Tysons, VA

To combat a nationwide shortage of medical supplies, Falls Chuch Distillers decided to switch focus and begin making their own hand sanitizer.

Branded “Aim High Hand Sanitizer,” owner Michael Paluzzi said the goal is to step up to help the community and keep his business afloat.

The distillery’s new production is drawing the attention of medical staff, who are willing to cross state lines for the product, according to Paluzzi.

For a first test batch, Paluzzi said he and his crew created 300 gallons, which was gone within the first five hours of the release, which started on Friday (March 20).

During the giveaway, he handed out tiny 5 oz. bottles for free to the public and sold half-gallon and one-gallon sized tubs at market value, according to a Facebook post.

At one point, there were more than 100 people standing in line for the supply, Paluzzi said, adding that he always walked first responders or anyone who identified as medical staff to the front of the line.

The first batch of sanitizer is supporting “at least a dozen” hospitals and doctors’ offices, several retirement homes and other government agencies, according to Paluzzi.

A few nurses from York, Pennsylvania even sent representatives to pick up hand sanitizer for them, he said. “I’m surprised they even knew about it,” Paluzzi said.

Curious about Paluzzi’s secret recipe?

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A local author says her upcoming mystery novel is her “love letter” to Vienna.

“To Kill a Mocking Girl” is about a woman who investigates the death of someone named Tricia after being framed for her murder, according to the author’s website.

Harper Kincaid said that though the book is fiction, it is set in Vienna and includes local spots such as Bards Alley bookstore and the Freeman Store.

“I got a kick out of sharing with readers some of my favorite places in town,” she said.

There are many real-life residents written into the book too, she said, adding that she wonders if local readers can guess who they are.

Kincaid wasn’t born in the town but moved there around 2006 and said the townspeople help her to feel at home.

Though a hard copy of the book was set to launch in May, the publicist told Tysons Reporter that the physical book launch has been pushed to June 9 after a prerelease of the e-book on May 12.

Currently, the book is available for preorder but it is unclear when it will actually ship.

Depending on how things progress, Kincaid said she is considering having a book launch on June 9 at 7 p.m. in Bards Alley bookstore where she wants to give away a gift-basket valued at around $250.

Image courtesy Harper Kincaid

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Guests at the newly opened Bear Branch Tavern in Vienna have the chance to check out artwork from a Falls Church-based artist.

The restaurant at 133 Maple Ave E. began serving guests in late February, according to David Barr, who designed three individual works of art that now adorn the walls of the restaurant.

Each work is based on local history and helps to encompass the personality of Vienna, Barr said, adding that he worked with Chris Lefbom, one of the eatery’s owners, on the project.

One mural stretches 18 feet across a wall to tell the story of the Battle of Vienna, which took place in 1861 between Union and Confederate troops, Barr said.

The inspiration for the mural came from a square vintage sketch that Leftbom presented to Barr.

Leftbom said he wanted it to look like “something you would find in someone’s closet,” according to Barr. “They wanted it to look weathered.”

Barr took artistic license to add a “pop of color” and expand the scene.

Two other smaller works include a pop-style collage that fits Barr’s signature style but still managed to include historically important aspects of the town, such as the Freeman Store and the Vienna railroad, he said.

One work features old signage from a 1957 Texaco station. “I gravitated toward old signage because I always love working with texts,” Barr said.

The second painting highlights the Freeman Store, which still stands today and serves as the headquarters for Historic Vienna, Inc. People can visit to learn about the area and shop at the gift shop, the museum’s website said.

People who want to check out the artwork for themselves and grab a bite to eat can visit Bear Branch Tavern. A full menu can be found online a well.

Photos courtesy David Barr 

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As part of the Town of Vienna’s efforts to boost economic development, the town recently partnered with a state agency to offer free counseling sessions for small businesses.

The town announced the Small Business and Supplier Diversity program yesterday.

“This is an opportunity for Vienna small businesses to learn about and take advantage of state programs and certifications that may help them do just that,” Economic Development Manager Natalie Monkou said in a press release. “This is a free service provided to current and future business owners and is an easy partnership that benefits businesses, the town and the state.”

The one-on-one, one-hour counseling sessions will be coordinated by Chris Ley, the NoVa business services manager at the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, according to the press release.

“Ley will discuss with small business owners and managers state certification programs and purchasing opportunities that may open them to new opportunities,” according to the press release. “She’ll also have information about regional events that help connect businesses and marketing opportunities.”

The first meeting is set to take place from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, March 20, in the second-floor conference room at Town Hall and will be held the third Friday of every month. The town requests that businesses schedule an appointment by emailing [email protected]

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After Reggie Holmes was laid off from his job, he decided to take control of his career path and begin his own business, Enthuse Creative.

Since its founding in Tysons around 2013, the company has branched out to offer customers a variety of branding, strategy and design services — helping clients develop a unique sense of identity, according to Holmes.

Enthuse Creative operates as a multi-functional branding agency to help companies distinguish their talents and focus their efforts. Though the final product will vary depending on a clients’ needs, Holmes said he wants to help people target their own sense of identity and market.

Regarding the creation of Enthuse Creative in 2013, Holmes said he “wanted to be in a position where I could create my own opportunities,” adding that the ability to be creative and think outside of the box in his professional career is important for him as an art degree graduate.

When Holmes was in the process of the career transition, he said he realized that creative positions were “tenuous,” especially if someone wasn’t a high-up and wanted to solidify their career.

Coming up with the name for his company, Holmes said that “‘to enthuse’ means to build joy or happiness, so at the end of the day I want to help businesses be enthusiastic about their brand.”

Since the beginning of 2020, Enthuse has worked with roughly 20 different clients, many of whom come from different backgrounds and need various degrees of assistance, Holmes said.

One of the most inspiring projects Holmes said he worked on was a campaign for Meridian International Group, which promotes global leadership and U.S. diplomacy efforts.

For the group, Holmes said he helped to create an annual report, as well as marketing materials and a logo for a specific program.

“It’s great to know work I’m doing is being seen outside the United States,” he said, adding that he found it humbling to help improve the quality of life for people he will likely never meet.

As a one-man-show, Holmes said he often hires freelancers and partners from around the area to help him keep up with the workload.

In the summer of 2019, Holmes became the co-chair of marketing for the Tysons Regional Chamber of Commerce and is now on the chamber’s board. He said he volunteers with the group, working to align upcoming businesses with the chamber, promoting economic success and helping to organize events such as Tysons 2050.

Currently, the group is trying to rebrand their image, according to Holmes, who didn’t feel at liberty to expand.

“We recognize the need to go a little bit deeper and create a compelling case as to why a business should partner with us to keep growing,” he said.

Photo courtesy Reggie Holmes

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Seven companies in the Tysons area landed on Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2020” list.

In total, 13 Fairfax County-based companies made the list, according to the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA).

Forbes released the third annual list with 500 companies on Tuesday (Jan. 21).

“The workforce today — and the workforce of tomorrow — want to see a commitment to diversity and inclusion by employers,” Victor Hoskins, FCEDA’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “[The ranking] is a testament to these Fairfax County companies’ efforts to attract talented employees from all backgrounds and walks of life.”

Two Tysons area companies cracked the top 100. (SAP in Pennsylvania nabbed the #1 spot.)

Here are the ranks the Tysons area companies received on the list:

Nearby, three companies in Reston — SAIC, Leidos and Bechtel — also made the list.

More from FCEDA about the list:

Forbes developed the rankings in partnership with market research firm Statista. To create the list, employers were identified in an independent survey from a sample of more than 60,000 U.S. employees working for companies with at least 1,000 people in their U.S. operations.

According to Forbes, additional factors were considered such as diversity levels among executives, existence of a leadership position responsible for diversity, proactive communication about diversity and the presence of a diverse company culture.

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The owner of Tysons Ballroom — who happens to be a former “Dancing With The Stars” contestant — became an author in 2020 with the release of his new kids’ book.

Garry Gekhman, who started dancing at age 6, published “Little Yura Loves to Dance” on Tuesday (Jan. 7) in hopes of inspiring a younger generation to pursue their passion for dance, according to a press release.

Earlier today (Jan. 9), he debuted his book with a reading for kids at the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center, a non-profit preschool.

As a recipient of support from the local Rotary Club, which Gekhman is a member of, he said the children’s center seemed like the perfect location for the reading.

At various times throughout the morning, two classes of roughly 20 preschoolers gathered for storytime and a dance class taught by Gekhman and Suusar Ganbold, Tysons Ballroom’s manager. They learned the basics of dancing — including direction and poise — while interacting with their peers.

Gekhman also shared with the kids parts of a Youtube video adapted from his book.

The book’s storyline guides kids through the life of the main character Yura, the name people called Gekhman in Russia before he moved to the U.S.

Growing up, Gekhman said he struggled with his weight and felt like he didn’t fit in with his peers. Through dance, he managed to find his identity and overcome previous struggles and then decided to share his story with kids who might be dealing with the same issues.

“If you are passionate about something, you’ll achieve it,” Gekhman told Tysons Reporter. “It doesn’t matter how you look.”

Gekhman’s advice to young people: “Follow your passion, think big and start small.”

Gekhman moved to Virginia in 2007 and is now an award-winning dancer who has performed at the White House. He currently teaches Latin dance at his studio (8032 Leesburg Pike, Suite 201). Occasionally, he will also judge various competitions and help co-organize the Yuletide Ball Championships in D.C.

People interested in purchasing his book can find it online for $15.95.

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The Wine Outlet in the Town of Vienna wants people to know more about the fires in Australia.

The store plans to host a free wine tasting tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 10) to talk about the widespread fires in Australia.

People will be able to taste Australian red wines, Anthony Quinn, the event organizer and store manager, told Tysons Reporter.

“It’s a small contribution we’re making,” Quinn said about the event, adding that he hopes people will consider donating to help combat the fires.

The event is set to take place at 4 p.m. The store is located at 114 Church Street NW.

“I’m excited about this,” Quinn told Tysons Reporter. “This is going to be fun.”

He said he hopes to hold more events in the future to raise awareness about the fire.

“It’s about being tied in with the community and being aware of things,” Quinn said.

Photo via The Vienna Wine Outlet/Facebook

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Fire Truck Getting Festive in Falls Church — “The annual tradition returns as the Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department decorates the reserve engine and escorts Santa Claus through the streets of the greater Falls Church area. Santamobile begins this Sunday, Dec. 15 and will run through Monday, Dec. 23.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Company Taking on Terrestrial Transmissions — “In the past few months, Tysons, Va.-based Omnispace has made some of its most significant announcements since a $30 million Series A raise in 2017… Omnispace announced earlier this month a permit from the Mexican government to build a terrestrial communications network that will mesh with satellite networks.” [American Inno]

Local Students Show Off Cooking Skills — “Culinary Arts 1 and 2 students from Marshall Academy had the opportunity to shadow the executive culinary team and director of hospitality at the McLean DoubleTree Hotel, where they worked with staff members to prepare lunch. Working in teams with staff members, they prepared grilled chicken with a demi-glace sauce, baked tilapia, mixed vegetables, rice pilaf, and dinner rolls.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Real Estate Company Eyeing One Tysons East — “Akridge is also considering taking the speculative approach with One Tysons East, a 270,161-square-foot office planned for a 1.3-acre site at 1690 Old Meadow Road, Akridge President Matt Klein said in an interview.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook

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A company that specializes in artificial intelligence, software engineering and weapons platforms recently announced that its new home is in The Boro in Tysons.

Alion Science and Technology lists its new address as 8350 Broad Street, Suite 1400 on its website.

“Alion’s new corporate headquarters reflects the cutting edge innovation and technology solutions that we are providing to our defense and intelligence customers every day,” Alion’s CEO Steve Schorer, said in a press release.

The company previously said it was located at 1750 Tysons Blvd — a building next to Tysons Galleria.

“We look forward to welcoming our customers and our employees to our new corporate location,” Schorer said.

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