Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Governor Recommends Staying Away From D.C. on Inauguration Day — “This afternoon, I spoke with @MayorBowser and @GovLarryHogan as we prepare for the upcoming inauguration. Virginia currently has 2,000 @VaNationalGuard members in Washington, D.C. to help protect the U.S. Capitol and keep the peace–and we will be there as long as we are needed.” [Twitter]

Beyer Calls for House Minority Leader McCarthy to Resign over Capitol Siege — “After terrorists shed blood in our Capitol, Kevin McCarthy went to the House Floor and led the renewed attack on our democracy. He echoed Trump’s incendiary lies and dehumanizing attacks on political opponents, and now claims to oppose ‘division?’ No. Kevin McCarthy must resign.” [Beyer.house.gov]

Man Shot on Quaker Hill Drive on Monday — “The shooting occurred in the 1100 block of Quaker Hill Drive around 6 a.m. The victim was shot multiple times and went to the 7-Eleven in the 3000 block of Duke Street to call 911. The victim was taken to the hospital. There was no initial information on a suspect.” [Patch]

Nothing Bundt Cakes to Open First Alexandria Bakery — “The bakery will open at 4553 Duke St., replacing a Subway sandwich shop in the Shoppes at Foxchase in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]

DASH Poetry Contest Deadline February 12 — “This morning the City of Alexandria and Alexandria Transit Company announced that submissions are being accepted for the eighth annual “DASHing Words in Motion” poetry contest. Writers aged 16 years or older are invited to submit a poem if they live, work, or study in Alexandria.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Sunny (during the day). High 49F. Winds light and variable… Clear (in the evening). Low 28F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Gelato Scooper, Barista — “Dolci Gelati is a coffee and gelato shop located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. We are a charismatic, high-energy, people-oriented team seeking to add additional team members with both weekday and weekend availability. Full-time and part-time available.” [Indeed]

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Buying an existing business can be easier than starting from scratch.

The latest listings on BizBuySell show a number of businesses for sale in and around Alexandria. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names and locations are generally left out, but there are exceptions.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed:

  1. Alexandria’s Premier Salon and Spa — “Hair salon and spa, established in 2011, with huge clientele and fantastic reviews. State of the art equipment. Bright, inviting atmosphere, with contemporary decor. Surrounded by highly-frequented restaurants and shops in a well populated residential neighborhood. High-street visibility, easy access, high pedestrian and vehicle traffic, with ample parking.”
  2. Coffee Cafe in Alexandria — “Coffee cafe in heavy traffic shopping center of Alexandria VA. This coffee shop was established in 2019 and has tons of potential. All the furniture, fixtures and equipment are in perfect condition. Can be converted to fit most menus. The current owner has decided to get out of the food/drink industry and go back to his full time profession. We are now looking for a new owner to take this turn key establishment to the next level. Priced for quick sale.”
  3. New Laundromats for Sale — “Two New Laundromats for Sale in Manassas, VA + Alexandria VA. One is recently renovated other is completely new. Brand new laundromat in a great location! 21st century laundromat with card system, customized folding tables, modern design, with high-powered energy efficient machines. Location is about 4000 SF located near many current and upcoming apartment complexes. Long-term 10 tear lease with 5 year option.”
  4. FAST growth Very Profitable Full Service Plumbing Co — “This high-end company operates in the new build out market as well as the repair and replacement and service markets. Sales have continuously grown over the past 3 years with no signs of stopping. This fully staffed and equipped company would be a great addition to any established plumbing ,HVAC, even electrical or general contractor that wants to add a large revenue stream to their existing business. They have a Proven system in place to carry on this growth.”
  5. Profitable Dry-Cleaners for Sale in Northern Virginia — “This dry cleaner is well known in the area for high quality and customer service. This family-owned business has been serving the community for over 30 years at the current location. The retail space has recently been remodeled by the landlord. The business is located in a busy area with heavy foot traffic. The equipment as well as the store itself has been meticulously maintained. The seller is very motivated to sell the business and will accept reasonable offers.”
  6. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  7. Beautiful Hair & Nail Spa for Sale/ Price reduced — “Great opportunity!!! Serious Inquiries only. Beautiful and well established Hair & Nail Spa for Sale in a very busy shopping center. Seller is retiring after many successful years in the business. Beautiful & Very efficiently designed. 6 years old Spa. Established, loyal customers. Reasonable rent & excellent location. 10 Hair stations, 5 Dryers, 3 Shampoo stations, 8 Manicure Tables, 8 Pedicure chairs, 3 Waxing rooms, 2 Facial Rooms, 1 Body scrub. There is plenty of room to expand. Room to grow by improving social media and other marketing and adding massage service.”
  8. Long-Standing Italian Restaurant for Sale — “Tons of loyal customers already in place at this turn-key opportunity. Lending available and you can be approved in just two business days on this his beautifully built-out location with sales of $404,000 and Beer/Wine license in place.”
  9. Established Asian Fusion Restaurant — “Super Busy main street at Old Town Alexandria. Has been in operation for 18 years, established royal customers. Has huge potential to increase the volume if adding catering business. Business gross sales didn’t get impact by Covid.”
  10. Coin Laundry/Laundromats — “No Exception, Non-Disclosure must be signed in person meeting, No emailing signing. We can meet at anywhere in Fairfax county to sign NDA with appointment.”
  11. Pet Grooming Business — “Well-established pet grooming business for sale!”
  12. Sandwich Shop/Deli — “Substantial net positive cash flow after 31 years in business. Excellent old town location. Extended Lease. Business currently operates 6 days per week for breakfast and lunch until 6 so opportunity to extend hours and days under current SUP. No alcohol but license possible. Delivery and growing catering business add to profits. Accountant attested books. Must have a friendly personality to be successful. Employees likely to stay. NDA required for confidentiality.”
  13. Mexican Restaurant & Bar Can Convert MRB VA 876 — “This Profitable Mexican Restaurant for Sale has been open and operating profitably for eight years. The location is on a high traffic road and surrounded by residential. This is a turnkey situation on a restaurant that has been grossing in excess of $840,000 annually with profits to an absentee owner of $80,000 annually. Nice full service bar. Outdoor Seating!! Great opportunity for a new on hand owner/operator to take this business to the next level. MUST SEE.”
  14. Auto Garage in Landmark Area — “OWNER FINANCING!! Auto repair sales only. 3 technicians. VA Safety/Emissions Inspection. Located in the I-395/Landmark Corridor. Business value at $325K and Real Estate value at $1,850,000.00.”
  15. Specialty Gift & Souvenir Boutique in the Heart of Old Town Alexandria — “Unique opportunity to own a specialty gift and souvenir shop in the heart of the Old Town Alexandria. The boutique is located in a high traffic part of Old Town and has been a destination shopping destination to both locals and tourists for decades.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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A new pho restaurant is now open for business in Old Town — five months after the fact.

Pho Nam, the second location for the Gaithersburg-based company, was under construction for six months at 606 King Street. It was supposed to open in May, but got held up because of the pandemic. The restaurant officially opened on Oct. 20.

“I came here last Christmas and took a picture of how magical Old Town looked during the holiday season, and we wanted to be open this time around,” Pho Nam Old Town’s General Manager Ryan Le told ALXnow. “This is the soup season, and it’s always good to have a hot bowl of soup when it’s cold out.”

Le’s uncle Quang Nguyen emigrated to the area from Vietnam in 1977, and opened Pho Nam in Gaithersburg 20 years ago.

The building on King Street was last home to Breugger’s Bagels, which closed in 2018 after 12 years in business. Neighbors include Noodle Box Old Town and Chipotle Mexican Grill.

“When we opened we had a debate over waiting until COVID is over or just opening,” Le said. “We don’t know how long it’s going to last, so we decided to open. We’re very happy we did, and people have been willing to spread the word about our phenomenal soup.”

Pho Nam posts updates on its Instagram and Facebook pages. It does not serve alcohol and is open from 10 a.m. to 9 pm. every day of the week.

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A leading Alexandria nonprofit that has given away more than 1 million pounds of food since the pandemic began is ready for the winter.

ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers says that her organization is now giving out upward of 180,000 pounds of food every month. Before COVID-19, ALIVE! was giving out about 30,000 pounds of food every month.

“I feel like we’ve reached a level of new reality and we’ve scaled our operation to meet that, but we still feel we haven’t reached the peak of this process, although we’re better prepared to respond to it,” Ayers told ALXnow.

On Saturday, City Council will consider extending a licensing agreement with ALIVE! to keep using the city’s Archives and Records Center at 801 South Payne Street until Nov. 30, 2025. The five-year agreement was initially signed in 2015 and expired this past summer. ALIVE! also uses the old DASH Bus Barn at 116 S. Quaker Lane for food distribution packing and distribution.

ALIVE! also recently launched an eviction prevention program to connect impacted residents.

“We’re seeing more and more people in need of all types of assistance, who are worried that they are going to being evicted,” Ayers said.

ALIVE! is currently conducting a children’t toy drive and recently announced an emergency food popup distribution this Friday, from 3-4:30 p.m. at 200 S. Whiting Street.

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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On Dec. 31, CARES Act funding stops but the end of COVID-19 related food insecurity or income loss is still nowhere in sight in Alexandria.

A series of measures to try to compensate for the lack of CARES Act funding is docketed for the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

“In order to reach the largest number of people and to maximize other resources it is recommended that the collaboration with ALIVE! for large scale monthly food distribution events, home deliveries and local pantry supply and support be continued,” staff said. “With additional funding of $375,000 it is estimated that 12,000 to 14,0000 individuals per month would be served through April 2021. Food costs have been increasing and some adjustments to the type of food and or number of events may need to be made if this trend continues. “

The report outlines a series of distribution events, from two monthly large distribution events to smaller pop-ups and deliveries for seniors.

The report also suggests continuing the collaboration between Office of Housing and the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS). The two bodies have been working over the last few months to try to prevent evictions.

This has included specific coordination of resources with individuals needing multiple sources of funding to address housing and utility costs, eligibility determination assistance, and targeted outreach to properties with high rates of residents engaged in the eviction process.

“This collaborative approach would continue going forward assuring that all available federal and state dollars would be utilized and that those individuals in greatest need would be assisted,” city staff said in a report. “The program would focus on those who are already engaged in the eviction process and who are at greatest risk of homelessness if they lose their housing.”

The partnership would also include continued work with Northern Virginia Legal Services on identifying those who need assistance.

“It is recommended that $625,000 be used to provide rental/eviction prevention assistance through DCHS’ Office of Community Services to benefit 200 individuals and families facing eviction and most at-risk of homelessness,” the report said. “Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 (CDBG-CV) funds and all other resources will be accessed when possible to meet the needs of additional residents.”

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The 45th Annual Turkey Trot and Food Drive for ALIVE! started virtually on Saturday, and the nonprofit has set up food collection points all over the city through November 29.

“We have given away 1.1 million pounds of food since the pandemic began,” ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told ALXnow. “The food need continues to grow. The need is still there and we need all the food and financial support we can get to continue to do what we have to do.”

The five mile race is traditionally attended by thousands. Registration costs $10 for children, $20 for ages 13-20, and $25 for everyone else.

“The 2020 Turkey Trot will be a little different from past years,” notes the Turkey Trot website. “First off, this year will be a virtual event, and you will be able to submit a time from any 5 mile run you complete between November 21 and November 29, 2020.”

Donations are already piling up at distribution points.

“Del Ray, as always, we’re blown away by your generosity,” Visit Del Ray said in a Facebook post. “Already, you’ve FILLED the sidewalk in front of  The Dog Store for our food drive for ALIVE — and this is just one of our six drop-off locations!”

This year ALIVE! needs the following: 

  • One-pound bags of rice
  • One-pound bags of dried beans
  • Macaroni and cheese boxes
  • Canned vegetable, soup and fruit (14-15 oz.)
  • Canned tuna or canned chicken
  • Baking mix, such as Bisquick (5-7 oz.)
  • Peanut butter

The food can be dropped at these locations:

  • Old Town North Farmers’ Market (Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
  • Del Ray Psych & Wellness
  • Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap
  • Del Ray Farmers’ Market (Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon)
  • The Dog Store
  • Waxing The City
  • The front porches of 403 E. Custis Avenue and 110 E. Del Ray Avenue

Incidentally, the first Alexandria Turkey Trot in 1975 had 244 participants, and was won by Jack Mehurin in 25 minutes and seven seconds. Last year’s race had 4,965 entries and was won by 23-year-old Ryan Forsyth in 23 minutes and 34 seconds.

There’s more than one way to support ALIVE!, like the first annual Turkey Squat at T.C. Williams High School.

Photo via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Featured in Profiles on Region’s Oldest Homes — “One of the interesting aspects of the Ball-Sellers House is that some of the original roof is protected under a later roof. That’s also the case with the oldest surviving house in Alexandria: 517 Prince St., or what’s known as the Murray-Dick-Fawcett House. The oldest part of the house dates to 1772. There is access to the space between the old roof and the roof that was later built above it at a less-severe pitch.” [Washington Post]

West End Contractor Wins Big Missile System Contract — “The U.S. Navy awarded Alexandria-based Systems Planning and Analysis Inc. (SPA) an $85 million contract to provide technical support for the Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile system, the company announced this week.” [Virginia Business]

ACPS Food Distribution Closed for Thanksgiving Break — “ACPS food distribution sites will be closed this Wednesday, Nov. 25 and Friday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving Break.” [Twitter]

Alexandria Regal Hiring Staff Again — “Floor Staff team members are classified based on individual theatre needs, and/or employee availability, as either variable hour, part-time fixed, part-time regular or full-time hourly employees whose primary responsibility is ensuring our guests receive exceptional service.” [Glassdoor]

George Washington’s River Farm Listed for Sale — “River Farm, the 27-acre property once owned by George Washington that now serves as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society, was officially listed on the open real estate market at $32.9 million on Nov. 13.” [Alexandria Times]

Staff photo by James Cullum

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Sometimes buying an existing business is easier than starting from scratch.

We looked through Alexandria listings on BizBuySell and found a bunch of businesses for sale. Many are restaurants, which have been heavily impacted the last several months due to the pandemic.

The website aggregates numerous business sale listings. The names of the businesses and their locations are generally left out of the listings, but there are some exceptions.

Reasons for selling, when provided, typically do not mention economic hardship, but more often involve the owner retiring or not having time to actively run the business.

Here are some that are currently listed in Alexandria:

  1. Clyde’s at Mark Center — “Transwestern’s Southeast Investment Services Group and Ten-X are pleased to exclusively present 1700 N. Beauregard Street, a 14,980 square foot restaurant fully occupied by Clyde’s at Mark Center, located inside the Beltway in Alexandria, Virginia. 1700 Beauregard Street is walkable to Mark Center (8,000 employees) and is proximate to I-395 (0.6 mi), offering convenient and quick access to all the major employment centers, numerous single and multifamily housing options and popular lifestyle amenities in Alexandria and the DC metro area at large. Property tours are available by appointment.”
  2. Coffee Cafe in Alexandria — “Coffee cafe in heavy traffic shopping center of Alexandria VA. This coffee shop was established in 2019 and has tons of potential. All the furniture, fixtures and equipment are in perfect condition. Can be converted to fit most menus. The current owner has decided to get out of the food/drink industry and go back to his full time profession. We are now looking for a new owner to take this turn key establishment to the next level. Priced for quick sale.”
  3. New Laundromats for Sale — “Two New Laundromats for Sale in Manassas, VA + Alexandria VA. One is recently renovated other is completely new. Brand new laundromat in a great location! 21st century laundromat with card system, customized folding tables, modern design, with high-powered energy efficient machines. Location is about 4000 SF located near many current and upcoming apartment complexes. Long-term 10 tear lease with 5 year option.”
  4. Profitable Dry-Cleaners for Sale in Northern Virginia — “This dry cleaner is well known in the area for high quality and customer service. This family-owned business has been serving the community for over 30 years at the current location. The retail space has recently been remodeled by the landlord. The business is located in a busy area with heavy foot traffic. The equipment as well as the store itself has been meticulously maintained. The seller is very motivated to sell the business and will accept reasonable offers.”
  5. Absentee-Owner Gourmet Pizza & Italian With Loyal Following — “This high-visibility restaurant has long been a destination and neighborhood favorite with locals – it continues to enjoy a following as a gourmet take-out option for pizza and all Italian cuisine favorites. Purchased in 2019 as a decades-old chef-owned establishment, the new owner invested in a complete turn around, nearly doubling sales and converting the business model to absentee ownership. Owner has refrained from applying for PPP or other SBA loans so that new owner might be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”
  6. Coin Laundry/Laundromats — “No Exception, Non-Disclosure must be signed in person meeting, No emailing signing. We can meet at anywhere in Fairfax county to sign NDA with appointment.”
  7. Pet Grooming Business — “Well-established pet grooming business for sale!”
  8. Sandwich Shop/Deli — “Substantial net positive cash flow after 31 years in business. Excellent old town location. Extended Lease. Business currently operates 6 days per week for breakfast and lunch until 6 so opportunity to extend hours and days under current SUP. No alcohol but license possible. Delivery and growing catering business add to profits. Accountant attested books. Must have a friendly personality to be successful. Employees likely to stay. NDA required for confidentiality.”
  9. Restaurant & Bar Approved for Hookah MRB VA 943 — “With a capacity of 370, this 2 level establishment is perfect for private events, birthdays or work outings. The first floor is separated into two rooms with a dining area, bar and dance floor with stage/DJ booth while the 2nd room has a large bar, DJ booth and dance floor. The top floor is used for the current owners office, as well as storage, bathrooms and employee lounge. The large kitchen has been kept in pristine condition and is ready to take on any menu or food you desire. Large 18 foot hood system, 2 ice machines and humongous walk in freezers/fridge. All kitchen equipment is high end and very well maintained. This restaurant fits most menus and concepts. The current owner is ready to retire and is ready for a new owner to take this establishment to the next level.”
  10. Mexican Restaurant & Bar Can Convert MRB VA 876 — “This Profitable Mexican Restaurant for Sale has been open and operating profitably for eight years. The location is on a high traffic road and surrounded by residential. This is a turnkey situation on a restaurant that has been grossing in excess of $840,000 annually with profits to an absentee owner of $80,000 annually. Nice full service bar. Outdoor Seating!! Great opportunity for a new on hand owner/operator to take this business to the next level. MUST SEE.”

See more Alexandria listings here.

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An upcoming “Cookie Crawl” will send Alexandrians chasing their sweet tooth across Old Town chasing a sugar rush at 25 local boutiques.

This year’s cookie crawl is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 and Sunday, Nov. 21. Online registration is $30. Participants will stop by each of the stores on the tour and received a pre-wrapped cookie at each site. The cookies are prepared courtesy local bakeries and restaurants. Participants will also receive a commemorative cookie tin.

“We have changed things this year to promote a safe environment,” event organizers said on Facebook. “This year the stroll will take place over the entire weekend. Prior to the event, you will receive a Sign-Up Genius link to schedule a time to pick up your tin. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday, we will have 25 slots for pick up every 30 minutes so we can adhere to social distancing guidelines during.”

Pick-up will start outside The Shoe Hive (127 S Fairfax Street) and masks must be worn at pick-up. Participants must also sign a waiver.

Photo via Bermix Studio/Unsplash

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Unlike many of his Latino neighbors in Arlandria, Realtor Brett Rice has had a solid year and is giving back in a big way. On Wednesday, Nov. 25, which is the day before Thanksgiving, Rice and Alexandria Restaurant Partners will give away 500 meals worth about $35,000 to the community.

“The pandemic hasn’t been bad for everyone, and people are buying second homes and vacationing, and I just want to do something that will help the community,” Rice told ALXnow.

Each meal will feed a family of four, and there’s no news yet as to what’s on the menu.

“This year has been very good for his business and he feels lead to give back to neighbors who have had a hard year,” said Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas. “We are certainly on board.”

Alexandria Living Legend Pat Miller has set up a page for donations.

Rice, who lives in Del Ray, also owns Arlandria Floors, and said that his business was at rock bottom during the height of the pandemic, although his troubles pale in comparison with the city’s poorer residents. He came up with the idea two weeks ago while hanging out with his friend Murray Bonnit, who has joined in the effort.

“I haven’t had to struggle to pay bills, and I haven’t lost my family members, and I think people forget around here how affluent we live in Del Ray,” he said. “We can’t live in this bubble with a lot of talk and no action.”

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