Arlington, VA

JPMorgan Chase is continuing its Mid-Atlantic expansion with a new bank branch in Ballston.

A Chase Bank location is currently under construction at 850 N. Randolph Street, in the former Pizza Autentica space. Permits show the new branch will include a coffee bar, among other amenities.

In December, the New York-based banking giant opened its first Arlington branch in the former Walgreens building in Clarendon.  Another branch is in the works near the Rosslyn Metro station.

No word yet on when the Ballston location will open.

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A new store selling handmade goods from small vendors is now open in Ballston Quarter.

Steadfast Supply opened last week in a 1,000 square-foot retail space, joining a cast of new eateries, cooking classes, a popup-library, and small shops inside the renovated mall.

The D.C.-based business aims to sells wares from a collection of small makers both local and from around the U.S. — everything from home goods to beauty supplies to pet accessories — thus supporting “creative entrepreneurship.”

“Our mission is to contribute to the advancement of the local community and to the creative growth of Washington, D.C. at large by introducing the creative force of emerging independent brands and designers into the D.C. market,” the store’s website said.

Steadfast started as a pop-up in 2016 before expanding to a 3,000 square-foot space in Navy Yard, according to a press release. The store announced plans to open its second location in Arlington last April.

Some of the goods currently in the new Ballston location include handmade leather bags made by the Atlanta-based company Neva Opet, T-shirts for kids made by YOUTHS, and jewelry from Vajzë. In addition to retail, the business is offering space for DIY workshops or other events on its website.

The store’s owner describes the business as something of an incubator for artisans and small producers.

“My goal with Steadfast Supply was to create a cool retail setting where talented creatives can grow their brands,” said owner Virginia Arrisueño in a statement. “As a designer myself, I know how tough and competitive the retail industry is, and I wanted provide a supportive space where brands can ask us questions about line sheets, packaging, etc., receive direct feedback and suggestions on how to improve their products.”

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A new LensCrafters store is now open in Ballston.

Last week marked the grand opening of LensCrafters in Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Blvd). It replaces a former LensCrafters store at the mall that closed prior to its renovations. 

Located on the ground floor of an outdoor portion of the mall, LensCrafters offers eye exams and sells prescription glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses. 

“Customers can expect to find innovative technology, the newest styles, and unparalleled personalized service,” at the store, a mall PR rep said in an email. “They offer a wide range of prescription lenses for eyeglasses and sunglasses, perfectly tailored to your lifestyle.”

The location is open Monday-Saturday, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and on Sunday, from 12-6 p.m.

The store is running a 50% discount on complete pair of glasses though Friday, Aug. 2. 

Photo (3) courtesy Ballston Quarter

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(Updated at 11 a.m.) SoulCycle is opening a new studio in Clarendon next week, the first Virginia location for the company.

The fitness studio will hold a pre-launch event next Thursday, June 13, at its new location in a 3,248-square-foot space at Market Common Clarendon at 2700 Clarendon Blvd.

The studio’s official opening date is Friday, June 14.

The new Clarendon location will feature 55 bikes and will also sell the company’s workout apparel, in addition to athleisure from brands PE Nation and The Upside, per a company spokeswoman.

The company confirmed it was coming to the shopping center in January after speculation a “luxury” gym was moving in and initial permits suggested the company was eyeing the space between Origin cosmetics store and the Apple store. Equinox, which owns a majority stake in SoulCycle, is also reported to be planning to open at gym at Market Common.

Amid all the new openings, the nearby Washington Sports Club announced plans to close at the end of the month.

The cost of cycling classes at the new Clarendon SoulCycle studio will start at $20 per lesson for first-timers, and go up to $32 afterwards, per the spokeswoman.

SoulCycle operates four studios in D.C. and 61 others across the U.S., according to its website.

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Nestled in Lee Heights Shops, between a jewelry store and a bistro, sits an unassuming UPS Store with a big story.

Store owner Sahar Al-Furaiji opened the packing, shipping and printing shop, at 4532 Lee Highway, in March after months of trying to find the right location in Virginia, and years of trying to find a safe home for her family fleeing terrorists in her home country of Iraq.

“In our first year here my dad saw a UPS Store and said, ‘Wow I want to own one of those,’ and I thought he was joking,” said Al-Furaiji’s 15-year-old daughter Zuha, who works at the store after school.

Al-Furaiji, not her husband, ended up opening one of the franchises after painstakingly comparing locations across Virginia for the right population density and job opportunities to support a shipping business.

She credits her experience with logistics and business management running a non-profit in Iraq with making the transition to owning a small business here an easier one.

The non-profit connected services funded by the American embassy like career training for Iraqi widows. But the Al-Furaiji family’s cooperation with Americans made them unpopular, and they had to flee their home in Baghdad because of threats in 2006.

Her family then moved to Kurdistan in northern Iraq for awhile, but the safety didn’t last long.

In 2014, the Islamic State terrorist group began approaching northern Iraq and attacking American sympathizers.

Al-Furaiij said her husband received a call from an ISIS member one night. The voice on the phone said, “You have leave in 24 hours or you have to be ready for what will happen to you and your family.”

Three years and a visa process later, the family of five touched down in Virginia and stayed in Chantilly before finding what Al-Furaiji hopes is her forever home in McLean.

“When we came here, one of the neighbors invited us over and it touched my heart, you know, that she had her pictures of her babies from day one through high school,” said Al-Furaiji. “All the steps into high school, in the same place, in the same wall, in the same house, and in the same room.

“I put all my history in one package in storage in my house,” she said.

Now Al-Furaiij wants her children to go to college and take advantage of opportunities she and her husband, who now teaches part-time at the University of Virginia, never had.

But for now, business at Al-Furaiij’s store on Lee Highway — UPS Store No. 7086, per its email address — has doubled each month and it’s no longer “horrible” to handle the fast-paced English of hurried customers.

“After three months I feel really good,” she said. “I don’t have any problems.”

“She never lost her balance of being a great mom and a hard worker,” said Zuha, adding that her mother regularly works 16-hour days. “My mom is a hell of a mom.”

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(Updated 2:45 p.m.) Courthouse coffee drinkers rejoice: another coffee shop is planning to move into the neighborhood.

For Five Coffee Roasters is planning to open a new cafe in the 8-story office building at 2311 Wilson Blvd, which replaced three restaurants back in 2012. On its website, For Five says the Courthouse location will open this fall.

The New York City-based coffee company roasts its own blends of dark, medium, and light coffee in its Queens headquarters and says beans are sustainability sourced from between 15 and 30 growers.

The company runs several locations in the city, as well as in D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. A planned Alexandria location is also listed on their website as opening in the fall.

For Five applied for a building permit yesterday (Thursday) to begin construction in the Courthouse office building, according to county records.

The new coffee shop will have plenty of competition. A Dunkin Donuts location is a block away while the independent Blumen Cafe is a few blocks up the street.

Hat tip to Chris Slatt. Photo via For Five Coffee Roasters.

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CorePower Yoga may be opening its third Arlington location soon in Ballston.

Black wrapping paper behind the new Ballston Exchange studio’s front doors reads “Coming Soon.” The announcement comes a month after the county approved a building permit for the new studio.

“The Ballston studio is set to open late this summer,” a company spokeswoman told ARLnow, adding that she was unable to share more details.

Construction crews could be seen today (Monday) working between the metal framing inside the space. The construction will include  “non-structural partitions” and hanging new doors, according to the building permit.

The studio is located at 4201 Wilson Blvd and joins CorePower Yoga’s Pentagon City studio, which opened in 2016, and the company’s Courthouse location, which opened in 2015.

The Denver-based CorePower Yoga specializes in “high intensity” classes offered in heated rooms designed to make participants sweat, according to its website.

CorePower Yoga is the latest addition to Ballston Exchange, which also recently welcomed health-food eatery Dirt and the Bearded Goat Barber Shop.

Hat tip to Craig W.

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A vacant storefront under the Penrose Square Apartments on Columbia Pike (2501 9th Road S.) is currently bulking up for a transformation into an F45 gym.

F45 is a gym franchise that started in Australia and has been expanding throughout the D.C. region, with recently-opened locations in Ballston and Tysons. The new gym is underneath the Giant grocery store on the second floor of the complex, sandwiched between a barber shop and a dry cleaner.

Trip O’Connell is the very enthusiastic managing partner of the Penrose F45. He also manages the U Street F45, which opened a little over a year ago.

“We were the first location in D.C.,” O’Connell said. “It’s been going great. We have a lot of people in the area who liked the vibe and wanted more.”

O’Connell said he turned his attention across the Potomac, where there were already successful F45 gyms like the one at Pentagon Row.

“Finding locations is tough,” O’Connell said. “There’s a lot of new builds going on in Maryland and D.C. and Virginia, but those locations always jack rents up.”

O’Connell said that he was lucky to find the space in Penrose that had previously been occupied by 9round Fitness, a boxing-oriented gym. Currently, O’Connell and his partner are in California getting final approvals from the F45 HQ, but if things go smoothly he hopes to start a pre-marketing campaign on May 15.

“We’re hoping to start running people through test classes,” said O’Connell. “If that goes smoothly, we’re looking at an opening mid-June.”

The plan is to offer first-time visitors a two-week free trial on which they can take as many classes as they want. After that, membership is $55 per week for unlimited access to the gym or $45 for those purchasing membership for those signing up to the gym early on.

It can sound like a steep price, especially with the $10 per month Planet Fitness moving in nearby at Pentagon Row, but O’Connell said the program offers a specialized workout routine.

“The F45 program speaks for itself,” said O’Connell. “Everyone’s heard about high-intensity interval training. F45 breaks new ground on how that applies to a workout. You’re coming to a new gym every day and it’s the same room, but a different set-up.”

O’Connell said the free trial gives people a chance to experience the program first-hand and get hooked.

“We want people to come in and try it,” said O’Connell. “You can’t describe the feeling of doing it with 36 other people — getting through the pain of the workout, and then it’s over. Unless you get people in the door to experience that, it can’t be described.”

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(Updated at 6 p.m.) The “Coming Soon” sign in front of the Bob and Edith’s Diner at 5050 Lee Highway could be a bit premature.

The space was once home to Linda’s Cafe, which closed after Bob and Edith’s owner Greg Bolton bought the property last May. A faded sign for Linda’s Cafe is still on display outside of the store.

At the time, it was estimated that the new location could open within six to nine months. But one year later, the inside of the building looks much the same as it did as Linda’s Cafe.

Rebekah Steele, a representative of the restaurant, said that they would not offer an update on the status of the location, but that more information could be available during the summer.

An employee at another Bob and Edith’s — which has diners on Columbia Pike and 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, in addition to other Northern Virginia locations in Alexandria and Springfield — said customers have been asking regularly about the Lee Highway location, but the only timeline they have been told is that the company plans to open within the year.

Avid local Twitter followers may wonder whether the delay has anything to do with a hex, of sorts, from the infamous @LindasCafeVA account, which made it clear that there was some bad blood between the former restaurant and its planned successor:

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Nationwide gym franchise Planet Fitness says it will be opening a new location at 1301 S. Joyce Street in the Pentagon Row shopping center.

“We’re eager to expand our ‘Judgment Free Zone’ to the Northern Virginia community,” Mike Campagnolo, CEO of Planet Fitness, said in a press release. “Planet Fitness will provide local residents a convenient, high quality, judgment-free fitness experience at an extremely affordable cost of $10 per month.”

The Pentagon Row location is one of five newly announced locations in Northern Virginia. Gyms are also planned for Manassas, Springfield, Fairfax and Alexandria.

Planet Fitness isn’t the only gym in Pentagon City. Australia-based F45 has a location at 1101 S. Joyce Street, also at Pentagon Row.

So far there’s now word yet on when Planet Fitness plans to open.

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A new JPMorgan Chase bank branch is coming to Rosslyn.

The bank filed for a building permit in April for a 1,688 square feet space at Rosslyn City Center (1700 N. Moore Street), according to Arlington Economic Development.

The building is in the middle of an overhaul by owner American Real Estate Partners, though one smaller than what was initially proposed. Interior alterations include changes to the first-floor lobby and building facade.

It’s unclear which space inside the building will house the bank. Inside Rosslyn City Center, there are more spaces empty than full, including two spots vacated by other banks — Bank of America and Presidential Bank. Presidential Bank moved nearby to a new space at 1515 Wilson Blvd.

JPMorgan Chase has been expanding in the D.C. area. It opened a location on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon in December.

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