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Crème de la Crème is moving to 907 King Street in Old Town in March 2024 (via Facebook)

French and Italian tableware and home goods boutique Crème de la Crème will open at 907 King Street in March.

The Middleburg-based retailer recently signed a five-year lease with building owner EastBanc for the 2,200-square-foot property formerly home to Mackie’s Bar and Grill. The Old Town store will join the company’s two locations in Virginia — in Middleburg and Richmond — and one store in Frederick, Maryland.

Crème de la Crème was founded in 2000 by Tara and Ben Wegdam. The couple also own three other retail shops in Middleburg — Loulou, Zest and Brick and Mortar.

“We have been looking for years at expanding our presence into Alexandria and finally found a place that will work for our format,” said Tara Wegdam. “We have so many customers from the D.C. and Alexandria area that have been asking us for a retail location closer by, so we are extremely excited to open our doors at 907 King Street next Spring.”

Philippe Lanier, a principal at EastBanc, said that the neighborhood is perfect for the boutique.

“We have no doubt that their unique store experience and carefully-curated goods will attract locals and visitors alike looking for one-of-a-kind gifts and tableware,” Lanier said.

Image via Facebook

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T.J. Maxx is planning on moving to a sectioned-off portion of the former Shoppers Food Warehouse in Potomac Yard next month.

T.J. Maxx staff told ALXnow that the store will move from its current location at 3451 Richmond Highway and reopen at 3875 Richmond Highway on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The former Shoppers closed in 2020 and until recently was expected to be transformed into an Amazon Fresh.

Now with those plans scrapped, T.J. Maxx will take up more than half of the 50,000 square foot former grocery store, which was divided into two properties (3875 and 3801 Richmond Highway).

“The sign is up and we’re moving,” a T.J. Maxx employee said. “We’re reopening on Oct. 19. It’s very exciting, after being here all these years.”

Potomac Yard is managed by JBG Smith Properties and JPMorgan Chase & Co., which are both overseeing a massive mixed-use development of the area.

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A long vacant Arlandria convenience store just landed Dollar Tree as a new tenant.

The former CVS at 3811 Mount Vernon Avenue did not renew its lease more than a decade ago, and the 11,300-square-foot property has been vacant ever since. Over the last several weeks, contractors have erected the Dollar Tree sign on the building and installed store fixtures.

The Finmarc Management, Inc. property is located in the Del Ray North Shopping Center, which has struggled with occupancy for the last several years.

A contractor on the project told us he expects to finish the interior renovation within the next few weeks, although could not offer any information on when the store will open.

There are more than 15,000 Dollar Tree locations throughout the country. The Chesapeake-based company did not return calls for comment.

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Crooked Beat Records officially opened today in the basement of 2417 Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood.

Owners Bill and Helen Daly hosted a ribbon cutting at the new record shop on Friday that was attended by dozens of customers. The 1,200-square foot basement is 300 square feet bigger than their old shop that closed at the end of April in Old Town North.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Bill Daly said. “We’re trying to keep the atmosphere the same as it was on N. Fairfax Street.”

A former DJ at North Carolina State University, Daly worked for a record shop chain for years before founding Crooked Beat Records in 1997 in Raleigh. He moved the business to Adams Morgan in D.C. in 2004 and then to 802 N. Fairfax Street in Old Town North in 2016. The shop was forced to close in April due to residential redevelopment,

Daly signed a five-year lease for the 1,200-square-foot basement — in the same building that houses Cheesetique, the Del Ray School Of Music and Piece Out Del Ray.

“It’s great to see a business like yours coming to Del Ray,” City Council Member Kirk McPike said at the ribbon cutting. “You fit the vibe and get the deal here in Del Ray. But more fully, you’re going to bring people here that are going to join the community and support some of our other businesses, and we wish you all the success possible here in Alexandria.”

Gayle Reuter of the Del Ray Business Association said that the record shop is a destination business that brings people to the area.

“We’re really excited to have you here,” Reuter told the owners. “This is a big day for Del Ray.”

Craig Dye, a retired music teacher, drove from Warrenton to attend the store opening.

“We don’t have record shops in Warrenton,” Dye said. “My record collection is ridiculous. My wife is very patient with me. She lets me have the entire basement for my record collection and she takes care of the rest of the house.”

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Thicker Cloudz is open at 1512 King Street in Old Town (staff photo by James Cullum)

There’s a new smoke shop in Old Town.

Arlington-based vape shop Thicker Cloudz recently opened its third and newest location — just a few blocks from the King St-Old Town Metro station.

The shop opened last month at 1512 King Street, the former location of a Subway restaurant. Their inventory includes delta-8 THC plants, oil, and candy, all of which is legal to ingest since it’s derived from hemp instead of marijuana.

Delta-8 products have a lower THC content than marijuana, and will still get customers high, manager Derek Terry told ALXnow.

“It’s a bit weaker than marijuana,” Terry said. “But delta-8 is psychoactive and will pop any drug tests. It is THC. In the higher milligrams, for example, these (gummies) are 3,000 mg bags. This bag has 10 pieces, so 300 milligrams per-piece. This will blow your head off, I don’t care how much weed you smoke.”

The new shop is also a few blocks from away from Alexandria Vape and Tobacco (1213 King Street).

The shop’s inventory includes:

  • Hookas and flavored tobacco
  • A small selection of cigarettes and cigars
  • Vaporizers and flavored vape juices with nicotine
  • Glass pipes, grinders, rolling papers
  • Kratom, an herbal substance that creates opioid-like effects
  • Cookies with trace levels of psilocybin, creating a euphoric effect
  • Incense, ashtrays, lighters and other accessories

Thicker Cloudz is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

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Alicia Valencia Erb just consigned herself to a new business venture in Old Town.

After a career in marketing, the Alexandria resident opened Vida Style, a new consignment boutique at 210 N. Lee Street on August 1, and held a grand opening last Sunday (August 28). Erb gives consigners 50-to-60% of the profits and 60 to 90 days to sell items before they are returned.

“There are things in the back of your closet that have not seen the light of day in a while,” Erb told ALXnow. “Let me help you with that decluttering problem and give life a second life to these clothes. We’ll see if it goes with Vita Style, if it’s on-brand here. If it’s something that my customers will shop for, I’ll take it on consignment for 60 days.”

Until June, Erb spent five years as vice president of member relations at the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors. Before that she was an engagement strategist for more than a decade with the Credit Union National Association, and altogether worked 20 years with various associations.

While she attended the University of Maryland, she also spent two years as a hotline operator for the America’s Most Wanted television show, where says she helped track the whereabouts of Andrew Cunanan, the killer of Gianni Versace.

“I actually helped to capture Andrew Cunanan, who killed Gianni Versace,” Erb said. “There were very, very good tips that I got on Andrew Cunanan sightings when he was making his way from Chicago, Illinois, and on down to Florida.”

Twenty-five years later, Erb says that the pandemic shifted her professional focus. Working from home, she started researching other businesses to get into, even looking as far as alpaca farming before settling on opening a consignment shop. She even got a part-time job at local consignment shop in Old Town for nine months to get a handle on the business.

“I’ve never worked harder in my life,” she said. “I’m not frantic, nervous or anxious. It’s just one step at a time, and it gives me joy to do something for myself.”

Erb says that blazers are trending, as office attire has become flexible over the last couple years. Popular discounted brands at the small shop include Prada, Neiman Marcus and Banana Republic.

“Blazers are really hot right now,” she said. “Traditional fall sweaters and blazers are really popular.”

Erb brings a personal touch to the business.

“I engage with everyone who walks in.,” she said. “I’ve had exchanges of tears at the register just because I share my story and customers share their story. I make friendships wherever I am. I love doing that.”

Via Facebook

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Athleta winter gear, photo via Athleta/Facebook

Women’s activewear store Athleta is opening today at 607 King Street in Old Town.

The store opens at 10 a.m. (so now-ish) and it open until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, Athleta is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

“From Tuesday through Sunday we’ll be running a raffle from local businesses, studios and gyms,” Assistant Manager Michael Heit said in an email. “Raffles include local coffee, southblock giftcards, three month and two month memberships to gyms and studios along with a free year membership to Snap Fitness on King Street!”

Heit said the store will also have smaller giveaway prizes this week, along with samples and coupons to other local businesses.

Currently, as Alexandria dabbles with bouts of cold weather, Heit said cold-weather tights are particularly popular.

“Our cold weather running tight, the Rainier, is by far our most popular item right now for the colder weather months,” Heit said. “We can’t wait to open for everyone to see the gorgeous new space, never would have guessed it had been a La Tasca for all those years!”

Photo via Athleta/Facebook

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Morning Notes

MOMs Shopping Center Set for Redevelopment — A “D.C. developer filed preliminary plans with Alexandria earlier this month for the project, looking to completely overhaul a Mount Vernon Avenue shopping center near Four Mile Run Park, now called Del Ray North. It’s currently home to a MOM’s Organic Market, but has seen a variety of retail vacancies recently.” [Washington Business Journal]

Port City Planning 9th Anniversary Celebration — “Time to celebrate 9 awesome years of brewing with the only way we know how: a COLOSSAL release! For our ninth anniversary we are introducing COLOSSAL IX a Weizenbock to the COLOSSAL lineup.” [Port City Brewing]

Sephora Now Open in Old Town — “Cosmetics store Sephora is opening a store in Old Town Alexandria on Friday, Jan. 24. The store is located at 810 King Street, the former site of home furniture store Random Harvest. That store moved to 814 King Street.” [Patch]

Possible N. Va. Coronavirus Case — “The Virginia Department of Health says it is investigating three people, including one in northern Virginia, who ‘meet both clinical and epidemiologic criteria’ for coronavirus.” [Fox 5, Virginia Dept. of Health]

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Morning Notes

APD Investigates Friday Night Robbery — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a commercial robbery in the 3100 block of Duke Street. Merchandise was taken and one minor Injury. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]

Appointment for Former Fire Chief — “Former Alexandria, Va Fire Chief Robert Dubé has been appointed Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, according to a press release issued Friday, January 10, 2020 from Governor Ralph Northam’s office.” [Zebra]

New Sephora Store Close to Opening — “Wood floors, lots of mirrors, and colorful walls are in place at the new Sephora makeup store in Old Town Alexandria. Sephora’s Alexandria store, at 810 King St., will open Jan. 24, according to the company.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria Holds Housing Summit — “Hundreds of residents and local leaders gathered in Alexandria, Virginia, for the city’s 2020 Housing Summit as local officials worked to take on the challenge of affordable housing. The full day event offered discussion on everything from housing for seniors and the 2013 Housing Master Plan to the development and preservation of affordable living.” [WTOP]

Federal Case Details Local Swatting Incidents — “Another false threat was called in to the Alexandria police last January; the caller claimed to have killed his girlfriend and taken her two children hostage. The address he gave was of a person protected by the U.S. Secret Service. A person familiar with the incident said it was resolved without fanfare after a call to the Secret Service” [Washington Post]

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Morning Notes

A Look at the Cannabidiol Store in Old Town — “The Zebra wanted to find out the latest on the CBD craze and visited Your CBD Store at 301 S. Washington Street! Shells Karle opened the shop in May. She also individually owns two other locations in Alabama and is looking to possibly expand to Richmond.” [Zebra]

Good Tidings at Port City — Port City Brewing has released Tidings, its holiday seasonal spicy Belgian style blond ale. [Facebook]

VRE Santa Train Returns — “A holiday tradition cherished by thousands of Northern Virginia families, VRE Santa Trains will run Saturday, December 14… Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves will be on board listening to children’s holiday wishes and handing out goodie bags.” [Zebra]

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