Arlington, VA

The carryout window at Clarendon’s Whole Foods is now shut down: at least, for the moment.

Signs posted at “The Coop,” located near the main entrance to the grocery store at 2700 Wilson Blvd, say that the area is “temporarily closed.”

A quick glance inside the window reveals that the chicken-focused carryout counter has been completely cleared out, and the area is now littered with construction materials. A tipster told ARLnow that it’s been shut down since at least Jan. 27.

“The Coop will be closed until further notice,” the signs read. “Sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you for all your support. And stay [tuned] for things to come.”

Whole Foods did not respond to a request for comment on when, or if, the The Coop might reopen. The rest of the store remains open as normal.

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A restaurant inside the Pentagon City Whole Foods is among those affected by a security breach to the company’s credit card system.

Whole Foods provided public notice that it “recently received information regarding unauthorized access of payment card information used at certain venues.”

The breach does not affect purchases within the regular Whole Foods grocery section, but rather at the taprooms and full-service restaurants inside some locations. Paper Horse, a ramen restaurant inside the Pentagon City Whole Foods, is one of the locations named in the security breach.

Whole Foods’ statement said it notified authorities and has launched an investigation. Customers who may have visited Paper Horse or one of the other affected locations listed online should monitor their credit card statements and contact their bank to report unauthorized charges.

Whole Foods also noted that its systems do not connect with those of its new parent company, Amazon, so purchases on Amazon.com are not involved.

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Shoppers can expect to see some discounted items at the Whole Foods in Clarendon (2700 Wilson Blvd) after online retailer Amazon bought the grocery giant.

Already, signs featuring both company logos indicate discounts on fresh produce like avocados, tomatoes and apples, as well as pasta sauce, almond butter and walnut halves. More discounts could follow in the near future. Many products have been reduced in price by $1, while avocados are now available for $1.49 each, having previously been at $4 for two.

The slashed prices follow Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, which it closed on Monday after being allowed to proceed by the federal government.

Bloomberg reports that it slashed prices in some stores by as much as 43 percent, and also had its Amazon Echo voice recognition electronic assistant on sale for less than $100.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, the companies said the Amazon Prime delivery and membership service will be integrated into Whole Foods’ sales system, giving members discounts and other benefits. They also promised to lower prices while maintaining the quality of Whole Foods’ products.

“It’s been our mission for 39 years at Whole Foods Market to bring the highest quality food to our customers,” John Mackey, Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “By working together with Amazon and integrating in several key areas, we can lower prices and double down on that mission and reach more people with Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food. As part of our commitment to quality, we’ll continue to expand our efforts to support and promote local products and suppliers. We can’t wait to start showing customers what’s possible when Whole Foods Market and Amazon innovate together.”

Whole Foods has a second Arlington location in Pentagon City — though there was no sign of Amazon-driven discounts there as of Monday afternoon (update: a reader, below, says the discounts are now in place) — and there are rumors of another landing in Ballston. A new building at 750 N. Glebe Road had been eyed for a new Whole Foods, but will instead host a small-format Target.

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The surface parking lot of the Whole Foods in Clarendon has closed temporarily, and this afternoon it led to tempers flaring in front of the store on Clarendon Blvd.

Crews are currently working to mill and resurface the normally-busy parking lot. Customers, in the meantime, can attempt to find street parking or park in the Market Common Clarendon garage across the street. (Whole Foods validates up to two hours in the garage.)

While the lot is closed, customers have been competing fiercely for the few street parking spaces around the store.

Today, while ARLnow.com was checking out the resurfacing work, several drivers parked along Clarendon Blvd were engaged in a dispute about one vehicle parking too close to (and perhaps striking) two others.

While the parking dispute was going on, a pedestrian in a nearby crosswalk shouted curse words at a stopped driver he thought had honked their horn at him. (In fact, it was the car behind the first stopped vehicle.)

The lot is expected to reopen by Thursday, an employee said.

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A customer of Amazon.com acquisition target Whole Foods had a special delivery for cars parked outside its Clarendon location Friday morning: wine bottles and loose change.

Police were called to the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd around 7 a.m. Friday for a report of someone throwing objects out of a second floor window. When the arrived they allegedly found a 21-year-old Arlington man who was drunk and tossing wine bottles and change at a car below.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

MISSILE INTO OCCUPIED VEHICLE, 2017-06160070, 2700 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 7:09 a.m. on June 16, officers responded to the report of an individual throwing objects. Upon arrival, it was determined a male subject was throwing objects at an occupied vehicle from an upstairs window. No one was injured. Marvin Sosa Velasquez, 21, of Arlington VA, was arrested and charged with missile into occupied vehicle and drunk in public. He is being held without bond.

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Morning Notes

Fairlington Named ‘Top Value Neighborhood’ — Fairlington and Shirlington are together the No. 3 “top value neighborhood” in the D.C. area, according to real estate website Trulia. No. 1 is University Park in Maryland and No. 2. is Kingman Park in D.C. [Curbed]

Market-Rate Affordable Housing Disappearing — In 2000 there were 19,740 homes in Arlington affordable to those making 60 percent of Area Median Income. That dropped by 86 percent, to 2,780 units, by the end of 2016. [Washington Business Journal]

Police Focused on Opioid Abuse — Yesterday the Arlington County Police Department “participated in a discussion on regional law enforcement efforts aimed at reducing the growing heroin/opiate epidemic.” There are at least three addiction treatment facilities in Arlington and ACPD “strongly encourages substances users and their family members to seek assistance.” [Arlington County]

Native Plants Return Thanks to Management of Invasives — “Native plants are on the comeback trail in Arlington – particularly along the W&OD Trail in Bluemont and Glencarlyn parks. Last month Dominion Energy mowed green space beneath powerlines along the trail, helping the County manage invasive plants like Japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose.” [Arlington County]

Amazon Buying Whole Foods — Arlington’s two Whole Foods stores, in Clarendon and Pentagon City, will soon be owned by Amazon.com. [CNBC, Wall Street Journal]

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Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

College students fall asleep in class. It’s an age-old issue. But a new solution to the problem is what prompted the launch of Sunniva, an Arlington-based “super coffee” beverage business.

A couple of years ago Jordan DeCicco was that guy who kept falling asleep in his classes at Philadelphia University. The freshman tried to stay awake using the energy drinks or pre-made coffee beverages available at convenience stores, but he didn’t like all the sugar, fat, caffeine, and calories that accompanied the beverages.

He learned about Bulletproof Coffee — a blended mixture of coffee, grass-fed butter, and MCT oil — and found that it definitely gave the energy boost he needed to stay awake through class. He tried making it in his dorm room but that wasn’t really practical for a few reasons. First, making it ahead of time and trying to chill it resulted in the butter going back to its solid form. Second, it was loaded with fat from the butter. Finally, Jordan just wasn’t a fan of the taste.

Sunniva "super coffee" beverageThat’s when he started making his own coffee drink and it seemed to be a winner. So much so that other students took notice and DeCicco began selling the drink out of his dorm room. He felt like he was onto something and enlisted help from older brother Jake, who at the time was in business school at Georgetown University.

“We’re very much accidental entrepreneurs,” Jake says. “We were just tired college students who needed an energy boost.”

Sunniva’s combination of Colombian coffee, coconut oil, and a lactose-free milk protein is a low-fat, low-cal beverage that, according to Jake, offers a longer-term energy boost compared to other products that often provide an energy spike and a crash later. Each bottle has 90mg of caffeine, which is pretty standard for an 8 oz. cup of coffee.

Sunniva is now about a year old and based out of the WeWork space in Crystal City. Oldest brother Jim is now the CEO and joins middle brother Jake in running the business, while youngest brother Jordan has gone back to school after taking a year off following his freshman year.

The business is coming full circle and targeting the very audience from which the original idea sprouted: Sunniva has found a substantial niche market on college campuses. It therefore relies heavily on digital marketing channels that younger audiences use: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, and vlogs, to name a few.

“Being started by tired college kids for tired college kids, we really take advantage of this digital age,” Jake says.

The DeCicco brothers, who launched Arlington-based SunnivaThe brothers often are featured in the various social media posts. “We definitely have a personality behind the brand,” Jake says. He laughs as he points out how they often go by “oldest brother, middle brother, and youngest brother” instead of by formal titles like CEO, COO, or founder.

In addition to a growing market on college campuses, Sunniva also has found a home in the cold beverage section of 32 Whole Foods stores in the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as on Amazon.

The product is processed at an aseptic facility in Buffalo, New York. The business tried out different manufacturers and different modes of pasteurization before landing at the current facility. “We had to scale our business appropriately to get there,” Jake says.

Sunniva currently processes about 200,000 bottles per batch. The product now is made in such a way that it doesn’t require refrigeration before opening; it’s shelf-stable for nine months.

Sunniva’s business plan involves further expansion into other Mid-Atlantic and northern East Coast markets up to Boston, with a longer-term goal of becoming a national brand. But the goal for early 2017 is to work on more local market penetration. The brothers want Sunniva to be the “premier bottled coffee in the Washington, D.C. area.”

“Reaching profitability is not a metric we use right now,” Jake says. “Right now we’re really focused on our philosophy of ‘win where you live’ and being hyperlocal.”

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There were enough people jaywalking between the Starbucks and the Whole Foods in Clarendon that it apparently prompted Arlington County to install a new sign.

The sign recently appeared mid-block on the Whole Foods side of Clarendon Blvd. It instructs pedestrians not to cross and to use one of the marked crosswalks up the block.

The block is often congested with traffic turning into the Whole Foods parking lot, making it even more dangerous for pedestrians trying to cross the street outside of a crosswalk.

Update at 1:05 p.m. — As readers are pointing out, the sign has, in fact, been there since at least 2014, as proven by Google Street View. It is not “new” except, perhaps, on a geological timeframe. The 2012 Street View image does not show the sign. The 2007 and 2009 Street View images both show people standing where the sign currently is, apparently waiting to cross the street.

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The new Whole Foods store in Pentagon City will open its doors at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday).

Located at the corner of S. Eads Street and 12th Street S., two blocks from the Metro station, the 36,800-square-foot store will serve both those who live and work in the area — Pentagon City is growing with new apartment towers and other planned development — and those driving in from elsewhere. Underground parking is available.

As part of tomorrow’s opening, the store will holding a “bread-breaking ceremony.”

“The public is invited to join team members and community leaders in a bread-breaking ceremony that begins at 8:45 a.m. and will include the presentation of a $2,000 check to the Arlington Food Assistance Center,” said a press release. “Opening day shoppers will experience first-to-market exclusive products and special door buster savings. The first 500 shoppers who spend $50 will receive a limited edition Whole Foods Market Pentagon City canvas tote bag.”

“Those who can’t make the bread-breaking ceremony will want to stop by for the store’s inaugural happy hour from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29, when chef, restaurateur, reality TV star and winemaker Fabio Viviani will meet customers and sign bottles of his wine collection – Fabio Viviani Wines,” said the press release.

On Thursday, its second day in business, the store will donate 5 percent of the day’s sales to two local nonprofits — Blue Star Families in Falls Church, which supports D.C. area military families, and the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

In Pentagon City, Whole Foods is seeking for be more than a grocery store — there’s a bar, a coffee shop and other features intended to get customers hanging out instead of just shopping.

Among the store’s features are:

  • “A full service coffee and juice bar with nitro dispensed cold brew coffee, hemp milk lattes, cold brew teas, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and acai bowls.”
  • “Farmstand Freeze. Fruits and veggies are frozen overnight, put in a Pacojet machine and shaved while injecting air to create a light, fluffy, fruity frozen dessert. Low sugar, only sweetened with honey and dates, and also non-dairy.”
  • “The Basin Barroom, offering 15 beers and one flavor of kombucha on tap, as well as wine and cocktails.” Plus a seafood-focused food menu that includes “a must-try lobster roll served on local favorite LeoNora Gourmet Bakery’s split top roll.”
  • “Paper Horse, ramen master Erik Brunner-Yang’s latest venue.”
  • “In-house smoked and dry-aged meats.”
  • “Eight varieties of scratch-baked bread daily.”
  • An extensive bulk foods aisle.
  • A barbecue station, featuring smoked meats and sauces.
  • A kitchen that includes a large pizza oven.
  • A dog-friendly outdoor patio.
  • “More than 2,500 organic offerings in the grocery aisles… Every product in the store will be free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils.”

Disclosure: Whole Foods is an ARLnow.com advertiser.

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(Updated at 6:20 p.m.) The effects of Tuesday’s major electrical fire at Market Common Clarendon (2800 Clarendon Blvd) are still being felt.

Large, noisy mobile generators are now providing power to the shopping center and its attached apartment complex, Avalon Clarendon. Nonetheless, some stores remain closed and the apartment building was still without air conditioning, hot water and elevator service.

Building management sent the following email to residents Wednesday evening.

Dear Residents,

We would like to provide the latest update on the power situation. We regret to inform that A/C, hot water and elevator service will not be restored today. Our team is making every effort for these services to be available tomorrow.

Comcast has notified us that phone, cable and internet has been restored in all three buildings. Verizon has yet to confirm a timeframe for their services.

The Whole Foods Market across the street also lost power after the transformer explosion and fire. Although the store reportedly brought in a freezer truck Wednesday, large quantities of meat, milk, cheese, juice and other perishables had to be thrown away.

Store employees were busy restocking throughout the day on Thursday.

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Morning Notes

American flag on the Fairlington bridge over I-395

County Board Primary Voting Today — Arlington residents are heading to the polls today to vote in the Democratic County Board primary, choosing between incumbent Libby Garvey and challenger Erik Gutshall. Polls close at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]

Shelves Stocked at New Whole Foods — Some shelves are already stocked at the new Pentagon City Whole Foods. The store is set to open on Wednesday, June 29. [Twitter]

More Security at Local Gay Bar — Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City has tightened its security, banned backpacks and is now searching purses in the wake of the mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando. [NBC Washington]

Art Therapy Group Shutting Down — The 296 Project, which provided art therapy for veterans with PTSD, is closing down. On June 25, the group will be hosting a big art supply giveaway at its Crystal City studio. [Facebook]

Local Jewelry and Fashion List — Washingtonian Magazine has released a list of what it says are “the best places to shop in Arlington for local art, custom jewelry, and discounted designer fashion.” [Washingtonian]

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