Arlington, VA

Anyone interested in getting their Arlington t-shirts or D.C. skyline onesies should buy now because local apparel store District Line Co. is going out of business.

The one-woman clothing company based in Cherrydale is planning to shut down by July after the rest of the inventory is sold off.

Lisa McLaughlin, the store’s founder, said as the store passed its five year anniversary in April, she discovered that she’d lost her enthusiasm for the business.

“That surprised me,” McLaughlin told ARLnow. “I looked at stuff coming up, like we were going to need to rebrand or rename, so it was kind of a combination of things but mainly I just realized on a business level that it’s a lot of work to continue growing a brand. You have to have a passion to do that, and I just felt like I wasn’t the right person to do that.”

McLaughlin said one of the early mistakes was not trademarking the company’s name, so she was in conflict with similarly named companies and often received reviews meant for the other companies.

“I loved doing business in Arlington,” McLaughlin said. “When I started this company we made about four shirts and did one event. I didn’t know if anyone was going to get this concept. But people loved their neighborhoods. The Arlington community was very supportive.”

In retrospect, McLaughlin said she would have hired someone to help manage the company.

“I would set it up differently,” McLaughlin said. “I’d have hired at least one person, even if it’s part time, to help with day to day. I’d have spent time on a business plan and think through how will I actually use my hours on what things.”

District Line Co. is currently working on selling off its inventory in a farewell sale. McLaughlin said anyone using the code “farewell25” on the website will receive a 25 percent discount on merchandise.

Image via District Line Co.

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Morning Notes

Apartment Fire on Carlin Springs Road — Firefighters are braving bitter cold conditions this morning to fight an apartment fire on the 3400 block of Carlin Springs Road, in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County, just over the Arlington border. Eight people were rescued from the burning apartment building. [Twitter, Twitter]

Garvey Presses for Civility — “One member of the Arlington County Board is making a concerted effort to remind residents of the need for civility in public discourse… [Libby] Garvey said she has noted that, on contentious issues, those with an opinion frequently are digging in their heels.” [InsideNova]

Lowering Child Care Costs in Arlington — “Arlington County has the highest child care costs in the Washington region, largely because we have high land values, tighter regulations, and affluent households. To start to bring down the price and make licensed child care more accessible for more residents, Arlington has embarked on a Child Care Initiative to address local zoning ordinances and child care codes that impact cost.” [Greater Greater Washington]

AWLA Alum in Us Weekly — Olympian Gus Kenworthy was pictured in a recent issue of Us Weekly magazine with Birdie, the dog he adopted from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington this past summer. [Instagram]

Startup Leaves Crystal City — “A notary startup that has called Arlington home since 2015 appears to have moved much of its local operation to Boston as part of a restructuring.” [Washington Business Journal]

Vacancy Increasing at Crystal City Shops? — “Of the 88 storefronts underneath 1750 Crystal Drive, 42 were vacant this week when Bisnow walked the corridors.” [Bisnow]

Crystal House Plan ‘Could Set a Precedent’ — “Plans to double the number units at the Crystal House Apartments will be a litmus test for future development in Crystal City, as Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters ushers in 25,000 jobs to the area over 12 years.” [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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It’s a challenge to find courtesy and civility these days. Why navigate congested lots for contested parking spots and crowded stores with harried service at the mall?

Lee Heights Shops in North Arlington, where Old Dominion Drive and Lee Highway meet, features independent shops, restaurants and cafes that specialize in individual attention and personal service – with staff that truly know their merchandise and customers – and want to help you find just the right thing.

Plus, here’s always plenty of free parking in front and rear.

In fact, the readers of Arlington Magazine just made it a top vote getter for best shopping area in their Best Of edition.

Just opened: Everyone gets great cuts and brilliant color by Jon David Salon’s highly trained hair stylists. The look is sophisticated – yet the vibe is friendly.

Bring your four-footed friends to Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming. While your pup’s getting beautiful, you can shop for dog products and healthy, delicious treats.

Entertaining at home? Get expert guidance then stock up on wine, premium beer and artisanal cheese at Arrowine. Pick up a Peruvian-style chicken at the perfectly named Crisp and Juicy. And treat your guests to a sweet finish with treats baked in-house at Pastries by Randolph.

Make sure you stop by in late December to get to know The Old Dominion Pizza Company. These pros promise to deliver the iconic neighborhood pizza place with awesome pies.

And, for your gift-giving, the merchants at Lee Heights can help you pick out the perfect sparkly bauble at Facets Jewelers, unique stylish lady’s and children’s clothing and accessories at Lemoncello, or find the ‘this season’s ‘must-have-it-toy’ at Barston’s Childs Play.

Join us at Lee Heights Shops — the Mall Alternative.

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The Winter Festival of Lights is set to brighten up various spots along Lee Highway with 10,000 lights on Saturday (Dec. 1).

From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., locals can check out the free festival’s four different venues, which will have holiday music, shopping, performances, art, food and photos with Santa.

The first stop at the Lee Arts Center (5722 Lee Highway) includes a kid-friendly crafting area in the artists’ studios where families can make buttons, watch local artists make ceramic bowls for the AFAC Empty Bowls fundraiser and learn how to make a holiday card with the printing press.

Kids can sing holiday favorites with “Sing Books with Emily” from noon to 2 p.m. Pizza from Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta and a tasting by LaMoo Creamery will be available.

The second spot along the corridor, next to the Petco at 5400 Lee Highway, features magic and puppies. Attendees can meet Marymount University’s Pattern Makers and Fashion Club, chat with Arlington County library staff and learn from Arlington planners about the upcoming Lee Highway Planning Study while munching on food from Peter Chang and Harris Teeter.

The schedule includes:

  • Christmas trees and wreaths available at the All Seasons Farm Market
  • Performance by magician Steve Kish from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Performance by Jack Russell terriers Mario and Bella, who will show off a variety of tricks during the Jacks are Wild Dog Show
  • A donation box for pet food from the Arlington Animal Welfare League
  • How-to workshop for “cloved oranges” and Mt. Vernon-style natural wreaths with Melanie Welles Creamer from Mt. Vernon’s Greenhouse

Holiday enthusiasts can also head to the Langston-Brown Community Center (2121 N. Culpeper Street) to learn about local history and take photos with Santa and firefighters. Food from the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe and Joe’s Place Pizza & Pasta will be available.

Other activities there include:

  • Face-painting
  • Compete for prizes in the Amazing Passport Race
  • Book signing by local author Wilma Jones for “My Halls Hill Family, More Than a Neighborhood”
  • Exhibition from the winners of a biennial program that recognizes excellence in architecture, historic preservation, landscape architecture and public art
  • Toy charitable dropbox from the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH)
  • Music from the Celestial Voices, The Arlington Chorale and Clarinestique Clarinet Choir

Finally, the “Shop Like a Local Holiday Market” at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire House (3900 Lee Highway) tops off the festivities.

Photo via Lee Highway Alliance

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Morning Notes

Homelessness Still Falling in Arlington — The annual count of homeless individuals in the region found that the homeless population in Arlington is continuing to fall. According to numbers from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, there were 221 people experiencing homelessness in Arlington during the count this year. That’s down from 232 last year and 479 in 2013, but up from 174 in 2016. [MWCOG]

ACPD Using Robocalls to Catch Serial Flasher — Arlington County Police are using automated phone calls to ask residents for tips about the man wanted for repeated indecent exposure incidents in the Rosslyn, Courthouse and Ft. Myer Heights areas. [WJLA]

Twitter User Battles Shopping Carts — Like @CartsOfPCArl before it, @CartChaos22202 is fighting a lonely war against stray, abandoned shopping carts in Pentagon City and Crystal City. [Twitter]

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At least two Arlington farmers markets — in Crystal City and Ballston — are kicking off for the season this week.

In Crystal City, the farmers market at 1900 Crystal Drive will kick off tomorrow (April 3). The market, open from 3-7 p.m. every Tuesday, will have over 20 regional farmers, producers, and vendors.

Mexican street food vendor Manos de Maiz and the grass-fed beef hot dog and hamburger food truck Swizzler will be among this year’s new offerings.

Shoppers can also pick up “conventional and certified organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and pastured poultry and eggs, sweet and savory baked goods, handmade pastas, honey, jams, and jellies, hot sauces and pickles, and delicious prepared foods,” according to FRESHFARM, the nonprofit market organizer behind both Crystal City and Ballston markets.

The farmers market at Ballston’s Welburn Square is set to open on Thursday (April 5). Among other goods, shoppers can find “ice cream, sweet and savory baked goods, Virginia-made wines, cold-pressed juices, handmade soaps and lotions, wood-fired pizza, [and] hot pressed sandwiches” between 3-7 p.m. every Thursday.

New Ballston vendors this year include strudel stand Little Austria, and Number 1 Sons with their fermented pickles, krauts, and kimchis.

On the first Thursday of each month, the Ballston market will host a beer and wine garden, music, and giveaways.

Both the Crystal City and Ballston farmers markets accept SNAP and WIC program benefits and offer matching dollars for what is spent through those programs.

The farmers market outside Clarendon’s Metro station is opening April 11, with listed hours of 3-7 p.m., according to Clarendon Alliance director Matt Hussman.

Other farmers markets in the county, with listed hours, include:

In addition, a new farmers market has been proposed for Barrett Elementary School.

Photos via Arlington County

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After year-and-a-half of dramatic improvements, the 56-year-old Barcroft Plaza Shopping Center is ready for its close-up.  

Federal Realty, which has owned the 115,000-square-foot center since 2007, invested several million dollars and considerable expertise to bring the centrally located plaza at 6345 Columbia Pike in Falls Church up-to-date, with modern design detailing and an improved tenant mix that includes a new Glory Days Grill. 

“Federal Realty is proud to own and invest in our local community,” said Kari Glinksi, director of asset management for Federal Realty. “The scope of the improvements go beyond the superficial. Not only have we elevated the standard of design for the center but we’ve also enriched the customer experience.” 

Among the changes: Old canopies, signs and storefronts have been replaced with new facades boasting modern architectural details; improved lighting for safety and appeal; new signage above and below the canopy; and fresh landscaping that adds new energy to the plaza.  

There’s now an outdoor patio at the Starbucks, new pavement on the parking lot (plus 19 additional parking places) and new attention to detail at the nearby 7-11, which Federal Realty purchased in 2016 in an effort to maintain a standard for the entire plaza. 

But all of this is likely to be overshadowed, at least for now, by the grand opening of the Glory Days Grill on January 17. There are innumerable reasons why the Fairfax-based local chain of family sports grills has won state and local Restaurant Neighbor Awards from the National Restaurant Association 13 times since 2003, in addition to dozens of other awards (see them listed here). Newcomers to the full-service restaurant will quickly become fans. 

 The 20 shops, restaurants and services of Barcroft Plaza, including the Harris Teeter supermarket and a Bank of America branch, have a new look, new energy and a new tenant that will continue to add excitement to the community for years to come. 

Barcroft Plaza Shopping Center is at 6345 Columbia Pike in Falls Church. There are leasing opportunities of 1,500-to-3,900 square feet for interested tenants. The website is here. This article was written by ARLnow.com and sponsored by Federal Realty Investment Trust.

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Someone tampered with vendor kiosks at a shopping center in Pentagon City this past weekend.

Three kiosks were tampered with and two had cash and merchandise stolen.

Police are now investigating the thefts, which happened during the key holiday shopping season.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

LARCENY (Series), 2017-12110069, 1100 block of S. Hayes Street. Between 11:00 p.m. on December 9 and 9:00 a.m. on December 11, an unknown suspect(s) tampered with three kiosks. Cash and merchandise were reported missing from two of the businesses. There is no suspect description. The investigation is ongoing.

File photo

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The Holiday Season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year — until it isn’t, because of crowds, long checkout lines, surly service and competitive parking games.

Avoid all that and come to Lee Heights Shops to actually enjoy your holiday shopping.

Our shops, restaurants and cafes specialize in individual attention and personal service — with sales staffs that truly know their merchandise and customer base — and want to help you find the right thing.

7 Easy Ways to Put the HO HO HO in your Holiday Shopping at Lee Heights Shops

  1. What’s the “it” gift for kids is this year? Believe it or not, it’s Slime. Barstons Child’s Play has a full section of ready-made slime and slime making kits (yes, that is actually a thing). Fortunately the slime is conveniently located right next to one of this season’s other hot gift themes — unicorns. From Legos to board games and everything in between, the Barstons’ elves will help you find the right gift for children of all ages.
  2. Holiday baking — who has time? And who wants to clean up? Pick up some freshly baked cookies, and we won’t tell if you pass them off as homemade — and don’t forget your holiday pies, cakes and other delectable edibles. One of Pastries by Randolph’s Yule Logs makes a tasty centerpiece and a delicious dessert.
  3.  Speaking of pies, everyone likes pecan, pumpkin and apple — but don’t forget the artisanal pizza pies at Upper Crust Pizzeria. Stop in to fortify yourself with a slice — or take a whole pizza home — bam! Dinner is done! Leave a roasted red pepper, bacon and blue cheese beauty by the fire and see if Santa doesn’t up his game this year.
  4. Feeling bewildered about selecting a gift for the women in your life? This is where small shops with personal service really trump the big malls. Turn to the experts at Lemoncello Boutique, Facets JewelryRandom Harvest Home Furnishings and Waste Knot Needlepoint for help in selecting the perfect gift — from va-va-va-voom to blissfully comfy-cozy; from sparkling earrings to lovely necklaces; and tasteful clever ornaments for the home. The needlework experts at Waste Knot Needle point will help you select the perfect canvas and threads for the stitcher in your life. (Gift cards available, too.)
  5. Your celebration won’t be complete without Arrowine’s bubbly champagne, the perfect wine pairing for your feast and craft beers. And don’t forget to linger at their charcuterie and cheese counters to round out your party platters.
  6. Take a break with a relaxing lunch at Cassatt’s Cafe (take-out available) and everyone can agree on the Peruvian chicken at Crisp & Juicy or tasty tacos and burritos from Chipotle. Grab a cup of coffee for fuel to keep going from Starbucks.
  7. What takes the J out of Joy more than spending eons trying to find a parking spot? Any sugarplums dancing in your head will likely be replaced with a black cloud and simmering discontent before you even begin the task of holiday shopping. Lee Heights Shops has ample parking in front and behind. Easy, free parking — what a luxury.

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The day after Thanksgiving promises to be a busy one for the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, as it throws open its doors at 7 a.m. for Black Friday.

It marks the start of the Christmas shopping period across the country, and the mall here will be open until 9:30 p.m. for shoppers looking for deals.

Todd Jerscheid, director of marketing and business development, said anticipation is building for customers and mall employees alike.

“It’s like our Super Bowl Day, if you will. It’s a big day for us,” he said. “It’s where retailers really pull out all the stops and put their best foot forward, and not only supply great sales and promotions and that sort of thing, but it’s also offering that customer experience and welcoming shoppers in during the holiday.”

Jerscheid said customers can expect a slightly slower start to the morning — fewer doorbuster shoppers — than in some other places that open early for Black Friday. But then by mid-morning, foot traffic really picks up.

“I’ve been here nine years, and we pretty much have a very good flow of traffic on Black Friday,” he said. “We are not an early-riser mall, like some malls that open really early in the morning. I would say from 11 a.m. on, the traffic becomes very heavy and then it goes on through the remainder of the evening.”

As in previous years, Jerscheid said the mall will offer its “Shopper Survivor Kit” for the first 100 people who visit Guest Services after opening. The kit has bottled water, coupons, samples and snacks, and is intended to encourage people to shop early in the day.

And the other offer, which Jerscheid said is a “pretty big hit,” is “Santa’s Grab Bag Giveaway.” If a shopper spends $150 or more between 7 and 9 a.m., they can reach into the grab bag and have a chance to win gift cards, prizes from retailers or even a free coffee at Starbucks.

That is in addition to the dozens of stores that will have sales and deals throughout Black Friday and the weekend, while the mall will have a special visitor for children of all ages.

“We can’t forget the big man in the red suit,” Jerscheid said. “He is definitely here. He arrived on November 18, and will be here for photos… Kids can also write a little letter electronically to Santa and send it up to the North Pole.”

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Just in time for the holidays, a pop-up store celebrating local businesses and artisans opened today (Wednesday) in Courthouse.

The “Made in Arlington” pop-up shop is on the ground floor of county government headquarters at 2100 Clarendon Blvd, in the Plaza Library.

It will be open on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. between now and December 22. And on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., special exhibits will take place in the lobby from local artists.

The shop, which features vendors selling food and gifts, “will help Arlingtonians find that one-of-a-kind gift during the holiday season, while also supporting local businesses and artists,” according to a press release.

The new products are just inside the library entrance, next to the shop’s usual array of Arlington-branded t-shirts, water bottles, chocolate and other items.

From an Arlington Economic Development press release, the vendors include:

And on Thursdays, representatives from the following businesses will be on hand:

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