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.

False: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy


Olive oil. We all have a bottle in our pantry. But can you cook with it?

Is first cold press the best olive oil you can get?

I’m Cameron, co-owner of Manassas Olive Oil Company, and I’m going to breakdown some common myths about this kitchen staple.

Myth 1: You can’t cook with olive oil

Status: False

This misconception stems from olive oil smoking or breaking down at low temperatures.
Olive oil only has a low smoke point if it has a high quantity of free fatty acids (FFAs). High levels of FFAs – which have been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes – indicate poor quality or old olive oil.

All the olive oil we carry at Manassas Olive Oil Company has less than 0.2% free fatty acid content – meaning it won’t smoke until at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

As far as withstanding heat – all types of oil break down when heat is applied.

Inexpensive oils – such as canola oil – form toxic byproducts like aldehydes when heated. But when olive oil is heated, it’s some of the antioxidants will break down instead, ‘sacrificing’ themselves and prevent toxic chemicals from being produced by the oil. Look for a high polyphenol (antioxidant) content when purchasing olive oil for high temperature cooking.

Myth 2: First cold press is the best olive oil

Status: Partially True

First, cold pressing is a requirement to produce extra virgin olive oil, but it is somewhat of a misnomer. Cold pressing refers to any olive oil pressed below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and without the addition of chemicals.

As for second press – that has become a thing of the past. Historically, olives were quite literally pressed with huge stones, with the first press extracting the best oil, and subsequent presses extracting lower quality oil.

The olive press has been replaced by a malaxer (horizontal mixer) and centrifuge which pulverize olives, and extract almost all of the oil from them. This method is so efficient, only 5% of oil gets left behind on this ‘first press.”
This leftover oil is must be chemically extracted, and is referred to as “pomace oil.” Pomace oil cannot be sold or labeled as “olive oil’ – nor is it good to consume.

Generally speaking, all commercial olive oil will come from the first press. But be advised – even poor quality olive oil can come from the first cold press.

Myth 3: Most high-quality olive oil comes from Italy

Status: Mostly False

According to a study done by the International Olive Council, Spain produces 40% of the world’s olive oil – or about the same amount as Italy and Greece combined.

So where does the best oil come from? That’s a complicated equation.

Great olive oil is a lot like wine – it depends on the cultivar of olive you’re getting, what kind of conditions it grew in, and how the pressing was handled. Even oils from the same grove will vary year to year.

You should try different varieties of oil. Much like different wine grapes produce different wines, different types of olives will also produce different flavor profiles of oil.

Currently, six different types of extra virgin olive oil are available to taste at Manassas Olive Oil Company.

Have more questions about olive oil, or are interested in learning more? Visit our shop located in downtown Manassas, at 9406 Grant Avenue. We are more than happy to share our knowledge.

‘uBreakiFix’ to open in Manassas


Need somewhere to get your smart device fixed in Manassas?

Starting this week, you’ll be able to drop off your cell phones, tablets, computers and other electronic devices to the newly opened uBreakiFix location at 9960 Liberia Avenue at the Davis Ford Crossing shopping center in Manassas.

“At uBreakiFix we essentially repair any electronics…that would be cell phones, laptops, tablets – they do hardware and software. Basically if you can plug it in, we can fix it,” said store owner Kris Williams.

Williams owns two locations with co-owner Eric Miller. The Manassas store will be their third location. Currently, there are 145 locations nationwide, according to Williams.

Williams and Miller decided to open the new store, after seeing a demand in the area.

“We actually look for where our customers are coming from. And we actually have, at our other location [in Dumfries]; people are driving from Manassas to have us do their repairs. So we looked for a location that would be centrally located,” said Williams.

According to Williams, almost anyone is their target market, and what makes uBreakiFix stand out amongst their competitors is their quick turnaround and service.

“Anybody that is carrying, or using a cell phone, or a tablet, or a computer is our customer…anybody who’s utilizing a smart device is our customer…The majority of what we do can be done quickly, in a short time frame. A majority of the cell phones can be [fixed] in a few hours or less, as opposed to Geek Squad and [others]. We keep a majority of our parts in stock…we’re very good at troubleshooting smaller problems that will help a customer with their unique needs…and we don’t send anything out. We fix it right there in the shop, at the store,” said Williams.

The store is slated to open September 10.

‘Bar J’ returns, bringing memories and chili to Occoquan

Kathy Anderson, in the early days of Bar J.
Anderson will be reopening the Bar J in Occoquan.
The business was started by John Anderson, in 1981.
Anderson is hoping to open the location for the holiday season.

Bar J is back.

Bar J’s Chili Parlour and Restaurant, a family owned chain of Tex-Mex restaurants that were popular in the 1980’s and 90’s, are reopening in Occoquan on 101 Mill Street.

Kathy Anderson, the daughter of Bar J’s original owner John Anderson, has decided to partner with her son to restart the restaurant.

According to Anderson, her desire to keep cooking came in-part from memories of her father, who was known for his interesting dishes he created at home.

“My father was always cooking…he was always creating. He’s just one of those guys that could taste something, and literally tell you every spice that was in it. But when it came to making chili, he took every spice out – the cabinets were just wide open…my father is from Tennessee, and we used to all get together to make hot tamales,” said Anderson.

Anderson talked fondly about her father’s growing list of restaurants – up to 13 locations at one point – and how Bar J got ‘put on the map’.

“The original Bar J started in 1981 with my father, and my mother, and myself…in 1984 we won the D.C.’s Best chili cook off. And that pretty much put us on the map. We had a line out the door, when we got back from the chili cook off,” said Anderson.

The Bar J locations were open for several years before Anderson and her father decided to retire around 2004.

“In 2004, my father decided to retire…back in 2003, I actually decided to retire from Bar J…and I just couldn’t get the cooking passion out of my system, and I took a job over at Wegmans, and I was cooking at Wegmans for over seven years…it’s been about five years since my son and I decided we were going to look around and see if we could open up a Bar J again,” said Anderson.

While the Bar J location will be new, Anderson said that they would be bringing back the original menu, including their Texas chili, Cincinnati chili, fajitas, Mexican ‘hot’ burrito, pork burrito, pollo loco and sopapillas.

“We do sopapillas different than anybody else – and I think that’s what the customers love about it. We don’t cut them up into little triangles and make them ‘poofy’. We do it with a whole flour tortilla. We fold it, and roll it…we put on strawberries and whipped cream, and we do one with honey and cinnamon,” said Anderson.

When asked about how Bar J plans to contend with other restaurants in Occoquan – like Madigan’s Waterfront and the Virginia Grill – she wasn’t worried.

“Oh, I’m not competing with anybody – I’m just a different restaurant. I think that [Bar J] coming to Occoquan is going to help all of the businesses,” said Anderson.

One of the biggest advantages Anderson will have with restarting Bar J is its almost cult-like following in the community. Dozens of former customers have reached out to express excitement and to offer help.

“It is so amazing that the people [remember us] and the stories – wow. Meeting people that were little kids, grown up now…one girl told me that her grandfather was one of my regulars…but she was a little girl and she used to sit in the both at Lorton Bar J, and she would stand up on the booth, and there was a window to the kitchen, and she would always look through…and now her kids are five, six, and she can’t wait to bring them. It’s just a feeling like you’re at home,” said Anderson.

According to Anderson, the Bar J will feature a concrete horseshoe bar, polished concrete floors, etched mirrors from the original Bar J – and next year – they’re hoping to add a patio for customers to dine outside on the water.

Anderson is hoping that Bar J will be open for the holiday season, after they’ve completed the renovations.

Ventech Solutions coming to Manassas, bringing 200 jobs

Ventech Solutions, an information technology company, is bringing 200 new jobs to Prince William.

According to a release from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, Ventech Solutions is planning to invest more than $1.5 million, establishing the company’s regional base of operations at 23,392 square foot facility on Battleview Parkway in Manassas.

Ventech’s positions offer an average wage of $80,000, according to a release.

Governor Terry McAuliffe and Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart made comments about Ventech’s decision to move to the area.

“As Governor, I am working to help the Commonwealth become the leading state for Information Technology (IT) as we build a new, Hi-Tech Virginia economy. We have the assets and the infrastructure, and with the help of strong corporate partners like Ventech Solutions continuing to expand the company’s footprint into the Commonwealth, I am confident we will be the Cyber-Capital of America,” said McAuliffe in a release.

“We’re delighted to welcome Ventech to Prince William County and to our growing IT business community. The addition of 200 new jobs at an average salary of $80,000 a year is a great example of the type of jobs we are attracting in Prince William County,” said Stewart in a release.

Prior to Ventech Solution’s decision to come to Prince William County, the board of supervisors committed $50,000 from the ‘Economic Development Opportunity Fund’ to encourage the company to locate in the county, according to a release.

A release stated that the $50,000 will be used to offset the cost of equipment purchase and renovations for Ventech Solutions.

More from a release:

“It was important for Ventech to establish a strong presence in the National Capital Region, at the center of a growing healthcare IT industry with access to a highly-skilled workforce and talent pipeline. Prince William County delivers all the requirements that a growing Inc. 5000 company needs to fulfill major mission-critical programs that are of national importance,” said Herb Jones, CEO, Ventech Solutions Inc.

The need for advanced technologies to increase productivity, to manage and to analyze data and to enhance security has created significant market demand for stable and innovative IT companies. Prince William County is well-positioned to take advantage of the expansion of the IT industry due to its ever-growing technical workforce and accessibility to the Northern Virginia workforce; strong educational assets and emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); and redundant power and fiber networks.

Expansion readies BadWolf Brewery for local distribution

Jeremy and Sarah Myers (left) own BadWolf Brewery.
BadWolf opened a new tap room inside a Manassas warehouse.
BadWolf opened a new tap room inside a Manassas warehouse.
BadWolf Brewery's first TV set arrives.

The goal for BadWolf Brewery: get its beer into every restaurant in Downtown Manassas.

The two-year-old brewery expanded to a new 6,200 square foot production facility and tap room in a warehouse complex on at 8420 Kao Circle in Manassas earlier this year. It’s “the next step up” in their game after opening the company’s original brewery on Center Street in Manassas.

Owners Sarah Meyers, 31, and Jeremy Myers, 35, and their nine employees will use the space to produce larger quantities of beer for with the goal of distributing it to local restaurants. The new facility also hosts events, and is a place where customers can walk in and buy a growler or keg for their parties at home.

Customers can also bring their own food to the new tap room — whether it be takeout or brought from home in a crockpot — and eat and sip on BadWolf beer.

“Manassas was ready for an eventual shift,” said Jeremy. “There was already so many great restaurants downtown, and the area was ready for a craft brewery, and we just happened to come in at the right time,”
The couple credits educated consumers who helped to build their strong local following.

“We live in cultured times when more people are asking questions about where their food comes from, where it’s made, what’s in it, and not just believing something that is crammed into their brain from a TV ad,” said Sarah.

BadWolf originally opened on Center Street in Manassas and quickly grew to be a local favorite. They Meyers’ wanted to open a large facility like the new one but couldn’t afford it.

BadWold eyed an old restaurant space for their expansion in the Tacketts Mill shopping center in Lake Ridge. But it would have cost too much to bring the Lake Ridge building up to current building codes, said Jeremy. Also, Prince William County did not allow small craft breweries in shopping centers at the time, but that has changed.

The company worked with a bank to secure a loan and then worked with Manassas City officials to find the new production house where they eventually located. The company plans to offer different experiences in their old and new tap rooms.

“We’ll do a batch of wild brews at the original brewery for those who want to mix it up, and then we’ll have the ‘safe zone’ here at the production facility for those who want the taste of something more familiar,” said Jeremy.

The brewery will next work to strike a deal with a beer distributor so its brews can be poured from taps in local restaurants. BadWolf’s two most-popular beers — “AK 47,” an Ameri-Kolsch style, hoppy-flavored ale, and its popular “Jesse’s Girl” amber ale is what they will pitch to Fredericksburg distributing company J.F. Fick.

The brewery also wants to bring in local restaurant owners to educate them on the beer making process. The new center also has yeast lab that will allow the company to harvest its own yeast. That key ingredient costs $300 per batch of beer brewed, and each brew nets 10 barrels of beer.

The couple will also add a new fixture to the new tap room: a 50-inch flat screen TV. UPS dropped it off on Tuesday and Jeremy helped unbox it.

“We always said we wouldn’t have a TV because we wanted people to come in and talk amongst themselves and interact. But people love to watch their games,” said Sarah.

The couple recently visited Old Ox Brewery in Fairfax County and noticed how many people came into watch baseball. That convinced them to order the new TV.

Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest times for BadWolf Brewery. The brewery will see about 100 customers at the new tap house on these nights, and about half that number at their brewery on Center Street.

Since BadWolf opened its doors two years ago, Manassas has welcomed Heritage Brewery, and KO Distilling that will focus its efforts on producing spirits. In nearby Woodbridge, Onery and Growling Bear breweries have opened.

Drink up at Fall BrewFest in Centreville Oct. 17, 18

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Grab some beer, cider and mead in Centerville this October.

Mad Fox Brewing Company is sponsoring the 9th annual Northern Virginia Fall BrewFest, which will be at the Bull Run Regional Park on October 17 and October 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

According to a release, there will be more than 50 craft beers, ciders and meads available at the event.

More on tickets and details of the event, from a release:

The NoVa Fall BrewFest is ready to host serious brewers and beer fans alike. The focus for the NoVa Fall BrewFest will be fall and winter seasonal brews from local and regional breweries with some added meaderies and cideries in the mix. There will be more than 50 craft beers, ciders and meads to sample at the festival, with a nice representation from the local DC Metro area that has seen an explosion in the opening and establishment of craft breweries.

A ticket to the BrewFest costs $25 in advance online or $35 at the door. A ticket gives you admission to the festival, a special commemorative beer tasting glass and six tickets to taste your choice of craft brews. Designated driver tickets are also available for $10; children under 16 are free with an accompanying adult. Additional beer sampling tickets can be purchased for $2 per ticket.
For more information on the 2015 Northern Virginia Fall BrewFest, visit Also, follow us on Twitter @novabrewfest and like us on Facebook.

Sheetz expanding in Bristow, Manassas, Stafford

sheetz ashton avenue

The popular gas station and convenience store Sheetz is expanding in the region.

A new store at the corner Sudley Manor Drive and Ashton Avenue outside Manassas is nearly two weeks on September 18. Company spokesman Allen Stevens said the new store will have:

— Expanded inside and outside seating
— A larger selection of freshly brewed coffee and iced tea
— Ice cream
— An aisle of beverage options including many frozen beverages
— A drive through window

The Pennsylvania-based company will also begin construction on a new store at the intersection of Balls Ford and Wellington roads in Bristow. Construction will begin this month, and the store should open in March.

A Sheetz at 8504 Centreville Road in Manassas Park will also get a makeover in the coming months. Prince William County officials are reviewing plans for a new Sheetz at the intersection of Route 28 and Bristow Road, added Allen.
A new Sheetz is under construction at the intersection of Garrisonville and Furnace roads in North Stafford.

Sheetz was founded in the 1950s, and today offers low-priced gasoline and cigarettes to its customers. The chain is also known for its made-to-order food that includes submarine sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, wraps, and chicken wings.

Other Sheetz locations in the region include Dale City on Prince William Parkway and Hillendale Drive, and on Route 15 and Washington Street near I-66 in Haymarket. There are also two Sheetz locations in Fredericksburg and one in the Ferry Farm section of Stafford County.

Grab a bite at Duck Donuts in Bristow Center

A Duck Donuts location opened in Bristow this week.
They make all of their donuts fresh to order.
People lined up outside for their store opening on Monday.
They have 10 coatings and five toppings to choose from.

There’s a new donut shop in Bristow.

Larry Scherer and his business partner just opened the doors this Monday, of their first Duck Donuts franchise location at Bristow Center – on the corner of Route 28 and Linton Hall Road.

“I’ve lived in Prince William County basically my whole life, and had been looking for a business to open locally, and be a [bigger] part of the community,” said Scherer.

Duck Donuts started with their first store in Outer Banks, North Carolina, according to their website.

When looking at what business to pursue, Scherer said he chose Duck Donuts for several reasons.

“We were looking at different franchises, and we settled on Duck Donuts when we saw how popular it was, down in the Outer Banks [of North Carolina]…we knew there was a void for a breakfast spot in the Bristow area where we were looking…we really felt that Duck Donuts was young enough in it’s franchising that we could have some kind of impact on the company itself, and the operations of the company…and we love the product. The donuts speak for themselves,” said Scherer.

Duck Donuts are all vanilla cake donuts, that are made fresh to order, and come with 10 coating choices, including chocolate, maple and peanut butter, and five topping choices, according to Scherer.

“We fry all of our donuts made to order. So we don’t start frying donuts until people start ordering them…the donuts are actually fried on site – in front of your eyes. So you get a hot, fresh donut every time,” said Scherer.

According to Scherer, there will be more Duck Donuts locations in the area, in the future.

“We actually have the rights to four more franchise [locations] in the Northern Virginia area,” said Scherer.

The Bristow location is currently looking for 10 to 12 additional employees. According to Scherer, some positions require applicants to be 18 years or older, and they are currently looking for day shift workers, both full and part-time.

Principi: It will be January before we hear from Trader Joe’s


Supervisor Frank Principi is back from his trek to Trader Joe’s HQ.

According to a release, Principi visited the niche grocery store’s headquarters in Monrovia, California, last week with a 1,700 signature petition, data and lease proposal information.

Prior to his trip, Principi met with area residents at his office, to talk about his plan to bring Trader Joe’s to Woodbridge.

Principi stated that his office will not hear back from Trader Joe’s until January 2016, according to a release.

A survey conducted by Principi’s staff showed that Woodbridge residents that visited area Trader Joe’s locations spent up to $200 a visit, stated a release.

Drive throughs proposed at Aquia, Stafford office complex

Construction is underway at the site of the North Stafford Office Complex at Garrisonville and Furnace roads.

The Stafford County Planning Commission will a series of public hearings Wednesday.

There are two proposals to bring new businesses with drive-through windows. Two are in Town Center at Aquia — a pharmacy with a drive-through window and a grocery store with a drive-through window. The second is a food store that would be built next to a new Sheetz gas station under construction at the intersection of Garrisonville and Furnace roads.

Official documents don’t provide the names of the businesses that wish to locate to Stafford. Several calls to planning commissioners in the respective districts where these new businesses would be located went unreturned.

Town Center at Aquia

A conditional use permit is required for both new businesses to have a drive-through window inside Town Center at Aquia.
The pharmacy would be located near the front of the shopping center, closest to the entrance to Route 1. A new grocery store with a drive-through window is shown next to an existing movie theater near the rear of the plaza.

A Rite Aide pharmacy already exists inside the plaza. Shoppers Food Warehouse was once located inside the shopping center when it was known as Aquia Town Center. It moved to nearby Stafford Marketplace in 2004.

Much of Aquia Town Center was demolished in the mid-2000s. All that remains of the original complex is the movie theater and Rite Aid. A 5-story office building was added in the late 2000s.

North Stafford Office Complex

Next to where a Sheetz gas station is under construction, planners must review an application for a “retail food store” that needs a drive-through window.

The proposed 42,000 square-foot development would face Garrisonville Road. Much of the front of the property would be parking spaces.
A drive-through window would be located on the east side of the building, according to documents.

The North Stafford Office Complex was rezoned from agricultural land to urban commercial land in 2004. Until construction on the gas station began this year, the site remained untouched.

Another commercial development diagonally across the Sheetz gas station location has gone widely underutilized. Aside from government offices in the rear of the development and a new fitness center, many of the storefronts in the center are empty.

The Stafford County Planning Commission will begin the public hearings at 6:30 p.m. inside the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Stafford County Government Center located at 1300 Courthouse Road.

Dumfries barbecue joint moves to Quantico gate


The Lazy Pig has moved from Dumfries to Triangle.

The roadside barbecue joint has been on Waters Lane in Dumfries for more than two years, but decided to expand into a bigger space on 18723 Fuller Heights Road – just outside the Quantico Marine Corps Base gate.

“We smoke all of our meats on location – brisket, pork, ribs…and we do Southern-style cuisine, as far as your collared greens. Everything we do is homemade,” said Lazy Pig owner Ken Harris.

Harris realized that as the business had grown, they didn’t have enough space to serve their customers at the Dumfries location.

“What we found is that our customer base has grown so fast…and we were actually missing just as many customers as we were servicing because of the parking and we didn’t have any inside seating,” said Harris.

The new location has 40 inside seats and 20 seats on the deck area outside.

“We wanted more space to be able to serve our customers,” Harris said.

As part of the business’ expansion, the Lazy Pig is now offering lunch specials from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will soon be offering a kid’s meal, according to Harris.

Incoming Manassas trampoline park to hire 70 employees

Sky Zone Trampoline Park is coming to Manassas next month.

In advance of their September opening, Sky Zone is hosting a job fair August 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and August 22 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The job fair will taking place at the park at Sudley Manor Square Shopping center at 7807 Sudley Road in Manassas, according to a release.

More from a Sky Zone release:

Sky Zone will soar to new heights with its newest park providing local residents and visitors the perfect gravity defying experience. The all-walled trampoline courts are designed for maximum high-flying fun with popular activities such as Open Jump, offering a court of connecting trampolines where the sky is the limit, Ultimate Dodgeball, for a fresh new take on that favorite childhood game, and Sky Slam, which offers a new and innovative way to dunk a basketball. Freestyle flyers can also practice their moves as they soar into the giant 10,000 cubeFoam Zone. Sky Zone is available for every kind of outing; from birthday parties, dodgeball tournaments and fundraising events, to corporate team building and memorable class field trips. Everyone is invited to have fun, fly safe at Sky Zone!

“We are looking for team members who will to bring the excitement and energy to Sky Zone,” said Sean Knapp, owner of Sky Zone Manassas. “Sky Zone offers an unmatched, out of this world experience with the help of our dedicated team members. We look forward to bringing the Active Fun to the Manassas community.”

Habitat for Humanity bringing new jobs, ‘Restore’ to Woodbridge


Habitat for Humanity is opening a new Habitat Restore in Woodbridge.

According to President of Habitat for Humanity Prince William County Traci DeGroat, the new store will be opened at Noblewood Plaza in Woodbridge, in a portion of the former Food Lion building.

“It actually raises funds to help us with our construction projects that we do. The Woodbridge store is just an expansion into a second location,” said DeGroat.

Habitat for Humanity has been running a successful Restore in Manassas for 11 years, according to DeGroat.

The new location in Woodbridge has been talked about for a long time, but after acquiring a special use permit from the county, Habitat for Humanity was able to move forward with the expansion.

“They require the special use permit, because we’re receiving donated materials, so they consider it a donation center,” said DeGroat.

DeGroat said that one of the motivations for opening another location, was to make it easier for residents to donate.

“We’re opening a store [in Woodbridge] to be closer to the donors on the eastern end on the county, to make it more convenient for them. Not only that, but we’re hoping to have enough profit from it to be able to improve the number of families we serve…in order to enhance our real mission, which is to provide affordable and safe housing for everyone in the community,” said DeGroat.

The store is expected to open at the end of December or beginning of January, said DeGroat. They’re also planning to hire between eight and ten employees, according to DeGroat.

Once the store is open, they will be able to take donations.

“Just like in our Manassas store, we will accept furniture, building materials, tools, household goods – anything to do with the home. Once we have that fully stocked and open, the general public is welcome to shop there,” DeGroat said. 

‘Neighborhood’ coffee shop coming to downtown Manassas


There’s a new coffee shop coming, across from the train station in downtown Manassas.

Jirani Coffeehouse, located on 9423 West Street, is named after the Swahili word for neighborhood.

The goal for the owners is for Jirani to be a local hang out spot that’s much more than a coffee shop, according to store manager Connie Mosemak.

“We’re just people who really thought the community could use a coffee house that wouldn’t be just a coffee house – it would be a community center. It would be a place for people to gather, it would be for people to be comfortable and calm – where we’d have live music,” said Mosemak.

Mosemak said that they to offer band and open mic nights with their full stage, a projector screen for film screenings and a space in the middle of the shop called the ‘Bean Box’ that can be rented out for meetings and events.

“You have work that you go to all the time, you have home when you’re not at work – but this would be a ‘third’ space that you can feel comfortable in,” Mosemak said.

Jirani is getting their coffee from One Village Coffee, a company based out of Philadelphia, and their food from two local bakeries – Pies and Petals and Wow Bakery.

“It’s really important for us to try and support local businesses,” said Mosemak.

On the menu, they’re planning to offer a range of coffee beverages, breakfast foods, sandwiches, desserts and pastries. They’re also planning to incorporate gluten free items and organic ingredients into the menu, according to Mosemak.

Jirani Coffeehouse is set to open at the end of September.

Plato’s Closet off to good start with Woodbridge grand opening

A new Plato's Closet location opened in Woodbridge today.
The store offers trendy secondhand clothing for young men and women.
The line was almost out the door at the store this afternoon.

If you love a good deal, and you’re in Woodbridge, you’re in luck.

A new Plato’s Closet location had its grand opening at 13293 Worth Avenue, near Potomac Mills Mall, just in time for back to school shopping.

The Plato’s Closet chain, which is a secondhand clothing store for teens and young adults, has several locations in the Northern Virginia area, including one in Manassas and Fairfax, according to their website.

The store offers clothing for both men and women, and allows customers to sell their own clothes to the store. According to the Plato’s Closet, each store varies in what they will purchase, but they prefer trendy and designer clothing items.

The line was almost out the door this afternoon, with shoppers laden down with their purchases.

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