Tysons Corner, VA

Hot off the launch of a new Vienna location, Fairfax-based Virginia Tire and Auto recently announced a new location in Tysons.

The car repair shop is set to open in the former Merchant’s Tire and Auto Centers at 2055 Chain Bridge Road, across the street from Tysons’ infamous Toilet Bowl building.

Noelle Malley, a spokesperson for the chain, said the Tysons location is expected to open in fall 2019 and will provide 20 new jobs.

The franchise first opened in 1976 and expanded outside of Northern Virginia for the first time with a new Richmond location.

Virginia Tire and Auto also announced that a new location in Herndon will open this fall.

Photo via Google Maps

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Seven out of the 10 Fairfax County-based companies on this year’s Fortune 500 list are located in or near Tysons.

Fortune released its annual list of the largest publicly traded companies in the U.S. earlier today (May 16). The rankings are based on 2018 revenue.

The Tysons-area companies represent one-third of the 21 companies from Virginia on the list, according to a Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) press release.

“Only a handful of communities can say they are home to 10 Fortune 500 companies,” Catherine Riley, the interim president of FCEDA, said in a press release. “It is an important milestone, a significant recognition of the county as a prime location for corporations from a wide variety of industries looking for the assets and talent they need to grow and succeed.”

The new list includes:

Leidos Holdings, an information technology company, and home construction company NVR — both based in Reston — made the list, along with Herndon-based Beacon Roofing.

Last year, Fairfax County had nine companies on the list, according to FCEDA. The company that made the biggest leap from last year’s list was DXC Technology, which jumped up 252 spots.

“The wide diversity of the industry sectors represented here — everything from our traditional strengths in IT and aerospace to financial services, hospitality and, now, construction materials — shows the value of a Fairfax County headquarters to corporations of all kinds,” Riley said.

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Tysons Companies on “50 Great Places to Work in Washington” List — Washingtonian’s roundup of great places to work focused on flexibility, including these Tysons companies: Cassaday & Company, Insignia Federal Group and Splunk. Novetta in McLean and Glassman Wealth Services in Vienna also made the list. [Washingtonian]

McLean Students Win National Merit Scholarships — “Six students from McLean have been named winners of the 2019 National Merit $2,500 Scholarship. The merit scholar winners, announced Wednesday, were among 2,500 winners nationwide and were selected from a pool of more than 15,000 finalists.” [McLean Patch]

Fallen Tree Briefly Closed McLean Road Today — The Fairfax County Police Department tweeted that a fallen tree closed Old Dominion Drive between Balls Hill and Swinks Mill roads in McLean for about two hours earlier this morning. The road reopened shortly after 8 a.m. [FCPD/Twitter]

Where Providence District Candidates Stand on Walkability, Growth — Four of the five candidates running for the Providence District Supervisor seat answered a questionnaire from Greater Greater Washington about affordable housing, walkability and transportation. [Greater Greater Washington]

Kids’ Entertainer Faces Child Pornography Charges — “Police believe Steven Rossi, who goes by the stage name ‘Mr. Knick Knack,’ had numerous files containing illicit images. He was arrested on April 30 and is scheduled to appear in court on June 11… Investigators do not believe that Rossi had contact with the children in the images.” Rossi performed at the Silver Diner Tysons Corner in February. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800. [Reston Now]

A Peek Inside The Boro Development — A reporter is sharing what a recent tour around the Boro Tower, the 20-story building at 8350 Broad Street. [Washington Business Journal]

Falls Church Hospice Care Provider Moving — “Hospice services provider Capital Caring will relocate its headquarters later this year to a 50,000-square-foot space in Falls Church as part of an organizational expansion. The nonprofit Capital Caring plans to sell its current 31,000-square-foot space at 2900 Telestar Court… The organization has signed a 15-year lease for its new space at 3180 Fairview Park Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Even after 47 years, Ar-Jon Portable Toilets in Vienna is still “a family-owned business.”

The septic company is based out of 327 Owaissa Road S.E. and offers portable restrooms and sanitation equipment for any type of event that might need them.

“It’s a family thing,” Ben Wood said of the company his father started in 1972. Ben joined the business in 1975. “I’m the only son. My mother still runs the office and she’s helped out by my niece. I have two sons and the younger one works for us.”

Wood said the company has expanded and changed considerably since his father’s time. Over the last few years, there have been new innovations in septic-toilet cleaning.

“He started off with 12 wooden ones he built in the backyard,” Wood said. “Now, we’re at around 2,500.”

Like many businesses, Wood said Ar-Jon was hit hard by the 2008 recession, but the growth of construction in the area — and the subsequent need for portable toilets — has been a boon.

“Vienna is growing,” Wood said. “They’re tearing down all the 1940s homes and putting up big ones.”

For Wood, that means dozens of construction sites, all of which need portable toilets. Wood said that’s a large part of where the company’s business comes from.

“About 90 percent of our sites are construction,” Wood said. “We also do parks and specials events on weekends, that type of thing, especially like ViVa Vienna and Taste of Vienna.”

Photo via Facebook

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Small business owners and residents in Vienna narrowed down more than two dozen suggested solutions to make it easier to park in the town’s central business district.

Last night’s brainstorming session was the second meeting in an ongoing effort to find viable public parking solutions while the town waits for Fairfax County’s renovation of the Patrick Henry Library, which could bring a parking garage.

“I don’t think we’re going to have a parking garage in town for a few years so we’re trying to come up with ideas to alleviate the problem,” Jim Brooke, the chair of the Town Business Liaison Committee, said at the meeting. “It’s important to get feedback from business owners and property owners because you guys live this every day.”

Mayor Laurie DiRocco said that the library got moved up in the county’s renovation schedule from 2026 to 2022. Until then, though, attendees suggested that small business owners meet with the county’s board in June and collect signatures to push for public parking as part of the library renovation.

Friderike Butler, a member of the Town Business Liaison Committee, suggested shared parking, which could encourage drivers to park and walk — potentially encouraging people to shop in more stores as they explore the town.

“You have all of these individually designed signs of ‘No Parking’ or ‘Patrons only,'” Butler told the business owners in attendance. “The message that you’re sending is [that] you’re not wanted here. Come in for your one transitional parking and then please leave.”

Some business owners said that sharing parking sounds like a good idea, yet doesn’t add parking or address needs for nearby parking spots for customers to load heavy items.

Dave Wallen from Nothing Bundt Cakes said that designated parking spots are often necessary for patrons who might not want to hunt for a parking spot nearby.

While possible pricey, Butler said having a digital parking map could help people find public parking spots around town that visitors often don’t know about. A similar idea would have the town put up big, blue parking signs that could direct drivers to those hidden spaces.

At the end of the meeting, attendees had the opportunity to vote with stickers for their top three in the “idea gallery,” which included all of the short-, mid- and long-term ideas from the two meetings.

Some of the top vote getters:

  • business meeting with Fairfax County to accelerate Patrick Henry Library garage
  • create a comprehensive, digital map for available public parking options
  • clear and improve town-branded parking signage
  • comprehensive strategic parking and marketing plan sponsored and coordinated by the town for businesses participating in shared parking
  • comprehensive shared parking solution

The idea wall is set to get displayed somewhere accessible for local business owners who were not in attendance last night to vote on the ideas.

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The Town of Vienna will continue seeking locals’ input on public parking following a returned push to make it easier to park in the town’s central business district.

The meeting set for this Thursday (May 9) will follow up on a March brainstorming session hosted by the Town Business Liaison Committee and Mayor Laurie DiRocco.

About 35 business owners and people helped problem-solve and come up with more than two dozen ideas, including short-, mid- and long-term options, like:

  • create a comprehensive parking and marketing plan for Vienna and its business community
  • develop clear and improved Town-branded parking signage
  • actively enforce two-hour parking on Church Street and for designated short-term parking
  • consider financial or property improvement incentives for property owners
  • research feasibility of connecting Vienna Metro, Town Green, Tysons Metro (and residential areas) with a trolley

The upcoming meeting will seek locals’ input on the ideas and any new ideas and possible implementation strategies.

The meetings come on the heels of the town’s decision in January to dissolve an agreement to use a four-story commercial building on Church Street as a public parking garage.

Anyone interested in going can head to the Town Hall (127 S. Center Street) at 6 p.m.

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The McLean Farmers Market came back to Lewinsville Park today (May 3), selling local fruits, vegetables, baked goods and drinks for the spring, summer and fall.

The farmers market, which features 20 vendors, will take place at 1659 Chain Bridge Road every Friday from 8 a.m.-noon. until November 15. The farmers market will be closed on May 17 due to set-up for McLean Day.

Some of the vendors include Dawn & Dusk Craft Coffee Bar, Grace’s Pastries, Lyn Phipps Plants and Westmoreland Berry Farm. The Master Gardener Plant Clinic at the farmers market will help answer questions about plants.

Shoppers will need to leave their pets at home.

The McLean one is one of several farmers markets in the area. Vienna’s starts tomorrow. FRESHFARM in the Mosaic District started in April.

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Vienna may be going through changes, but in some ways, life in The Italian Gourmet Deli (505 Maple Avenue W.) isn’t that different from when it opened in 1974.

Jeremy and Margaret Schottler are the owners of The Italian Gourmet. Jeremy bought it in 1995, having grown up in Vienna and worked in the deli throughout high school and college. He married Margaret in 2005, and shortly after, she began working at the business.

“The area has changed a lot since then,” Margaret said. “It’s a lot busier. We make frozen entrees, and once they were not big sellers, but now people really want them.”

Margaret said the shift is representative of a larger change in the town. When The Italian Gourmet started, Margaret said it was known as the place to get specialty Italian food at a time when Vienna — and Northern Virginia as a whole — were still very much viewed as part of the South.

“Everyone would spend their Sundays making marinara sauce and they’d come here for supplies,” she said.

While the quick-bites have become increasingly popular, the specialty side of the gourmet remains active from hand-rolled balls of mozzarella to basil from a nearby hydroponic farmer. Margaret said the deli even uses the same recipe and tomato base for their marinara as they always have.

One of the biggest changes over the last few years was the Schottlers opening Molly’s Yogurt, a frozen yogurt and gelato spot just a few doors down in the same shopping center. The location had been a framing store underneath overflow spaces owned by the Schottlers.

The framing store closed in the middle of the recession in 2010, but with frozen yogurt on the rise, Margaret said the family saw potential. Molly’s Yogurt — named after their daughter — opened that year and is basically an extension of the deli, sometimes using the same tools or kitchen.

In both locations, Margaret said they know most of their customers by name and enjoy answering questions people have about the deli and gelato.

“If people are making an effort to go out to shop, they want an experience,” said Margaret. “That’s what we will always provide — what chains aren’t able to.”

If you stop by the deli, Margaret recommends the Roman Sandwich, a collection of traditional cold cut meats loaded with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and more onto a 7-inch sub roll. Or if you swing by the frozen yogurt-gelato spot, Margaret said there’s plenty of options, but nothing beats classic chocolate.

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A new photography studio opening tomorrow (Thursday) in Vienna focuses on high-end, portraiture photoshoots.

The Melody Yazdani Studio at 144 Church Street NW. has a grand opening scheduled for 6 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting at 6:30 p.m.

The studio specializes in portraits of women.

According to the website:

Session fees start at $275, with hair and makeup services available. Clients typically invest $1400-$5000 on custom collections. Session fees do not include prints or digital files, and travel fees may apply for sessions further than 15 miles from Vienna, Virginia.

The studio advises potential subjects to book a session at least two weeks before the photo shoot, though during peak seasons some slots fill up months in advance.

Exterior photo via Google Maps. Studio photo via Facebook.

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Four years after BoConcept closed its doors at Tysons Galleria, the high-end furniture retail chain is preparing to try again.

From 2004 to 2015, BoConcept operated out of the mall’s third floor until the area was converted into a food hall — first the ill-fated Isabella Eatery, now Taste of Urbanspace. But Washington, D.C. franchisee Tim Machenaud said the new location on the main floor will give the store more visibility.

Machenaud said there have also been a few changes in the store and in the mall since then that make him more encouraged about the prospects a second time around.

BoConcept ownership change three years ago has shifted the brand to a slightly more premium positioning,” said Machenaud. “We still have affordable furniture items but we have increased our quality standards as we want to be the leader in quality design furniture. This position shift is in line with the premium brands that you can find at Tysons Galleria.”

While stores nationwide have faced increased competition from online retail like Amazon, Machenaud said creating a superior retail experience in showrooms, like the one at Tysons, is integral to the furniture shopping experience.

Machenaud said feedback from clients has shown that most people buying furniture will visit and average of three to four stores before making their decision.

There are currently two other furniture brands in Tysons Galleria — Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Calligaris — and Machenaud said having multiple furniture brands in one location will help turn the mall into a quality furniture destination.

Meanwhile, the mall is planning to replace the now-closed Macy’s at the north end of the mall with a new suite of retailers like an Apple Store, an iPic movie theater, and a Balducci’s grocery store. A new fitness-themed area is also planned inside the space that was Legal Sea Foods.

Retail is changing… so the malls need to review their approach, their offers, their client’s experience,” said Machenaud. “Being next to the upcoming extension of this mall gives us the responsibility and honor to be at the gate between the current and the future.”

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