could walk directly to the sidewalk from the space.”
But Matzkin cautioned that the end result is still subject to change.
Muggles are set to descend on an Arlington children’s bookstore for crystal ball reading, wand-making and an owl visit this weekend in celebration of the latest installment in the Harry Potter franchise.
Child’s Play at 4510 Lee Highway is scheduled to have activities for aspiring witches and wizards Saturday before “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” comes out at midnight, according to a news release from the shop. The book, which is based on a J.K. Rowling story, is the script for an upcoming London play about Potter as an adult wizard.
The countdown until the book’s release is slated to begin at 10:30 p.m. But the shop also is planning to have free activities throughout the day to celebrate the event. According to the news release, they include:
- A “Platform 9 3/4” photo station
- A sorting hat station, where store visitors will receive their Hogwarts house assignment for Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin
- Wand-making and Hogwarts tie-decorating
- A “History of Magic” game, also known as Harry Potter trivia
- Exams in divination, allowing shop visitors to have their fortunes read and to test their crystal ball-reading abilities
- A Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt
- A potions snack station
- A visit from a Potomac Overlook Park owl from 2 to 6 p.m.
“This party is going to be a glorious return to Hogwarts,” Child’s Play’s book buyer Molly Olivo said in the press release. “We will be supporting a good cause, enjoying fun wizard activities and sharing the excitement of a new Harry Potter book.”
Harry Potter fans can pre-order the book at Child’s Play or on its website. The shop will give 10 percent of the book’s proceeds to An Open Book Children’s Literacy Foundation, an organization that brings authors and books to underserved schools in the D.C. area.
Photo via Wikimedia
Goody’s Pizza in Clarendon is a small restaurant struggling to stay afloat in an increasingly expensive neighborhood.
The owners, Nick and Vanessa Reisis, say they’ve put a lot of time and effort into their family-run business, located at 3125 Wilson Blvd, but they are having trouble competing with the wave of newer, more upscale restaurants in Clarendon.
There is “a new generation that’s coming in, they’re all young people and they all have good jobs, and… they’re not looking for a little mom and pop shop anymore,” said Vanessa, who’s known to some customers as “Momma Goody.” Business has been “a little down lately,” she acknowledged.
Goody’s is tiny compared to some of Clarendon’s cavernous restaurants and nightspots. But even larger restaurants face the threat of closing. Earlier this month long-time local fixture Hard Times Cafe closed over Independence Day weekend.
Reisis said the feeling of community that was once unique to Clarendon businesses is dissipating.
“It’s not the friendly little neighborhood places anymore,” Vanessa explained. “[At] all these upscale kind of places, it’s just cold.”
Reisis was sad to see Hard Times close — the two restaurants had enjoyed a close relationship, she said. “We recommended them, they recommended us. We were working together.”
This isn’t a new issue — Reisis was once the main subject of an article with the tagline “Can Arlington’s mom-and-pop eateries survive in an increasingly upscale restaurant landscape?” Five years later, Goody’s is still open, still serving a voracious late night bar crowd, and still offering only two types of pizza by the slice: plain and pepperoni.
Despite being an old school spot in a neighborhood full of shiny new places, Goody’s is looking to the future. Tentative plans include getting new furniture and maybe a new outdoor sign.
“We love this restaurant, it’s our passion, it’s like our little baby,” said Reisis.
“We’re thinking of upscaling,” she added, “but that costs money, which we don’t have in our budget.”
Man Arrested for Upskirt Photos — Updated at 10:35 a.m. — Arlington County Police yesterday arrested a man who allegedly took photos up a woman’s skirt as she was on the Courthouse Metro station escalator. The man smashed his phone after he was confronted by the woman and some passersby surrounded him to stop him from leaving. [NBC Washington]
Virginia on Best States for Business Ranking — Virginia is losing ground on CNBC’s Best States for Business rankings, placing No. 13 this year after being No. 5 in 2013. Some blame economic conditions caused by military and federal budget cuts. CNBC said high costs and “weak infrastructure” hurt the Commonwealth’s standing. Virginia did, however, rank No. 2 on a cumulative Best States for Business list from over the past 10 years. [Richmond Times-Dispatch, CNBC]
Lots of $1 Million Home Sales — There were 53 properties in Arlington that sold for more than $1 million in June. All but four of those properties were single family homes. [InsideNova]
Pokemon Lure at Food Truck Event — The Crystal City Business Improvement District is getting in on the Pokemon Go craze. The BID says it’s placing a Pokemon “lure” at its Food Truck Thursday event today. [Twitter]
Coming Soon: ARLBBQ — Later this month ARLnow will be hosting our first “ARLBBQ,” featuring free beer, food and games for all in attendance. The event is taking place outside on the 16th floor loft of The Bartlett in Pentagon City. Want an invite to this RSVP-only event? You’ll need to subscribe to our email newsletter.
Photo by Jackie Friedman. Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
We talked with managers and owners of several businesses in the area about how to snag a summer job.
Anne-Marie Schmidt, owner of Backyard BBQ & Catering Co., said she is looking for summer help now. However, she won’t hire someone for the summer unless the prospective employee seems committed to working, rather than vacationing.
“One or two vacations is fine, but… before I hire them I make sure that they’re available when I need them,” Schmidt said.
Another option is working at a pool. The pool at Yorktown High School is among the local swimming area that have summer help. At that pool, employees must be at least 15 1/2 years old and have a lifeguard certification. Other than that, “we like fun energetic people, and enthusiastic people,” Luis Garcia, the pool’s manager said.
But not every business is looking for summer help.
Lost Dog Cafe is among those places.
“By the time they learn our system, they are ready to leave, so we spent two months training somebody that’s never gonna be capable of working,” said a manager there.
Lisa Ostroff, owner of Trade Roots gift store and coffee shop, also doesn’t hire college or high school students for the summer.
“It takes a while to learn how to work here, learn the products, and the histories, and the stories, and make the coffees and teas, you can’t just learn it in a summer,” she said. Trade Roots is, however, currently looking to hire for the fall.
The new Sweetgreen restaurant in Clarendon opened today to big lunchtime lines.
Located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, the popular salad shop had a line stretching all the way out the door this morning for its official opening. It was similarly busy on Wednesday and Thursday as the restaurant gave away free food during RSVP-only “preview” events.
One hundred percent of today’s opening day proceeds were to be donated to the FRESHFARM Markets Matching Dollars program, which provides fresh, local produce to under-privileged communities in the D.C. area.
“It’s awesome that they donate the first day’s proceeds to a local nonprofit,” said one woman who was enjoying a “Guacamole Greens” salad inside the restaurant’s small dining area. She and her friends “actually biked [to Sweetgreen] from Rosslyn,” despite temperatures in the 90s.
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.