After nearly three decades in business, local salon Illusions of Shirlington is closing its doors.
Owner Irma Wheeler said the business has struggled during the pandemic and recent lease negotiations with Village of Shirlington owner Federal Realty Investment Trust failed.
Illusions, located at 4033 Campbell Avenue, has been open for 28 years. Last May, ARLnow covered the salon’s reopening after a state-mandated closure at the outset of the pandemic.
“We’ve been very anxious and have been getting ready since the beginning of the shutdown,” Wheeler said at the time. “It’s been difficult to find supplies, even disinfectant. We have face shields and masks, and we’re taking the temperatures of clients and staff. We’re trying to take every precaution… it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll be ready.”
In a social media post last night, Wheeler said she made the difficult decision to close because it was “the only viable option.” Her Illusions of Georgetown salon in D.C. will remain open.
The full social media post is below.
To our loyal clients,
I wanted to personally let you know that I have made the very difficult decision to close Illusions of Shirlington – effective immediately.
As you know, our business has been severely impacted by Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed by lawmakers have made the last year a real struggle to say the least. In addition, I have been in lease negotiations with Federal Realty for the past year. I received their final proposal last week. After carefully reviewing the terms presented, closing the salon was the only viable option.
This was not an easy decision.
I can’t thank enough the many loyal customers and retailers that have supported me these past 28 years. You have become like family. That is why I want to tell you that you are all welcome to come to Illusions of Georgetown for your styling needs. We will be offering valet parking for the time being.
If you have an appointment within the next few weeks, your stylist will be getting in touch with you.
Keep us with us on our social media for updates.
Grants for National Landing Restaurants — “The National Landing Business Improvement District and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington have a new round of grant aid for restaurants and small businesses… Grant applications will be accepted online until March 28. They will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, and will amount to at least $1,000 for each approved business.” [WTOP]
New Clarendon Salon Opening Next Week — The new Smitten on Washington salon is set to open on Tuesday, March 23, at 3000 Washington Blvd in Clarendon. The salon replaces Hendricks Gentlemen’s Barbershop, a men’s venture from the Smitten owners that closed in December after four years in business. [Facebook]
Silver Line Ext. Not Opening Until 2022 — “Metro officials say that the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport will open for use in early 2022, most likely in February. ‘What we’re looking at is early 2022, first quarter in calendar 2022, as the likely start of operations,’ Laura Mason, Metro’s executive vice president for capital delivery, said at a board meeting Thursday.” [DCist]
Local Leaders Want Metro Changes — “Representing the cities and counties that fund Metro in Virginia, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission outlined its priorities for Metro’s proposed FY 2022 budget… While the Commission recognizes the major funding relief made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, the Commission presses Metro to: Maintain a dependable and sufficient level of rail and bus service throughout FY 2022, Open Silver Line Phase 2 as soon as possible, Rebuild ridership, [and] Minimize shifting operating expenses to the capital program.” [Press Release]
Single-Family Homes Are Red Hot — “Typically, markets tend to favor sellers when the supply of homes drops below six months. For much of the last decade, the local supply has hovered at around two months, but has been trending ever lower in recent years. For single-family homes, the D.C. region’s supply dropped to a mere 0.6 months in February, according to the data, and those homes are selling within seven days on the open market.” [Washington Business Journal]
After months of losing business during the pandemic, Hendricks Gentlemen’s Barbershop in Clarendon will close for good just before Christmas.
Co-owners Melanie St. Clair and Lisa Dahl announced the closure to customers last night.
“We wanted to thank each of you for your loyalty and support,” they said in an email. “As a small business, navigating this pandemic has been extremely difficult. It is with a heavy heart, that after four years of serving the Clarendon community as your neighborhood barbershop, we have made the tough decision to close our doors.”
The barbershop at 3000 Washington Blvd opened in September 2016 and billed itself as Clarendon’s only upscale destination for men’s haircuts, beard trims and hot, straight-razor shaves. Hendricks gained popularity during its four-year stay, but it has not been enough to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 is really hitting us hard,” St. Clair said. “None of us could’ve predicted this.”
The last day of business is set for Wednesday, Dec. 23. But St. Clair and Dahl, who also own Smitten Salon in Lyon Park, are not done with the space just yet.
Clients at Smitten confirmed Internet tropes from the early stages of quarantine: wives were giving their husbands haircuts, while some men who no longer had to go to the office were growing their hair out. With partners to cut their hair and without suits to put on or clients to visit, men are coming in every two months instead of monthly, or not coming back at all, St. Clair said.
Hendricks took an additional hit because barbers cannot provide beard trims or hot shaves due to mask regulations, she said.
Meanwhile, she said Smitten has attracted new clients as other salons close. The thriving business gave St. Clair and Dahl the idea to replace Hendricks with a new, boutique location of the salon.
“Women want to look good on Zoom,” St. Clair said. “My clients tell me, ‘I’m not sitting on Zoom with gray roots,’ or ‘I’m bored staying at home with my kids at home,’ or ‘I’m not getting my nails done, so I’m getting a haircut to feel good.'”
Cosmetic changes to the space will begin in the new year, and St. Clair said she aims to be done with the work by February or March 2021.
“It’s like coming full-circle,” said St. Clair, who first opened Smitten in the current Hendricks location almost 10 years ago.
She said she is proud to have the brand survive, in a different way.
“We’re grateful to show Clarendon that [the neighborhood] is not going to shut down,” she said. “We don’t want to see everyone close up, and I hope other people are able to do the same thing.”
Frederick-to-Arlington Transit Proposal — “Proposed transit service connecting Arlington to Frederick (Md.) and points in between remains on the table, but barely, after scoring low in a recent cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Virginia and Maryland state governments… As envisioned, the transit route would start at Frederick six times each workday morning and terminate an hour later at the Pentagon, with intermediate stops at Monocacy, Urbana, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Montgomery Mall and Rosslyn.” [InsideNova]
Women Groped in Aurora Highlands — “At approximately 7:18 p.m. on November 3, police were dispatched to the late report of an assault. Upon arrival, it was determined that at approximately 6:30 p.m., the victim was running in the area when the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The victim yelled, and the suspect fled on foot, then entered the passenger side of a vehicle and left the area.” [ACPD]
Data Breach Affecting Hospital — “Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, has recently learned of an information security incident experienced by one of its vendors… [an] unauthorized party may have acquired a backup of the database that compromises certain limited elements of VHC’s donor and fundraising information, as may be the case with other nonprofits affected by this incident worldwide.” [Press Release]
Grand Opening for New Business — Paint Nail Bar (1520 Clarendon Blvd) is holding its grand opening celebration this weekend, from 5-8 p.m. on Saturday. “Champagne and light bites will be served and all attendees will receive a goody bag,” the business says. [Facebook]
Tea Returns to the Ritz — “The Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City is now offering Afternoon Tea, bringing a time-honored tradition at an affordable price – all with safety and the health of guests in mind. Offered in their fyve restaurant, featuring globally inspired dishes, the hotel’s Afternoon Tea service is available at three price points, perfect for adults and children celebrating a special occasion or looking for a weekend respite from the day-to-day.” [Press Release]
More Nice Weather on Tap — “Quite a stretch of tranquil weather ahead of us as high pressure dominates into early next week, resulting in dry conditions and temperatures running 5 to 10 degrees above normal for early November.” [@NWS_BaltWash/Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
A new hair salon that helps natural hair to thrive has opened in Ballston despite the pandemic
After initially hoping to open on June 19 to commemorate Juneteenth, Thrive Hair Bar (1010 N. Glebe Road) first opened its doors on Aug. 9.
“Thrive Hair Bar provides two-strand twists, braids, and leave out styles for kinky, coily, & curly haired naturalistas on the go. Embracing your hair texture with an emphasis on hair health,” the website says.
The website said Thrive Hair Bar aims to “revolutionize the luxury hair salon experience.”
Located inside the Sola Salon Studio, which hosts a number of solo entrepreneurs, the salon services its clients during a one-on-one, client and stylist experience.
“Our goal isn’t just for us to give them a hairstyle and they walk away, it’s really to help educate women on how to maintain their hair and care for their natural hair,” said Ajia Minnis, owner and founder of Thrive Hair Bar.
However, the single stylist and client combination is not the experience Minnis envisioned.
“It was definitely something that we had to adjust to. I had envisioned a salon with at least three to four stylists,” said Minnis. “I did definitely want to keep it small, to have that personalized experience, so the stylists themselves wouldn’t be rushed and because we’re just starting. But with the coronavirus, I realized that that wasn’t going to work. It just didn’t seem like the safest thing to do and I recognized that.”
Getting used to the restrictions on who can be in the salon wasn’t the only challenge Thrive Hair Bar faced.
“We still haven’t had our grand opening event yet because I had envisioned doing something where we featured local artists in the community and with the coronavirus, that doesn’t seem like the safest thing to do, even with masks,” Minnis said.
The good news is that clients have responded to Thrive’s policies positively.
“I think they like being the only one in the salon,” Minnis said. “Nobody likes having to wear a mask all day but it’s for the benefit of not only our customers, but for our stylists too. We want to make sure that they’re safe, so everybody has been respectful and keeping their masks on. We’re also using disposable capes — one-time use and throw it out. We’re disinfecting all chairs, door handles and anything that anybody touches after every single client, and then obviously staying within normal salon standards for disinfection with using Barbicide.”
“I think our clients have been comfortable with the precautions that we’ve been taking,” Minnis said, adding that she is optimistic about the future of the business as the country continues to make progress in the coronavirus fight.
Photos courtesy Ajia Minnis
County Board Defends COVID-19 Response — “Arlington leaders continue to push back against accusations they could be doing more to address the COVID-19 crisis within the county’s 26 square miles. A number of civic-activists used the public-comment period of the County Board’s April 25 meeting (held ‘virtually’ after the government received state authority to do so) to rap officials for not imposing more aggressive regulation of daily life.” [InsideNova]
More Contributions for Small Biz Grant Fund — “The Arlington County Industrial Development Authority has joined Arlington Economic Development’s (AED) efforts to help small businesses… [The authority] approved a contribution of $326,000 of its own funding. Together with the $674,000 of funding from the County, and the recently announced contributions of $100,000 each by the Crystal City and Rosslyn Business Improvement Districts, total GRANT program funding has reached $1.2 million.” [Arlington County, Rosslyn BID]
Ballston Hotel Donates Rooms to Healthcare Workers — “The Ballston BID is collaborating with local organizations to coordinate free accommodations at the Holiday Inn Arlington at Ballston for essential healthcare workers in the community. Chesapeake Hospitality, which manages the Ballston-based Holiday Inn on North Fairfax, is donating a complimentary block of 50 rooms per day… to frontline medical staff, their families, and those most vulnerable within the community.” [Press Release]
Arlington Gets Okay Social Distancing Marks — “Falls Church has a C+, Fairfax County has a C and Arlington gets a B- in social distancing grades from @Unacast. Virginia’s grade is D- and the U.S. as a whole gets a D+.” [Falls Church News-Press, Twitter]
New Deputy Chief for ACPD — “Arlington County Police Chief M. Jay Farr is pleased to announce the appointment of Captain Adrienne Quigley to the position of Deputy Chief of Police, effective Sunday, May 10, 2020. Deputy Chief Quigley will assume command of the Systems Management Division at a later date.” [Arlington County]
Historic Home and Huge Lot Not for Sale, Yet — “Long coveted by developers and planners for schools and parks, the home built just after the Civil War has stirred interest since the death in 2017 of owner Randy Rouse, the homebuilder and equestrian. But his widow still lives in the home. And this week, it appears that some speculation on marketing the house was premature, the chances that the county could purchase it almost nil.” [Falls Church News-Press]
COVID Case Shuts Down Credit Union Branch — “The Arlington Community Federal Credit Union is closing one of their branches after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, the credit union announced Monday morning.” [Patch]
Bankruptcy for Hair Cuttery, Bubbles — “Ratner Cos., the Vienna-based parent company of hair salon chains including the Hair Cuttery, Bubbles and Cielo, has filed for bankruptcy protection after closing more than 80 locations across the country in March. The company and related entities, including Creative Hairdressers Inc., filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.” [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by Lisa Novak
After a little more than a year in business, the DC Lash Bar location in Ballston has closed.
Located in the outdoor, open-air portion of Ballston Quarter mall, the salon’s second location — after its original Georgetown location — originally opened in November 2018. It recently closed because “DC Lash Bar has decided not to renew its lease with Ballston Quarter,” a spokesperson told ARLnow.
It is unclear what business might eventually replace the salon but the DC Lash Bar signs have been removed and the space appears empty.
Going forward, the DC Lash Bar wants to open another location but isn’t sure where, the spokesperson said.
Home Prices Up in 2019 — “Data from Bright MLS, a multiple listing service that analyzes real estate data in the Mid-Atlantic region… revealed the average home sale price in Alexandria City, Arlington and Fairfax counties, collectively, rose by 4%, from $590,582 in 2018 to $614,236 in 2019.” [WUSA 9]
Endorsements for Choun — Chanda Choun, who is running in the Democratic Arlington County Board primary against incumbent Libby Garvey, has received the endorsement of a pair of current and former elected officials: former County Board member Jay Fisette and, most recently, current Commissioner of Revenue Ingrid Morroy. [Twitter, Chanda Choun]
Chain Salon Locations to Close — “The parent company of Hair Cuttery, Bubbles, and other salon chains will close more than 80 locations around the country starting later in January… A full list of the stores that will shutter was not disclosed. There are more than 30 Hair Cuttery locations, 20 Bubbles locations, 14 Salon Plazas and three Salon Cielos in Greater Washington.” [Washington Business Journal]
Musical Performances at DCA — “Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) will host its annual Black History Month celebration of achievements and contributions to American history by African Americans with musical performances for passengers traveling through both airports each Thursday during the month of February.” [Press Release]
Dorsey Absent from WMATA Board Meeting — Arlington County Board and WMATA Board member Christian Dorsey was absent from the latter body’s meeting yesterday, raising an eyebrow. A WMATA spokesman tells ARLnow that Dorsey was not at the meeting because we was “going to Richmond to provide testimony.”
Monday: MLK Day of Service in Arlington — “Celebrate the National MLK Day of Service by joining EcoAction Arlington to clean up trash and debris from Four Mile Run and surrounding streets. Everyone is welcome; we will provide supplies and snacks.” [ARLnow Events]
A new Ballston barber business is opening next week.
Dubbed the “Bearded Goat Barber,” the shop is owned by serial entrepreneur Scott Parker, who says the business will welcome customers starting next Monday. The Bearded Goat is located at the Ballston Exchange development on Wilson Blvd.
Previously, Parker told ARLnow that he’d be opening shop with barbers Eric Renfro and Jon Dodson who were striking out on their own after working at the Clarendon’s Hendricks Barbershop, which opened in 2016.
“They’re awesome guys with a combined 20-plus years barbering,” Parker told ARLnow. “It was a no brainer.”
In addition to “awesome cuts,” Parker said patrons can expect “hot towel service and cold brew on tap.”
The barber’s location at the Ballston Exchange development was formerly occupied by the National Science Foundation. These days the development is adding eateries like Shake Shack and Philz Coffee, among others, which Parker said last year that he and his team were “really excited to be among.”
Parker launched several restaurants in Arlington — Ballston’s A-Town, Clarendon’s G.O.A.T. and Don Tito, and Rosslyn’s Barley Mac — before venturing into other businesses.
He’s also backing a new boxing studio in Rosslyn called Bash Boxing, which recently opened, and he has plans to expand the gym into Ballston as well. It will be located in the Ballston Quarter development, across from the Ballston Exchange.
It’s scheduled to open its doors in early 2019 and is now “coming soon,” according to its website.
The Crystal City Sports Pub no longer offers just beers and bites to eat — the restaurant now has its own barber as well.
“Crystal City Cuts” opened up on the first floor of the bar in mid-February, with a small salon in the back corner of the restaurant (529 23rd Street S.).
A sign outside the bar invites patrons to “get a buzz and get buzzed.”
The new barbershop, which only has room for one or two customers at a time, is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Anyone hoping for a trim on Saturday can swing by from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
The bar is one of the longest tenured watering holes in Crystal City, and even the county as a whole, and has served up beers since 1994.
A high-end barbershop for men will soon join the new Ballston Quarter development.
The Grooming Store is “coming soon” to the revamped Ballston Common mall (4238 Wilson Blvd), according to the company’s website and Ballston Quarter’s online directory.
The shop applied for a building permit at a 1,300-square-foot space in the development back in November, county records show, though it’s unclear where in the mall it will be located.
The barbershop offers hair cuts and beard trims with online reservations available, according to its website. It also sells a whole host of skincare and haircare products.
The Ballston location will become the company’s second overall: the other is located in Ashburn.
The mall’s new upscale food court is set to open sometime next month, and developer Forest City hopes to have the bulk of stores in the development open by this spring.