Tysons, VA

The Town of Vienna has hired a business development manager in Arlington County to help revitalize local businesses.

The town recently announced that Natalie Monkou, an Annadale resident, will be the town’s first-ever economic development manager.

Monkou worked in Arlington County for four years, serving as a liaison between the county and three business improvement districts, according to a press release. She also worked as the special assistant to Prince George’s County’s deputy chief of economic development.

“There is so much change happening in Vienna and around the region right now,” Monkou said in the town’s press release. “Because the area is transforming, it’s definitely an opportunity to think strategically and creatively about what economic development and viability will mean for our community and how we can remain competitive and be inclusive and strong.”

Monkou plans to hold a “listening tour,” where she will visit local businesses, according to the press release.

“I plan to get feedback from as many community stakeholder groups as possible,” she said.

Town Manager Mercury Payton said that Monkou stood out because of her economic development experience in Prince George’s and Arlington counties.

Payton’s first goal for the new role is to connect with more businesses so that the town can better learn how to help them more, according to the press release. Secondly, Payton wants Monkou to collaborate with Fairfax County’s economic development office.

“This is an exciting time for the Town,” Payton said. “Having a strong person in this new and critical function may be a catalyst to achieving levels of success that the Town hasn’t yet experienced.”

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Several companies in Tysons made job site Monster’s list of the best places for veterans to work, ahead of Veterans Day (Nov. 11).

Monster recently published the list in collaboration with Military.com, ranking 10 companies across the United States as the “2019 Best Companies for Veterans.”

DynCorp International, a global government services provider for flight operations support, training and mentoring, topped the list. DynCorp is headquarters at 1700 Old Meadow Road near the McLean Metro station.

“The company recognizes the leadership and life experiences that veterans bring to the workforce; therefore, they accept military training for civilian credentials and acknowledge the importance these skills bring to the success of their business model,” the ranking says.

Logistics Management Institute — or LMI — nabbed the fifth spot on the list. The consulting firm is dedicated to improving government management and has a location at 7940 Jones Branch Drive in the Tysons Central neighborhood.

Falls Church-based IntelliDyne got the ninth spot. IntelliDyne focuses on information technology consulting services and moved to its current spot at 3110 Fairview Park Drive in June 2018 to expand.

Outside of the Tysons area, several companies in Northern Virginia made the list as well, including CACI in Arlington and Intelligent Waves, LLC in Reston.

Monster and Military.com worked with a panel of veteran hiring experts to identify the list, describing the employers as “demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to veteran hiring and retention,” according to a press release.

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(Updated 10/26/19) MarginEdge, a Merrifield-based restaurant software startup, has raised millions of dollars in a recent funding round.

The company recently raised $5 million in Series A funding — bringing their total funding to $10.4 million, according to a press release.

“Osage Venture Partners led the round, with participation from In Good Company… and other restaurant owner investors,” the press release said.

Headquartered at 8315 Lee Hwy, MarginEdge processes invoices for restaurants. Restaurant employees send pictures of receipts and invoices to the company, which then processes them and connects the restaurant to point of sales partners.

“We’re excited to see this approach resonating, with a dozen of our clients investing in the company and a 12-month customer retention rate of 94%,” the company’s CEO Bo Davis said.

The company said in the press release that it plans to use the money to expand geographically and add new partnerships.

MarginEdge also recently signed its 1,000th restaurant, according to the press release.

Some of the restaurants the company works with include District Taco, Chef Geoff’s, South Block and Hank’s Oyster Bar.

“MarginEdge allowed our team to go from being an accounting department to being more of a finance department,” Javier Retamar, the chief financial officer of Maple Street Biscuits, said. “Now, it’s not just about inputting things after the fact; we have the time and tools to analyze.”

Photo via MarginEdge/Facebook

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EcoPlay, a new children’s playspace, is now open along Leesburg Pike in Tysons.

The children’s center held grand opening events over the weekend (Oct. 19-20). The indoor play area replaced the Performance Bicycle Shop’s space in Pike 7 Plaza.

EcoPlay originally planned to open in the summer, but experienced “minor construction delays,” according to a Facebook post.

According to the company’s Facebook:

EcoPlay provides children with an environment that sparks creativity and promotes learning through play. When designing the play space, we researched (and researched) to ensure that every toy, every surface and play area is non-toxic, BPA and PVC free, and made of plant-based materials.

Open playtime supervised by a parent or other responsible adult costs $20 per child, while supervised playtime with a drop-off option is $30.

Parents can also book the facility for private or semi-private party spaces for up to 25 children.

Photo via EcoPlay/Facebook

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A Muslim woman is suing a Merrifield-based company, claiming that she was denied employment because of her faith.

Shahin Indorewala said she applied for a job at Fast Trak Inc. (2735 Hartland Road, Suite) last fall. The interview process was going well, she said in announcing the federal suit this week, but things allegedly went south when discussing prayer breaks with the company’s CEO.

The lawsuit alleges that the company denied her request to shorten her 90-minute lunch break to take two short five-minute breaks for prayers as an observant Muslim. The lawsuit also alleges that the company’s CEO mocked her religious headscarf in front of the company’s staff and refused to hire her.

“I was shocked and there were other people around me. There were other employees, there were other interviewees there, and I just felt very humiliated,” Indorewala said yesterday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed the discrimination lawsuit Tuesday (Sept. 24) in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Indorewala and her attorneys are seeking a jury trial.

CAIR Attorney Gadeir Abbas told Tysons Reporter that Fast Trak will have about a month to respond to the lawsuit.

“It’s an extremely strong case,” Abbas said, adding that he has seen increasing levels of anti-Muslim sentiments in recent years. “The workplace reflects society.”

Fast Trak CEO Ramses Gavilondo told the Associated Press that he didn’t hire Indorewala because she “wanted to preach her religion” and that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated and found no wrongdoing. Fast Trak has so far not responded to Tysons Reporter’s requests for comment.

Photo via CAIR/Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Dumpster Fire Broke Out at Tysons Building — Firefighters responded reports of smoke from a dumpster fire in a Tysons building in the 1500 block of Boyd Pointe Way Sunday (Sept. 22) afternoon. The fire sprinklers were activated and the fire was extinguished. No injuries were reported. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

McLean Community Garage Sale Recap — “More than 100 people stood in line to enter the Fall Community Garage Sale hosted by the McLean Community Center, where more than 50 vendors had set up shop on Saturday morning.” [Connection Newspapers]

Falls Church Group Home Wins Award — “The City of Falls Church will be presented the “Community Health” Innovation award by the Virginia Municipal League (VML) in recognition of the Miller House, a group home for adults with disabilities. The award will be presented to the City at the annual VML conference in October.” [City of Falls Chuch press release]

Tysons Tech Center Renovated — “Element Critical, a leading provider of data center and IT infrastructure services driven by customer-centric solutions and backed by engineering expertise, today announced completion of a major renovation and transformation of its 280,000 square foot Tysons Technology Center on its 14.5 acre campus near Tysons.” [Yahoo]

McLean Makes Best Places to Live List — Dranesville landed on the #14 spot on Money’s “Best Places to Live in 2019” list. [Money]

Tysons Office Sells for Millions — “Brandywine Realty Trust has sold 1900 Gallows Rd., here for $35 million. The buyer of the 210,000-square foot building is Foulger-Pratt.” [GlobeSt.com]

Tysons-Based Tegna Acquires 11 TV Stations — “Tysons-based Tegna Inc. has completed its $740 million cash acquisition of 11 television stations from Texas-based Nexstar Media Group… The 11 stations were among 19 divested by Nexstar for a total of $1.32 billion to meet federal antitrust requirements as it acquires Chicago-based Tribune Media for $7.2 billion.” [Virginia Business]

Mental Health Awareness Walk in Tysons — “More than 400 supporters came out to Tyson’s Corner on Saturday to raise funds for programs that help people cope with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.” [Local DVM]

Glass Still in Falls Church Recycling Bins — “With some surrounding jurisdictions ditching the one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to recycling, the City of Falls Church is continuing to accept all kinds of items — including glass — at the curb while joining local governments in informing residents to remove other disposables from recycle bins altogether.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Falls Church Has Nearly $3 Million Surplus — “The City of Falls Church scored a whopping $2.4 million surplus over budget for the Fiscal Year 2019, which ended June 30, the City’s Director of Finance Kiran Bawa reported to the F.C. City Council at its work session Monday night.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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A party store just got bigger by the Greensboro Metro station in Tysons.

Party Mania at 8353 Leesburg Pike is undergoing an expansion to double the size of the store.

An employee said that the store has remained open — and will continue to — as the expansion takes place.

Signs on doors outside the store ask customers to “Pardon the mess during expansion” and also are advertising new associate positions that the store is hiring for.

In addition to the store’s growth, the employee said that customers will soon be able to buy more Halloween goodies, with costumes arriving soon.

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A Vienna native has opened a new hair studio in downtown Vienna.

Sundown and Rise Up filled the former space of the Maple Avenue Market, which closed in February after nearly 10 years in downtown Vienna.

David McCarthy, the owner and stylist, grew up in Vienna and went to George Mason University before pursuing hairstyling, according to his bio on the salon’s website.

Sundown and Rise Up offers haircuts, blow-drys, coloring, highlights and balayage services.

The website describes Sundown and Rise Up as “a truly unique, open, creative, art-centered workspace in the heart of Vienna.”

The salon’s hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Crescendo Studios, a new music studio in Merrifield, plans to host a grand opening this Saturday (Aug. 24).

Located in the former MHz Studio at 8101 Lee Hwy, the studio offers private lessons, a band for kids ages 7 and up and camps focused on songwriting, bands and sound engineering.

The celebration will include food trucks, a free yoga class from 11 a.m.-noon and performances by the Fuzion de Ritmos Dance Company and Take the Cake Music.

The grand opening will run from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

The education-oriented music studio is also looking to use a currently empty space adjacent to the studio’s existing location to offer an expanded music program.

Photo via Crescendo Studios/Facebook

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Hair salons keep popping up in the Town of Vienna.

Along Maple Avenue, there are around two dozen hair salons and various types of beauty parlors offering personal care services.

While nearby Falls Church and McLean also have a plethora of salons, the ones in Vienna are concentrated mainly along Maple Avenue, with many hair salons working in close proximity to their competitors.

Along Maple Avenue by Nutley Street SW, the Village Green Shopping Center at one point housed three hair studios — Village Green Hair SalonAvivo Salon and Day Spa and Dogan and John Hair Salon. (Avivo relocated to Tysons earlier this year.)

Tysons Reporter asked Lynne Coan, the town spokesperson, what might draw the appeal for owners to open up shop in this particular area.

“I did check with our planning department, and we really don’t have an explanation for why there are so many hair salons in Vienna,” Coan said. “There are no unique or ‘encouraging’ ordinances.”

Salon O Tony (130 W. Maple Avenue) has been open for 12 years because of its customer service and good reputation, Mustafa Demir, the shop’s spokesperson, told Tysons Reporter. When asked about competition among all the various hair salons, he said salon management doesn’t think it is an issue, but didn’t expand on why.

In 2019, at least three new salons and beauty relators arrived in the area — each one of them offering a variety of hair cuts and spa treatments.

Alya Salon and Spa  (139 Park Street) and Jolie Hair Studio (121 W. Maple Avenue) both opened in February.

Hair studio Sundown and Rise Up moved into the former space of Maple Avenue Market (128 E. Maple Avenue) this summer.

These openings come at a time when the Town of Vienna said that more businesses have opened than closed recently, despite vacancies and increasing rents around town.

“It seems that, for whatever reasons, each community has a proliferation of some kind of business, be it pizza shops or nail salons or hair salons,” Coan said. For the Town of Vienna, it appears to be hair salons.

Photo 3 via Facebook, photo 4 via Facebook, map via Google Maps

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