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Small Biz Focus: Fast-Growth Businesses Honored at the Arlington Premiere

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

By Sindy Yeh

Kicking off the holiday season last week, Arlington celebrated business success at its Arlington Premier event on November 28 at the new Convene space in Rosslyn. More than 300 business leaders attended the Arlington Premiere reception, which recognizes new businesses in the Arlington community.

For the fourth year in a row, the event also honored some of Arlington’s fastest growing companies — known as the Arlington Fast Four. The winners were formally announced and recognized at the reception.

Entrants for the Arlington Fast Four were privately-held companies that needed to demonstrate year-over-year revenue growth from 2015, 2016 and 2017. Winners were required to provide income statements to show proof of growth and revenue. This year’s winners were chosen in each of four categories (to comprise the Arlington Fast Four).

The 2018 Fast Four Winners are:

Mind Body Health — Under $500,000

Mind Body Health is a private practice of psychologists and dietitians dedicated to providing compassionate, evidence-based care. The experts specialize in providing individual psychotherapy and nutrition counseling for the treatment of chronic medical conditions, depression and a variety of disorders. Mind Body Health is in the Courthouse neighborhood of Arlington and has been serving clients here since 2014.

Eminent IT — $500k – $1.5M

Eminent IT is a software development company established in 2009 focused on helping organizations and government agencies revamp their business processes and technology. Its clients include the U.S. Navy and the White House. The company has also received the 2015 and 2018 Top Federal Innovators of the Year award.

LiveSafe — $1.5M – $5M

Livesafe offers a mobile two-way safety communications platform and risk mitigation tool used by businesses and universities. It was founded by a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting tragedy. Livesafe’s mobile app allows users to report incidents, share their location and also find and call for emergency services.

The company has deep roots in Arlington; some of its Board members live here and have founded several other Arlington-based companies such as Buysafe and Hungry.

AM LLC — $5M – $50M

AM LLC’s full name is Applied Memetics. Since 2012, AM has supported contracts with the federal government across the Health, Defense and Intelligence markets. The company is growing quickly and hiring data scientists, engineers, and cyber security analysts to work in Arlington and throughout the region at client sites.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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Small Biz Focus: Shop! Learn! Explore! It’s All Arlington this Holiday Season

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

Mark your calendars for these December Saturdays to find uniquely Arlington made items, learn from the makers and welcome in the season with a festival of lights along Lee Highway! It’s a full-on celebration of all things local and creative in Arlington.

Lee Highway Winter Festival of Lights
Saturday, December 1 from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

The Lee Highway Alliance pulls out all the stops on its inaugural Winter Festival of Lights that spans four venues along Lee Highway. Dozens of community partners have come together to celebrate this corridor of Arlington with shops, artists, entertainment and of course lots of lights.

Be on hand to try a craft at the Lee Arts Center, learn local history at the Langston-Brown Community Center, hear music and watch magic at the Lee and Harrison Plaza, and shop local at the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire House.

Save some time for a photo with Santa and sample great food all along the corridor!

Click here for more information.

Made in Arlington at Shirlington Library
Saturday, December 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year, make your shopping interactive! In its continued partnership with Arlington Public Library, Arlington Economic Development’s Made in Arlington Initiative takes pop-ups to a new level with a one-day event at Shirlington Library. Curious how baskets are woven or how jam is made? You’ll find a big new array of makers, artisans and entrepreneurs who will be on hand to demonstrate the work that is uniquely Made in Arlington.

Among the many vendors in this market you’ll find Kate Summers handmade and vintage jewelry, Jay Gerard’s knitted scarves and accessories, stained glass artist Maria Illlingworth, leather craftsman Wilfred Lopez and Persimmon Street ceramics.

Click here for more information.

For ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities, check here. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

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Small Biz Focus: Virginia Supports Veterans, V3 Certification Opportunity

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Sindy Yeh

In honoring our veterans this past week, we would like to share a wonderful program the Commonwealth of Virginia sponsors in support of those leaving the military seeking employment.

Did you know the Commonwealth of Virginia is one of the most veteran-friendly states in the nation?

Virginia is comprised of the most veteran-owned small businesses in the country. Not so surprising considering Virginia is home to the Pentagon in Arlington and the world’s largest naval base in Norfolk. There are hundreds of thousands of active-duty service members serving within the Commonwealth’s borders and many have chosen to call Virginia home upon leaving the military.

With more than 750,000 veterans located in Virginia, the Commonwealth has had the fastest growing veteran labor force over the past 5 years and is projected to continue to have the fastest growing veteran population over the next five years.

With such a highly skilled and adaptable workforce living here, Virginia recognizes the opportunity to promote veteran talent to the civilian workforce and to help businesses become more successful by focusing on hiring the right people for the job.

One such initiative, the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program, provides education, training and connectivity resources to assist companies to implement nationally recognized best practices in recruiting, hiring and retaining veterans. Virginia companies who have completed all V3 training requirements and have submitted a veteran hiring plan will be recognized as an official “V3-Certified Company.”

Furthermore, V3 qualified companies with fewer than 300 employees may qualify for up to $10,000 in grants, with $1,000 being awarded per eligible veteran that is hired and retained for at least one year.

Several Arlington companies are officially V3-Certified, namely Lunarline, CACI, Cydecor, G4S Secure Solutions, First Division Consulting, Shoulder 2 Shoulder, By Light Professional IT Services and National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association.

We encourage Arlington companies to consider becoming V3 certified to seize the opportunity to find the workforce they need within the veteran community.

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Small Biz Focus: ‘Tis the Season to Celebrate Local Biz

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

Act local. Think local. Let’s Celebrate.

Small Business Saturday is almost upon us! The day after Black Friday is the day to formally celebrate the local businesses where we love to shop. Shopping local keeps our community unique, and what better way to support our independently-owned businesses than by patronizing them on November 24.

According to American Express, in 2017 an estimated 108 million consumers across the United States reported shopping or dining at independently-owned business on Small Business Saturday. These consumers generated $12 billion in reported spending.

Join BizLaunch online for an interactive pre-celebration of shopping local on Monday, November 19. We will visit area retail businesses throughout the day and promote our local shops in Arlington, VA on both Twitter and Facebook. Follow our hashtags as we visit local retail businesses to help you figure out which local shops you should visit on Small Business Saturday.

We invite you to tag your favorite local small business all day. Businesses can also join in on the fun if they’d like to tag themselves. Let’s celebrate our local businesses. Join us on Twitter by following #ShopSmall#ArlingtonVA#SmallBizSat and #ShopArlington.

Another great pre-celebratory event to support our local businesses is the, “Shop Local Walking Tour,” of Crystal City and Pentagon City on Saturday, November 17. BizLaunch is partnering with WalkArlington, Netwalking and the Crystal City BID to host the event.

Enjoy the area’s walkability, hear stories from local business owners and get a jump start on shopping local for the holidays. The event is free but registration is required. More information can be found here.

We hope you plan to #ShopLocal and #ShopArlington this Small Business Saturday!

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Small Biz Focus: Made in Arlington Holiday Pop-Ups

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

What better way to stir up an appetite for holiday shopping than sampling handmade pies? And stocking up on artist created greeting cards? And heavenly chocolate?

The Made in Arlington pop-up shop at Courthouse Plaza is back in 2018 with even more weekly artisans and entrepreneurs starting Thursday, November 1 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Find your favorites and welcome newcomers who will make this your go-to for gift giving and indulgence.

Opening day on November 1 features ‘Livin the Pie Life’, rated by Sports Illustrated as the BEST game day Thanksgiving Pie. The 2017 sell-out pie shop pop-up means that showing up early is a must this year! Line up for samples, purchases and info on how to order your holiday favorites. Don’t be left with crumbs!

Right along-side Pie Life will be FastSnail creative greetings and design with cards and prints that both amuse and amaze. Featured in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Marketplace, Fast Snail’s Liz Hutcheson designs cards with local flavor, seasonal character and all occasion whimsical greetings.

Don’t miss these weekly pop-up vendors throughout November:

November 1
Living the Pie Life
FastSnail creative greetings and designs

November 8
Denison Lane
Bakeshop

November 15
Kingsbury Chocolates
Tracy Wilkerson

November 29
Melanie Lee
District Line Clothing

Full Pop-Up Schedule throughout December can be found here.

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

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Small Biz Focus: Top Media Tools for Your Business

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

2018. The age of viral videos and shared media posts.

How does it happen? What are the best ways to reach your clients in the short and long term? Does it make sense for your business to engage in certain activities which require the latest media tools? Do you have the right tools in your arsenal to engage successfully with your customers?

In a perfect world, your business should have a detailed (up-to-date) strategic plan in place when it comes to interacting with your customers.

First, you’ll need to answer the most fundamental question: how do your clients best receive information? Once you find out where your clients are the next thing is to understand everything about the platform, and create tools to help you to interact and engage.

Media Toolkit Quick Checklist

Step 1: Website — The content on your web site should be clear, informative and not too wordy. Less is best.

The ultimate goal of success is that all activities (blog posts, tweets, FB and LinkedIn etc.) will lead potential clients to your Web site to purchase your goods or services. This is the “call-to-action,” that your media kit must have, and your Web site is the virtual calling card of your business.

Add analytics to see how well your Web site is performing. Are you on the first page in search engines when people look for you using your industry’s key words? Anything less means your clients may find it hard to find you in search engines.

Step 2: Social Media Presence — Identify which platforms your clients are on, and make sure you are there! Social Media options can range from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and more.

Follow key influencers and make sure you ask them to follow you back. Freshen content daily and use different online platforms to help you manage daily content. Many of these social media tools can help you analyze how well your data and information are being opened, clicked on and shared.

Keep in mind — the more active you are on social media (using industry keywords and hashtags where applicable), the higher you can be found on search engines!

Step 3: Use of Photography/Videography — These days almost anyone can be a photographer or videographer on-the-go if you own a smartphone or tablet. The high quality of images can be captured right on your phone, making just about anyone a great photographer, and the opportunities to engage endless.

The use of images and video content on your Web site and social media platforms are critical and help in making your content clickable. The more you can use images and video the more interactive you will make the experience for your clients.

Step 4: Experiential Marketing — Nowadays, many marketing strategies and marketing campaigns include experiential touches. In building a brand, companies engage their customers throughout the process to ensure the success of their product or service.

If a customer feels a deep tie with the business, they are loyal to the brand. A campaign can include customers contributing to the overall look and feel of the business or participating in activities that encourage giving back to a community.

BizLaunch and the Arlington Independent Media (AIM) are pleased to announce they will be offering several business courses next month on how to best use media tools to build your business.

We will launch the first course with making sure you have everything you need in your media toolkit, and then move on to specific instruction on both photography and videography for your business.

For more information please click on the hyperlinks below. We hope you can join us to brush up on your skills or to improve the ones you have!

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Small Business Focus: Got a Great Idea?

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

The summer of 2018 was busy at BizLaunch.

Entrepreneurs opened new businesses at a fast pace and there was never a dull moment. Innovative ideas and solutions were discussed and strategies implemented. New small businesses did not take a break.

In fact, mentorship of new businesses was up by 30% from the prior summer. Entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries sought assistance to launch their business endeavors. Small business growth is on the rise.

So what do you do if you have a great idea that you’d love to launch? How do you succeed and go on to become the next Shark Tank success story?

Our answer is simple. Use local (FREE!) resources to help you turn your idea into reality.

We’ve got you covered this fall.

The first thing you’ll want to do is research your industry. Understand where the opportunities and threats lie. Identify a well-defined target market and begin to develop your business plan.

Arlington Public Library is a wonderful resource and has several free tools to help you successfully launch. The list of tools can be found here, and the best news is there is a Business Librarian you can meet with to help you navigate the various available tools for you to use.

Better yet — we will be conducting a live Lunch Webinar on October 10 at noon on “Best Researching Tools for Entrepreneurs in 2018.”

Next, we cordially invite you to attend our program on October 25 entitled “Are you Ready to Start Your Business?” At this event you’ll walk through everything you need to know to successfully launch your idea.

We discuss all points of regulations, planning, and resources as you make your decision to go forward or not. Key BizLaunch partners will be in attendance and will be available to answer your questions as well as to network for additional resources.

We hope to see you this fall to keep our business community thriving!

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Small Biz Focus: Put Away Your Crystal Ball

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

Entrepreneurship is tough.

Entrepreneurship is demanding.

Entrepreneurship is being present at the right time, and at the right place.

Why? Can’t you simply have a good idea and execute? Does entrepreneurship have to be tough, and demanding, and at the right time and place?

Well, an important reason why (and one not explained too often) is because you must be able to predict the future. Yes, your ability to invoke keen foresight is a key skill for an entrepreneur. However, don’t dust off the crystal ball yet.

As an entrepreneur, one must constantly be ahead of trends — whether it is the latest innovation, keeping up with your competition or knowing “exactly,” how the U.S. economy will respond to outside forces (i.e., think trade war). An entrepreneur must constantly be several steps ahead of the market to plan, to prepare, and to mitigate risk to succeed over time.

How does the overall U.S. economy impact the region? Will the trade war impact Arlington businesses, and if so in what way? Unemployment is at an all-time low — but does that mean many people are working? Or are individuals underemployed?

We hope to be able to help your crystal ball predict the future by bringing in experts who are looking at the current trends that may impact your business.

BizLaunch is pleased to announce with our partners the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce our latest Brunch and Business: The 2018 Economy — Navigating Trade Wars and Discovering Business Opportunities.

Join us October 3 at SPACES The Artisphere as you hear from two experts in the field who will address this topic: GMU’s Director of the Center for Regional Analysis, Dr. Terry Clower, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director for International Policy, Kris Denzel will engage in a dynamic discussion of the 2018 economy and beyond.

The event is free and open to the public. We hope you will be able to join us!

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Small Biz Focus: The Alcove Comes Alive

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

On a recent Thursday evening, The Alcove pop-up space in Rosslyn became an extra dimension for another seminar in the series ROC: Return on Creativity, an Arlington Asset.

The panel of creatives delivered on navigating the changing landscape of publishing, branding, libraries and learning; the Rosslyn BID, Arlington Public Library, Arlington Economic Development and the American Advertising Federation D.C. Chapter brought everything else.

Starting with Greg Kihlstrom’s launch of his newest book, The Agile Brand, library moderator Genelle Schuler led panelists Scott Williams (Newseum), Lisa Nirell (Energize Growth). Geoff Livingston (Livingston Campaigns) and Cynthia Connolly (who doesn’t love Banned in DC?) in a forum that was as lively as the space.

“I really enjoyed the panel discussion… It was great to hear from the panel that self-publishing is a more than viable option its often the better route to go down. I have often had the desire to dig deep on a subject matter and write a book. I think as I go through this period of self-discovery about my brand and purpose I will identify what that will be soon!” – Kat Azima, Denteo Marketing Group

Temporary pop-up spaces are taking on a sophistication — and a new role — that is shifting place-making and retail. If it weren’t for the occasional plywood flooring and the whirring vent fans, visitors to the Alcove would think they’d found a surprising new boutique. A full wall mural greets visitors, a rainbow of fibers floats along the windows and shoppers lounge in a mini living room.

This is way more than decoration.

The Alcove pop-up space is a two month experiential endeavor soon to be occupied by a long term tenant. But from the size of the audience at Return on Creativity, the constant flow of visitors to the book shop and the Etsy pop-up, these prototype spaces are combining consumers’ curiosity with a desire for an Instagram moment.

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

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Small Biz Focus: The Summer of Small Business Startups

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

As we enter the dog days of summer, business is flourishing in Arlington.

This summer BizLaunch, Arlington’s small business assistance network has seen a 30% rise in the number of entrepreneurs starting businesses. People across the county are launching businesses at a fast clip in a wide variety of industries such as childcare, fitness, eCommerce, financial management, retail as well as consulting.

Ages of new business owners range from young to older adults — and BizLaunch is also experiencing an uptick in the number of women entrepreneurs.

What is the root cause of why so many people are interested in launching their business this summer?

Most new business owners state they were interested in leaving their current jobs and starting their own businesses because they felt they had more to offer than what they were doing for a larger corporation.

They also want to improve industry standards based on their own experiences. Many startups expressed a desire to be engaged in social entrepreneurship — because they are interested in giving back to the community they live in for a variety of causes.

In response to the large number of new businesses, this fall, BizLaunch will host a variety of specialized programs to address the increased needs of new entrepreneurs in our community.

BizLaunch will be bringing back its hugely popular quarterly series of Brunch and Business events with our sponsors Arlington Community Federal Credit Union, Spaces at the Artisphere and partner the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

Please save the date — we will kick off the first Brunch and Business on October 3 at Spaces at the Artisphere and will be addressing the current Trade War and its effect on local businesses.

Bookmark our BizLaunch events Webpage today to stay abreast with all of the upcoming small business activities including training, educational workshops and networking opportunities.

We hope to see you there this fall!

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Small Biz Focus: Return on Creativity Series Continues at The Alcove

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Telling the story of how business and branding work gets a novel look when creatives become published authors.

In the third seminar in the Return on Creativity Series, Arlington Economic Development partners with Arlington Public Library, the Rosslyn BID and the American Advertising Federation in Rosslyn’s brand new pop-up retail space at The Alcove.

Keynote speaker Greg Kihlström is Senior Vice President, Digital, at Yes& and Chair of the American Advertising Federation National Technology Advisory Committee. His new book, “The Agile Brand,” traces the evolution of branding, from its beginnings to its authentic relationship with brands that modern consumers want.

The book gives practical examples of how companies can create a more modern, agile brand while staying true to their core values.

According to Kihlström, being an agile brand means taking part in a relationship with consumers. While this means giving up some control, the reward is loyal, long-term customers.

Immediately following Kihlström’s presentation, a distinguished panel led by moderator Genelle Schuler of Arlington Public Library will continue the conversation and discuss the place that books play in today’s society and their approach to writing.

Panelists include Geoff Livingston, Principal, Livingston Campaigns; Lisa Nirell, Chief Energy Officer, EnergizeGrowth; and Scott Williams, President & COO, Newseum.

Date: Thursday, August 16
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
Location: The Alcove in Rosslyn, 1800 N. Lynn Street

Event is free. Register here.

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

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Small Biz Focus: 3 Arlington Businesses Unite — Yoga & the Power of Giving Back

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

Arlington is ranked the fittest City in the U.S. Not surprisingly, BizLaunch is seeing an uptick in the number of entrepreneurs starting health-related businesses across Arlington County.

Boutique fitness centers such as personal fitness, cycling, running and boxing — as well as yoga are on the rise. Many of these businesses are seeking ways to combine social impact with living a healthy lifestyle.

Three local Arlington yoga businesses have united together to work with veterans, military families and first responders as well as communities affected by addiction, violence and poverty.

Vetoga, Rebel Yoga and WRKwell are three Arlington-based organizations that are interested in giving back to the communities they serve.

Vetoga

Justin Blazejewski’s launched Vetoga after discovering that yoga helped him with a back injury he sustained while serving in the Marine Corps. Justin observed how yoga also helped heal the mental and emotional burdens he carried traveling in and out of war zones.

With 2,000+ hours of training in his yoga toolbox, Justin founded the Arlington based nonprofit organization Vetoga whose mission is to provide yoga, meditation and healing arts to military, veterans, their families and communities.

Vetoga accomplishes this by holding free monthly yoga classes, events and veteran specific 200-Hour Teacher Trainings throughout the year. Today, Vetoga has trained 90 veterans yoga teachers, impacted the lives of 10,000+ veterans and created new yoga-focused veteran communities in 65 U.S. cities and Melbourne, Australia.

Rebel Yoga

After Arlingtonian and Air Force Veteran Daniel Steiniger’s second back surgery from snowboarding, he found his way to yoga to try and prevent back injuries from occurring in the future. Daniel created Rebel Yoga to bring yoga teachings back to its roots.

Committed to sharing the benefits of yoga with underserved populations, Daniel founded the Rebel Yoga’s Foundation, Rebel Recovery, a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is: Seva (selfless service), providing free yoga, meditation and other services as needed to communities affected by addiction, violence and poverty.

WRKwell

Claudia Cavazza, recently transitioned out of her career in the athletic apparel industry to start the Arlington-based corporate wellness business, WRKwell. WRKwell designs VOI (Value on Investment) focused stress management solutions for local corporate clients.

Dedicated to leaving a positive social impact on the world, Claudia has chosen a shared value business model for WRKwell, to specifically create social value by offering custom-designed yoga and meditation focused stress management programs to veterans and first responders with limited access to it, at no cost to them.

In collaboration with Vetoga, WRKwell is also committed to provide professional opportunities to veterans interested in pursuing a career in the corporate wellness space.

Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival

All three Arlington yoga experts will all be on-hand and demonstrating their knowledge and expertise at the international Lovelight Yoga and Arts Festival on September 21-24 in Maryland.

Lovelight is a curated festival featuring yoga masters such as Sri Dharma Mittra and music artists such as Krisna Das, with the mission to celebrate life with yoga, to create community with music and to enlighten ourselves… one chant at a time.

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Small Biz Focus: Hungry? Thursday Pop-Ups at Courthouse are Mighty Tasty!

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

It was about to reach 89 degrees outside with high humidity. But when Rob Kingsbury started pouring his special recipe of iced lavender lemonade, the outdoor heat was barely noticeable.

As the vendors were setting up outside the Plaza Branch of the public library at Courthouse, the summer story time for preschoolers was winding down with catchy songs. So yes, there might have been some humming along.

Thursday, June 28 was the kickoff of the summer pop-up series in the lobby outside the Arlington Public Library Plaza Shop in the Bosman Government Center.

The ongoing compliment to the Made in Arlington initiative and partnership with Arlington Public Library is taking an edible turn this summer with vendors serving up mouth-watering treats. Kingsbury Chocolates and an array of yummy cookies from Bakeshop were first up to show off their entrepreneurial spirit.

Inside the Plaza Shop, bright new artist designed t-shirts from David Amoroso, whimsical cards from FastSnail and irresistible baby onesies stamped ‘Made in Arlington’ from Dennison Lane are adding fun, color and new inventory to the shop.

Probably not what most people would expect to find in a government center office building lobby, but Arlington is stepping up to create a place that is as much community as it is convenient for doing business.

Supporting entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives is all part of Arlington’s Creative Economy initiative. With public/private partnerships, growth of these endeavors is an important part of business sector diversity and economic sustainability.

So if it’s Thursday and you hear small voices singing and big voices swooning over sweets, you’re in the right place.

Thursday pop-ups:
July 12: BAKT by Ingrid: healthy can be super delicious
July 19: FastSnail greeting designs and PinUp Preserves
July 26: Livin’ the Pie Life and Commonwealth Joe coffee

12-3 p.m.
2100 Clarendon Blvd. 1st floor lobby

Check here for ongoing Creative Economy listings and opportunities. More Creative economy stories on the blog.

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Small Biz Focus: 3 Tips Before You Fall in Love… With a Location

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

By Tara Palacios

“Location, location, location.”

We’ve all heard the famous real estate saying — it’s all about location, location, location.

It’s true.

Customers value a location they can easily get to and parking. Popular pedestrian and neighborhood destinations are key for a small business to thrive.

Strategically targeted locations throughout Arlington fit the bill; however, before you sign a lease you need to keep in mind not to fall in love before you follow these simple steps.

Tip 1: Understand the Regulations

Commercial property is governed by Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance. Once you’ve identified a potential location you can check with the County’s interactive Zoning Map to see if the business use can be conducted in the leasable space.

Familiarize yourself with any policies that may impact the day-to-day operations of your business. For example, if you are interested in opening a Childcare Center your facility will need access to outdoor space — all regulations that can impact where you decide to locate your business.

If you have questions about regulations feel free to reach out to BizLaunch before you fall in love with a space.

Tip 2: Hire a Real Estate Broker

Finding the perfect location can take time.

The average length of time to find a retail location is between one to two years. The more experts you have helping you the better.

Space can be competitive; however, at the end of the day do not fall in love until the lease negotiations have ended. A broker can help identify space (that may not be published) and help with negotiations. Most landlords do not want to negotiate directly with the business owner.

More tips here on hiring and evaluating space. Remember do not fall in love yet — contact BizLaunch.

Tip 3: Negotiate the Lease

Negotiate.

A lease is meant to be negotiated prior to signature by both parties. Do not accept the proposed terms without having a professional review. If an offer is not favorable to your business prepare to walk away.

One example, of an area to negotiate is when the lease will commence. An entrepreneur can request to have the lease begin after construction is complete and a certificate of occupancy is issued. This could save money for the business owner in case of buildout delays.

Do not fall in love until the keys are in your hand and the terms of the lease are finalized. Need help? Contact BizLaunch.

Stay tuned. BizLaunch will be offering a course on lease negotiations in the fall. You can sign up here to keep up with the latest workshops and networking opportunities.

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Small Biz Focus: Return on Creativity — An Arlington Asset

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

In its second seminar in the series “Return on Creativity: An Arlington Asset”, Arlington Economic Development partners once more with American Advertising Federation (AAFDC) and Virginia Tech Research Center to tap the intersection and impact of creatives in the business community.

The June 28 session will draw on digital, media and creative companies who are changing the face of the area’s decades long work with government clients.

Once largely dependent on the federal government, the increase of private and commercial businesses moving into Arlington have attracted and seeded a new crop of creative and digital companies in the area.

Hear from industry leaders about the increase in creative reputation and business solutions being offered to these companies.

The ROC series will offer networking opportunities, first-hand insights and compelling evidence that Arlington is an accelerator to personal and organizational growth and prosperity. Learn about the companies that are improving the area’s creative reputation and earning new business from a variety of consumer companies.

Panelists include:

  • Greg Kihlstrom, SVP Digital — Yes&
  • Mike Kapetanovic, President — LMO
  • Vajaah Parker, Director of Digital Strategy — WDG
  • Victoria Mottesheard, Outfront Media

Join the next conversation and register here for “Return on Creativity: An Arlington Asset.”
Thursday, June 28 at VATech Research Center
Event is free with a reception to follow

Check here for ongoing creative economy listings and opportunities.

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