Post Content
New Alexandria logo by Visit Alexandria (courtesy photo)

Yesterday, the tourism bureau Visit Alexandria presented a new logo to be used in marketing for the city. Reception online was mixed.

The logo features the city’s name in lowercase with the most notable feature being a representation of a sunrise in the middle “a”.

Visit Alexandria presented the new logo at a meeting yesterday morning.

“Our new logo is sophisticated yet inviting and embraces our identity as a waterfront city that is continually evolving,” said Patricia Washington, President and CEO of Visit Alexandria, in a release. “Even as our brand changes, we’re continuing to highlight our city’s historic character both visually and in our storytelling with a bold new destination advertising campaign that will surprise people and offer potential visitors a glimpse at all there is to know and love about Alexandria.”

What do you think of the new Alexandria logo? Is there any aspect of it you would change?

21 Comments
New Alexandria logo design (via Visit Alexandria)

Tourism bureau Visit Alexandria has debuted a new logo as part of an advertising campaign for the city.

The logo features the city’s name in lower case, with the “a” in the middle filled in like a sunrise and sun-lit ripples emanating below it. It was unveiled this morning (Thursday) at a Visit Alexandria meeting.

“Our new logo is sophisticated yet inviting and embraces our identity as a waterfront city that is continually evolving,” said Patricia Washington, President and CEO of Visit Alexandria, in a release. “Even as our brand changes, we’re continuing to highlight our city’s historic character both visually and in our storytelling with a bold new destination advertising campaign that will surprise people and offer potential visitors a glimpse at all there is to know and love about Alexandria.”

Washingtonian senior editor Andrew Beaujon first reported the change on Twitter this morning.

The new logo is part of a paradoxical “Best Kept Shh” marketing campaign aimed at creating a sort of mystique for Alexandria.

“The ‘Best Kept Shh!’ campaign is a nontraditional marketing campaign that seeks to grab attention and spark curiosity as it plays on the idea that Alexandria is so special, it might be too good to share,” a Visit Alexandria release said. “Video executions ‘bleep’ or censor the word ‘Alexandria’ in a humorous way to make viewers stop and wonder what is being said until it is revealed at the end of the ad.”

The previous logo had a more historical styling, with the word “Alexandria” written in a lavish cursive.

The logo for Visit Alexandria (via Visit Alexandria)

Last year, Alexandria City Public Schools mulled changing its logo but after months of work, two logo redesigns were sent back to the drawing board.

Updated 12:15 p.m. — A previous version of the article described the sunny logo as looking like a ‘sunset’. The waterfront does, in fact, face east.

19 Comments

Visit Alexandria announced today that the city’s famous Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade will be returning for its 51st year early next month.

The parade features dozens of Scottish clans represented in full regalia, along with pipe and drum bands and costumes. According to Visit Alexandria, the event is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 11 a.m.

“Alexandria was founded in 1749 by Scottish merchants and was named after Scotsman John Alexander who owned the land that became Alexandria,” the report said. “Today, the city continues celebrating its heritage with the iconic parade.”

The parade traditionally features over 35 Scottish clans gathering from around the region and across the country.

“Bagpipers include the Kiltie Band of York and the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums plus a bagpiping Santa closing the parade,” Visit Alexandria said in a release. “A pipe band and color guard will be presented by St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, D.C., which is a charitable and social fraternity of Scottish descendants established in Alexandria in 1760, and a founding parade partner along with Campagna Center and the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.”

After walking the parade route, the pipe bands reassemble at Market Square for a concert.

“The parade kicks off on S. St. Asaph Street at the corner of Wolfe Street and progresses north to Queen Street, east to Fairfax Street, south to King Street, and west to terminate in front of City Hall,” the report said. “For the best views, spread out along the one-mile parade route.”

The parade is the centerpiece of a broader weekend of holiday activities, including the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on Saturday afternoon starting at 5:30 p.m.

“The Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade is produced by Visit Alexandria through a new partnership with Campagna Center and the City of Alexandria,” the release said. “The weekend kicks off on Friday, December 2 with the Campagna Center’s Taste of Scotland, a festive cocktail party at the Torpedo Factory Art Center featuring whiskey-tasting stations, hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine bars and a custom art exhibit.”

2 Comment
Danielle Romanetti of fibre space at 1319 Prince Street in Old Town (via Sarah Marcella Photography)

Danielle Romanetti takes most of the credit for Plaid Friday.

It all started back in November 2009, just a few months after she opened her knitting shop fibre space (now at 1319 Prince Street). As the holiday season approached, Romanetti realized that no local businesses in Alexandria recognized Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving and the first day of the holiday shopping season.

“I was always fascinated by the chaos of Black Friday,” Romanetti told ALXnow. “I contacted a bunch of neighboring businesses and we made a big deal about saying our fire code capacity was 40 people, so it was going to be tough to get in the door. We created this frenzy so that people would line up and be there at 6 a.m.”

The strategy worked, and Romanetti arrived to find a line of customers snaking around the block.

“It was so exciting,” she said. “We sold a ton and we we made a ton of money and it was a huge, wonderful success.”

Romanetti called a number of her neighbors, a handful of which joined her. More than 50 local businesses now participate in Plaid Friday, which was coined as a way to weave individual threads of small businesses together to create a unique fabric to highlights the diversity and creativity of independent shops.

“It’s my biggest single day of the year,” Romanetti said. “We sell about 10% of our inventory in the store on that day. That’s an enormous amount of product to move out.”

Elizabeth Todd, owner of The Shoe Hive (127 S. Fairfax Street), Yellow Jacket (301 Cameron Street) and The Hive (301 Cameron Street) declined the offer that first year, but has participated ever since.

“It’s definitely the biggest sales day of the year for me, too,” Todd said. “My Black Friday was nothing before 2010.”

Todd offers 30% off from 6 to 8 a.m., 20% off from 8 to 10 a.m. and 10% off the rest of the day.

“If you’re going to get up that early in the morning you should be rewarded,” Todd said.

Visit Alexandria now manages Alexandria’s Black Friday event, and lists dozens of participating businesses. Those businesses also participate in Shop Small Week.

“When I first opened, I asked my neighbors about Black Friday,” Romanetti recalled. “I was told, ‘Oh, we don’t open that day. Everybody goes to the mall.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s the biggest shopping day of the year, and we own retail stores. So, I’m gonna be open at 6 a.m.'”

0 Comments

Pandemic? Alexandria just broke the all-time record for consumption-based tax revenue with $76 million for fiscal year 2022, according to the city’s tourism bureau.

At its annual meeting this week, Visit Alexandria reported that its expanded marketing efforts — with support from the Alexandria’s American Rescue Plan funding — allowed the city to capitalize on pent-up travel demand.

“The increased investment appears to have paid off, as the City set a new record of $76 million in consumption tax revenues,” Visit Alexandria said in a release. “Alexandria relies on consumption tax revenues to support core City services and minimize the tax rate for residents… With an estimated 71% of these revenues coming from non-residents, based on analysis of credit card data, visitors saved the average Alexandria household over $750 per year in taxes.”

It helps that Alexandria was recently listed by Conde’ Nast as one of the best small cities in the country for the fifth year in a row.

The $76 million in sales, lodging and travel receipts is a rebound from $59 million in 2021, and surpasses the previous record of $66 million set in 2019. In its annual report, the organization reported making important strides in Alexandria’s economic recovery. Retail and restaurant sales continue to lead in the recovery, as hotel revenues still lag behind pre-pandemic levels.

“Fiscal Year 2022 continued to test us with a series of challenges including labor shortages, inflation, higher gas prices and several Covid variants,” Visit Alexandria said in its annual report. “It would have been easy to hunker down and ‘wait out’ this period, but that is not Alexandria.”

The pandemic offered a “window of evolution for both businesses and consumers to become stronger and more resilient,” Visit Alexandria said.

Last year, the organization expanded advertising by 31%, launched a new mobile-first website, and created a new campaign to reach audiences of color.

“I’m grateful for the leadership of our tourism and hospitality sector and the partnership with Visit Alexandria as together we work to continue our city’s economic recovery,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in a release. “There is still work to be done, and we know other destinations are upping their game, so we cannot let up.”

Visit Alexandria’s new campaign

This week, the tourism bureau launch its “Expand Your ALX” campaign. The effort will feature Alexandria’s West End, Del Ray, Arlandria and Carlyle neighborhoods.

“Expand Your ALX is an exciting invitation to not only explore our physical neighborhoods but also to expand your understanding and experience of the diverse cultures, people and history in our city,” said Patricia Washington, President & CEO of Visit Alexandria. “With this new campaign, we are excited to step up the impact of visitor spending across Alexandria.”

4 Comments
Sidewalk sale, via Visit Alexandria/Facebook

Alexandria’s annual Summer Sidewalk Sale is returning next month.

The sale will feature over 40 local boutiques from around the city including local favorites like Old Town Books, fibre space and The Dog Park, Visit Alexandria said in a release. As the name suggests, the sale will feature sales set up outside stores along King Street in Old Town.

The release noted that live music is also planned for the event.

The event — now in its 13th year — is scheduled for Saturday, August 13.

Photo via Visit Alexandria/Facebook

0 Comments

Music, local food and beer is on tap this weekend for the Portside in Old Town Summer Festival at Waterfront Park.

This year, the event is merging with the 44th Annual Alexandria Jazz Fest, and the free events will be held on Friday (June 17) from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 1 to 9 p.m.

The Portside Festival is organized by Visit Alexandria and the City’s Office of the Arts.

“New this year, the event merges with the  on Friday evening to showcase jazz performances and readings by Alexandria poets,” Visit Alexandria said on its website. “Saturday the festival continues with an eclectic musical lineup, local food, hands-on art and history activities and more.”

Food will be provided by Borinquen Lunch Box, Chalkboard Wings & BBQ, Dolci Gelati and The Italian Place.

Additionally, Port City Brewing Company will provide these beers:

  • Optimal Wit (Belgian-style white ale, 4.9%)
  • Beach Drive (Golden ale, 4%)
  • Downright Pilsner (Bohemian style pilsner)
  • 4.8%; Monumental (IPA, India pale ale, 6.7%)

Friday schedule

  • 6 to 6:15 p.m. — Opening remarks
  • 6:15 to 7 p.m. — Cubano Groove
  • 7:15 to 8 p.m. — VERONNEAU
  • 8:15 to 9 p.m. — Eric Byrd Trio

There will be poetry read between sets by:

  • Zeina Azzam, Alexandria’s Poet Laureate
  • KaNikki Jakarta, Alexandria’s former Poet Laureate
  • An up-and-coming Alexandria youth poet

Saturday Schedule

  • 1 to 1:15 p.m. — Opening remarks
  • 1:15 to 2 p.m. — Eli Lev (folk rock)
  • 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. — La Unica (Irish Latin rock)
  • 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. — ilyAIMY (folk rock)
  • 5 to 5:45 p.m. — Rob Curto’s Forró for All (Brazilian forró)
  • 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. — Ras Band (Ethiopian reggae, jazz and funk)
  • 7:45 to 9:00 p.m. — Pablo Antonio y La Firma (salsa, merengue and bachata)

Via Facebook

0 Comments

The Alexandria City Council, on Tuesday night, unanimously approved Visit Alexandria’s grant application request to secure nearly $1 million in federal tourism recovery aid.

Virginia Tourism Corporation received $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds last October, and $990,000 has been set aside for marketing to improve the city’s hospitality sector.

The funds will be spent over the course of the next two fiscal years (FY 2023 and FY 2024), since the city’s ARPA allocation to Visit Alexandria will dry up when the current fiscal year wraps up at the end of June.

The pandemic hit the city’s tourism industry hard, and it’s estimated that a full recovery for hotels and business travel is several years away.

“This will provide critical support to our small business sector and will help support increases to the City’s consumption tax revenues (lodging, meals and sales) by way of tourism marketing,” City staff reported to Council.

2 Comment

As the war in Ukraine drags on, Visit Alexandria has put together a roundup of how locals can help contribute to the Ukrainian people.

In neighboring Arlington, the county has already donated ballistic vests and firefighting gear. In Alexandria, local businesses are hosting events to raise funds for non-profits assisting Ukraine.

Some of those include:

  • HomeGrown Restaurant Group (Pork Barrel BBQ, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, Holy Cow, Whiskey & Oyster) and Port City Brewing Company are supporting José Andrés World Central Kitchen with a new offer: the full $10 purchase of a Beach Drive beer from Port City at a HomeGrown Restaurant Group will go to World Central Kitchen. HomeGrown Restaurant Group has also donated $10,000 to World Central Kitchen.
  • Hooray for Books! (1555 King Street) is donating 20% of proceeds from the sale of “Summer Kitchens: Recipes and Reminiscences from Every Corner of Ukraine” to the UN World Food Programme.
  • Shop Made in VA (1121 King Street) has a curated selection of goods with 100% of the proceeds donated to World Central Kitchen.
  • Kyo Gallery (111 S Patrick Street) announced that all gallery profits from any art sold will be donated to UNICEF Ukraine and Ada Foundation.

Additionally, Lorien Hotel and Spa (1600 King Street) is partnering with Made in ALX artists for an exhibition featuring a one-hour performance by cellist Andrew Savoia. The $20 entry fee and a portion of all art purchases will go to the Ukrainian Crisis Fund via Care.org. The exhibition is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets are available online.

0 Comments
Hyatt Centric Old Town now has an option to spoil your pooch with its “Bark, it’s your Birthday!” package (courtesy of Nano Betts)

(updated at 4:45 p.m.) While more than half the hotels in Alexandria are pet-friendly, one hotel has added a package to go above and beyond for your furry friend.

The “Bark, it’s your Birthday!” package from Hyatt Centric Old Town Alexandria figuratively rolls out the red carpet for your pooch.

The package that comes at a price of $250 ensures Fido’s favorites are awaiting him at your hotel stay. Ahead of check-in, the hotel will call the dog parents and ask about all the pet’s tail-wagging favorites from treats to toys, and deck out the room with the assistance from local “bonetique” The Dog Park. Also included in that additional fee is a pet-friendly itinerary created by the hotel.

Visit Alexandria says that there are more than 2,000 pet-friendly hotel rooms in the city. And there’s plenty for owners to do once they do get to Alexandria with their best furry friend from pet-friendly patios, dog happy hours, pet salons and doggie gyms.

Alexandria is known for its pet-friendly accommodations. U.S. News and World Report lists the top four hotels in Alexandria for Fido as The Lorien Hotel & Spa, The Alexandrian Old Town Alexandria, Morrison House Autograph Collection and the Westin Old Town Alexandria. Hyatt was not included — Perhaps next year.

The U.S. News list includes hotels where pets stay for free by taking into account “amenities, reputation among professional travel experts, guest reviews and hotel class ratings,” according to its website.

Hotels nationwide are embracing amenities that cater to dogs. During the Covid pandemic, many people stuck at home adopted pets and many in the travel industry, eager to capture an increased demand, have leaned into making it easier for people to travel with pets.

“The pandemic created just the right recipe for an uptick in pet-travel,” a spokesperson for the Hyatt stated. “Starting with the puppy adoption boom during the initial weeks of lockdowns and the stay-at-home orders that followed, parting with a pet seemed more dreadful than ever. On top of that, COVID led to a decline in air-travel, the most difficult type of pet-travel, and an increase of more accommodating modes of transportation such as road trips.”

Hilton’s CEO said on an earnings call last year that he hoped the surge in pet ownership would help the hotel chain appeal to those would be customers through a partnership it announced with Mars Petcare in an effort to make its hotels more pet friendly, according to the Washington Business Journal.

2 Comment
×

Subscribe to our mailing list