Easter is usually the busiest time of year for the Polish Market in Vienna, but this year, the family-owned grocery store couldn’t invite customers inside and instead offered curbside pick-up due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Oskar Skrzeszewski, who helps his parents run the business, told Tysons Reporter that they had to “do a 360” with operations when the pandemic hit.
“We were one of the first stores to implement safety glass in the beginning of the pandemic,” Skrzeszewski said. “We soon realized this wasn’t enough and we had to close the store completely to foot traffic. We operated on a curbside pick basis only, which was extremely difficult since we’ve never done anything like that before.”
Located at 431 Maple Ave W., the market has served Polish customers and people of Polish heritage for six years, selling pierogis, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, packzi, beer, New York cheesecakes and more, Skrzeszewski said.
The last few months have taken a toll on the business by completely changing its operations and taking a financial hit.
“Our revenues are about 30% down and we have fewer customers coming into the store,” Skrzeszewski said.
At the start of the pandemic in Northern Virginia, Skrzeszewski said that they had trouble finding personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, but eventually were able to order gallons of hand sanitizer from a company. Masks were also hard to come by, but customers who worked in the medical field were able to help.
Currently, customers can only access about half of the store and safety glass is everywhere inside. The limited capacity has led to a dramatic decrease in the shelf space.
“We have to pick and choose the items we order a lot more carefully now,” Skrzeszewski said.
Despite the inconvenience, the Skrzeszewski said shoppers seem to be taking the public health measures well: “Our customers have been tremendously supportive and we’re very grateful for that.”
Over the last few months, Skrzeszewski said he’s seen consumer demand change a little as more shoppers stock up on kielbasa, beer and mustard for barbecues and camping.
Elsewhere in Vienna, a new small grocery store is also working to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Owner Rami El-Hasrouni told Tysons Reporter he was glad he converted Bey Lounge into the LB Food Market (303 NE Mill Street) in late 2019 after the lounge got in trouble multiple times over the Town of Vienna’s noise ordinance.
The market sells Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food and is right next door to Wooden Bakery. Both stores are operated by D.C.-based Woodfire Brands.
After deciding to end the lifespan of Bey Lounge, he decided to expand the small market that was in the bakery into its own concept
While he’s glad that he doesn’t have to worry about how the former restaurant and club would have stayed open during the pandemic, he said the grocery store transition has been tough.
El-Hasrouni said he was already in the process of rebuilding his customer base for the small supermarket — “Everybody is used to this location as a restaurant with nightlife, not a grocery location” — before the pandemic hit.
Night club aside, the location doesn’t help either.
“We are in a hidden location,” he said. “Nobody expects a grocery store to be in the warehouse district. That’s the toughest part for us. If we’re on the main street, people walking by them might see us.”
For the grocery shoppers the store has attracted so far, El-Hasrouni said that the fresh pita bread is the big draw. Shoppers can also find Mediterranean specialty items, like Lebanese olive oil, spinach cheese pies and homemade hummus, along with standard groceries: milk, eggs, vegetables.
Even though LB Market is essentially an expanded version of the grocery section in Wood Bakery, El-Hasrouni is hopeful that the name “is something new” that will also catch people’s attention.
As the pandemic continues, El-Hasrouni said he’s working to get online ordering available on the website, along with mailing people coupons and flyers to help spread the word.
Photos (1-2) via Polish Market/Facebook, photo (3) via LB Food Market/Facebook
Lidl’s recently announced expansion along the East Coast includes a new store in Merrifield Plaza.
Lidl announced yesterday that it plans to open 50 stores stretching from Delaware to South Carolina by the end of 2021 and close two stores in North Carolina. The Merrifield Plaza location, which Rosenthal Properties announced in June, is among the seven new stores coming to Virginia.
Lidl will take over the 30,000 square-foot space (2901 Gallows Road) currently occupied by Office Depot when the office supply retailer’s lease ends on Dec. 31, Billy Orlove, Rosenthal’s leasing director, told Tysons Reporter.
In addition to the upcoming exit from Merrifield, Office Depot is shuttering dozens of locations through the end of 2021. Lidl will join Korean-American supermarket chain H Mart at the shopping center at the intersection of Gallows Road and Lee Hwy.
“Lidl will bring additional fresh choices, convenient shopping and great savings to the community,” Jane Le, one of the leasing associates who represented Rosenthal in bringing Lidl to Merrifield Plaza, said.
Originally established in Germany, Lidl has grown its international footprint since the 1970s and now has more than 11,000 stores in 32 countries. In 2015, the discount grocery chain opened its U.S. headquarters in Arlington.
With the expansion, Lidl said in the announcement that it plans to invest more than $500 million in the new stores and create 2,000 new jobs.
Currently, Lidl’s closest stores to the Tysons area include ones in Fairfax and Springfield.
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge/Unsplash
As Virginia rolls back COVID-19 restrictions, stores and services are returning in Tysons.
The Boro has been sharing on its social media accounts when retailers and restaurants in the development have reopened.
According to The Boro’s Facebook page, businesses that have opened their doors again include:
- MyEyeDr: appointment-only
- Tysons Nail Lounge: appointment-only
- The Shade Store: appointment-only
- Flower Child: limited dining capacity
- Fish Taco: outdoor seating and limited dining capacity
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe: take-out only
- Ethan Allen
- Ideal Dental Solutions
Tysons Reporter verified that the stores listed above have reopened.
Whole Foods has outdoor seating on the ground level and reopened its coffee bar, according to The Boro. The grocery store’s website says that it’s offering shopping hours from 7-8 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for customers ages 60+, at high-risk of severe COVID-19 complications or with disabilities.
“The waiting area and 10ft ‘workout boxes’ have been marked out, and all our trainers have been trained in all safety and sanitization protocols,” the post said.
In addition to the reopenings, the development also recently welcomed a new business: Colour Bar Studio. The salon opened June 2 at The Loft (1640 Boro Place, Suite 204).
The salon is run by a mom and her two daughters, along with nine other employees, according to the business.
Services include hair extensions, coloring and styling. All of the employees are wearing face masks and disinfecting equipment after each client, according to the business. The studio is open by appointment-only.
Photo by Gordon Beall, courtesy Colour Bar Studio
Editor’s note: Tysons Reporter will temporarily have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.
Grocery Stores Implement New Measures — “Three grocery store chains with locations in Falls Church announced this week plans to introduce stricter precautionary measures to avoid the potential spread of the coronavirus. Giant Food, Harris Teeter and Safeway will all now limit the amount of customers allowed in the store at one time.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Fairfax Fire Crew Member Tests Positive for COVID-19 — “A member of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual began feeling sick on March 18 and was tested for COVID-19 eight days later. This week the test came back as positive. The individual experienced mild symptoms and is recovering.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Local Virginia ABC Store Closing — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will consolidate its retail operations in Northern Virginia, which continues to be one of the most impacted regions of the commonwealth during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.” Starting April 13, the store at 8150 Leesburg Pike Suite 110 will close. [Inside NoVa]
Guidelines for Vienna Public Hearings — “Town Council will meet, with members attending in-person and electronically, at 8 pm Monday, April 13… The April 13 meeting agenda includes two public hearings related to the fiscal year 2020-21 budget.” [Town of Vienna]
COVID-19 Business Survey — The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has a survey that ends today at 5 p.m. that asks businesses about the coronavirus impacts. [Survey Monkey]
A Wind Advisory has been issued for Friday from 10 AM until 6 PM. Winds will be sustained around 20-25 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph possible. pic.twitter.com/KkY40uWkJb
— National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) April 10, 2020
Units on scene of house fire in the 2400 block of Cedar Lane in the Dunn Loring area. Small fire. Fire is out. All occupants safe. No reported injuries at this time. Majority of units returning to service. #FCFRD #FairfaxCounty pic.twitter.com/41TAXcFbax
— Fairfax Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) April 9, 2020
Editor’s note: Tysons Reporter will temporarily have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.
Local Paper Looking for Help — The Falls Church News-Press has been asking for donations from $25-$5,000 to help keep the paper operating under the COVID-19 pandemic. [Falls Church News-Press]
How One Local Faith Group is Adapting — “The ongoing COVID-19 public-health crisis has caused many organizations to regroup. Among them is Arlington/McLean Young Life Capernaum, which works with young people with special needs.” [Inside NoVa]
Local Students’ Research Lauded — “Emily Sun and Abigail Xu, students at Langley High School, have been selected as the 2020 recipients of the STEM Excellence Award bestowed by the McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women.” [Inside NoVa]
Shopper Limits at Harris Teeter — “Kroger Co. will limit the number of shoppers it allows in each of its stores across the country — including its Harris Teeter-branded stores — beginning Tuesday…The standard grocery store building capacity is one person per 60 square feet. Kroger will now limit capacity to one person per 120 square feet.” [Washington Business Journal]
Falls Church Officials Mull COVID-19 Impacts — “Although it is only a very preliminary assessment, the City’s chief financial officer Kiran Bawa presented to the Council two possible scenarios for the fiscal conditions facing the City, moderate and a severe estimates, with one having the City losing $1.3 to $3.9 million in revenues below earlier projections in the last four months of the current fiscal year, and $5.5 to $8.5 million in the Fiscal Year 2021 that begins July 1.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Severe Thunderstorms Possible — “Isolated severe storms are possible late this afternoon and evening for locations near and to the south and west of the Potomac River. Damaging winds and large hail are the primary threats. There is an isolated threat for severe thunderstorms overnight across the entire area.” [National Weather Service]
Severe thunderstorms are possible this afternoon and tonight. See image for more details. pic.twitter.com/s73E9gUzze
— National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington (@NWS_BaltWash) April 7, 2020
In response to the novel coronavirus, several local stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors and high-risk customers.
We’ve rounded up what we know so far about these hours, although some grocers have not defined the age minimum for being classified as a “senior.”
Here’s the latest update on specialized shopping hours for seniors and high-risk people:
- Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market: First hour of shopping every day
- Target: First hour of shopping on Wednesdays
- Whole Foods: (Vienna, Idylwood Plaza and Tysons): people ages 60 and older can shop at 7 a.m. before the stores open at 8 a.m.
- Safeway: 7-9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, per a store representative
- Harris Teeter: 6-7 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays for people ages 60 and older
- Giant: People age 60 and older or with compromised immune systems between 6-7 a.m.
- Walgreens: Tuesdays from 8-9 a.m., also open to caregivers and immediate families
- Trader Joe’s: Mondays from 9-10 a.m.
- Walmart (1500 Cornerside Blvd in Tysons): will open at 6 a.m. for seniors on Tuesday, March 24
- The Fresh Market: seniors and immuno-compromised people can shop 8-9 a.m. every day at all locations
Additionally, some stores are offering in-person and online express lanes for seniors:
“Harris Teeter will designate ExpressLane Online Shopping pick-up times from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for seniors only every Thursday until further notice and will waive the $4.95 fee & offer $5 delivery for seniors during these times,” according to the grocery store chain.
“Every day between 9-10 a.m., crew members will maintain an additional line outside the front door for our senior customers,” according to Trader Joe’s website. “This will ensure that those customers in need will have an expedited entrance to the store to help make their experience a more positive one.”
Ashley Hopko and Catherine Douglas Moran contributed reporting
Seniors and immunocompromised people can now shop for groceries with heightened caution at The Fresh Market.
From 8-9 a.m. each day at all of the locations, including the one in Vienna (150 Branch Road SE), people who are elderly or have immune system issues are invited to shop at the store, according to store manager Doug Dundall.
Though they are not “policing ” this policy, the store’s management asks that people who are young and healthy to shop at other times.
When it comes to cleanliness, Dundall noted that the company has instituted heightened measures.
“We have strict cleaning policies at the store to go the extra mile,” he said.
For shoppers who don’t want to go out at all, there are several companies, like Whole Foods, that deliver groceries.
Image via Google Maps
Trader Joe’s has a planned expansion in the works at Tysons Station.
Building permits at the vacant space next to Peet’s indicate that the grocery store (7514 Leesburg Pike) plans to demolish the interior and turn it into a commercial use.
Federal Realty, the real estate investment trust behind the shopping center, shows the space already incorporated into Trader Joe’s — totaling 15,286 square feet for the grocery store — on its brochures.
Other changes are also happening at the shopping center.
The space that used to house Tysons Cakes (7500 Leesburg Pike, Suite 12B) is listed as available for rent on the brochure.
The grocery chain announced today (Wednesday) the number of positions for hire, noting that the store is expect to open this falls at 1835 S. Capital One Drive.
Wegmans said it expects to hire roughly 480 people, “most of whom will be new to the company and hired locally,” according to the press release.
“These jobs offer competitive pay and benefits, flexible scheduling, and a fun workplace with caring people,” Tysons Store Manager Kevin Russell said in the press release.
People interested in the jobs, which range from entry-level management to line cooks, can look online or call 571-423-0707 for more information.
“Interviews are conducted by appointment only and hiring for part-time jobs will begin at a later date,” according to the press release.
The upcoming 80,000 square-foot store will be a part of Capital One’s campus next to the McLean metro station.
The store will include a Market Café with indoor and outdoor seating, The Burger Bar and a 1.2-acre rooftop park atop the building that will house the store, residential units and parking.
Photo courtesy Wegmans
Updated 3/13/2020 — Adds Great Wall Supermarket and H Mart in Merrifield.
Tysons may not have the liveliest nightlife at the moment, but that could soon change as more late-night restaurants and places to hang out open. “Tysons After Dark” will highlight a different spot every week.
For people who want to grab food late at night, several grocery stores are open late in the Tysons area.
Both the Whole Foods stores in Tysons (1635 Boro Place) and the Falls Church area (7511 Leesburg Pike) are open until 10 p.m. daily. The Trader Joe’s at Tysons Station (7514 Leesburg Turnpike) is also open until 10 p.m. daily.
The local Safeway stores in downtown McLean (1330 Chain Bridge Road), McLean by Kirby Road (6244 Old Dominion Drive) and the Falls Church area (7397 Lee Hwy) are open until midnight, according to their websites.
Hungry after midnight?
While it sells more than just groceries, Walmart in Tysons (1500 B Cornerside Blvd) is open 24 hours as well.