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How does Stafford honor its Business of the Year? In front of its new indoor pool and sports facility.

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Access Eye Center is Stafford County’s Business of the Year.

Ophthalmologist Arash Mansouri and his wife Michele took home the annual business appreciation award given by Stafford County’s Department of Economic Development.

“This is the American Dream,” Michele Manouri, originally from Southern West Virginia. “My husband, an Iranian immigrant and me a small town girl.”

The two purchased the business in Falmouth in 1999, located inside an old fire station. Today the building on Route 1 is adorned with unique murals that make it stand out other cookie-cutter shopper centers located along the highway.

The Mansouri’s also have Access Eye Centers in North Stafford, and in King George and Spotsylvania counties.

The award was presented during Stafford County’s annual business appreciation ceremony. The new Jeff Rouse Indoor Swim and Sport Center served as the backdrop for the catered ceremony. The center, named after Stafford County Olympian Jeff Rouse, boasts one of eight Olympic-sized swimming pools in Virginia, as well as 11 turf fields outside the building.

The 2016 Cornerstone Business Award winner is Earl’s Hardware in Falmouth, formerly owned by Earl Broyles and his son, Wayne, and currently owned by Keri DeBenard.

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Olympian Jon Lugbill, whose face appeared on the front of Wheaties cereal boxes in 1986, was the keynote speaker for the event and touted the new center as a magnet for the growing “sports tourism” business. Thousands of parents and their children travel for hundreds of miles to attend soccer and other sporting events, said Lugbill. Soon, they’ll be going and competing at Stafford’s Rouse Center.

“They come for the sporting event but then they might come back to visit, or might come back on vacation, and then might come to Richmond after visiting Fredericksburg,” Lugbill joked,

Lugbill works for the Richmond Sportsbackers, a group that promotes sports tourism in that region.

Manassas wants to know what keeps you coming back to Downtown, and what more you want to see.

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Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) is in the process of re-branding itself and wants public input.

HMI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit contracted by the City of Manassas, but many people are unaware of what HMI does for the community.

However, much of what the community participates in is planned and coordinated by HMI.

“Many people hear ‘Historic’ Manassas and automatically think we run the museum and the historical landmarks in the City, but that’s not us,” said Executive Director Debbie Haight.

HMI created a short survey to gather a general idea of what people that HMI is, what draws them to a great downtown area, and more. The survey is designed to take no longer than 15 minutes of one’s time and also provides for an opportunity to win a gift card to the shops and restaurants in historic downtown Manassas.

HMI’s survey has only been up and running for less than a week, but the response has been incredible.

“The responses we’ve received so far have already shown us that people are confusing what our organization does,” said Haight. “However, it’s exciting to see so many people invested in the downtown district and we can’t wait to show them what they are helping us to create.”

After a brief look at the results many people are excited about all that has happened in Downtown Manassas over the last few years with new events and art initiatives and all that is to come.

If you have a few moments, consider taking this short survey and getting your opinions and thoughts heard here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FB3XSZ6.  The survey will be up through Sunday, May 29.

 

Fiducial building in Downtown Manassas sells for $1.3 million

New Owners to Combine Best of Past, Present and Future to Transform 100-Year-Old
Hynson Department Store Building Into Flagship Office Space

“The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless”

ECU Communications, a full-service digital marketing and advertising firm, and Whitlock Wealth Management, a full-service Ameriprise financial planning firm, have jointly purchased the historic building located at 9073 Center Street in the heart of Downtown Manassas. ECU and Whitlock Wealth Management will share the second floor of the building, and rehabilitate the ground floor for future rental.

The unoccupied building sold for $1.3 million. 

Built in 1915, the building occupies a prime location at the intersection of Center and Main Streets, just two blocks from the Manassas train station and parking garage and surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries. The building will serve as Manassas-based ECU Communications’ headquarters and a second location for Whitlock Wealth Management, which has its main office in Lake Ridge. City Manager Pat Pate underscored that “the addition of these two professional firms to Downtown Manassas exemplifies the continuing diversification of the City’s business base, as more and more firms choose this historic, vibrant location”.

“We’re working with the City to make the most of the building’s location, history and character. The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless,” said Jackie Krick, president of ECU. “This acquisition will also help ECU continue to grow our private sector and local client base,” Ms. Krick added. Bennet Whitlock, principal of Whitlock Wealth Management, concurred. “Not only is this a great location,” Mr. Whitlock said, “but it allows us to significantly expand our business footprint into the City of Manassas and central Prince William County, which will help us serve more investor clients.”

As an Ameriprise Advisor, Whitlock Wealth Management specializes in retirement and estate planning, wealth preservation strategies and comprehensive investment planning. ECU Communications specializes in digital and multicultural advertising and marketing, serving government, corporate and nonprofit clients. For more information about Whitlock Wealth Management, please phone 703.492.7732 or visit online at whitlockwealth.com. For more information about ECU Communications, please phone 703.754.7728 or visit ecucomm.com.

 

News
IKEA remodels Woodbridge restaurant

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Reginald Thomas looks forward to his breakfast.

A bus driver for PRTC, the hot meal is a chance to take a welcome break and put fuel in his tank to keep going for the rest of the day. The price of his meal at a newly remodeled IKEA Restaurant at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge is easy to swallow, too.

“It’s 99 cents. By far, this is the best breakfast deal in town,” said Thomas, of Lake Ridge, who is a regular here on workdays.

With a plate piled high full of sausage and potatoes, Thomas poured himself a drink from a self-serve beverage station that sits in the middle of the floor and then he found himself a seat.

“I don’t eat the eggs here,” he said. “For some reason, they’re not cooked the way I like them. I like my eggs cracked, and they don’t do that here.” (more…)

Growing security firm Always Protected urges Prince William homeowners to discuss safety, security plans

Donation to be made to Kyle Wilson Memorial Scholarship Endowment for new installations 

Always Protected is a local authorized ADT Dealer underneath the Safe Streets, USA umbrella. Mike Mess, the CEO of Always Protected, has successfully positioned this company to have a nationwide presence with over 1,000 real estate agents.

The real estate agents are currently enrolled in the company’s partner program, helping the brand continue a strong, aggressive growth plan that Mess has envisioned since launching this company.

Headquartered in Woodbridge, with a second location being launched in Norfolk on April 4, his goal in 2016 is to launch five additional offices. With their current locations and new to come, they hope to continue their outreach to assist homeowners in protecting their home against burglary, fire, and carbon monoxide emergencies.

A lot of people, when they think of ADT or home security, immediately think of protection against burglary or home invasions.

Mess stated, “What has always stayed close to my heart about this industry is the ability to assist in any emergency most families aren’t prepared for. Our keypads have Emergency Medical, Fire, and Police panics, so in the event a child was home alone, or elderly adults and something were to happen they can simply push a button and get emergency assistance immediately.”

Mess, who grew up in Woodbridge, and spent the first 21 years of his life in our hometown, strongly believes it should be mandated that homeowners have integrated smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors in homes. This type of monitoring can save property and lives.

“To this day, before I go to bed each night, I always visit local news websites, and I’m always in disbelief of how many fires, gas leaks, and burglaries take place. It is so important to take proactive measures to your family’s safety because you can’t plan for an event like that to take place. The best you can do is have your family discuss emergency scenarios and have the protection of a security system that is being monitored by a company like ADT.”

Always Protected goes above and beyond for homeowners when they activate their security system. Because of their unique business model, they can waive the cost of equipment and installation for their customers.

“Now-a-days we can accommodate everyone’s needs because we can do everything from basic security to complete home automation,” stated Mess. Our company will always offer a free security consultation for every client because we understand the importance of educating homeowners on the importance of our life-saving devices.

As a way to give back to the community, spread fire awareness, and taking preventive measures with families across our area, Always Protected is going to donate $50 for every residence in Prince William County that gets installed to the Kyle Wilson Memorial Scholarship Endowment, via the George Mason University Foundation.

Wilson, 24, was the first Prince William County firefighter to die in the line of duty on April 17, 2007. Wilson was trapped after he went inside burning house in Woodbridge to search for occupants who had already made it out safely.

Always Protected will also provide a monitored smoke and heat detector. Both detectors, along with the cost of any other equipment, and the charge for installation, are free for all homeowners who want to take a proactive stance with fire protection and enter into a monitoring agreement with Always Protected, Safe Streets, USA, and ADT.

“I’m truly blessed to be in the position that I’m in, and the least I could do is give back to the community I was born and raised in,” said Mess.

For a free assessment of your home or business, please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-492-2711.

Stratford University students participate in Flory Center Start Up Workshops

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The Flory Small Business Center, Inc. continues to offer free monthly workshops to entrepreneurs that are in the start-up phase of their business. The center is pleased to announce that their Start Up Workshops are being utilized by a substantial number of students from Stratford University’s Woodbridge Campus along with residents of Prince William County, the Cities of Manassas Park and Manassas, as well as surrounding counties. (more…)

Momentum Aerospace Group takes on the world’s most difficult problems

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From a sinking ferry on a great lake in Africa, 14 lives were saved.

Flying an unmanned aerial vehicle above Lake Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo in summer 2015, a sensor operator sitting next to the pilot noticed a sinking ferry 40 nautical miles from shore.

“We joke around and say he used the “force” because he’s not a maritime guy, not former Navy or solider,” said Joe Fluet, CEO of Momentum Aerospace Group (MAG).

A total of 21 people were aboard the ferry that was capsizing in the lake. The drone operators had been on a reconnaissance mission seeking out intelligence on an insurgent group on the other side of the great lake. They deviated from the mission, took another pass near the sinking ferry and provided the geo-location position data of the doomed boat to the Congolese coast guard.

“In much of the world, when ferries sink everybody dies because there are no radios, no way to get rescue and no way to contact anybody. Those 14 people got to go home and be with their families that night,” said Fluet.

That was a memorable day for MAG; a six-year-old company Fluet founded shortly after retiring from the Army Reserve. Now with more than 600 employees on five continents, operating about 100 aircraft, the company headquarters sits in Woodbridge, Va.

MAG has become the hub for people who want to work in remote areas of the world, taking on difficult challenges, with the mindset of “country first.”

“We’re not a lifestyle company,” Fluet said. “The happy MAG employee has two things in life: work and family. Someone who wants to come in at nine and leave at five won’t do well at MAG because they won’t be happy.”

Checking and responding to emails late at night, and working on projects on weekends is just the beginning of the workload for the type of employees MAG attracts.

The reward for this work is high. “MAG pays above market for most positions”, said Fluet. “There’s also the satisfaction in a job well done, with a focus of a mission is to “make the world smaller and a safer place.” His company’s interests align with those of the U.S., and he expects the same kind of patriotism from his employees.

Before founding his company, Fluet was tasked in 2004 by the Pentagon to set up the very first Aviation Special Operations Unit in Afghanistan. After two tours in the Army and now with the Army Reserve and National Guard, Fluet was tapped for the project because of his experience in the cockpit.

fluet4He spent one year in Afghanistan, where he called on the help of several contractors to get the job done. Unimpressed with the”mercenary” attitudes of many, the contractors he worked with were more about getting paid than providing a service to their country.

“I was unhappy with the contractors I hired at the time,” said Fluet. “I genuinely believed I could do it better than what I’d seen.”

When MAG began, Fluet found himself in Washington, D.C. almost on a daily basis, in meetings, providing support and winning contracts. Better communications technology today means he and his employees can work better remotely. His presence in D.C. has significantly diminished.

He chose to locate in Prince William County because of its business-friendly climate and proximity to the Pentagon, Fort Belvoir Army Base and Marine Corps Base Quantico. There’s also plenty of military service members in the area to make it feel like home.

“I went for a run one morning, stepped out onto my block, and I counted 11 American Flags outside of houses,” said Fluet. “Where else do you see that?”

More companies like his are locating to Prince William County because there’s Class A office space for 25% less than the cost of similar spaces in Northern Virginia. MAG will continue pursuing business from the military, U.N., and NATO, all while working in more remote and non-permissive areas across the globe.

The region took notice of MAG earlier this month when Fluet took home a 2016 SmartCEO Future 50 Award. The ceremony recognizes the region’s fastest-growing mid-size companies. Collectively, Future 50 CEOs employ more than 8,000, and have a cumulative $2.3 billion revenue.

It’s difficult to list what MAG does in a 15-second elevator speech. Fluet says that’s both a curse and a blessing.

“If you hired me to fly to you to Indianapolis because you needed to interview someone there, I’m happy to do that for you. But there are literally 5,000 companies that can do that. I would prefer to be hired to conduct aerial surveillance in Yemen. Not a lot of companies can do that.”

This promoted post is written by Potomac Local under an agreement with Prince William County Department of Economic Development to showcase business in the region.

How knowing ‘Why’ led website developer WIX to $1 billion

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“Business Beat” is a sponsored column written by One Degree Capital CEO and President Rod Loges. His column examines ideas and best practices that help local businesses succeed.

Five, four, three, two, one… Happy New Year! Well, almost! The New Year is a great time to evaluate our business goals and make sure we know the answer to the question, “Why do we do what we do?”

Here is a great example: Avi, a business associate I met in 1999, said to me at the time, “Rod, I want to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

In 1999 that was easier said than done. But Avi and a few of his associates started a company that set out to do just that. While his company attracted millions in venture funding, they never gained a critical mass and eventually sold to a competitor.

Flash forward several years later to a phone call I received from Avi who proudly claimed, “Rod, I have finally found a way to make it easy and affordable for business owners to build and manage websites.”

Now, those who know me know that I am a bit of a tech snob. I remember looking at the phone thinking, “WOW, that is a big claim to make!”

Sure enough, Avi’s tenacity paid off. Today his company, WIX, trades on NASDAQ and has a value of just under $1 billion – that’s right – just under $1 billion.

One Degree Capital is a customer of WIX.com, and we love it.

Across three businesses and over 16 years, Avi always knew his “Why” and stuck to it. As quoted from the company’s website, Wix’s vision is “We make it easy for everyone to create a beautiful, professional web presence.”

A common thread that runs through most successful companies is that they know their WHY – the main reason they do what they do. They know and stay committed to their “Why.”

So here is a question for you: As a business owner do you know your “Why?” If you need some help, ask yourself the following questions:

— Why? Why does your business exist? Are you passionate about this?

— Who? Do you enjoy working with your target audience?

— How? Do you serve your customers in a unique and valuable way?

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your “why” here are several great resources:

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE that is sure to inspire you to action.

Jeff Parks, a Prince William County-based seasoned consultant and a Coast Guard veteran, says “Live your passion, give your gift.” www.performancebreakthroughs.com. Jeff has helped over 200 organizations define their purpose and build “High-Performance Organizations.”

Margie Warrell wrote this incredible article “Know Your Why – 4 Questions to Tap the Power of Purpose.” Also, she has written three books on Leadership, Life, Courage and Purpose.

Sharon Dilling, owner of Fairfax-based Ability Potentials helps people identify their unique skills, energies, and passions. It works! I took Sharon’s assessment test years ago, and it said I should be the general manager of a commercial finance company. She was right!

As the owner of One Degree Capital for the past six years, I can tell you that I LOVE working with my third hero: The American Small Business Owner. Sharon’s test was so helpful that I have paid for a number of people to take it.

The people who are open and willing to explore the suggested career paths have told me they later that they have truly found their “life’s work.”

What is your “Why?” If you know of any locally owned businesses that have a strong “Why” please share them in the comments section – I would love to learn more about the amazing business owners in our local area.

News
LiDL looks to Lake Ridge as part of U.S. expansion

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LiDL (pronounced “lie dal”) is looking to expand in Lake Ridge.

The German grocer want to build a new store — one of the first in the U.S. — next to a commuter lot at the corner of Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. Shoppers familiar with the discount grocer liken LiDL to its competitor, German-based Aldi which has several locations throughout the region. 

 LiDL is set to speak with Prince William County officials. and has already met with the Lake Ridge – Occoquan – Coles Civic Association. The compamy would acquire some of the 830 acres of the land at the “Parkway Employment Center” which was rezoned about 18 years ago with the hoeps office and modest retail would be built there.

The grocer would be built near longtime Tacketts Mil anchor grocery store Safeway. Residents want to make sure traffic safety isn’t overlooked if LiDL is built.

“There are a lot of people coming in and out of the commuter lot, and the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Minnieville Road is very busy,” said civic association president Dr. Jack Kooyoomjian. 

LOCA is set to meet again with representatives of LiDL late next month. The grocer has promised to pay for the extension of left turn lanes from Old Bridge Road to Minnieville Road to address LOCA’s traffic concerns, added Kooyoomjian. 

LiDL and would contruct a building that would look nothing like what’s already in the neighborhood. It’s architecture was described by Kooyoomjian as looking like Dulles Airport.

Some said the new grocer would provide more options for shoppers in the area. 

“Clearly our Lake Ridge demographic supports more grocery stores, or LiDL would not be so serious.  That’s good news for all of us. More choice,” said Taketts Mill spokeswoman Nancy Kyme.

Longtime Tacketts Mill tenant grocer Safeway renewed their lease  five years, and the shopping center has as also signed a lease with Pet Valu and Layla’s Mediterrean.  Both of these tenants are actively working on their build-outs while the Center is finishing a $1 million facade renovation.  

“Tackett’s Mill Center sees all of these developments as positives for Lake Ridge residents and businesses as it will ultimately draw more folks to the Tackett’s Mill area,” added Nancy Kyme.

Based in Arlington, LiDL is making its way into the U.S. market. The discount grocer’s main competitor is Aldi, which already boasts two locations in Woodbridge, one in Manassas, and two in Stafford County.

LiDL is recruiting heavily at colleges around the country for store employees and corporate workers. The company announced it’s launch into the U.S. market back in July.

Woodbridge residents have long sought a Trader Joes. In 2013, Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May sent urged the grocer to consider opening a store in Lake Ridge.

Earlier this year, Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi took a petition to Trader Joes headquarters when he went to visit California.

Six area shopping centers giving away $500 to $1,000 this holiday season

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Six Prince William County shopping centers are giving you the chance to win big this holiday season.

Bristow Center, Davis Ford Crossing, Dillingham Square and Smoketown Plaza are taking part in their annual Holiday Shopping Spree, a promotion that has one lucky winner at each center walking away with $500 worth of gift certificates to the specific center and a $1,000 donation to their favorite local school.

At Bull Run Plaza, the winner receives $1,000 worth of gift certificates to spend at the center, as well as a $1,000 donation to the winner’s favorite local school.

At Dominion Valley Market Square, five winners will each receive $100 worth of gift certificates to center.

Entry forms are available in the shopping centers’ stores and online.

 

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To enter the Bristow
Center’s Holiday Shopping Spree, click here: http://bit.ly/BristowCenterHoliday2015. Bristow is located at the intersection of Nokesville and Linton Hall roads, features Harris Teeter and CVS/pharmacy.

Enter Bull Run Plaza’s Holiday Shopping Spree here: http://bit.ly/BullRunPlazaHoliday2015. Bull Run is located at the intersection of Route 234 and Sudley Manor Drive in Manassas, and includes Dick’s Sporting Goods, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, Office Depot and Chili’s.

Click here to enter Davis Ford Crossing’s Holiday Shopping Spree: http://bit.ly/DavisFordCrossingHoliday2015. Davis Ford Crossing is at the intersection of Liberia Road and Prince William Parkway in Manassas. The center features L.A. Fitness, Petco and Staples.

Enter Dillingham Square’s Holiday Shopping Spree here: http://bit.ly/DillinghamSquareHoliday2015. Dillingham Square is at the intersection of Old Bridge Road and Dillingham Square in Lake Ridge. The center includes Food Lion, Gold’s Gym and Brittany’s.

Enter the Dominion Valley Market Square’s Holiday Shopping Spree here: http://bit.ly/DominionValleyHoliday2015. Anchored by Giant Food, Dominion Valley Market Square is located at the intersection of James Madison Highway (Route 15) and Dominion Valley Drive in Haymarket. 

To enter Smoketown Plaza’s Holiday Shopping Spree, click here: http://bit.ly/SmoketownHoliday2015. Smoketown Plaza is at the intersection of Smoketown Road and Minnieville Road in Woodbridge. The center includes Lowe’s Home Center, Glory Days Grill and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Dillingham Square and Smoketown entry forms are due no later than 10 a.m. on December 9. All Bristow, Bull Run Plaza and Davis Ford Crossing entry forms are due by 10 a.m. on December 10. Dominion Valley entry forms are due no later than 10 a.m. on December 11.

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

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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.

News
Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor makes its debut

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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.

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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.

News
7-story tower going up at Manassas Park City Center

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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.

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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

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.

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