Come for the Manassas Christmas parade, stay for lunch and learn why historic Santa wears red, white, and blue

harpers santa

On Saturday, December 5, Manassas will host its annual Christmas Parade in Downtown.

Why not make a day of it and come have lunch with Santa Claus at the Old Manassas Courthouse located at 9248 Lee Avenue in Manassas, at the corner of Lee and Grant avenues. He’ll be once again dusting off that old patriotic suit of red, white, and blue for his visit.

The suit, which resembles our nation’s flag was created by famed German Born cartoonist Thomas Nast and first appeared in Harper’s Weekly on January 3, 1863 and was used as a recruiting piece for the northern war effort during the Civil War.

Santa was illustrated giving Christmas gifts to soldiers outside Fredericksburg, and was meant to soften the blow suffered by the Federal Army under General Ambrose Burnside earlier in December of 1862.

The menu will consist of oven roasted turkey, honey baked ham, home-style mashed potatoes, baked macaroni and cheese, freshly cut bacon herbed green beans, fresh cranberry sauce, giant cookies, and freshly baked pumpkin pie.

Beverages will include spiced apple cider, freshly brewed coffee, and hot chocolate. After lunch, bring your camera for a picture with Santa and an opportunity to discuss your Christmas list with him.

Then make an authentic 19th Century Christmas decoration to take home. Participants are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots.

The cost is $20 per person ages 11 and up, and $10 for children 10 and younger. Lunch will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Ball Room.

Elevator access is available to those who need it. For more information or to make a reservation please contact the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division at (703) 792-4754.

Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor makes its debut


Arbor Terrace is no longer the Sudley Manor House. It’s now called Arbor Terrace Sudely Manor.

The assisted living home underwent a makeover in the past month, and counselors invited family and friends of the residents, as well as member of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce inside the see the new digs.

Counselors were dressed in 1920’s attire, from flapper dresses to fedoras, and the theme of the party was “all jazzed up.” A ribbon cutting was held in front of the building to signify the changes.

Guests were treated to valet parking when they arrived, and then a wide spread of food and drink inside the 3-story building. Live music was featured on all floors of the building, such as guitar on the first floor and live piano on the third.

Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor threw a party to celebrate a renovation in the Manassas-area assisted living home.
Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor threw a party to celebrate a renovation in the Manassas-area assisted living home.
Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor threw a party to celebrate a renovation in the Manassas-area assisted living home.
Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor threw a party to celebrate a renovation in the Manassas-area assisted living home.
Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor threw a party to celebrate a renovation in the Manassas-area assisted living home.

The Arbor Company purchased Sudley Manor House in July 2014. New programs like “dining with dignity” were added — a culinary program that serves residents no longer able to eat with knives and forks food appetizer style. A transition program was also added for residents who don’t need many of the additional services required by those with Alzheimer’s but needed to move into an assisted living home, said Senior Care Counselor Rebecca Moore.

Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor has about 70 residents and 72 rooms. All three floors were completely remodeled in the past month.

7-story tower going up at Manassas Park City Center


A new 7-story tower is going up at Manassas Park City Center.

The new mixed-use development will contain a mix of apartments and commercial real estate. The tower will be located behind the City Center complex at Manassas Drive and Market Street, across from City Hall. This is the newest development in City Center since the original mixed-use retail and residential project opened in the mid-2000s.

“We love the idea, and my partners were asking two questions. One of them is ‘do we want to develop this in Manassas Park,’ and the answer is yes we do. The second one was ‘do we want to put [seven] stories in Manassas Park? It’s a high risk, according to all of the real estate agents we spoke with, and the answer is still yes we do,” said project developer Talal “TJ” Hassan, Jr.

The building will include 202 apartments, 14,000 square feet of retail space at the street level, and 6,000 square feet of office or retail space at the top floor. Apartments are expected to rent for between $1,400 and $1,500 per month and include one bedroom and two bedroom floor plans, and a floor plan that includes two bedrooms and a den.

The $15 million project is expected to take 18 months to construct.

A groundbreaking is held for a new 7-story tower to be build at Manassas Park City Center. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local]
A groundbreaking is held for a new 7-story tower to be build at Manassas Park City Center. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local]
A groundbreaking is held for a new 7-story tower to be build at Manassas Park City Center. [Uriah Kiser / Potomac Local]
The new tower will be located behind this existing City Center development, currently undergoing renovation.

The building represents a changing landscape in Manassas Park, which is widely known as a residential hamlet since its formation in 1975 nestled between Manassas City, and Centreville in Fairfax County. The addition of a Virginia Railway Express station and the Manassas Park Community Center in more recent years has helped to elevate the city’s profile.

Manassas Park officials have long pinned their hopes on this section of the city being transformed into a walkable downtown. 

“When we moved here in 1988, and from the railroad track onto the east, was a dirt road leading to an old farm that used to be there,” said Mayor Frank Jones. “The city has seen a lot of growth and a lot of changes, and there’s a lot more change that needs to occur to put the city in the kind of condition I want to see it in for the long term.”

This is the second large-scale project for Hassan in the Greater Manassas area. His firm constructed and manages what he’s dubbed the “Prince William Chamber of Commerce” Building on Capital Court in neighboring Manassas. That 4-storey building houses several large firms in addition to the Chamber to include JTC, Inc. and MTCI.

Manassas Park officials said the residential portion of the existing City Center building is 95% occupied with residents. The street-level retail portion has historically remained empty. A WashingtonFirst Bank branch is the only commercial tenant in the complex.

Hassan does not own the existing City Center development.

Flexible. Comforting. Helpful. What it takes to be an in-home Care Giver

Senior care giver

It can take weeks for someone to get used to being cared for inside of their home.

The needs of seniors can change from week to week, or instantly. Marcus Evans, a Care Giver at Home Instead Senior Care in Manassas, makes it his job to know his client’s needs and to make them feel right at home. A typical day for Evans consists of starting the day early and meeting with clients, many of whom he considers his friends.

“I grow very attached to people when I take care of them,” said Evans, “and it’s something that’s personal for me.”

Knowing the needs of the client

Evans reviews his schedule for that particular day so that he knows what client he is meeting what time he needs to be there. Evans arrives at the house often earlier than he is scheduled so that he can provide extra help.

“I think it’s a relief for them when I arrive,” said Evans, “because they’re just so used to not having helped or anyone around the house.” Evans introduces himself and evaluates the client’s Plan of Care, a guide that tells Evans what he needs to do for that client including small projects.

“It can be anything. Sometimes it’d be something as simple as putting in a light bulb that they couldn’t reach, or sometimes it might be helping them take a shower,” said Evans.

Each individual Plan of Care that Evans evaluates for his clients may differ. He works with some clients in the mornings, afternoons, or evenings.

“For my clients, sometimes they’ll need help with getting dressed in the morning, making sure they’re brushing their teeth, hair is washed and everything like that,” said Evans. “Getting out of bed. Sometimes they may need a change if they are incontinent. They may need breakfast made. The house to be tidied up and things like that.”

Clients also have to feel welcomed and comforted.

“Now if it’s an afternoon client, I might need to come in, and I’ll make lunch and help them run errands or something like that,” said Evans. An evening patient they’ll need probably dinner and they’ll need me to tuck them in… make sure the house is straight… make sure their bed is nicely and neatly done and things like that.”

Properly dispensing medication also falls under Evans’ duties. Meeting client needs Patience is “crucial” in the field of caregiving.

“If you’re not patient, people are going to sense it,” said Evans, “They’re going to be very closed off, and they’re not going to be inviting and warm.”

Willingness to adapt 

As clients’ needs changes over time, Care Giver s must adapt. Changes can happen in a matter of hours, daily, weekly or monthly. “You have to hang in there. You have to be willing to adapt and accept change,” said Evans.

“That’s why I think that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with this field because they’re not used to adapting on the fly as they would with a normal job where you just go in, and you clock in and you do the same thing every day.”

Evans says that it may take up to a few days, a few weeks, or even a month before a client is completely comfortable with someone taking care of them inside of their home. In most cases, Evans’ clients have never needed extra help or someone taking care of their every need.

“Sometimes they’ll verbalize in it. Sometimes it’s as simple as a look where it’s just like they’re smiling and I can tell at that moment they’re really happy with this. They’re really happy to have this help,” said Evans.

A rewarding career

Evans is Care Giver of the Year at Home Instead Senior Care located in Manassas, providing care for three years. He chose to work at Home Instead after working multiple types of jobs, but none seemed to be the perfect fit. It was while Evans was at a trade school that he was introduced to the field of medical assisting.

“The first class I took I was drawn to it immediately and I was like ‘I want to do this from now on,'” Evans said.

He achieved a certification in medical assisting and began searching for jobs in his field. However, Evans wanted a more personal type of relationship with patients that he felt he couldn’t get working at a doctor’s office. It was Evans’ mother that recommended him to Home Instead.

“I felt good. I felt like I’m really doing something that’s important for this guy because there was no one else with him and I was the only one there,” said Evans, about working with his first client. “…I felt like I was representing something good in his life that could be of service and help to him.”

Evans was named Care Giver of the Year at Home Instead and described the honor as both “overwhelming” and “unexpected”. Home Instead contacted Evans’ former clients and their families who gave glowing recommendations about Evans’ service and then interviewed Evans for the honor.

“To hear that I’m being esteemed in this way it blows me away…it was unbelievable to think that me just doing what I like doing people are going to recognize me in this way just for doing my job really,” said Evans.

Home Instead Senior Care provides in-home care to seniors in Prince William, Fairfax, and Fauquier counties, and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

Macaron Tart hopes Haymarket has a sweet tooth

macaron tart

A woman with a marketing background and love for French pastries will open a new bakery in Dominion Valley.

Macaron Tart will open in the Dominion Valley Shops next to Giant Food near Haymarket on November 5. Founder and president of the shop Elena Hocking said it will offer sweet treats and unique experiences for its customers.

“It’s just pretty pastries for your locals, really,” said Hocking.

The entrepreneur is hoping the community will embrace her bakery and place special orders for sweet and savory tarts, cookies, macaroons, and other treats for special occasions. The pastries also made great gifts for coworkers and friends, added Hocking.

The bakery will also offer a place to have tea with a friend. Baking classes will also be held here at least once a month where people can take two and a half hours to come and learn to make treats like crossaints, chocolate cupcakes, and cake pops.

“We plan to offer classes every Friday and Saturday as we grow,” said Hocking.

A baking class will cost $100 per person. Similar classes offered in the Washington, D.C. area range between $75 and $140 per person, said Hocking.

Macaroon Tart prides itself on making nearly everything from scratch from natural ingredients.

“It’s good for you, and it looks pretty,” said Hocking.

The Flory Small Business Center worked with Macaroon Tart to help the business reach opening day. The center is assisting the pastry shop with a ribbon cutting Thursday, November 5.

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart and Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland are scheduled to be on hand to cut the ribbon.

Opening the shop has “been a work in progress.” Hocking worked in business marketing in the corporate world before deciding to open her won shop. A passion for pastry and several trips to France fueled her desire to open her own bakery.

City Council OKs Manassas Gateway waterfront development


Manassas will move ahead with a plan make old farmland into a new waterfront development.

The City Council this week with a vote of 5-2 to instruct the city’s Economic Development Authority to sell 40 acres of land on Gateway Drive, between Prince William Parkway / Route 234 Bypass and the Manassas DMV, to Buchanan Partners. The firm will develop the property into space for retail, offices, restaurants, hotels, and 279 new homes.

Heritage Brewery will be an anchor at the new center known as Manassas Gateway, which will be the city’s first waterfront development, located next to a large stormwater retention pond that can be seen from Prince William Parkway / Route 234 Bypass.

“The City of Manassas is excited to have attracted a development company of the caliber of Buchanan Partners to help the city move forward with this development that has been under consideration for more than 20 years,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate in a press release. “This project will help City Council to realize their strategic goal of enhancing economic development for the entire community while complementing other city businesses and the historic downtown.”

Economic developers in the city have identified this as currently the most important project in for growth in the city. The project would be developed in phases, with the residential and retail portions of the project built first.

The new 165 townhomes and 114 new condos are expected to bring 194 new children into the city’s school system. That number is 69 more children than a previous project that called for 500 apartments and condominiums to be built at the site.

A proposed development would bring a mixture of office, retail, hotel space, and 279 new homes to Manassas Gateway
A man fishing in a retention pond at Manassas Gateway
A Bald Eagle flies over the retention pond at Manassas Gateway.
Retention pond at Manassas Gateway
An interchange at Manassas Gateway carries provides access to I-66 and I-95 in Dumfries
Sunset over the Route 28 / Prince William Parkway / Route 234 Bypass interchange

Those plans – which included a mixed-use development to include offices, retail, and a hotel to be developed by Lerner Enterprises — went bust at the onset of recession the during the last decade.

“It’s hard to get excited about 114 more condos and 165 more townhouses with more traffic on the roads and more kids in our school system,” said Councilman Mark Aveni, who along with Councilman Ian Lovejoy voted against moving forward with the project.

Traffic in and out of the new development is expected to use Godwin Drive to access Prince William Parkway / Route 234 Bypass, to get to Interstates 66 or 95, according to city documents. The Broad Run Virginia Railway Express station is located 1.4 miles from the development.

The city has been in negotiations with Buchanan Partners for the past 18 months in efforts to solidify a deal. Two other developers approached the city after the Lerner agreement expired. Their plans included up to 934 new homes, and city officials chose not to pursue them.

Manassas stands to generate up to $20 million for the sale of the property. The city expects to collect $50 per square foot of building area for retail, $23.50 per square foot for office, $50,000 per townhome, $30,000 per condo, and $15,000 per hotel room.

“We calculate that using these contractual pricing guidelines, total land sales could top $20 million over the life of the project. These prices apply only to the contract with Buchanan and are indexed for inflation. Sales to third parties may be at higher prices. Discounts to land prices could be offered by the EDA as an incentive to attract competitive economic development prospects” said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.

The development will sit on a portion of the old Wakeman Farm the city purchased for $4.3 million in 1982. It sold 21 acres between 1996 and 2005 for office development.

Later in 2006, the city entered into a deal with Lerner Enterprises to develop a mixed use property. The developer was unable to meet its first city-manded objective of building 75,000 square feet of retail space, and the City Council allowed the agreement to expire in 2011, according to city documents.

Buchanan will not own the land west of the bypass. The developer will also be held to similar mandates Lerner was faced with.

“The contract has a 5-year term with a 5-year extension, which is subject to performance. These are standard timelines that allow Buchanan enough time to begin development, marketing and sales during the initial term. The extension protects both Buchanan and the city in that it allows Buchanan to continue to develop the property and profit from its capital investment while ensuring the city can be released from the agreement if Buchanan is unable to perform its obligations,” said Small.

The Manassas EDA is scheduled to take up the matter at its Tuesday, Nov. 3 meeting at City Hall.

Ground broken on retail portion of Aquia Towne Center: ‘It’s finally happening’


A 76,000 square foot, concept grocery store will anchor the retail center at the latest incarnation of Aquia Towne Center.

The once bustling 200,000-square foot shopping center was razed in 2007. The land sat dormant until this year, and now 256 apartments are now coming up out of the ground on about half of the 25-acre property.

Stafford County leaders and Aquia Harbour residents gathered at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to celebrate the start of a commercial portion of the town center revitalization with a ceremonial moving of dirt from the ground into a dump truck. It’s the next phase of the town centers’ redevelopment, and the retail portion of the project represents a $40 million investment into the community.

The new commercial center will be developed by Maryland-based Mosaic Realty Partners, the same company that purchased nearby Brafferton Shopping Center on Route 610 last year. It will sit across from the new apartment complex being developed by Virginia Beach-based Franklin Johnston Group.

The grocery store will anchor the retail development.

The retail portion of a newly revamped Aquia Towne Center breaks ground.
The retail portion of a newly revamped Aquia Towne Center breaks ground.

“We’re not yet ready to announce the name of the grocer just yet… we are at the two-yard line in the deal,” said Eron Sodie, with Mosaic Realty Partners. “All I can tell you is that the supermarket chain in based in North Carolina, and you can figure it out from there.”

That left the crowd of over 100 people who came to the earth moving ceremony speculating that the store could be Harris Teeter.

“We need a Harris Teeter in Stafford,” said Wendy Mauer, of Stafford, who’s also running for a seat on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.

Sodie said Aquia Towne Center is the “most important project in their portfolio right now.” The firm has also developed properties in Washington, D.C., suburban Maryland, and outside Baltimore.

Stafford Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde said he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors 10 years ago by campaigning on the revitalization of the old Aquia Town Center.

“…I promised I would do something with this mall, and I haven’t done it fast enough… this changes all that,” said Milde. “It’s finally happening.”

Plans for the new grocery store show it occupying an area where a Regal Cinema movie theater sits today. New buildings will be built around the grocery store.

A multi-floor building that houses offices for Booz Allen Hamilton, and a Subway restaurant will remain. It is owned by Ramco-Gershon Properties, a developer that once owned the center and had big plans for its redevelopment prior to the recession.

It sold a half of the property to Mosaic and half to Franklin Johnston.

“It’s almost like saying a bad word when you mention Ramco-Gershon around here,” quipped Milde.

Jim Bowen owns a Best Western hotel at Aquia Town Center, on the corner of Routes 1 and 610. Visual renderings Ramco-Gershon had drawn for their version of Aquia Town Center looked more impressive.

“The development was going to be big, expansive, and expensive,” said Bowen, a Stafford resident since 1962. “It was going to have glass walkways, and it had condos on top of retail shops.

This development is a scaled down version of what could have been, he said.

Mick Lay owns “Micks Restaurant and Sports Lounge,” and he hopes new residents in the 256 apartments become regulars at his place.

“It’s going to be good for business to have them here,” he said.

Mosaic continues to shop around for new restaurants to fill their new town center, which will have a total footprint of 160,000 square feet. Founding partner Isaac Pretter was not dropping names of businesses Tuesday, but he did say he is courting well-known local restaurant brands that “would do well in Stafford.”

“Some of the close-in to D.C. restaurants, we’ve talked to our broker and they’ve told us they might work as well here,” said Pretter. “Whatever we bring here we want it to be successful.”

The new retail center is slated to open in 2017.

ACTS Thrift Store in Dumfries renovated

ACTS thrift store

The ACTS Thrift Store in Dumfries reopened this month after going being renovated.

The store now boasts new interior paint, exterior paint, a new store layout, and a newly paved parking lot, according to a press release.

The ACTS Thrift Store takes donations of gently used furniture, clothes, and housewares and sells them to the public. Money from goods sold at the store goes to benefit ACTS emergency assistance program.

The store is located at 3661 Canal Road in Dumfries. The store is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Boston Market opening at Potomac Mills mall


Boston Market, a national fast casual chain specializing in rotisserie chicken and home style meals, will open its second restaurant in Prince William County on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 in the food court at Potomac Mills mall.

The Potomac Mills opening is a progression of the fast-casual chain’s desired expansion into the non-traditional segment of the restaurant industry.

The Potomac Mills restaurant will offer a streamlined version of the traditional Boston Market menu, featuring favorites like rotisserie chicken, roasted turkey breast and a selection of popular home style sides including mashed potatoes, green beans and cornbread.

A standalone Boston Market is located outside the mall at the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Smoketown Road.

A public relations representative submitted this post to Potomac Local. A mall spokesman confirmed the opening of the new restaurant.

Employeers, job seekers turnout for Greater Manassas Community Job Fair

A full room of job seekers and employers at the Greater Manassas Community Job Fair

Over 450 jobseekers participate in area’s first independently organized job fair

When local business and industry leaders shared the struggles they were having in filling current job openings, a small group of citizens, led by Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy, embraced the challenge to identify workers capable of filling the void.

The Greater Manassas Community Job Fair was established as the means to help meet the worthy goal. This week, over 50 regional employers, career counselors and education partners came together to meet and interview prospective employees from the City of Manassas and surrounding areas.

“I found myself in the odd position of having citizens in the area talking in one ear about wanting to find work and regional businesses talking into the other about needing employees. Something wasn’t connecting. After finding out there was no job far in the region planned, it became obvious what I had to do,” said Lovejoy.

“Things came together rather quickly. Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church stepped up right away to offer space and many organizations helped market the event and volunteers were abundant,” he added.

Organizers and participants were particularly impressed with the fair’s success especially considering it was designed and implemented independently by just a few volunteers rather than a large civic organization or university. With over 450 jobseekers participating, several employers stated they were able to find quality applicants that day.

“The Manassas Job Fair was a huge success for KO Distilling. We received many quality resumes from potential candidates. More importantly, we were able to meet and talk with people so we could learn more about them and they could hear about our start-up distillery. Definitely a win-win for everyone and proof-positive that Manassas is a good place to do business” said Bill Karlson, KO Distilling, co-Founder and CEO.

Elder Ramos, recruiter for JK Moving Services, said, “we came away with a stack of completed applications, and even conducted some interviews on the spot. We were very pleased with the turnout and the whole process of the job fair.”

“I was glad to be able to talk to several applicants with IT experience,” Abhishek Chaudhry, owner of ITQuo Inc., said. “Having the opportunity to meet so many job seekers in such a short time was invaluable.”

Some employers, such as Harris Teeter and Keller Williams Realty, provided prizes that were given away, and several vendors, such as Michelle Davis-Younger’s The 1 for HR, were on hand to assist applicants with resumes and interview performance.

“I was very happy the fair worked well for both employers and those looking for work. There is a bitter-sweet aspect to it, however, realizing just how many in our area are in need of jobs- from entry level to experienced professionals. There’s no doubt we need more events like this and we’ve already begun planning our next one,” said Lovejoy.

Organizers for the event also Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Home Instead Senior Care, and both Strayer and Stratford universities.

Inova expanding in Manassas area with new urgent care clinic

innova urgent care manassas

An open house and ribbon cutting will take place at a new walk-in health center near Manassas.

Inova Urgent Care Center – Manassas will open November 2. An open house and ribbon cutting will be held October 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The new center is located at 8051 Sudley Road, inside an old Ruby Tuesday restaurant that later became Marlin and Rays.

This will be the first Inova Urgent Care Center in the Manassas area.

Inova states the center is equipped to treat minor injuries and illnesses, and will offer a shorter wait time than a hospital emergency room. The center will accept most insurance plans, will offer appointments but does not require them, and will perform X-rays and lab tests, drug screenings, and provide flu shots and other immunizations, according to a statement from Inova.

This will be the second Inova Urgent Care facility in Prince William County. Innova Urgent Care — Woodbridge is located at 14605 Potomac Branch Drive, near Wegmans in Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center. An Inova Family Medical Group office is located at 12480 Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge.

Apple Federal Credit Union getting ready to open doors at new Stafford location

apple fed credit union stafford

Apple Federal Credit Union will open the doors on its new banking center in Stafford next month.

The credit union will move from its current location at Doc Stone Commons to Stafford Marketplace in North Stafford, near Starbucks. The move will afford the bank an easier-to-find location, and one that is visible to more drivers on busy Garrisonville Road.

“We have about 3,000 to 4,000 members who live in the area, and we have members coming up to this branch from Fredericksburg,” said Cynthia McAree, vice president of marketing.

The Stafford branch is the most southern branch of the company’s 13 22 banking centers in Northern Virginia. The new center should open mid-November, and will include several technology upgrades to include several new iPads that will be used to demonstrate the company’s digital banking products.

Those who are employed with Stafford County Public Schools, their families, Stafford County Public School students, and their families are eligible to become members at Apple Federal Credit Union.

In Fairfax and Prince William counties, anyone who lives or works in the counties is eligible to become a member of the credit union.

84,000 square foot home decor store to open at Manassas Mall


A new “at home – The Home Decor Superstore” will open next week at Manassas Mall.

The new store will sit in the old JC Penney location, and will take up 84,000 square feet of floor space. The Manassas store will be the fourth in Virginia. Other “at home” stores are located in Chesapeake, Chesterfield, and Richmond.

The store sells a mixture of furniture, patio furniture, kitchen furniture, bathroom accessories, and seasonal items.

The new Manassas Mall store was slated to open last week. The opening date was rescheduled for Oct. 23. The store is expected to offer grand opening specials Oct. 23 and 24.

The store is the only one of its kind at Manassas Mall. The shopping center was purchased by Pyramid Companies headquartered in Syracuse, N.Y. Manassas Mall is one of 17 shopping centers in the company’s portfolio.

Manassas Mall is expanding, as work is underway to convert 103,000 sqaure foot space next to the “at home” store. The large space used to house a Target, but will soon be home to a new indoor speedway, bowling alley, and hamburger restaurant, according to a mall spokeswoman.

New stores in the expansion are expected to begin opening this winter with all stores expected to be open by Spring 2016.

Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to North Stafford

walmart neighborhood market

A Walmart Neighborhood Market will be built in North Stafford.

The store will set next to a Sheetz gas station under construction on the corner of Garrisonville and Furnace roads. The Stafford County Board of Supervisors approved a special use permit to allow the store to have a drive-through window to allow customers to drop off and pick up prescriptions at the store’s pharmacy.

This is the first Walmart Neighborhood Market in the region, said Judson Honaker with Silver Companies, the developer of the site. Walmart was interested in placing the store at Garrisonville and Furnace roads due to a large number of surrounding houses, he added.

Site planning is underway now. Construction will begin in spring 2016, and the store should open later in the year. The store will be located across the street from an office and retail park on Tech Parkway.

In addition to a pharmacy, the store will also offer a grocery pick-up service for customers who call ahead. Customers will be able to pull into the parking lot and pick up their grocery orders waiting for them at the front of the store.

The developer proffered a 10,000 square foot park to be built on the property or offered to donate $25,000 to the Stafford County Parks and Recreation Department. Honaker said county officials opted for the park to be built outside the Walmart store.

Walmart Neighborhood Markets are popping up in more urban areas across the U.S. The store offers many of the same items a larger Walmart store does, only in a more compact space.

The store is expected to create more competition for grocery stores like Food Lion, Giant Food, and Shoppers Food Warehouse.

Employment seekers invited to free Manassas job fair


Job seekers in Manassas are in luck.

The Greater Manassas Community Job Fair will be held Thursday, Oct. 13, from 1 to 6 p.m. inside the gymnasium at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, located at 8712 Planation Lane in Manassas.

The event is free to attend and is billed as an opportunity for job seekers to meet with and discuss job openings with potential employers.
A total of 40 companies will be represented at the job fair.

Ashley Furniture Homestore
Ashby Ponds
Brickman and ValleyCrest
Cintas Corporation
City of Manassas
CVS Health
Family Entertainment/Laser Tag
Fairfax County Gov.
Five Guys
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Harris Teeter
Home Instead Senior Care
JCM Help Center
JK Moving Services
JC Penny– Fairfax
KO Distilling
Keller Williams Realty
Labor Ready
LEI Home Enhancements
MasTec Advanced Technologies
Minnieland Academy
Manassas City Public Schools
NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute
Northern Virginia Community College
PW County Police Department
RE/MAX Real Estate Connections
Reinhart FoodService
SSI-Storage Strategies, Inc.
Stratford University
Strayer University
Turner’s Total Communication
The 1 For HR
The Skillsource Group
US Army
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.
WSR Solutions

The job fair is being organized by Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy. Volunteers are still needed to help out at the fair from noon to 6 p.m., said Lovejoy.

Anyone with questions, or those who wish to volunteer may contact Lovejoy.

Manassas poised to have first waterfront development with land deal


Manassas is in talks with a developer to create the city’s first waterfront destination.

The focus is 40 acres of land that sits along Gateway Boulevard, between Godwin Drive and Prince William Parkway. A Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles office sits on the land.

Manassas City Economic Development Director Patrick Small said a large “destination” tenant would anchor the new development. It won’t be a grocery store, and retail would be only a part of the tenant’s focus. Small could not provide a potential name of a business that might fill the space negotiations are ongoing.

Offices, and a mixture of up to 500 apartments and townhomes would also be built on the property that is now owned by the city. The City Council last month voted to hold another in a series of closed sessions meetings to work out the details of a required rezoning. The city is in talks to sell the land to Buchanan Partners for it to be developed, but not before the developer agrees to meet demands placed on it by residents and city government.

Buchanan has developed other buildings around the city, including building at the Manassas Regional Airport and a business center on Euclid Avenue.

“In many ways, this project represents the future of the City of Manassas, at least economically,” said Small, whose office has spent the past 18 months working on a new development on this site.

A similar deal between the city and Lerner Enterprises in 2012. City officials blamed it on the economy.

A series of restaurants would line the waterfront, which is the Cannon Branch lake that can be seen from the interchange at Prince William Parkway and Route 28. The development could also house two extended stay hotels to serve area businesses and patrons of the Manassas Regional Airport.


The project would sit less than a mile from Innovation Park in Prince William County, an area that is home to the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus, and home to several biotech research groups. The new retail development in Manassas could serve those who work at Innovation.

“Our competition at innovation is succeeding because the county had a vision and made the public investments necessary to attract development,” said Small, of the potential development on Gateway Drive. “Performance has lagged because the property is not shovel ready and lacks a sense of place.”

The property will require site work to get it ready for development, including grading. The Manassas City Council voted to defer the vote to move forward on the project because Vice-Mayor Jonathan way and others said they wanted to fully understand the scope of work required at the site.

Members of the City Council wanted ensure the sale of the city-owned property is handled in a transparent manner, and business is done in front of the public.

“You’ve been working on this for 18 months, the council was made aware of it six months ago, and residents were made aware of it four days ago, said Manassas Councilman Ian Lovejoy at the September 28 meeting.

Other councilmembers who wanted to move ahead on the deal didn’t understand the need for another closed door session in the name of transparency.

“It’s been a pretty transparent process,” said Councilwoman Sheryl Bass. “I feel it’s ironic to have to have anther closed session to support more transparency is a little bit of a disconnect there.”

Once ready, the Council must endorse the contracts between the city’s Economic Development Authority and Buchanan Partners. The EDA will then move ahead and negotiate the sale of the land.

Small said the city is unable to develop the land on its own.

“We cannot develop this property ourselves. In addition to needing upfront capital of $3 million for grading, clearing and utility work there will be costs to develop each site plus ongoing operation and maintenance expenses. We need a development partner with capital, construction experience and client relationships to bring additional private businesses and investments,” said Small.

The new development is expected to generate at least $3.5 million in annual tax revenues to city coffers when completed, added Small.

Stafford County wants to invest $385,000 into a business incubator at Quantico Corporate Center


Stafford County wants to give entrepreneurs a place to work, and to hire a new director to oversee an new business incubator.

County officials want to invest $385,000 in a new coworking space at Quantico Corporate Center, dubbed “Tech Park,” to house start-up businesses. It’s part of an ongoing effort dating back to 2010 where George Mason and Mary Washington universities, and Germanna Community College signed an MOU to explore the possibilities of classes, services, research, and economic development to what is today known as the Stafford Technology and Research Park located in the corporate center.

Based on findings included in the Tech Park Strategic Plan, staff determined that the next logical step includes the creation of a coworking space to accommodate the space needs of new small business entrepreneurs, to hire a part-time executive director to advance the Tech Park’s initiatives, and to locate today’s Center with the coworking space under one roof.

-Stafford County documents

The incubator space will be 5,500 square feet of space inside Building 1000 at Quantico Corporate Center. A new part-time director will be hired and paid an annual $90,000 salary, and will oversee and recruit new talent to the center.

County officials state the new center would break even in the fourth year of operation, and should be profitable by the fifth year. The county will dole out two payments of $192,500 over the next two years to fund he center.

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors will take up the matter at its 3 p.m. Tuesday meeting at the county government center, located at 1300 Courthouse Road in Stafford.

Manassas set the bar with high-quality, truly local craft spirits and beer

KO Distilling

The craft beer, wine, and spirits industry has been growing in leaps and bounds.

In the last few years, two breweries and a distillery have opened in the City of Manassas. While each place offers their own unique vibe and products, two characteristics unite and set them apart from the competition – a commitment to quality and local ingredients.

“Similar to the farm-to-table movement, people are excited by the grain-to-glass concept and high-quality products made from local grains,” says Bill Karlson, the co-founder and CEO of KO Distilling. “We make a point of telling people during tours that our wheat comes from Renwood Farms in Charles City and our rye came from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Virginia’s Northern Neck.”

KO Distilling
Heritage Brewing
KO Distilling Bottles

KO Distilling opened in September and welcomed 450 people to its grand opening. During its first week, more than 100 people stopped by to sample its whiskey and gins. The distillery is a true agribusiness – the spirits are not just made in Virginia, but the majority of the grains used are sourced from local farms.

A Nielsen study found that “local, authentic” are qualities desired of beer and spirits growing in importance among consumers, most largely among the 21-34 demographic.  Perhaps that is because today about 75% of adults over the age of 21 live within 10 miles of a brewery. The Atlantic reported that there were 70 small distilleries in the U.S. in 2003. Karlson says that KO is the 19th craft distiller in an industry of about 1000 microdistillers.

Customers seek quality and want to know how ingredients are sourced, says Sarah Meyers, co-founder of Manassas’ first craft brewery BadWolf Brewing Company.

“We try to source local whenever possible and at Little BadWolf they get to see beer being made right in front of them. Given how many craft breweries are popping up, we might hit a saturation point, so you need to make sure your quality is way up there and that is our biggest focus.”

The beer made at Heritage Brewing has a 100-percent organic base and 92 percent of all ingredients are either organic or locally sourced.  Sean Arroyo, CEO of Heritage Brewing, explains, “Our approach is committing ourselves to the consistency and quality of our product and bringing the best ingredients that we can through organics and local aspects.”

This fall, Heritage is collaborating with The Bone, a barbecue spot in historic Manassas, on a bacon stout. And BadWolf is working with downtown Manassas restaurateurs on an “Old Town” Beer that will only be available in downtown establishments.

Experimenting with new creations keeps the excitement alive. Heritage, which is a 20-barrel brew house, also operates a small pilot system for making small batches of creative releases for the taproom. “It gives us a way to interact with our consumers and let them decide what our next big beers will be,” says Arroyo.

After BadWolf’s successful first year, Meyers and her business partner and husband Jeremy opened a 6,000-square foot production facility. Little BadWolf Brewing Company, the smaller, original location, is where people can try out the experimental batches and even suggest recipes, while the new Big BadWolf has space for special events and growler and kegs of their flagship brews.

“We are using our space for more than beer,” says Meyers. “We focus on giving back to charities and bringing people together for social events.” One look at BadWolf’s event calendar shows there is always something going on, including yoga, painting, and Craft Beer Bingo – all accompanied with a pint. Similarly, Heritage hosts trivia and live music nights in addition to special events like a new beer dinner series.

While all three businesses are committed to building a sense of community, they also take being a regional destination seriously. As Meyers says, “people won’t go to just a bar, but places like a brewery are something special they will seek out.”

Karlson says that he and his business partner, John O’Mara, always envisioned KO Distilling being a tourism destination by matching a great product with a great experience. “The minute visitors walk through our doors,” he says, “they know they aren’t in a warehouse anymore.”

KO Distilling’s tasting room has leather couches, a fireplace, and copper and oak design elements that mimic the copper pot still they use for distilling and barrels they use for aging. The atmosphere rewards locals as well as travelers for making the drive. Karlson, Meyers, and Arroyo all agree that Manassas, with its close proximity to I-95 and 66 and its abundance of historical sites and attractions, is an ideal location for attracting tourists from the metro area and beyond.

“What we want to do is bring in the community, produce a quality product, and have a great time doing it,” says Meyers.

How Habitat for Humanity ‘ReStore’ will expand to serve all of Prince William County

manassas restore habitat

Habitat for Humanity is about to expand in a big way.

The organization’s arm in Prince William County that builds homes for those in need will relocate its “ReStore” from Center Street in Manassas to an old Food Lion store on Hastings Drive in the city.

Habitat Prince William County also plans to open its first ReStore in Woodbridge, in an old Food Lion location on Prince William Parkway.

In Manassas, at more than 38,5000 square feet of retail space, the new ReStore at 10159 Hastings Drive in Manassas will be nearly three-times larger than the current location.

The store will encompass the entire floor plan of the old grocery store, and that means it’ll have more room to sell things like home furnishings, old books and DVDs, in addition to staples like building supplies.

Habitat for Humanity Prince William County also seeks to hire a district manager for the Manassas store, as well as about five new full and part-time employees. When hiring is complete, the organization will have 22 employees who will work at the Manassas and Woodbridge stores.

The Manassas store should be open in December. The center relies on donations from the public to stock its shelves.

“If we didn’t have donations coming in, this wouldn’t work,” said Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Director Traci DeGroat.

Collecting donations is a big reason the organization wanted to expand with a new store in Woodbridge. There a plenty of building contractors on the east end that donate materials to the shop, and those donations are currently picked up in a truck and hauled back to Manassas.

A new ReStore inside Prince William Commons near BJ’s Wholesale Club will serve as a donation center where building materials and a host of other goods will be collected for resale. Sales from both the Manassas and Woodbridge stores will benefit the work Habitat for Humanity does in the community.

The ReStore in Woodbridge will not take up the entirety of the old Food Lion store, and should open next spring. DeGroat said the organization got a better deal on the Manassas store since it’s not located on a major thoroughfare like Prince William Parkway, and because Habitat agreed to take the entire space existing space for its Manassas store.

Micron: A memory maker in Manassas

Today, people are glued to their smartphones. Hours at a time are spent in front of computers, tablets, and game consoles.

Despite this, few of us think about what makes them work. High-performance memory is the main component that makes our favorite gadgets have such cool features.

And when a computer slows down a few years after purchase, instead of buying a new one, a $50 memory upgrade can get you back up to speed in minutes. One of the biggest innovators of this powerful technology is located right in the City of Manassas.

Micron Technology is an advanced semiconductor solutions provider that designs and manufactures memory technologies. Founded in Boise, Idaho, in 1978, Micron has risen to the top of its industry.

It is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in Virginia, the only U.S.-based DRAM manufacturer, and the largest U.S.-based wafer supplier. (DRAM is the memory a computer processor needs to function. A wafer is a thin, round slice of material, usually silicon, that serves as the foundational layer on which a semiconductor is built.)

The company came to Manassas when it acquired Dominion Semiconductor in 2002. Soon after, it began investing heavily in modernizing the existing plant.

According to a study by George Mason University, Micron’s early capital investments during 2002 – 2005 totaled more than $178 million, created almost 390 jobs annually, and generated $56.5 million in new personal income to local residents. At the state level, Micron added $376.2 million in value to Virginia’s economy.

The company continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Sixteen years after it was established, Micron had already invested $300 million in expansion projects and was listed on the Fortune 500.

Today it has more than 30,000 employees across the globe and has netted $16.4 billion in sales during the last fiscal year. Manassas has been a part of this success story.

In 2010, Micron decided to invest $56 million to expand its Manassas facility to take advantage of the area’s highly skilled workforce. It built out a new “clean room” – a manufacturing environment with a low level of dust, chemical vapors, and other contaminants that is used in the semiconductor industry – in order to boost its memory chip production.

Former Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Micron’s executives in Manassas to announce the company’s expansion and celebrate its significant contributions to the Commonwealth and Manassas. The expansion created more than 100 new jobs. In fact, for the last five years, Micron has been the largest employer in the City of Manassas and currently employs more than 1,500 workers.

Years ago, Micron’s success caught the eye of former President George W. Bush who used the Manassas facility as the backdrop for a speech he delivered to highlight the importance of STEM education, investing in a highly skilled workforce, and being an innovator in a global marketplace. More recently, First Lady Michelle Obama gave a speech at this same facility to discuss the tech companies hiring veterans. She recognized Micron for doing its part to train these workers so they can compete for high-paying jobs in the technology sector.

The company is committed to giving back to the community. One of its biggest causes is STEM education and elevating students into high tech jobs.

In 2013 alone, the Micron Technology Foundation, together with Lockheed Martin, donated more than $53,000 to the Manassas City Public School Education Foundation for robotics and STEM programs. Staff members volunteer their time and mentor students through internships that sometimes evolve into full-time jobs.

As the company continues to grow and innovate – bringing smaller, more powerful and faster high-tech products to market – it continues to strengthen the City of Manassas and the regional workforce.

Prince William & Fauquier businesses: Become ‘Alzheimer’s Friendly’

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Free Trainings for Businesses Aim to Reduce Isolation Among Families Impacted by Alzheimer’s For the 15 million Americans providing care for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease, isolation is a serious risk.

With the unpredictable nature of the disease, symptoms such as memory loss, repetition and poor judgment lead many to choose to avoid the outside world rather than risk the possibility of unpleasant, awkward or even frightening situations in public.

In fact, in a recent survey of Alzheimer’s caregivers, 74 percent reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated from the community as a result of the disease. Furthermore, 85 percent reported that they feel a reduced quality of life due to isolation.

As a community, we cannot allow this to happen to our neighbors, friends and loved ones. We can change these frightening statistics here at home. To do just that, the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Prince William and Fauquier Counties is helping launch the Alzheimer’s Friendly BusinessSM program.

The program includes a training for local businesses that is designed to help employees understand the disease and provide simple techniques to ensure customers with Alzheimer’s are treated with compassion and respect. The training itself is quick and can be done for businesses in as little as 30 minutes, but the impact on families in our community can be long-lasting.

For a family coping with Alzheimer’s disease, going to a restaurant where a hostess will know the best place to seat you to prevent your loved one from becoming confused can lead to a much-needed night out of the house. Errands to the bank may seem less overwhelming when you know the teller on the other side of the counter can recognize and politely respond to an unexpected behavior as a result of Alzheimer’s, where others in that same situation might be confused or even rude.

Businesses in Prince William and Fauquier counties can work directly with the local Home Instead Senior Care office to arrange an in-person training for their employees, and an online version of the training is also available at

Once the training is completed, businesses will receive a window decal with the Alzheimer’s Friendly Business logo, allowing those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia to easily recognize these businesses taking the lead in making our community more Alzheimer’s friendly.

For more information about Home Instead Senior Care’s Alzheimer’s Friendly Business program, including information on what to look for in an Alzheimer’s Friendly Business, visit or call 703-596-1217.

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