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The owner of the bakery Cake Baby is celebrating one year of opening at the Pentagon City mall — and being out of her parents’ house.

In December 2021, a new bakery specializing in elaborately adorned cakes and numerous kinds of cookies opened on the Metro level at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The corner space near is next to the recently shuttered Yong Kang Street and in the former home of Garrett Popcorn.

Cake Baby is owned by 26-year-old Jimia Mozie. Just over a year ago, she opened her first brick-and-mortar shop after realizing she had outgrown the kitchen of her parents.

“My client base was getting too big to keep working out of my parents’ house,” she told ARLnow. “Schools… would message me for big orders. That’s when I realized I couldn’t do it anymore from the house.”

Mozie — who’s originally from Montgomery County, Maryland — first started baking as a teenager, learning from her aunt who was the “pastry chef in our family.” She loved it so much that she made a pledge to herself that, in 10 years, she would open her own bakery. That’s exactly what she did after graduating in 2019 from the Culinary Institute of Virginia.

As a young Black female entrepreneur, Mozie knows others may be looking up to her.

“A lot of young people look up to me as an inspiration. I know a lot of young kids are lost, so I also bake and be a business owner because I want to inspire [them],” she said.

The Pentagon City mall location has its pros and cons, she said. The positives are that the bakery gets a good amount of large custom orders from the Pentagon. They also get walk-ins from those who pass the shop every day going to and from the Metro.

The negatives are that the bakery is a bit tucked back in a corner, Mozie said, so it can be easy to miss if you aren’t passing it every day. Plus, there remains the lingering feeling that the mall hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic.

Mozie said she is currently committed to staying in Pentagon City but is also looking for a second location, likely closer to her parents’ house in Montgomery County, where it all started.

The best part of Mozie’s day is seeing people smile, laugh and be happy when eating her treats made from recipes that she created. The best praise is when clients say her treats are better than what their grandparents make.

“Cake Baby gives a lot of people those feelings,” she said. “We’re very homey.”

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A new D.C.-based coffee shop is opening a second location in Arlington Forest.

La Coop Coffee is moving into the Arlington Forest Shopping Center on 1st Street N., just off Arlington Blvd. The announcement was first made on the coffee shop’s social media channels earlier this month.

The hope is to open in the first week of February, co-owner Juan Luis Salazar Cano told ARLnow.

It’s filling a space that’s already been built out for a coffee shop by moving into the former home of Sense of Place Cafe, which closed this past summer because of the owner’s health. It’s next to Brick’s Pizza.

La Coop opened its first location in D.C. in July 2020 and has since started selling at regional farmers’ markets, including the Lubber Run Farmers Market. They got such a following, Cano said, that when a space opened at the nearby Arlington Forest Shopping Center, neighbors started messaging La Coop’s owners about the availability.

The owners have considered Arlington locations in the past, including in Rosslyn, but never made the move. But Arlington Forest offers a “community and supportive neighbors” said Cano, leading the coffee shop to open its first store outside of the District.

Cano owns the coffee shop with his wife, Stefanie Fabrico. La Coop is noted for providing “ethically-sourced” coffee from Guatemala that pays growers and framers up to 40% above the market rate.

What makes La Coop different, explained Cano, is that they are part of the process from “plant to cup.” His father in Guatemala is part of the cooperative and is also one of the farmers they work with.

“We are part of a family of farmers,” Cano said. “We are very conscious of the struggles that farmers have all over the world.”

La Coop had some issues with its D.C. landlord in 2020, but those have since been resolved. They are “definitely thinking” about opening more locations in Arlington and across the region but, at the moment, remain focused on opening its newest shop in Arlington Forest, said Cano.

“We are always looking for community,” he said. “[Arlington] has that.”

Image via Instagram/La Coop Coffee

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A new urgent care clinic is opening in Pentagon City, filling a space that once served Italian sandwiches.

Another location of NOVA Patient Care is coming to 1301 S. Joyce Street at Westpost, the shopping center in Pentagon City formerly known at Pentagon Row. The urgent and primary care clinic provides immediate daytime care, with hours currently planned to be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This will be the second Arlington location of the urgent care clinic, with the other just two miles away on S. Bell Street in Crystal City. It will be the company’s eighth clinic overall in Northern Virginia.

No word yet on when it might open, in the storefront next to Walgreens. ARLnow has reached out to both the clinic and Westpost for a timeline but has yet to hear back as of publication.

NOVA Patient Care is opening in the former location of Napoli Salumeria, an Italian market that closed about a year ago and was only open for just over a year. The urgent care appears to be retaining the distinctive bright blue doors and awning that marked the entrance of a spot that formerly served up focaccias and sandwiches.

Elsewhere at Westpost, a once-buzzy sandwich spot is opening inside of the “cube.” Local chef Tim Ma is reviving his “Chase the Submarine” concept inside the stand-alone space that housed Bread & Water until this past fall. It’s expected to open in the next few weeks.

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The Arlington location of Sweet Science Coffee in Lyon Village rang in the New Year with a new name, SIMONA Café, and more food and drink options.

Despite the new offerings, “the coffee program is still a really good program,” says owner Jad Bouchebel, who remains a partner in the business. Sweet Science continues to operate under the original brand in D.C.’s NoMA neighborhood.

The acclaimed Sweet Science Coffee opened the outpost at 2507 N. Franklin Road, near Courthouse, about two years ago, advertising some “all-day” offerings to differentiate the Arlington offshoot.

But Bouchebel says it took until last spring, with help from his associate Roberto “Tito” Peña, to get more lunch items on the menu and to put to use its ABC license for beer and wine. Last fall, the duo decided to rebrand, redecorate the coffee shop’s spartan interior and expand the menu and hours.

“We wanted to make it more of an all-day concept. That’s the reason we changed the name —  to separate from the D.C. location,” said Bouchebel, an Alexandria resident who named the cafe after his daughter. “We don’t want to confuse people. We offer totally different offerings.”

Bouchebel, still a partner at Sweet Science as well as Clarendon nightlife spot Wilson Hardware, says the cafe never really closed, but SIMONA Café had a soft opening in late December and its grand opening on Friday, Jan. 20.

Now, Peña says, the café’s interior gives people “a cool place to hang out in the afternoon,” and enjoy lunch and dinner options, charcuterie and cheese boards, beer, wine and weekend mimosas.

Like the coffee menu, Peña says the wine list is one that “people can delve into without much knowledge.”

The food menu, meanwhile, keeps the kitchen staff at SIMONA busy.

“We bake our own bread for our breakfast sandwiches,” Bouchebel said. “Everything we do in house: from salsa, to toppings, to bread and to our pastries — we bake them every morning here.”

Peña says the coffee comes from Rare Bird Coffee Roasters in Falls Church, and his baristas aim “to provide really nice coffee that’s approachable.”

“We can get nerdy if people want, but the goal is to meet customers where they’re coming in,” he said.

For Peña and Bouchebel, the expanded hours and menu pay homage to the coffee shop’s history. The space used to be home to Java Shack, a community hub at one point owned by Commonwealth Joe, which closed the location in 2019.

“We still get a lot of clients who’d been coming for 20 years,” Bouchebel said. “Java Shack was a staple — a neighborhood cafe — so instead of just offering half-day hours, we kept it going whole-day for people looking for [that experience].”

Peña says he remembers going to Java Shack in the ’90s as a high school student.

“It was my first favorite coffee shop,” he said. “It’s kind of cool: the original owner, Dale, is now a regular for us. I talk to him every week… We have some regulars who’ve been coming for 20 years.”

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The Wilson Blvd CVS with a large blank, brick wall facing the street is set to open next month.

A new CVS, on the former site of the Highlander Motor Inn at 3336 Wilson Blvd near Virginia Square and Clarendon (and next to Mario’s Pizza), is aiming to open in a few weeks, we’re told.

“Barring any unexpected delays, we plan open in mid- to late-February,” a company spokesperson told ARLnow.

What makes this CVS notable to many passersby is the nearly 20-foot-tall windowless, brick rear wall of the building facing Wilson Blvd, one of Arlington’s main commercial corridors.

When it first went up in August, ARLnow received emails from locals calling the wall an “eyesore, “unfit for the area,” and “The Great Wall of Clarendon.”

This was just the latest dust up about this particular site.

In 2016, the county sued long-time property owner and local businessman Billy Bayne about what exactly could be built on the site after he signed a lease with CVS.

That was the beginning of a multi-year legal battle that eventually led to the Virginia Supreme Court declining to consider an appeal from the county, effectively allowing Bayne to move forward with his plans to bring a CVS to the site and handcuffing the county in terms of regulation.

The court fight didn’t sit well with Bayne, who said he lost nearly $2 million while the project stalled.

“It’s not okay to do this to somebody,” Bayne told ARLnow in 2018. “There will be ramifications for this.”

(When Bayne’s Highlander Motor Inn became a Covid quarantine location in 2020, however, there appeared to be a warning of relations. County officials praised Bayne for “stepping up” in a time of need while Bayne said the deal helped him pay bills with the county being “very good” to him.)

The motel finally closed in early 2021 and was demolished later that year, but not before one final party. Then, the CVS began to be built and neighbors saw a huge wall go up. The store also has a sizable surface parking lot between the building and Wilson Blvd.

CVS spokesperson told ARLnow at the time that the wall was “included in the overall construction and design plan approved by Arlington development officials.”

But that didn’t soothe some unhappy locals or put to bed the unsubstantiated rumors that this was the long-awaited revenge against the county.

“After the long court battle with the owner of the Highlander, CVS is throwing its ‘f you very much’ by placing a blank wall along Wilson Boulevard,” one resident told ARLnow back in August. “Can’t wait for the future graffiti — I mean, community arts project!”

Billy Bayne told ARLnow that he had no say in the construction project or the wall, but he also had a few other things to say about upset neighbors, the county, and other matters.

“CVS can do whatever they want. This is not the People’s Republic of China. Who do [locals] think they are telling local businesses what to build?” he said. “If people think they can tell CVS what to do, I must be missing something. Does CVS tell them what they can put on their front lawns?”

He continued, blasting the county for not being “business-friendly” and reiterated that he still felt personally attacked by the county for its multi-year legal fight with him.

“This isn’t revenge, but I do think what [the county did to me] was personal,” he said. “I blame [the wall] on Arlington not working with CVS. I call them the ‘socialist government of Arlington.’ And CVS is just trying to do good for the neighborhood.”

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When florist and collage artist Azeb Woldie fled Ethiopia after being harassed and imprisoned by the government, she settled on Columbia Pike and began working with a flower shop in Alexandria.

She never imagined that within a few years of moving here, her arrangements would make it onto TV and be seen by millions of people.

Around this time two years ago, Woldie had the unforgettable experience of making some of the flower arrangements used in President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Now, she owns her own flower shop on Columbia Pike called Azi Flowers (903 S. Highland Street), which she opened in September.

“I am a fierce entrepreneur and a fighter, and I only see things in a positive way and I use all negatives to develop my business as opportunities,” she tells ARLnow.

From a young age, she remembers painting and playing with colors, eventually moving into collage art, which was exhibited in art galleries in Ethiopia. She worked with flowers for more than 15 years in Ethiopia and during that time, opened a photography and film school with her youngest brother in Addis Ababa, the country’s capital.

“It was an exciting time to see young people learn to express themselves through pictures and making films,” she said.

Her students began making films that expressed their views on human rights and alleged abuses happening during an armed conflict dubbed the Tigray War. The United Nations said last year that both the federal government and Tigrayan rebel forces committed human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, rape, sexual violence and starvation. The war officially ended last November with a peace deal.

The films put her at odds with the Ethiopian government, which accused her school of producing photojournalists who opposed the state.

“I was harassed, imprisoned there,” she said. “Finally I just could not go on where I had to flee the country and come to the United States.”

Now, she is settled on Columbia Pike, where she says people are encouraging and friendly, helping her along as she works to grow her new flower shop. She says the flower business is like a jigsaw puzzle of promotion, marketing, financial capacity and networking.

“I am working my level best to put the different pieces in my capacity to land in their place, but not all pieces are coming together,” she said.

Inflation has hiked flower prices, leading fewer people to spend money on arrangements or to check the price tags more often when they do. Still, she finds solace in how people turn to flowers to express their joy and their sadness.

During the pandemic, people used flowers “to show their camaraderie and connection to affected family and friends,” she said.

Woldie says she enjoys making arrangements for funerals and for weddings the most because of the milestones they communicate.

“A funeral is the last day of life, and showing your love with beautiful arrangements gives the living solace and shows their affection for the passing,” she said. “A wedding is another life event where the two people have a new beginning in life, and at that juncture it is a way of showing a delightful beginning.”

Woldie says flowers are a natural way to show “love, affection and caring.”

“One can even see the flower beds in the garden or flower pots at your doorstep and [get] a good feeling,” she said. “It is nature’s way of smiling at you [against] all odds.”

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Arlington’s first medical cannabis dispensary is set to open tomorrow in Clarendon.

Beyond/Hello is set to open the county’s inaugural cannabis dispensary on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 2701 Wilson Blvd. The 6,820 square-foot shop with 37 parking spots is located across the street from Whole Foods and next to neighborhood staple Galaxy Hut.

There will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday, a company spokesperson told ARLnow.

Beyond/Hello is owned by Florida-based Jushi, which owns nearly 40 dispensaries across a number of different states. This will be Beyond/Hello’s fifth Northern Virginia dispensary, including two Fairfax County locations. The shops on Richmond Highway and near George Mason University both opened last year.

ARLnow first reported a cannabis dispensary was coming to Clarendon back in July. It was initially supposed to open by the end of the year, but that got pushed back by a few weeks due to waiting on county inspections.

It’s moving into a building that Jushi bought for $7 million in late 2021, which formerly housed a Comcast service center. Arlington Independent Media (AIM), which operates radio station WERA 96.7 FM, occupies the other part of the building. Jushi has promised to allow AIM to remain in the building even as expands to a second location in Green Valley.

Metro access, a central location, and a “bustling” neighborhood are among the reasons that Beyond/Hello chose this location for its next Northern Virginia dispensary.

“Just a five-minute walk from the Clarendon Metro Station, Beyond Hello Arlington is located in a bustling part of the city, where patients can easily check out historical sites, hit the town to grab a bite, catch some live music or check out a theatrical performance,” Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo said in a press release. “This new retail location has ample comfortable seating throughout the store along with standardized tested products for patients. We look forward to continuing to be a good business and community partner in the Commonwealth as well as delivering a retail experience exceeding expectations.”

The presence of parking was also a factor. A company official told ARLnow last summer that most of the other buildings that ownership looked at in Arlington had “zero dedicated parking spots,” while this one had about 40.

The Clarendon location is a big part of Beyond/Hello’s Northern Virginia expansion. The company is one of only four allowed to sell medical cannabis in Virginia and, by law, can only open six stores in the Commonwealth.

Beyond/Hello currently has five dispensaries in the area, with a sixth opening in Woodbridge later this year.

Last summer, a state law went into effect that removed the requirement for medical cannabis patients to register with the Commonwealth in order to purchase cannabis. Now, all patients need is a written certification for a licensed practitioner.

It’s believed that this relaxing of requirements will lead to an increase in medical cannabis sales.

While it’s legal for those over 21 to grow and possess small amounts of cannabis, non-medicinal retail sales remain illegal following last year’s failed legislative efforts. The Virginia General Assembly is likely to consider bills at its upcoming session that could set the stage for legal retail sales of cannabis by this time next year.

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Jeni’s is coming to Shirlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The spring warm-up may herald the arrival of some cold treats in Shirlington.

Jeni’s Ice Cream is aiming to open its first Arlington location by early spring, a spokesperson tells ARLnow.

“As of right now, we are aiming to open in Q1 of this year,” the spokesperson said via email. “We’ll hone in on the grand opening date in the next few weeks.”

The Ohio-based ice cream shop is set to move into 4150 Campbell Avenue, the former home of rolled ice cream purveyor I-CE-NY. While this will be Jeni’s first location in Arlington, there are nearby scoop shops in Alexandria, Tysons, and D.C.

Signs announcing Jeni’s arrival first went up at the Village of Shirlington early last year, but until now there was only a sprinkling of details about an opening date. The location is still not listed on the company’s website.

Due to recent closings, Shirlington currently lacks a dedicated frozen treat shop. Yogi Castle shuttered last year while I-CE-NY closed in late 2021.

Jeni’s Ice Cream is not the only notable business set to open in Shirlington in the coming months. The well-regarded Greek restaurant Our Mom Eugenia should be opening soon as well as Astro Beer Hall, in the former Capitol City Brewing space.

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After two years of permitting and renovations, a business along Langston Blvd may be able to swing open its doors.

Two years ago, Page Global, also known as Page After Page Business Systems, put up signs indicating it would be moving into the old TitleMax location at 5265 Langston Blvd, the corner of Langston Blvd and N. George Mason Drive.

The company bills itself as “an award winning industry provider of office solutions, strategic communications and information technology.” On its website, it lists various government agencies as clients.

This retail space, in a Virginia Hospital Center-owned building, used to be home to a 7-Eleven. Page Global leased the building in November 2020, per a VHC spokeswoman.

Around the same time, Augustine Roofing signed a lease and moved in next door (5267 Langston Blvd), filling a vacancy left when the decades-old Sam Torrey Shoe Service closed down.

But Page Global hasn’t been able to move in yet, due to ongoing renovation construction, according to an employee next door.

“The company won’t be open for a least another couple months,” said the employee. “They’re doing a ton of work in there… It looks amazing inside over there now — from what it was.”

He said construction has taken longer because of permitting and issues that crop up during construction. Currently, permits for electrical and plumbing work, issued early last year, are posted to the door of the building.

Page Global, headquartered in D.C. at 800 Maine Ave SW, was not immediately available for comment before publication. The company is led by James Page, high school-dropout from the Bronx turned businessman of 30 years, per a 2020 profile by the Washington Informer.

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Foxtrot’s newest location in Rosslyn is finally set to open later this week.

The boutique market, cafe, and convenience store has announced it is opening its 4,077-square-foot shop at 1771 N. Pierce Street on Friday, Jan. 13.

There will be an “opening celebration” for the new store from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, per a press release, featuring screen-printed swag, food, and live music from DJ Throdown.

The store markets itself as an upscale corner store, market, and cafe with a focus on delivery. It makes much of its inventory available for delivery in under an hour. The Rosslyn location will “feature the biggest product assortment Foxtrot has available,” reads a press release, including offering a variety of local brands.

ARLnow first reported that the company was coming to Rosslyn last spring. The initial plan was for it to open in “early fall” before getting pushed back to December. Now, finally, in mid-January, the store is finally set to debut.

The store sits on the ground floor of the relatively new Highlands development, basically next door to Fire Station 10.

“Whether it’s a renovation of an older building or a new build, the spaces are designed to blend into the neighborhood and have a sense of place,” a spokesperson told ARLnow last year about the shop’s interior design. “Foxtrot’s new DMV-area stores will continue this model, with each site uniquely designed while still supporting the brand’s day-to-night atmosphere and incorporating signature design elements like concrete floors, hospitality lighting, wood paneling, warm color palettes and local artwork.”

This will be Chicago-based Foxtrot’s sixth location in the D.C. area, including one in Alexandria that opened in early 2022. Two more are anticipating an opening in D.C. this year as well. Overall, there are currently 23 Foxtrot locations nationwide.

This also may not be the last Foxtrot to open in Arlington. When asked if there are plans to open any other locations in the area, a spokesperson that’s the goal.

“We plan to continue to expand further into Northern Virginia and Arlington,” they said. “Foxtrot hopes to have locations we can announce soon.”

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You’ll likely have to wait a few months longer to tackle those new year’s resolutions at a new gym in Clarendon.

Life Time, the self-described “luxurious athletic country club,” is set to take over much of the one-time office building at 1440 N. Edgewood Street in Clarendon, filling the multi-story, 113,000-square-foot space. The fitness center received county approval in November 2021 to allow for retail and fitness activities in the building.

The plan is to open “likely [in] the first half” of the year, a company spokesperson tells ARLnow via email.

Some signage and window stickers are already up, though, advertising that Life Time is coming to the multi-block stretch of mixed use development known as The Crossing Clarendon.

We first reported that Life Time was opening a large, upscale fitness center in Clarendon back in August 2021. It’s set to feature a spa, dressing rooms, a small cafe, two floors of gym space, and a co-working area.

Life Time also has locations in Fairfax, Reston, and Centreville, as well as a few in Maryland.

Initially, an Equinox gym was going to move into the building but the project was canceled due to the company suffering “financial hardship” related to the pandemic.

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