Arlington, VA

If the shelves are looking a little bare in the underground Rite Aid at 1671 Crystal Square Way, it’s because the store is set to close next month.

A sign at the front says the pharmacy is scheduled to close Monday, Feb. 17, and staff at the store said the full store is planned to close sometime later that month.

“The rest of it is being liquidated,” a store manager said. “It’s likely to close by the end of February.”

Signs at the store told visitors that their pharmacy records will be transferred to the Walgreens at 1301 S. Joyce Street.

The store, located at the north end of the sprawling underground complex, was still in fairly heavy use yesterday (Thursday) with visitors taking advantage of scattered discounts across the store. It’s closing despite the arrival of Amazon’s HQ2 in the area.

While the store is slowly getting rid of its inventory, many of the shelves further back in the store with toiletries and other goods are still well-stocked, along with a plentiful supply of beer and White Claws.

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Pier 1 to Close Rosslyn Store

(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Just over six years after it first opened, the Pier 1 Imports store in Rosslyn is closing.

The 11,000 square foot urban outpost of the national home décor chain, at 1717 Clarendon Blvd, is on a list of nearly 450 Pier 1 stores nationwide that are closing, according to Business Insider. The company is shuttering roughly half of its stores as it struggles to remain in business amid sagging sales and competition from e-commerce options like Wayfair.

Two stores are also closing in Alexandria, including the location at Potomac Yard, as well as the Pier 1 in Bailey’s Crossroads.

This morning the Rosslyn location had “store closing” and “everything on sale” signs in the front window, advertising 20-40% off storewide.

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(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) Greeting card and stationery store Papyrus is expected to close soon at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, the latest victim of a brutal business environment for bricks-and-mortar retailers.

The parent company of Papyrus is closing all of its more than 250 stores, news outlets reported last week, and a liquidation firm has been hired to help the chain sell off its remaining merchandise. It’s unclear when exactly the stores will close.

A 20% off sign could be seen in the Pentagon City store Tuesday afternoon.

The closure comes as Amazon, the biggest force behind shoppers shifting their spending from physical stores to e-commerce, moves into its second headquarters a few blocks away.

Greeting card shops are something of an endangered species, particularly in Arlington. A Hallmark store closed at Pentagon Row in 2012. Among greeting card purveyors that are still open, recent Ballston Quarter arrival Steadfast Supply has greeting cards and stationery, while a Hallmark store in Alexandria, near Fairlington, remains in business (despite this incident in 2016).

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Morning Notes

New Security Measures at ANC — “Arlington National Cemetery is implementing heightened security measures after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general. The extra security will create longer lines at security checkpoints and delays… All visitors over the age of 16 will be required to show a valid state or government photo ID to enter by foot or car, Arlington National Cemetery says. Visitors aged 16 or 17 can show a school-issued ID.” [NBC 4, Twitter]

Office Building Above Rosslyn Safeway Sold — “An affiliate of The Meridian Group has paid $113.15 million for 1525 Wilson Blvd., a Rosslyn office building featuring the colorful sculpture of a dancing couple, after selling another building in the Arlington County office market last summer.” [Washington Business Journal]

Lee Highway Planning Update — “To mark the end of a year collecting ideas for the road’s ‘reimagining‘ by the nonprofit Lee Highway Alliance, its executive director, Ginger Brown, gave an update predicting that phase two — development of land-use and zoning ideas — could be ‘the most contentious.’ […] ‘Lee Highway is stuck in 1950s strip-mall zoning,’ Brown told a Dec. 19 breakfast group.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Local Shop Has Best Cheese Selection in the U.S.? — Arrowine, a long-time ARLnow sponsor, has the best wine selection in the D.C. area and possibly the best cheese selection in the country after its recent renovation, according to local restaurant reviewer Don Rockwell. [DCDining.com]

Pike Lane Closures Are Hurting Local Business — “An employee at Cinthia’s Bakery II on Columbia Pike said the restaurant is seeing a significant drop off in the number of customers and an increase in empty tables all due to the construction.” [WJLA]

Yorktown Boys Improve to 11-0 — “This is the new Yorktown basketball: Take the first available shot, press nonstop on defense, substitute in a whole new lineup every 90 seconds. It’s a strategy some other area schools have tried — Lake Braddock, most successfully — but few have perfected. And it has the Patriots, the worst team in their conference last season, undefeated at 11-0 after a dazzling 86-51 rout of Madison (6-5).” [Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

It’s Columbus Day — Despite the federal holiday, all Arlington County government offices, courts, libraries and facilities will be open today. Barring breaking news, ARLnow will be publishing on a limited schedule today. [Arlington County]

Theft from Casual Adventure — From an Arlington County Police crime report: “At approximately 11:35 a.m. on October 10, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect entered a business at approximately 5:30 p.m. on October 9, selected numerous fleece jackets before fleeing the scene without paying.” [Arlington County]

ACPD Warns of Phone Scam — “Residents have reported receiving unsolicited phone calls from individuals fraudulently claiming to be technicians with Dominion Energy. These individuals accuse the victims of having overdue bills which must immediately be paid, or their power will be disconnected. The caller then provides a fraudulent claim number and phone number where the funds may be paid and often requests payment using a prepaid debit or gift card.” [Arlington County]

Governor Issues Drought Watch — “Governor Ralph Northam today announced a statewide drought watch advisory for the Commonwealth of Virginia. A drought watch is intended to increase awareness of current conditions that are likely to precede a significant drought event.” [Press Release, Capital Weather Gang]

Circus Returns to Rosslyn — Updated at 3:45 p.m. — Conservative provocateurs Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl are holding yet another press conference this week outside Burkman’s Rosslyn townhouse. The duo say they will be joined by a “longtime drug dealer” for prominent Democratic members of Congress. [Twitter]

Nearby: Four Mile Run Trail in Alexandria to Reopen Soon — “A bridge spanning the last gap on the Alexandria side of the Four Mile Run Trail has been put into place, but the trail remains impassable for pedestrians.” [ALXnow]

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Morning Notes

Wawa Planning 40 New N. Va. Stores — “Wawa Inc. has big plans for the Northern Virginia. Upon breaking ground on its latest project in Vienna Tuesday, the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain officially unveiled its expansion plan for the area, which includes 40 new Northern Virginia stores in the next 15 years totaling $240 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

National Honors for Arlington Traditional School — “Arlington Traditional School is one of nine Virginia schools, and 362 across the nation, to be named 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. It is the third time since 2006 the school – known as ATS – has received the national honor.” [InsideNova]

Census Is Important for Emergency Management — “The Census provides emergency managers and public safety officials with critical information to better prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters in Arlington County. Data from the Census provides us with key demographic, socioeconomic and housing data that form the basis of Census Bureau tools we use in emergency management.” [Arlington County]

Outdoor Lab Ready for Another School Year — “The Arlington Outdoor Lab starts the school year with a host of initiatives, as well as a new incoming director. Michele Karnbach, who previously served as a resource assistant at the facility, has been tapped as its next director. Karnbach most recently was a science teacher in Prince William County’s school system.” [InsideNova]

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(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) A reported ruptured gas line behind Papillon Cycles prompted evacuations and a road closure near the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Walter Reed Drive.

As of 2:10 p.m., the gas leak has been stopped and police re-opened Walter Reed Drive, after temporarily closing it between the Pike and 9th Street S.

Some stores in the area, on the 2800 block of Columbia Pike, were evacuated during the incident, according to scanner traffic.

One restaurant owner said that means their business had to close, but told ARLnow, “but that’s fine, it’s a Wednesday so it’s slow anyway.”

A full fire department response has been dispatched to the scene as a precaution, as gas company crews work to stop the leak.

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The two Kriser’s stores in Arlington are being rebranded as “Loyal Companion,” with a grand opening planned to give away free pet food.

The rebranding is part of a change for all East Coast locations of Kriser’s. The new brand includes the natural pet food focus of Kriser’s with other parts of “holistic pet wellness.” From the brand’s website:

Loyal Companion is unlike any pet experience in the world. We’ve combined some of the best brands in the business including Kriser’s, Especially For Pets, Bark! Dogma – Life, With Your Pet, Pet Source, Pet Life and Whole Pet Central to form one new company dedicated to holistic pet wellness. Loyal Companion is a community of pet experts — nutritionists, behaviorists, educators and groomers — that has banded together to make life easy for pet owners by offering everything you need under one virtual and physical roof. Raw food. Healthy treats. Supplies. Grooming. Daycare. Training. Vet services. Advice.

(Though Baltimore-based Dogma is one of the stores now under the Loyal Companion umbrella, as mentioned above, Dogma Bakery in Arlington is unaffiliated with the brand.)

There are two Kriser’s locations in Arlington, one in Clarendon at 2509 Franklin Road and one at 2501 N. Harrison Street in the Lee Harrison Shopping Center.

Both locations are throwing grand opening celebrations for the new brand on Saturday (May 4) from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday (May 5) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The events will offer free gift bags for the first 100 customers in each day, with gift cards up to $100 as a doorbuster prize, according to the company.

The stores will also have raffle prizes, with potential to win free pet food for a year, gift cards and more.

Planned in-store activities include a blind taste test for pets and staff on hand to answer pet nutrition questions.

Photo via Google Maps

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A pawn shop in Crystal City has not one but two of the most rare items around: Lombardi trophies. And that’s not to mention the Super Bowl rings.

Eric Rizer, the owner of Royal Pawn at 507 23rd Street S., says a former Denver Broncos player — he wouldn’t say who — has parted with the two Super Bowl rings and trophies, which date back to the team’s championship 1997 and 1998 seasons.

The trophies are replicas, made by Tiffany & Co. and about 75 percent of the size of the real trophy, of which only one is made for each Super Bowl-winning team. Starting players are eligible to buy the replicas after winning the big game, Rizer said, adding that he has verified the authenticity of each with Tiffany via an engraved serial number.

While the sterling silver trophies are more rare than the Super Bowl rings, the rings come with a higher price tag thanks to what they’re made of: 14-karat gold and a combination of white and canary yellow diamonds.

The trophies are on sale for $10,000 each, while the single-horse ring is $25,000 and the double-horse ring is $30,000, Rizer said. He said interest in the NFL’s highest prizes has been high, with kids frequently stopping by to gawk at the trophies and rings, which the store allows.

Rizer says he even brought one of the trophies to the nearby Crystal City Sports Pub for its Super Bowl viewing last month, attracting lots of attention.

While Rizer would not reveal the name of the seller, he did say that it was a Pro Bowl-caliber player who — despite playing for the Broncos — currently lives in the D.C. area.

Royal Pawn opened in Crystal City in 2017 and has other locations in Vienna and Alexandria. Rizer said he had been “dying to open” along 23rd Street S. in Crystal City and is now doubly excited about the location, given the arrival of Amazon’s new office campus, which is currently under construction.

More on the rings and trophies from Royal Pawn’s Instagram account:

View this post on Instagram

You are seeing that correctly, folks. This is one of the most rare sets available ANYWHERE! Pictured are Denver Broncos Super Bowl Players Rings AND Trophies from both the 1998 and 1999 Super Bowls! These pieces are guaranteed 100% Authentic and are from a starting player who was also retired in Denver’s Ring of Honor! The Trophies are solid silver and made by Tiffany & Co. Only starting player and coaches are eligible to receive a copy of the Lombardy. Give us a call today for more information, or stop on in and give them a look! (571)483-0041 #RoyalPawn #ArlingtonVA #DenverBroncos #SuperBowl #LuxuryJewelry #Tiffany #TiffanyandCompany #SportsJunkie #Collector #Denver #Colorado #SuperBowlRing #NFL #NFLnetwork #ForSale #Gold #Diamonds #JewelryAddict #MensJewelry #Championship #ChampionshipRings

A post shared by Royal Pawn Of Crystal City (@royalpawnofcrystalcity) on

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Amazon is sending a pop-up store into Crystal City today with the hopes Arlingtonians will stop by.

The store-on-wheels is dubbed the “Treasure Truck” and travels the country offering “new, trending, local, or delicious items” per a company spokesman. Today the truck will be parked at 2011 Crystal Drive until 1 p.m.

Amazon app users can sign up for notifications that alert them when the truck opens and whatever the truck is offering that day. Users can then purchase the items they want online and pick-up in person at the truck.

In the past, the truck has served up an array of items from brownies to gold Bohemian Rhapsody movie backpacks to lightbulbs, according to Twitter posts.

The truck’s inventory was not available to this reporter online as of 10:45 a.m. this morning.

Amazon’s treasure truck heralds the company’s impending move to the area scheduled for 2021, when it will begin construction for its second headquarters in the Crystal City and Pentagon City area that some local officials have attempted to rebrand as “National Landing.”

The trillion-dollar company’s promise to occupy long vacant real estate and add 25,000 jobs comes in exchange for $23 million in county grant money, $750 million in state incentives, and a head’s up on any Freedom of Information Act Requests, according to documents released this week. It’s a deal that’s drawn criticism from unions and affordable housing advocates as ARLnow previously reported.

Arlington County has also been criticized for directly pitching tax incentives Amazon would be eligible to receive, but which few other businesses have taken advantage of, as ARLnow reported this week.

Photo via @Dr_Pete

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Morning Notes

Gymboree Expected to Close — “Children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection this week, with plans to close all 900 of its stores, according to people familiar with the matter.” The company has a Gymboree location at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. [Wall Street Journal]

A First for the Local Real Estate Market — “The Arlington real estate market for 2018 was essentially flat compared to a year before – while, for the first time, the average sales price of single-family homes topped the $1 million mark.” [InsideNova]

Storm Response Now in ‘Phase 4’ — Arlington County’s snow removal effort is now in “Phase 4,” cleaning up problem areas with a focus on schools and county facilities. Overnight a refreeze produced black ice and made plowing more difficult and driving hazardous, the county said. Last night Arlington Public Schools decided to close schools today instead of open on a delay. [Twitter]

School Construction Project Update — Construction is running on time on both the future Alice West Fleet Elementary School and the future home of H-B Woodlawn in Rosslyn, but heavy rains have caused delays for the future Dorothy Hamm Middle School, formerly known as the Stratford School, on Vacation Lane. [InsideNova]

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