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.
That’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 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.”
There were enough people jaywalking between the Starbucks and the Whole Foods in Clarendon that it apparently prompted Arlington County to install a
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.
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.
(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.
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.
— J. F. (@vtmathteacher) June 22, 2016
Due to Clarendon Power Outage, our store will remain closed on Thursday. Watch this space for updates.
— Clarendon B&N (@BNClarendon) June 22, 2016
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]
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]
The new Whole Foods grocery store in Pentagon City will be opening on Wednesday, June 29, the company announced today.
The nearly 37,000-square-foot store is located on the ground floor of the Bartlett, a new 22-story apartment building at the corner of 12th Street S. and S. Eads Street.
The new store will feature:
- An expansive organic salad bar
- Prepared foods hot bars
- Several unique food venues
- Made-in-house and artisan charcuterie
- An extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese
- A scratch bakery
- A coffee/juice bar
- A pub
- A dog-friendly patio
Whole Foods is now hiring for the store, as detailed in the press release below.
Whole Foods Market, America’s healthiest grocery store™, will open its ninth Northern Virginia location on Wednesday, June 29, in Pentagon City. The 36,800 square-foot store is located at the corner of 12th Street South and South Eads Street.
“Our newest Whole Foods Market will reflect the energy and vitality of this growing Arlington community,” said Mike Ameg, the store’s team leader. “This store will offer Northern Virginia families the highest quality natural and organic products, including seasonal, locally-sourced produce, sustainable seafood and high-quality meat and poultry – all free of artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. We’re also excited to bring an extensive offering of fast-casual dining options to the many residents who live and work in the heart of Pentagon City.”
Along with the expansive organic salad bar and prepared foods hot bars pioneered by Whole Foods Market chefs, this store will feature several unique food venues, made-in-house and artisan charcuterie, an extensive selection of beer, wine and cheese, and a scratch bakery. The store’s many seating areas – which include a coffee/juice bar, pub, and dog-friendly patio – are also sure to become popular meeting places.
Whole Foods Market team members will be organizing and attending events in and around the community over the coming weeks and there are also openings for new part-time and full-time team member positions across a variety of departments. Interested applicants can apply at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/careers.
Follow news about this store’s opening and about all of the Northern Virginia Whole Foods Market happenings through social media: Twitter @WholeFoodsNoVa; Instagram: @WholeFoodsNoVa, and on Facebook: Whole Foods Market NoVa.
A portion of the low brick wall outside of the Clarendon Whole Foods was smashed by a shopper who apparently mistook the gas pedal for the brake.
The incident happened recently on the N. Edgewood Street side of the store’s surface parking lot. We’re told the shopper was either trying to park to trying to exit the parking space, but ended up hopping the curb and slamming into the wall instead, knocking over a large section of bricks.
(None of the cars pictured were involved in the accident.)
No injuries were reported. The smashed section of wall is now cordoned off by yellow caution tape.
(Updated at 1:40 p.m.) A woman has died following a crash in the Market Common Clarendon parking garage, which serves Whole Foods customers.
The crash happened around 4 p.m., in the underground garage at 2700 Clarendon Blvd.
A woman in a gray Honda station wagon suffered some sort of a medical emergency while trying to exit the parking garage. After pulling up to the gate, she suddenly started going in reverse at a high rate of speed, then started driving forward again, according to a police spokesman. She struck at least 3-4 other vehicles before crashing into a concrete pillar.
The woman was in cardiac arrest and bleeding from her head while being treated by medics, according to scanner traffic and witness accounts. She was transported via ambulance to a local hospital. A second injured person, believed to be the driver of one of the cars that was struck, was also transported to the hospital.
A small crowd gathered in the garage while police photographed the scene and firefighters cleaned up a trail of blood on the concrete. One witness said the woman had just finished shopping at Whole Foods minutes before the accident.
As of 4:45 p.m., the garage entrance was closed and a portion of the parking area was roped off by crime scene tape.
Pentagon City and Crystal City may be connected by a multi-modal passageway by the end of the year.
The county is working with a private developer to expand 12th Street S. between S. Fern and S. Eads Streets to better connect Pentagon City and Crystal City.
The new extension, built by the private developer, will allow people to bike, walk or drive between the Pentagon City and Crystal City. MetroWay rapid transit buses would also use the new street to get from Pentagon City and Crystal City Metro stations, according to the Crystal City BID.
Two-way traffic on the new 12th Street S. extension is anticipated to start in 2016.
“This new roadway will become the main connection between Pentagon City and Crystal City. Considered the ‘Primary Transit’ street, 12th Street South has dedicated high-frequency transit service between Pentagon City and Potomac Yard,” according to Arlington County.
The entire project is anticipated to be completed in 2016, according to the project’s website, but a target date has not been set, said county spokesman Eric Balliet.
The southern part of the 12th Street S. extension is mostly complete. The developer still needs to install traffic lights and finish utility work before the road can open to one-way traffic, but Balliet said he did not know when that would happen.
“We expect this part of the street to open to one-way traffic later this year (no set date yet),” he said via email. The road is currently blocked off with gates and traffic cones, but pedestrians are able to use a sidewalk on the right side of the street.
The first half of 12th Street S. was constructed as part of the Metropolitan Park development project. Private developer Vornado is building a new complex with 22 levels, 699 apartments and 41,679 square feet of retail space next to 12th Street S.
A Whole Foods grocery store is also being built on the first level of the apartment building. There is no target opening date for the store, according to Katie Malloy, a PR rep for Whole Foods.
Metropolitan Park “completes the pedestrian streetscape along 12th Street for a seamless, urban experience between Pentagon City and Crystal City,” according to the Crystal City BID.
The northern half of 12th Street S. is expected to be completed next year, and is being constructed as an early part of the PenPlace development, Balliet said.
“I don’t have any updates about the timing of that portion,” he said.
PenPlace will sit next to the Marriott Residence Inn, off of Army Navy Drive and will extend to the new 12th Street S. The development, also being built by Vornado/Charles E. Smith, is projected to be five different buildings. The 16 to 22 story towers are expected to be office buildings, but one may be used for residential uses. A 300-room hotel is part of the five building plan and three connected open spaces are also being planned for the project.
There’s no word yet on when the bulk of the construction on PenPlace might begin.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) was treated to a special meal when he visited La Cocina, a bilingual culinary school for the unemployed or underemployed: crickets.
Beyer visited the Hispanic-oriented culinary school in the basement of Mount Olivet Church (1500 N. Glebe Road) near Ballston yesterday, where he learned more about the school’s mission and heard from a couple of the six current students.
“This is very exciting,” Beyer told the students.
For his visit, the students, under Chef Instructor Alberto Vega, prepared a green salad with honey-crusted crickets and gluten-free chocolate chip and cricket cookies.
Crickets add protein into the people’s diets, La Cocina Executive Director Patricia Funegra said during a presentation. Crickets are also a sustainable food and La Cocina is working to encourage healthy and sustainable food into modern diets, Funegra said.
“We have to start thinking about that [sustainable food] in a very serious way,” Funegra said.
La Cocina is both a school and a food assistance program. The students prepare meals and then deliver them to residents of local affordable housing communities in a partnership with Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing.
All meals prepared are made with healthy foods, in hopes of fighting obesity, which plagues the Hispanic community, Funegra said. Meals contain 50 percent fruit and vegetables and 50 percent lean proteins, according to La Cocina’s website.
Yesterday, the students prepared a salad and spaghetti and turkey meatballs for the residents. Beyer helped the students by ladling the meatballs. He then joined them in handing out the meals to families.
La Cocina has seen a lot of success with its program, Funegra said. The last class had 100 percent completion and job placement. The current class is the school’s third.
“To have 100 percent completion is something to be proud of,” she said.
The school teaches bilingual culinary skills, sanitation practices, English needed for culinary work and life, and employment skills, such as working in a team. The school does not charge tuition and provides all the materials for the students, including a travel stipend, Funegra said.
Students come from the entire D.C. area, with some coming as far as Germantown, Maryland.
Whole Foods Eying Ballston Development? — Whole Foods is reportedly considering leasing a 43,000 square foot retail space in a new 12-story, 431-unit apartment building that’s set to replace the Rosenthal Mazda dealership at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd in Ballston. The organic grocer is said to be “in advanced talks” to fill the space and is “very bullish” on Ballston in general. [Bisnow]
Car Drives Off I-66, Into Woods — A car drove off the eastbound lanes of I-66 and into the woods yesterday afternoon. Nobody was hurt in the accident, which happened between the Monroe Street bridge and Spout Run. [Twitter]
More Opposition to Fire Station Move — Residents of the Old Dominion community aren’t the only ones opposed to a proposal to move Fire Station 8 to the neighborhood. Some residents of the Hall’s Hill/High View Park community, where the fire station is located, say that it is a “hub of the neighborhood” and should stay put. Fire Station 8 has some historic distinction, as the first African-American-run firehouse south of the Mason-Dixon Line. [Falls Church News-Press]
Metro Proposes Blue Line Boost — The good news: Metro is proposing changes to its rush hour service that would have trains on the overcrowded Blue Line run every eight minutes instead of every 12 minutes. The bad news: the proposal would increase the headway between trains on the Orange, Silver, Green and Yellow Lines, from six minutes to eight minutes. [Greater Greater Washington, WAMU]
Arlington Startup Raises $21 Million — Ballston-based Distil Networks, a cybersecurity startup founded in 2011, has raised $21 million in a “Series B” venture round. The company is planning to add 100 new employees over the next 12 months. It has offices in Arlington, San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C., and has plans to open another office somewhere in Northern Virginia. [DC Inno, Tech Crunch]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Anyone who’s driven along Clarendon Blvd near the Whole Foods at 2700 Wilson Blvd knows the grocery store has a tendency to cause minor backups.
This afternoon during the lunch hour, the traffic problems escalated, backing up traffic for several blocks in the area and leading to police being called for traffic control. We’re told backups like this are common around major holidays, like Christmas and New Years.
Part of the problem, according to the responding officers, is cars parking — legally — in pay spots on the left-hand side of Clarendon Blvd between the entrance to Whole Foods and N. Edgewood Street. That causes cars waiting to turn into the store’s parking lot to wait in one of the travel lanes.
At about 1:00 p.m., there were three officers on Clarendon Blvd helping to direct traffic. That helped to clear much of the backed up traffic, which also extended to several side streets.
When asked, two of the officers each said it was far from the worst Whole Foods-caused traffic they had seen in Clarendon.
Cherry Trees Planted at Library — As part of its Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Japan-America Society of Washington planted three cherry trees in front of Arlington Central Library yesterday. The program “is an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region… and helps create new National Cherry Blossom Festival traditions beyond the Tidal Basin,” festival organizers said in a statement. [Facebook]
Whole Foods Deli, Chicken Counter Stay Closed — The main grocery store and much of the prepared foods sections at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) are open following Tuesday’s fire, but county officials say the market deli and chicken counter will stay closed until the health inspector approves its reopening.
County to Consider Privatizing Volunteer Agency — Changes may be coming to Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer agency. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is establishing a new advisory task force “to look into whether Arlington’s volunteer office is the right business model to meet community needs.” The task force will consider whether outsourcing Volunteer Arlington “would enhance volunteer activity in the community.” [Arlington County]
Restaurant Exceeds Kickstarter Goal — SER, the winner of Ballston’s Restaurant Challenge, has exceeded its $15,000 Kickstarter goal. The Spanish comfort food restaurant, coming to 1110 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, has so far raised $17,145. It also received a $245,000 interest-free loan as the prize for winning the Restaurant Challenge. [Kickstarter]
Arlington GOP Blasts Olympic Bid — Arlington Republicans do not share Democratic officials’ enthusiasm for the regional bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. “It’s not a great idea,” said local GOP chairman Matt Wavro, citing costs and security concerns. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) The Whole Foods Market in Clarendon was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after smoke started spewing from the roof.
Arlington County firefighters rushed to the 2700 Wilson Blvd. store after they received a rescue call at about 2:45 p.m., ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani said.
The fire was put out quickly and all customers and staff were ordered to leave as firefighters searched for hot spots.
The blaze started on a stove in the front area where rotisserie chickens are sold and and was extinguished by the store’s employees, Marchegiani said. Patches of grease then caught fire in a cooking vent.
No injuries were reported.
A health inspector was called to ensure the store will be safe for re-entry. When the store can reopen won’t be known until an inspector can make an assessment, county Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick said.
“Hopefully it is just minor damage and there are no food safety issues, and they will be back up and running soon,” Larrick said.
One lane of Clarendon Blvd was shut down to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Ethan Rothstein contributed reporting
Arlington Two-Year-Old Has ‘Read’ 1,000+ Books — A two-year-old Arlington girl has read — or, at least, had her parents read — 1,000 books so far. The girl is the poster child for Arlington Public Library’s new “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program, which encourages parents to help children build language skills by reading what amounts to about one book a day. [Washington Post]
Jose Andres Products Coming to Whole Foods — A new line of Spanish oils, vinegars, olives and “easy-to-make paella kits” from Chef Jose Andres, of Jaleo fame, will be coming to Whole Foods stores around the Washington area next month. [Washington Business Journal]
Road Closures for 9/11 Heroes Race — A number of roads in the Crystal City and Arlington Ridge areas will be closed Saturday morning for the 9/11 Heroes 5K Race. Parking restrictions will also be in place. [Arlington County]