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Eagle Cleaners (staff photo by Joseph Ramos)

After its future briefly dangled over a precipice, Eagle Cleaners in Williamsburg will be sticking around.

Last week ARLnow reported that manager of the dry cleaning business, Mathew Srebrow, was given one week to either buy the business for $250,000 or shut it down. He said the directive came from the trustee who controls the ownership interest in Eagle Cleaners and had plans to sell it.

That dispute was resolved — for now — on Friday. The dry cleaning shop can stay put at least until the lease is up in five years.

“Long story short… the landlord presented the trustee with a bill of what it’d cost to break the lease,” Srebrow said. “The trustee has no choice but for us to be here — now he’s begging us to be here.”

Eagle Cleaners has been controlled by a trustee and operated by Srebrow since his father put the business in a trust before he died of cancer in 2019. While Srebrow didn’t disclose the cost to break the lease, he said it was a number that the trustee “would never have been able to afford.”

Srebrow says five years is enough time to hire a lawyer and make an offer on the business.

“We’re going to be here for more than five years,” he said. “Once I buy it, I will get another lease to stay here forever.”

Srebrow will be repurposing the money raised so far from his GoFundMe page toward that end. He started the page five days ago in hopes of raising enough money to buy the business on the trustee’s terms.

So far, the page has collected $8,760 in donations, and Srebrow recently set a new goal of $25,000 to fund his new approach.

“The community has pulled together and shown amazing support,” he wrote on the fundraising page. “We are open for business with our normal business hours. Thank you all who have donated! It’s looking like legal advice with the option to buy the store will be needed to keep the store on [its] current path of staying open. Funds raised will be going towards this effort.”

Srebrow said he wants to hire a lawyer to ensure that his bases are covered, that the GoFundMe passes muster, and that last week’s events are not repeated.

“This was my dad’s store,” he said. “One of his wishes before he passed from cancer was to keep the store running. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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Update on 8/31/21 — The business is staying open.

Earlier: After operating for 25 years and weathering the worst of the pandemic, Eagle Cleaners in Williamsburg is on the brink of closing.

Manager Mathew Srebrow is pinning his hopes on community support to pull through.

His father opened the store at 6402 Williamsburg Blvd in 1996. Before his father died in 2019, he put the business in a trust — but now, the trustee who took over ownership plans to sell Eagle Cleaners and retire. He said the trustee told him on Saturday that he has until Wednesday, Sept. 1 to buy the business for $250,000, or shut it down so that the equipment can be sold.

“It’s really unfortunate what’s happening,” Srebrow said. “I have a lot of customers in tears, some offering legal advice… The way it’s closing just makes no sense.”

Srebrow started a GoFundMe page yesterday (Wednesday) to raise the money. He said he believes the money can be raised, but emphasized he only has one week to reach the $250,000 goal.

“I refuse to go down without a fight,” he wrote on the page. “Let’s make this goal a reality.”

The dry cleaning industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and loyal patrons have stepped up to help the businesses stay afloat. Last summer, a local veteran started a fundraiser for First Virginia Cleaners and last fall, devoted customers set up a GoFundMe page for Old Dominion Cleaners along Lee Highway.

After pandemic restrictions ended, but before workers began trickling back to offices, Srebrow spoke with ARLnow about how the pandemic and remote work have nearly wiped out 25 years of stable business.

“We had so many people come in [after the article came out], bringing comforters, bedding — no one was using dress clothes, but they were bringing whatever they had, just so we could make it — and we made it.”

Now, Srebrow said he’s hoping the community will help him keep the business open and under his ownership.

“We love all our customers in the community,” he said. “Nobody wants us to go, nobody.”

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The Williamsburg Shopping Center is looking for a new bank to take up tenancy where United Bank once had a branch.

Leasing agent Nora Eways said the bank location at 6500 Williamsburg Blvd shuttered on Jan. 15 but did not give a reason for the closure. The shopping center’s owner is hoping to find another bank to fill the space, perhaps in part due to the large metal bank vault that appears in interior photos.

“The landlord’s main preference is for another bank,” Eways said.

While the search continues for another bank, she said other potential tenants, including medical groups, have expressed interest in the spot.

“This space is in a very affluent area in Arlington,” she said, of the shopping center’s proximity to North Arlington neighborhoods like Williamsburg and East Falls Church. “It’s a great neighborhood center where we’ve had very few vacancies in general.”

Eways said pre-pandemic, the shopping center was fully leased “for a while.” United Bank’s departure was one of two COVID-19-era vacancies, she said, referencing the closure of the Zinga! frozen yogurt spot in October.

“Banks and frozen yogurt shops are two businesses that are decreasing in size throughout the nation,” she said, adding that mobile banking has led some banks to consolidate their physical locations.

Photo (1) via Google Maps, (2-3) via Renaud Consulting

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A 26-year-old man from Manassas is in custody in connection to a vehicle tampering incident in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

The arrest was made early Wednesday morning, after a resident reported to police that a man broke into his car and stole cash, and also tried to break into other vehicles.

After the suspect was arrested, police say he struggled with officers and at one point kicked a sheriff’s deputy.

This is the latest such car break-in, amid a two-year increase in vehicle-related property crime.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report, below.

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2021-01060034, 6000 block of Williamsburg Boulevard. At approximately 2:43 a.m. on January 6, police were dispatched to the report of vehicle tampering. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed the suspect allegedly inside his vehicle and previously observed him pulling on the door handles to approximately four other vehicles in an attempt to gain entry unsuccessfully. The victim reported that an undisclosed amount of cash had been stolen from the vehicle. A lookout was broadcast and an officer canvasing the area located an individual matching the suspect description and attempted to detain him, however he actively resisted and a brief struggle ensued. With the assistance of additional arriving officers, the suspect was taken into custody. While in booking, the suspect continued to act disorderly and kicked a deputy in the leg. Robert Kimmer, 26, of Manassas, Va. was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Law Enforcement, Vehicle Tampering, Obstruction of Justice, Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

An especially bold deer with unique markings was seen going for a morning run in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood today.

A reader sent the above video, taken at the intersection of Williamsburg Blvd and N. Ohio Street, wondering what the heck is going on with the “cow deer” that was galavanting around the neighborhood.

We steered that question to Alonso Abugattas, Arlington’s Natural Resources Manager — the expert in all things wildlife in the county.

“This is a piebald buck,” Abugattas explained. “As it’s the rut season, this buck is looking for does in estrus, and so is taking a lot of chances he would not normally do, often resulting in this being when the most road kills happen and car accidents involving deer happen.”

In other words, the deer has a recessive genetic trait that causes the cow-like spots, and was literally going buck wild looking for a mate.

That may answer the videographer’s question, but the takeaway for drivers is to remain alert on the roads this time of year, even in Arlington. You never know when a hyped-up deer will cross your path.

Video courtesy Joe Blackburn

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Zinga! Frozen Yogurt has closed in Arlington’s Williamsburg Shopping Center, though it’s not immediately clear if the closure is permanent.

The froyo shop closed last week, and a “for lease” sign was placed in the window. As of Friday, the leasing sign was down, but the store remained closed and many of the furnishings appear to have been cleared out.

No information about the closure was posted on the Zinga Facebook page, which less than two weeks ago was happily posting about new fall flavors and job openings.

Zinga first opened in the shopping center, at 2914 N. Sycamore Street, in 2013. Another nearby location of the small froyo chain, in Falls Church, closed in 2018.

Hat tip to Buzz McClain

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(Updated at 4 p.m.) A man was carjacked by a group of suspects in the Green Valley neighborhood over the weekend

The incident happened early Saturday morning on the 2200 block of S. Shirlington Road. The victim was thrown to the ground as 3-4 men stole his personal belongings and car, police said.

More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

CARJACKING, 2020-07250042, 2200 block of Shirlington Road. At approximately 2:06 a.m. on July 25, police were dispatched to the report of a grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim exited his vehicle and was approached by 3-4 male suspects who exited a vehicle and approached him. The suspects threatened him, threw him to the ground and stole his personal belongings, then stole his vehicle. The vehicle is described as a 2018 Silver Kia Forte with Maryland license plate 350920T. The suspects are described as Black males, one wearing a white shirt, one with dreadlocks, and one wearing gold sneakers. The investigation is ongoing.

This is at least the fifth reported carjacking in Arlington since June 22.

Today’s crime report also details a pair of other recent, car-related crimes in Arlington.

A D.C. man was arrested following a foot chase, after police allegedly saw him trying to open car doors on the 2000 block of N. Culpeper Street, in the High View Park neighborhood. And police are looking for the suspects who stole two cars and items from other vehicles on the 6000 block of 28th Street N., in the Williamsburg neighborhood.

From ACPD:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (significant), 2020-07260033, 2000 block of N. Culpeper Street. At approximately 2:31 a.m. on July 26, police were dispatched to the report of a subject pulling on door handles. Arriving officers observed the male suspect inside of a vehicle and made contact with him. As they attempted to detain him in handcuffs, the suspect fled on foot. Following a brief foot pursuit, he was taken into custody without incident. The investigation determined that the suspect allegedly entered the unlocked vehicle and stole items of value. Isaiah Wynn, 27, of Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with Entering or Setting in Motion Vehicle, Obstruction of Justice and Petit Larceny and held on a secure bond.

GRAND LARCENY/LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2020-07240065, 6000 block of 28th Street N. At approximately 8:28 a.m. on July 24, police were dispatched to the late report of a grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that between 8:30 p.m. on July 23 and 8:15 a.m. on July 24, unknown suspects stole the victim’s vehicle. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that an additional vehicle in the same block was stolen and multiple unlocked vehicles were entered, contents tampered with and items of value stolen. The investigation is ongoing.

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) With In Style Pet Salon and Commonwealth Restorations coming to Williamsburg Shopping Center (2902 N. Sycamore Street) the retail block is now 100% full.

“It feels great,” said Nick Kalis, who runs the shopping center as part of the Kalis Development Corporation. “In years past, it was very normal, but retail leasing today is more of a challenge.”

Kalis said the In Style Pet Salon, a pet grooming location, should open sometime in the next 30-60 days. Commonwealth Restorations — a home design, renovation and construction firm — should open in 60-90 days, he said.

Kalis also emphasized that Commonwealth Restorations isn’t closing their office at 2430 S. Kenmore Street, but this second location will operate as more of a showroom and opportunity to interface with the public.

Kalis said challenges in the retail industry have led to more emphasis on service-oriented tenants for shopping centers.

“The bigger story here is that shopping centers face two challenges,” Kalis said. “A lot of people build these big warehouse parks with phony retail because they’re not properly zoned for a lot of uses but compete with us for tenants. The second challenge is every retailer in Arlington moving more to finding service-oriented tenants… So more and more, you’re finding service [and restaurants] in these shopping centers.”

Other tenants at the shopping center include Smoking Kow BBQ, Jin’s Dry Cleaner, Williamsburg Deli, 7-Eleven, Deli Italiano, Two The Moon, Peking Pavilion, Zinga Frozen Yogurt, Tenley Nails, United Bank and the Williamsburg Barber Shop.

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Morning Notes

Developer Pitches New Clarendon Apartment Building — “Orr Partners is pitching a new mixed-use building in Clarendon, seeking to redevelop a small property behind the neighborhood’s popular Silver Diner… the project will not include the redevelopment of the nearby The Lot beer garden or the Silver Diner, though rumors have long persisted that those have been targeted for changes.” [Washington Business Journal]

Most County Offices, Facilities Closed Today — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed Tues. Dec. 24 – Weds., Dec. 25, 2019, for Christmas, as well as New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, 2020… Metered [parking] areas not enforced.” [Arlington County]

Story of a Neighborhood Christmas Tree — This year, the Williamsburg Traffic Circle Christmas tree is back, thanks to contributions from local merchants. [Washington Post]

What Local Papers Were Reporting on in 1957 — “The Arlington Council of Churches was deploring grocery stores open on Sundays. A teen advice column titled ‘Help Unpopular Girls When They Cling’ was published alongside a puzzling comic strip called ‘Scorchy Smith.’ Ads touted ‘Exciting new rambler and split-level’ homes for $14,250 and 1957 Ford sedans for $239.50.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Media Spotlight on Arlington Buttigieg Supporter — “In a recent email exchange with a wealthy prospective donor, a top fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made an offer that was unusually blunt — even by modern pay-to-play standards. ‘If you want to get on the campaign’s radar now before he is flooded with donations after winning Iowa and New Hampshire, you can use the link below for donations,’ the fundraiser” wrote. [Axios]

UPS Driver Saves Christmas — “Darryl found my son’s phone and saved Xmas! He reminded my son to have faith in the many good people in the world.” [Twitter]

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A 55-year-old Arlington woman has died after being struck by a driver in the Williamsburg neighborhood last week.

The woman succumbed to her injuries yesterday, police said. The investigation into the pedestrian crash near Nottingham Elementary School is continuing but so far the driver of the striking vehicle has not been charged.

More from Arlington County Police:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team (CAT) continues to investigate a now fatal pedestrian crash that occurred on Wednesday, September 4, at the intersection of Little Falls Road and North Ohio Street.

At approximately 8:17 p.m., police responded to the area for the report of crash with injury involving a pedestrian. Officers and medics arrived on scene and located the female victim suffering from serious injuries and immediately began to render aid.

The pedestrian, a 55 year old female of Arlington, Va., was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. She later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced deceased on September 10.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim was crossing Little Falls Road in the crosswalk, when she was hit by the oncoming vehicle, which was travelling westbound on Little Falls Road. The driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. The investigation into this crash remains ongoing and no charges have been sought at this time.

Anyone who may have witnessed this crash or has additional information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective B. Ames at [email protected] or 703-228-7303. Information may also be reported anonymously to Arlington County Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.

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Update on 9/11/19 — The victim has succumbed to her injuries, police say.

Earlier: A woman suffered critical injuries after being struck by a vehicle in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood last night, police say.

The pedestrian crash happened around 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Little Falls Road and N. Ohio Street, near Nottingham Elementary School.

“Police were dispatched to the report of a pedestrian-involved crash,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Kirby Clark. “The pedestrian, an adult female, was transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.”

Clark said the driver of the striking vehicle remained on scene. ACPD’s Critical Accident Team is investigating the crash.

The victim, whose name and age were not released, remains in critical condition in a local hospital as of noon Thursday, according to Clark. The woman was walking three dogs at the time of the crash, one of which died at a local animal hospital and another of which was injured, she said.

On a neighborhood listserv, a local resident noted that the scene was just steps from where a local mother was struck and killed by a passing truck in 2014.

“It’s been ANOTHER accident waiting to happen!” the resident wrote of the intersection, which is only a 2-way stop . “The children on my block, including my own, saw this poor woman bleeding in the road. I don’t want them or any of us to have to see this again.”

Map via Google Maps

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