A long-vacant Cherrydale strip mall storefront, once slated to become a gun store, has been brought to life as a pop-up vintage gift shop.
NOVA Firearms cancelled its lease and its plans to add a location at 2105 N. Pollard Street this summer, following an uproar that pitted concerned residents against both local and national gun enthusiasts.
This holiday season, however, what was once an ideological battleground is now a temporary shop.
POP Vintage opened this past Friday as a vintage shop, featuring collected, donated, estate sale and consigned items, ranging in price from $2 to $20,000. It will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. now until Christmas Eve.
“This is a place where people can sell, barter and trade their items openly and safely, they just have to do it by Christmas,” owner Olympia Hantzopoulos said.
The store is the Rosslyn resident’s first time operating a pop-up. It’s also her first time dealing with a space with such a heated history.
Hantzopoulos said she doesn’t go a day without hearing about what the store could’ve been.
“It was such a difficult issue for both sides,” she said. “Just this Saturday two women got in an argument in the store, which was full of customers, disagreeing over whether this space should be a gun store or not.”
Despite some leftover bitterness from the gun store debate, it hasn’t stopped customers from shopping. Hantzopoulos said her first weekend open was quite busy and the experience has been a positive one so far.
“I’m overwhelmed by the community support,” she said. “I think being here and having something here is doing a lot of good for the neighborhood.”
This also isn’t Hantzopoulos’ first time working with vintage and collectible items. She also owns Miracles in the City, a hair salon in Rosslyn that’s been open for nearly 20 years. The salon also has a small boutique where Hantzopoulos sells vintage jewelry, and all profits from jewelry sales are donated to charity.
She’s adopted the same charitable model for POP Vintage — any proceeds taken in beyond what’s needed to pay the lease will be donated to charities that support women and children in the United States and around the world.
One organization Hantzopoulos plans to support sends donations to an orphanage in Afghanistan, and another provides school supplies for local students. Hantzopoulos said helping in any way she can has always been a priority.
“Thinking about the reality of how little some people have just makes me miserable,” she said. “But you can’t dwell on that, you have to just do what you can do and trust it’s helping.”
From jewelry, to paintings by D.C. artists, to chandeliers, to one-of-a-kind rugs handmade in the Middle East, to tea sets and much more, Hantzopoulos has collected enough items to offer a little bit of everything for holiday shoppers. She knows where they came from, who they belonged to and why, in her opinion, they’re valuable.
“That’s the thing about vintage,” she said. “Everything has a story. It just so happens this space does, too.”
Update at 4:35 p.m. — Public Shoe Store is still open, says owner S.H. “Doc” Friedman’s daughter. “Public Shoe is still operating and will continue to do so for another few months,” Karen Friedman Widmayer said this afternoon. In April, Friedman told ARLnow.com that the store would close by the end of the summer.
A new 7-Eleven store is coming to the heart of the Clarendon business district.
Permits have been filed for a 7-Eleven at 3137 Wilson Blvd, the former Public Shoe Store, which
closed earlier this year is preparing to close after 78 years in business.
So far, it’s early in the permitting process and there’s no word as to when the store might open.
This will be the sixth 7-Eleven store within a half mile or so. The nearest store is a couple of blocks away, at 3000 Washington Blvd. Another is located at 2704 Washington Blvd, and three are clustered around the Virginia Square Metro station.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
Duck Donuts is now open at 2511 N. Harrison Street, in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.
The store opened earlier this week to big crowds. As of 4 p.m. today, the store was jammed with school-aged kids and a few parents.
Duck Donuts specializes in made-to-order donuts coated in toppings like peanut butter icing, maple icing, bacon, and rainbow sprinkles. The low-frills menu also includes breakfast foods, orange juice, coffee and bottled beverages.
MOM’s Organic Market founder and CEO Scott Nash was pleased with what he saw at the grand opening of the company’s first Arlington store today.
Shoppers — mostly the regional chain’s target customer: moms — lined the aisles, picking out organic goods and trying free samples. Not bad for 11:30 a.m. on the store’s first official day in business.
Nash explained that MOM’s, which has 13 other locations in the Mid-Atlantic region (the closest of which is in Alexandria), typically targets more suburban locales than Arlington.
“Something that has kept us from opening in more dense urban areas is the parking,” he said. “We are for a walkable community, but we have 5,000 customers a week and most of them are mothers, with kids. They need to drive, they can’t carry six bags of groceries to their apartment across the street. They are the bread and butter of our customer base and we won’t open a store unless we have ample parking for our true best customers.”
The new store is located at 1901 N. Veitch Street, in the Verde Pointe development along Lee Highway and within walking distance to the Courthouse Metro station. It has 100 spaces of free parking for customers, though the traffic pattern to get to the 50 lower level garage spaces seemed to be challenging for first-time shoppers.
Other than the parking issue, Nash said Arlington is an ideal location for MOM’s, thanks to the eco-minded population.
“It’s very dense and we are sure this demographic has a lot of ‘lifestylers,'” he said. “The lifestylers are people who don’t just like organic food, but they have the same moral view that we have.”
That moral view was on prominent display, with signs explaining that the store only carries “green rated” seafood, that none of its cereals market to children with cartoon characters, and that it doesn’t sell conventionally grown produce because of the use of pesticides.
At 12,500 square feet, the new Arlington MOM’s is about the same size of most of the company’s newer stores. Asked about competition from the nearby Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s stores in Clarendon, Nash said that the presence of those stores was actually encouraging, pointing to the kind of market in which MOM’s thrives.
“We feel like where’s there’s a successful Trader Joe’s and a successful Whole Foods, there will be successful MOM’s,” he said. “What sets us apart is Trader Joe’s has about 4,000 items, we have 14,000, and Whole Foods has about 28,000. We’re kind of in between, we’re cheaper than Whole Foods, we have only organic produce, we don’t mix, plus we have great customer service and a very unique, incredible selection of products.”
MOM’s is open seven days a week. Its grand opening celebration will continue through Sunday.
Sugar Shack Donuts, a Richmond-based eatery serving fresh donuts and coffee, and 1000 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza, a quickly-expanding New Jersey-based pizza chain, are coming to the ground floor of the Pike 3400 apartment building, according to building permits.
Sugar Shack attracted plenty of cult-like buzz — and actor Kevin Bacon — when it opened in Alexandria earlier this year. The location is owned by former Virginia delegate Rob Krupicka and makes its donuts in-house, without the help of machines.
The new Sugar Shack on the Pike will also be owned by Krupicka. He told ARLnow.com that the store should be open in “early 2016.”
1000 Degrees has been opening hundreds of new locations nationwide, building a business based around $7.99 personalized pizzas which are cooked in two minutes — similar to existing local fast-casual eateries like Spinfire. 1000 Degrees also offers breadsticks, build-your-own salads and fire roasted wings.
So far there’s no word on when 1000 Degrees will open.
Another building permit application indicates that a Supercuts hair salon is also planning to open at 3400 Columbia Pike.
Hat tip to Joe M.
Potomac Yard Station Delayed Again — The new $268 million Potomac Yard Metro station in Alexandria is now not expected to be complete until 2020. The City of Alexandria is paying the project’s costs with a combination of local funds, developer contributions, state grants and federal funding. [Washington Post]
New Target Fills Niche — The new Target store in Rosslyn “fills an urban retail niche” as a type of “21st century general store.” Expect to see more such stores around, writes transportation planner Dan Malouff. [Greater Greater Washington]
Kudos for ‘Horrors’ — The Arlington Players production of “Little Shop of Horrors” is worth seeing, says a reviewer. The production “retains its quirky charms and benefits from strong performances and production values.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Despite signs on the door and statements to the press to the contrary, the new TargetExpress store in Rosslyn is now open.
Even at mid-afternoon today the store wasn’t lacking for intrepid customers who figured out that they could just walk right past the “Opens October 11” sign on the door. An employee described it as a “soft opening.”
The 23,000 square foot store, at 1500 Wilson Blvd, stocks a selection of groceries, beer, wine, personal care items, clothing, tech gadgets and other sundry goods. It also boasts the area’s third Starbucks store within a one block radius.
The owners of Conte’s Bike Shop are planning to open a new location at 3449 Wilson Blvd in Virginia Square by March 2016, said co-owner David Conte.
“We have always wanted to open up company owned stores in this market. My wife Angela is a graduate of George Mason University and we have many great friends in the area,” Conte said.
“We are opening in Northern Virginia because the market is still underserved,” Conte said. “There is some really good bicycle retailers in the market and then [there] are not, we believe that we will not only succeed but thrive in these markets.”
Conte’s will be the third cycling shop near the Virginia Square-Ballston area. Hybrid Pedals is located at 822 N. Kenmore Street, and Freshbikes is just down the road at 3924 Wilson Blvd. Freshbikes had been a Conte’s franchise until it changed its name in 2011.
The new store offers services for all cyclists, from those who ride competitively to the everyday recreational cyclist, Conte said. The shop sells top of the line road bikes, including from manufacturer S-Works, Giant and Specialized, as well as kids bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes and electric bikes.
“We are a cycling store for everybody, not just enthusiasts but mostly for the recreation cyclist in particular,” he said.
Conte plans to get involved with local Arlington cycling events once the store is open in the spring, he said.
“We do ride support for charity rides and all kinds of cycling related events, and if it has two wheels and needs the help from Conte’s we will be there,” he said. “Bike race events are another animal in its own and with a lot of events that happen in a great cycling city like Arlington, if we can be involved we will do our best to help.”
A D.C. tea chain is planning to open a new store at the Pentagon Row shopping center in Pentagon City later this year.
Capital Teas, a store selling over 60 types of tea, plans to open a new location at 1201 S. Joyce Street, near Hudson Trail Outfitters, by early November, CEO Peter Martino said. It will be the company’s 16th store and will occupy the stand-alone space previously held by sunglasses store Specs, which was open for only about three months.
The store will sell a variety of loose teas, tea infusers, teacups, teapots and other tea accessories. It’s tentatively expected to open by the end of fall.
“Our Pentagon Row location will have the exact same tea selection of 60 specialty teas and infusions as we have at our other stores, and the same collection of modern and exciting tea-ware, but Pentagon Row will also have a somewhat expanded tea beverage menu to serve our patrons who may be ice skating on the adjacent rink this winter, or who are just enjoying time outdoors,” he said.
The Pentagon Row location will be the first Capital Teas store to add matcha shots to the beverage menu. Customers will be able to buy matcha shots or add it to other drinks, Martino said.
For those new to loose tea, Martino recommends buying a selection of black, green, white and other teas sold in the store. The store will also have a rotating selection of samples for customers to try.
“There’s a tea for every taste,” he said, “and a taste for every tea.”
Tea is the most widely-consumed beveral in the world, next to water, and the United States is beginning to embrace it, Martino said.
Capital Teas will have some competition in Pentagon City and elsewhere in Arlington. Teavana at the nearby Pentagon City mall and House of Steep (3800 Lee Hwy) in Cherrydale also sell loose leaf teas.
A fashion accessories store, Lou Lou, has opened its doors near the Market Commons in Clarendon.
The new store at 2839 Clarendon Blvd opened this past Wednesday with a soft opening. It will have a grand opening next Wednesday, Aug. 26.
The company is excited about the new location, and it is selling many new accessories at the Clarendon store, according to a Lou Lou sales associate. Lou Lou sells accessories, such as scarves, necklaces, purses and bracelets. The Clarendon store also sells some clothing items.
The store is hiring part-time employees who are “fun, fashionable, talkative with a passion for accessories,” according to a sign posted outside.
Lou Lou has existing locations in Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Bethesda, Alexandria and Reston, among other D.C. area stores. It also has boutiques in other East Coast cities from Boston to Atlanta.
(Updated Aug. 11 at 2 p.m.) The TargetExpress store coming to 1500 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn is now hiring.
Earlier this summer Target confirmed that a 23,000-square-foot store would be coming to Rosslyn, and the company now says the store will open this October.
In addition to a sign outside the new location that announces the company is now hiring, Target will hold a job fair this week from Aug. 13-15 at Hyatt Arlington (1325 Wilson Blvd).
The job fair will run from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. Target says they are looking to hire roughly 60 new employees.
The store is slated to include an in-house Starbucks and a pharmacy, and will also carry groceries, prepared foods and clothing.
The coffee shop plans to open its doors at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14. Located in the former Bar TNT and Society Fair space at Penrose Square, the store will be the first Starbucks along the Pike in Arlington.
In addition to the normal menu of coffee, espresso drinks, teas, pastries and sandwiches, the new Pike Starbucks will offer Starbucks Reserve, “a special collection of unique, small-lot coffees.”
“Customers will be able to order their Starbucks Reserve coffee brewed on The Clover Brewing System, which lets you discover new layers and dimensions within a coffee’s familiar aroma, flavor, body and acidity, brewed fresh by the cup,” said a spokeswoman.
Asked why the company chose to finally open a location on Columbia Pike, the spokeswoman said “Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers.”
This isn’t the only Starbucks to open in Arlington this month. Yesterday a new Starbucks opened its doors at the Fort Myer Exchange on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
East Falls Church residents can now grab an energizing cold-pressed juice before heading off to work in the morning, following the opening of a new South Block Juice Company store at 2121 N Westmoreland Street.
The micro juicery’s factory and test kitchen had been located in the neighborhood since last summer, according to company owner Amir Mostafavi. When the cafe next door to his factory closed down, Mostafavi took the opportunity to expand.
The East Falls Church store will be able to seat 30 people inside and up to 15 outside, significantly more than either of South Block’s other locations, on 11th Street N. in Clarendon and at George Washington University. Mostafavi hopes this extra space will allow the store to expand its repertoire to include fundraisers, neighborhood events and maybe even some tours of the factory next door.
A grand opening celebration is planned for this Saturday (July 18) from 9-11 a.m. If the lure of a brand new micro juicery isn’t enough, the store will be offering free half pints of juice and $25 gift cards to the first 25 people to come out.
Although business is booming now, Mostafavi says his juices weren’t always so popular. He opened his first smoothie and health food shop at GW in 2004, when he was three years out of college, but the store just didn’t kick off the way he expected it to. It wasn’t until 2011, when Mostafavi opened his Clarendon location and bought his first cold pressed juicer, that things finally began to take off.
“I took a big risk when I changed to all cold press because no one in this area had heard of it — we tried to educate them on why it was better. It was a risk, but I really thought it was a better product,” said Mostafavi. “At first, people would say, no, I don’t want bottled juice, I want fresh juice, but we tried to educate them on why it was better and better for you. Six months later, that’s all anybody wanted.”
Mostafavi says he believes South Block has been successful partially because it is such a small company.
“I try to have things that people want, that are good for you, and I try to have it before anybody else and do it better than anybody else. I think that’s a benefit of being a smaller company — the bigger corporations catch on a little bit late, and they cut corners to cut cost, and it just isn’t the same quality product.”
In addition to their juices and smoothies, the East Falls Church store has trendy products like nitrogen-infused cold-brew coffee. Mostafavi tries to keep South Block ahead of the curve by paying attention to the products being introduced in California and New York, and then bringing those products to the D.C. area.
“I try to continue to evolve the products and the menu,” said Mostafavi. “I think that’s one thing that’s made South Block successful.”
Mostafavi says the business is still expanding, with plans for future stores in both Vienna and Georgetown.
Construction has started for a new pie store planned near the intersection of N. Glebe Road and Lee Highway.
Owners Heather Sheire and Wendy MacCallum hope to open the new store by the end of the year, Sheire said. It will be located at 2166 N. Glebe Road.
Once the store is open, customers will be able to watch the pies being made while getting to enjoy a slice of their favorite pie with friends on a new outdoor patio. The store, while still in a design phase, is planned to be a place for people to relax with friends, Sheire and MacCallum said.
“The whole shop is just going to smell delicious because we’ll be baking there and serving there,” Sheire said. “We want it to be a comfortable place where people can hang out.”
The two also want the shop to be convenient for their customers and plan to provide parking, allowing people to be able to run in and grab a take out pie.
Sheire and MacCallum currently sell pies at the Clarendon and Westover farmer’s market, and customers can also order pies online. The two also have a partnership with House of Steep at 3800 Lee Highway, where customers can pick up pre-ordered pies from 2-7 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturday, the two will also be doing a pie and tea pairing at House of Steep. For $7, people will be able to get a couple pieces of pie with teas that pair well.
The two decided to open a store after the business expanded past their current business model of delivering and selling at farmer’s markets.
“So we were like, let’s do it,” Sheire said. “Let’s do a store.”
At the new store, Sheire and MacCallum will bake classic pie recipes, including customer favorites Apple Pie, Apple Caramel Crumb Pie, S’mores Pie and Boozy Pecan Pie. The two bakers will also be able to bake more savory, cold and cream pies.
“People will be able to come in for something for breakfast, for something for lunch and for something for dinner,” Sheire said.
For the savory pies, the pair plans to include their Mac and Cheese pie, their Tomato pie and their Thanksgiving pie. While popular, these pies are harder to bake for the current setup of delivery or a farmer’s market sale, Sheire said. But having a store means the bakers can make the pies and sell them in the same place, ensuring the pies maintain their quality.
Sheire and MacCallum say quality is a key ingredient; they only use fresh materials and plan to have their own small organic garden at the store.
A pie like theirs cannot be found in a supermarket, Sheire said. Good pie is meant to be fresh and only last a couple of days. That’s why there aren’t many good national pie companies, she said.
“Because pie something done by hand and on a small scale,” Sheire said. The bakers try to make everything themselves, including making their own marshmallow for the S’mores Pie.
Until the store opens, customers can continue to order pies online or stop by Livin’ the Pie Life at the Clarendon and Westover farmers market. The pair is not able to attend the markets every week, but customers can sign up for their mailing list or follow them on Facebook to find out when Sheire and MacCallum will be at the markets and what pies they will have.
“We are living the pie life,” Sheire said.
Those looking for Eastern European food should look no further than Ballston restaurant Rus Uz, which is now offering a specialty market right next door.
According to general manager Abraham Rakhmapullaev, the restaurant owners had been looking to open a specialty Russian/Uzbek market in the area for some time. Opportunity knocked when Cigar Connection — Rus Uz’s next-door neighbor — closed.
After some renovations to the space, Rus Uz Market opened for the first time earlier this week. (The restaurant opened in 2012.)
The market offers a wide range of goods ranging from pasta to deli items to imported Uzbek honey and Russian chocolate. The owners have also applied for a liquor license which they hope will come through within the next couple of months.
Rus Uz Market is located on 1000 N. Randolph Street near the Ballston Metro. Store hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Rakhmapullaev said that an opening ceremony is being planned for sometime in the next two weeks.