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It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM EST on March 06, 2015
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM EST on March 07, 2015
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM EDT on March 08, 2015


First Friday March Madness in Downtown Manassas

first friday, manassas, shop
  • Historic Manassas Inc.
  • Address: 9431 West Street Manassas, Virginia 20110
  • Website: visitmanassas.org

Historic Downtown Manassas is going a little “mad” for First Friday. On March 6 from 6 to 9 p.m., City restaurants, retailers and the Manassas Museum are offering specials and special entertainment.

The list participating merchants is growing and can be viewed at .visitmanassas.org.

Each store and restaurant is selecting their own way to celebrate March with either a Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day or other March theme.

The Manassas Museum will offer free admission and 10% off at Echoes, their gift store.

The Osbourn High School String Quartet will serenade museum visitors.

There will be book signings, drink specials and much more around the Historic Downtown of the City of Manassas. Come for dinner and stay to shop and explore.

Inspired by the success of the monthly event concept held in other localities, First Friday in Historic Downtown was created by the Historic Manassas, Inc. promotions committee to enhance tourism and entertainment offerings in the City of Manassas.

The initial First Friday event was held in February 2014 and has grown and evolved. Some months feature roving musicians and caricature artists, while other months feature sidewalk art, games or special foods.

Prince William Chamber honors 2015 businesses of the year

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce honored their members with their annual Excellence in Business Awards.

There are 10 categories in the Chamber’s business awards ranging from small business of the year, community service, and innovative partnership of the year.

The awards were held Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.


chamber awards, manassas, bion

Josie Geiger & Don Ripley, of BION, Inc. mechanical contractors. [Photo: Kathy Strauss / IMAGEWERKS, LLC.]

Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards: Health & Human Services

Trillium Drop-In Center, Inc.

Trillium Drop-In Center is a private non-profit organization dedicated to providing stigma-free services to Prince William County’s mental health consumers.  Trillium Drop-In Center began as a Manassas support group that turned a Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute grant into an opportunity for more than 3,000 people to better cope with mental illness, to find housing and to find jobs.

Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards: Arts & Education

Literacy Volunteers of America–Prince William, Inc.

Literacy Volunteers of America—Prince William (LVA-PW) provided tuition-free reading and writing classes to more than 8,500 adults, reducing the estimated number of 35,000 adults in Prince William County who could only read at or below the 4th grade level.

flory small business, empowerment

Mary Lopez from the Independent Empowerment Center, and Donna Flory, Vice President of the Flory Small Business Center in Manassas. [Photo: Kathy Strauss / IMAGEWERKS, LLC.]

2015 Business Awards:

Micro Business of the Year: American Solutions for Business

American Solutions for Business works diligently to enhance productivity and to increase creativity, while reducing client costs through their product offering of promotional products, printed documents, office supplies, e-commerce and marketing solutions. Keep Reading…

Partially collapsed in Manassas building demolished


In Downtown Manassas, a building on Battle Street that partially collapsed on Feb .14, was demolished.

The demolition of the building was handled by Old Town Landscaping, and completed last Friday. 

The structure, which was located next to the old Washington Post offices and The Bone restaurant, lost a portion of its roof, which was caused by winds gusting more than 40 miles per hour that evening. 

No one was in the section of the building that collapsed and there were no injuries, although 14 residents in close by apartments were evacuated for their safety, according to Patty Prince, the Manassas City spokeswoman.

Prince stated that the residents who were evacuated are no longer affected by the collapse.

“The residents who were evacuated that night were in an adjacent building.  They were back in their apartments on Monday night and should no longer be affected,” said Prince.

The space is owned by the estate of George A. Roy, which is being managed by Robert M. Cooper Jr. of Cooper Law, according to a city spokeswoman. Several calls from Potomac Local to Cooper have went unreturned. 

There is no word as to what building, if any, will take the collapsed building’s place.

C.J. Finz brings southern-style seafood to Downtown Manassas

raw bar, Manassas, virginia

Chris Sellers and John Kibben opened their first restaurant, C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille in Downtown Manassas at 9413 West Street, on February 11, offering residents a taste of Southern-style seafood.

According to Sellers, their inspiration for the restaurant came from their love of seafood they ate on trips to the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

“I got tired of having seafood only once or twice a year, so we decided to bring our love for the Outer Banks here to historical Downtown Manassas,” said Sellers.

With the support of local business owners and the community, the restaurant got off to a great start with a busy grand opening.

“We exceeded – four times – what we had forecasted [for our grand opening],” Sellers said.

The building, which was previously a Subway sandwich location, needed some transformation to turn it into the atmosphere Sellers and Kibben were looking to achieve.

“We wanted to do an industrial shabby-chic look – we didn’t want anything cookie cutter. We’re dealing with a very small space, so we’re a boutique style restaurant,” Sellers commented.

C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille also has a patio and deck area that the owners intend to capitalize on in the summer time for concert series, and allow patrons to watch outdoor events in the area, like parades.

Among the menu items the restaurant offers, Sellers said that the fried pickles were the top appetizer, and that their ahi tuna salad, fried oyster po-boy sandwich, lobster roll and barbecue shrimp with cheesy grits were among the top items they serve.

“We’re not the only one [in Manassas] doing seafood, but I think we’re the only one [focusing] exclusively on seafood – but it’s a menu for everyone,” said Sellers.

Before opening the restaurant, Sellers worked as a manager at the City Tavern for 15 years. The owners of City Tavern, along with other local business owners, have helped to support them, and they hope to return the favor to the community.

“We want to be a local business; we want to help the community, work with others – that’s all we want,” Sellers said.

Sylvan to bring 20 jobs, STEM program to Stafford

Franchise owner Scott Lindsey just opened the first Sylvan Learning Center location in Stafford on Clement Drive and is planning to bring more than 20 jobs and an innovative STEM program to the area.

Lindsey has been with Sylvan for more than ten years and currently owns centers all across Northern Virginia, but as a Fredericksburg resident he felt that there was a need for Sylvan in the community.

“I live in Fredericksburg…I see that we needed Sylvan here in the area,” said Lindsey.

The Center is looking to hire 20 to 25 employees, including a Center Director and teachers to carry out the instruction.

In addition to opening the new location, Lindsey is also launching Sylvan’s Edge STEM program, which will give Stafford students the opportunity to work on robotics, coding and accelerated math.

“We’re able to really have fun while learning. They’re skills that are going to be necessary for [the student’s] careers later in life,” Lindsey commented.

The center will still offer the standard study skills, math, reading, writing and college prep instruction.

The STEM courses include six sessions and range from $199 to $299 a course.

The coding program involves interactive game design.

“Each session a student goes through, they will design a game, using coding on the computer. And they’ll be able to take that game home with them each time and share it with their friends,” said Lindsey.

And in the robotics program, students will learn how to build a series of robots made with Legos.

“There’s a different robot built each session, and they can program it to do different things,” Lindsay stated.

According to Lindsey, it is crucial that parents to invest in their child’s exposure to STEM programs.

“[The STEM program] is definitely something that most kids are interested in. There’s a big push for careers in the future with STEM, and this is taught in a way that’s very fun and it’s innovative,” Lindsey said.


For those interested in applying for positions, Lindsey said to send your resume to the attention of the Director of Education at center@sylvanstafford.com.

For every burrito sold, El Cactus in Manassas gives $2 back

El Cactus Owner Brian Hollenbach made the winning soup at this year's "Souper Bowl" held in Historic Downtown Manassas.

When Brian Hollenbach moved to the Manassas area to launch his first Mexican restaurant El Cactus last year, he had two things in mind – great food and the community.

Located on 9406 Battle Street in Downtown Manassas, the restaurant has become known for its Taco Tuesdays and a rotating menu of quirky and playful ingredients.

el cactus 1 manassas vaHollenbach has been in the restaurant industry for 21-years, working all across Virginia, but for him, Downtown Manassas is the community where he wants El Cactus to thrive.

“When we were looking to start a restaurant, we wanted our core values [to be] – the strength of the community, the strength of Manassas, is the strength of El Cactus,” said Hollenbach.

And this strength has paid off, winning El Cactus the Best Dessert title in last year’s Taste of Manassas for their tres de leches. Additionally, the restaurant won the February “Souper Bowl” First Friday event in Downtown Manassas with their tortilla soup.

According to Hollenbach, the top selling item at El Cactus is the tableside guacamole, and the top taco is their Carne Angus taco.

One thing that El Cactus has become known for is their playful menu and their willingness to try out interesting food combinations. One of these items is the “Korean Taco” – a marinated rib eye taco with kimchi.

They’ve offered a whole slew of interesting tacos on their menu, including venison, bison, sea bass, and crab.

Their current features taco is their take on a lobster roll, Hollenbach said.

“We take a flour tortilla, we flash fry it, so it puffs up, and then we do a cold lobster salad, and a little bit of Old Bay, a little bit of lime juice, a little bit of cilantro and a little bit of mayo,” Hollenbach stated.

In addition to their creative food offerings, El Cactus has also served infused tequilas, Cactus Pear Margaritas and even fried tequila.

And while El Cactus has established a reputation for delicious and creative food, they’ve also become known for their work in the community.

They host several charity events and fundraisers throughout the year, partnering with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and schools including Osborne High School and Metz Middle School, often donating large amounts of food.

Hollenbach also said that El Cactus works with military organizations as well, donating proceeds from menu items purchased.

“[For] every burrito we sell – $2 goes to a hero organization. We launched our National Burrito Day with the Wounded Warrior project, as well as the Navy Seal Foundation and the Volunteer Fire Department in Manassas,” Hollenbach said.

El Cactus plans to continue their community efforts, and will compete in next year’s Taste of Manassas with their tableside guacamole, Korean taco, and fried Oreo dessert.

Hollenbach is hopeful for the future of El Cactus and the Downtown Manassas community as a whole.

“We wanted Old Town Manassas to be a destination. It already had some amazing restaurants, and we’re looking forward to more coming in…we just want the community to thrive,” Hollenbach said.

Attack the Fat: Working as a team to change each others lives


“Attack the Fat” is all about working together, mixing it up, and challenging yourself 

Freedom Aquatics and Fitness Center is at it again with their wildly successful Attack the Fat Challenge.  This popular eight-week long program makes weight loss achievable and fun. 

Over 900 participants have seen over 8,000 pounds lost in the course of the program.

Attack the Fat Director Robin Frey says that the reason the program is so successful is that it relies on accountability and competition.

 “We just had our weigh-ins and participants are going to look at one another’s numbers and that creates a competitive spirit,” Frey said.

There are currently nine teams participating in the challenge with four to six people on each team.   The different teams are meant to foster an environment where everyone works hard to motivate one another to succeed. 

A groups’ success as a whole relies on each members’ individual success, so when a member loses weight or reaches a goal it’s not just for themselves but their entire team.

“It creates that environment of allowing them to understand that they can help each other,” Frey said.  Participants in the program also seem to enjoy this aspect of it, taking full advantage of the competitive nature and team building benefits.

Frey says the program also utilizes various fitness activities.  Sometimes, she says, they will use things such as a Dynamax ball body weight.  At other times, they do things such as burpees which require no equipment.  Each week the workout changes.

“We’re creating a need for adaption constantly because we’re changing it as we go,” said Frey. 

Although the program does use weigh-ins as a tool for measuring progress, it’s not the only way they track it.  Frey says that the program isn’t so much about the number but about creating a real change when it comes to lifestyle choices.

The Attack the Fat challenge is happening now.  

The preceding post was written by Potomac Local as part of a promoted content agreement with Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Historic Downtown Manassas has 14 new shops, eateries, and new apartments on the way


More new shops, restaurants opening in Historic Downtown Manassas

The City of Manassas and its downtown development partner, Historic Manassas Inc., have been gradually moving away from referring to Old Town in favor of the moniker Historic Downtown Manassas. This helps to avoid being confused with that other “Old Town” in Northern Virginia.

But in this case, the title seems to resonate because the City is welcoming a host of new businesses to its historic district.

Over the past 12 months more than 16 new businesses have opened or announced their intent to relocate into the Virginia Main Street Community. As 2014 drew to a close, the City had already welcomed new retail outlet Records and Rarities; professional office users Caitlan Jordan, Attorney at Law, and SCS Integrated Support Services; personal services provider the Man Cave; and restaurants the Bone and Zandra’s.

In January a regional favorite, Malone’s, expanded to offer consumers a more casual dining and bar area on the second floor to complement the fine dining experience locals and visitors have grown to love.

Beginning late last year, a series of announced closures by long-time business owners in the Historic Downtown Manassas left development officials scrambling to identify new business prospects. They need not have worried as the City proved both its resiliency and attractiveness to entrepreneurs who are rushing in to fill the spaces being vacated. 

“What really happened was a generational opportunity for a new wave of small business owners to realize their dreams of opening or relocating their businesses in our Downtown. In many instances these spaces are some of the most attractive and high profile storefronts available,” City Manager Pat Pate told the Old Town Business Association.

A number of business owners obviously agree. Historic Downtown Manassas has recently announced that new business openings are pending by retail operators Scatter Seeds, a purveyor Fair Trade goods and local artisan products, Amy’s Bridal (formerly of Woodbridge), Manassas Olive Oil and Totally Vintage Design (formerly of Haymarket); raw bar and restaurant CJ Finz and ice cream parlor Jitterbug will join the crowd as will CutRate Barbershop and the NEW School.

In addition, and proving that Manassas is becoming a living destination of choice in addition to a retail and dining mecca, two new urban style apartment projects have been approved which will bring almost 200 new studio, one and two-bedroom luxury units into the Historic Downtown.

Economic Development Director Patrick Small and Historic Manassas Inc. Executive Director Debbie Haight say there are still a few opportunities left for new businesses that may have missed the initial rush to open. One of these, the site of the former Opera House Gourmet, is possibly the most desirable retail location in the City.

Located diagonally across Center Street from Harris Pavilion, it is the most prominent and highly visible storefront as people enter Downtown. Small and Haight say this and the few remaining retail spaces still on the market won’t be vacant long. In fact, several confidential business announcements are pending.

The preceding post was written by the City of Manassas under a marketing agreement with Potomac Local.

From music, wine, to romantic dinners: Where to take your valentine this year

valentines day

Looking for some last minute ideas for your Valentine’s Day celebration? Potomac Local has you covered. Here are some events and local eateries that will help make your Valentine’s Day special.


Valentine’s Day Dinner
Malone’s of Manassas
9329 Main Street, Manassas, VA 20110

 This fine dining restaurant in Downtown Manassas is offering a prix fixe menu to create a 3-course meal for your Valentine’s Day dinner. It runs from 5p.m. to 12a.m. and is $80 per person. Dinner package comes with a champagne toast and live music in the upstairs area, that begins at 9p.m. The package does not include liquor or beverages.


Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball
Emeritus at Manassas
8341 Barrett Drive, Manassas, VA 20109

At the Emeritus Retirement Living community there will be a Valentine’s Day Sweetheart Ball from 6p.m. to 9p.m. There will be dancing, hors d’ouerves, and a chance to meet the staff at Emeritus.


American Festival Pops Orchestra: Valentine’s Day Pops
Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, VA 20109

If you’d like to do something less traditional than a romantic dinner on the town, then check out the Valentine’s Day Pops concert being hosted at the Hylton Center. Starting at 8p.m., the American Festival Pops Orchestra will begin playing classic love songs. Ticket prices range from $29 to $48 per person.



National Museum of the Marine Corps Wine Dinner
National Museum of the Marine Corps
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, VA 22172

If you and your partner enjoy a nice glass of wine, then look at the Marine Corps Wine Dinner being held near Quantico. The dinner will take place from 6p.m. to 8:30p.m. Make sure if you plan to attend that you RSVP.



Chocolate Infused Wine Dinner
Maddigan’s Waterfront
201 Mill Street, Occoquan, VA 22125

On the water in Occoquan, Maddigan’s Waterfront will be hosting a Chocolate Infused Wine Dinner, as well as offering a special Valetine’s Day menu. The dinner begins at 7p.m. with a reception. The featured winery is Rodney Strong Vineyards. The wine dinner is $59 per person, and the Valentine’s Day menu is $75 per couple. Reservations are required.



Valentine’s Day Weekend Celebration
Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center
14900 Potomac Town Place, Woodbridge, VA 22191

The new Stonebridge shopping center is having an entire weekend of Valentine’s Day celebrations. Restaurants in Stonebridge, like Not Your Average Joe’s and Firebirds will be having special menu offerings for the entire weekend. A perfect option if you can’t celebrate on February 14.



Sinfully Sweet Dessert & Wine Pairing
Potomac Point Winery
275 Decatur Road, Stafford, VA 22554

At the Potomac Point Winery, sit down for a romantic pairing of wine and dessert. Choose from four dessert options, paired with the wines made by Potomac Point. The event has two dates: February 13 at 8p.m. and February 14 at 4p.m. 6p.m. and 8p.m. The cost is $36 per person.

Bull Run Rotary Day is Feb. 21 at the Capitol Steps Concert for charity

Rotary Day is typically a fun, informal event to introduce the community to Rotary and their local beneficiaries.

Rotary Day is not just for a club or district. There are National Rotary Days in many countries and even an International Rotary Day at the United Nations. The Rotary Day events convey the Rotary’s relevance and highlight the good work and involvement.

The theme for Rotary International, this year is “Light Up Rotary” so there is increased effort this year to illuminate the great things that Rotarians facilitate. This year is also the 25th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Manassas Bull Run, so there is extra pride in this year’s Bull Run Rotary Day.

This year’s Bull Run Rotary Day will be on Feb. 21 at the elegant Hylton Performing Arts Center and is called “Love and Laughs.” It is on the eve of Rotary International’s 110th Anniversary and just a week after Valentine’s Day for those couples that couldn’t make a date night. The evening entertainment will feature DC’s Capitol Steps.

Purchase your tickets online.

Manassas company Dizzy Pig to host outdoor cooking classes

The Dizzy Pig Barbecue Company, headquartered in Manassas, has announced that they will be hosting outdoor cooking classes throughout the year for residents to attend.

The company, founded in 2002, became known for their line of thirteen seasonings and other barbecue products, which are all made locally.

Dizzy Pig has won several cooking competitions using their products, and this inspired the team to offer cooking classes, said Joanne Cawley in a press release.

More on the classes being offered by Dizzy Pig:

February 21 Dizzcovery – Brisket and Butts 
March 21 Dizzcovery – Pizza and Creative Grilling 
April 25 Dizzcovery – Chicken 
May 16 Dizzcovery – Brisket and Butts 
June 14 Dizzcovery – Seafood 
July 18 Dizzcovery – Getting the Most Out of Your EGG 
August 22 Dizzcovery – Ribs 
September 19 Dizzcovery – Prime Rib 
October 17 Dizzcovery – Pizza and Creative Grilling 
November 14 Dizzcovery – Mad Max Turkey Method Class 
December 5 Dizzcovery – Getting the Most Out of Your EGG

Dizzy Pig seasonings can currently be found at more than 700 retailers around the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

They couldn’t solve the graphics problem in house, so JTC used their expansive network to find a solution

  • JTC, Inc.
  • Address: 9720 Capital Court, Suite 305, Manassas, Va. 20110
  • Phone: 703-794-1225
  • Website: http://www.jtcinc.net/

An architectural firm relies on graphics. When they can’t access them, that can be a problem. 

Alexis Peck is the Vice President of Design at Peck Peck & Associates, an architectural firm located in Woodbridge, Virginia that has been in business for 42 years.

Peck also heads the marketing and IT department and is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Peck Peck and Associates needed Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. (JTC, Inc.) to assist them with the recovery of data, lost from corrupted hard drives.

Peck explained in detail the entire process.

“We had a couple of backup hard drives for some graphics of ours from archive projects and one day when we tried to access the backups, all of the actual hard drives had been corrupted,” said Alexis Peck. “I’ll note that it was not equipment that we bought through JTC, it was something we bought years and years before they came on board and so we contacted them to see if they could help us recover the data….”

JTC, Inc. was unable to solve the problem in-house and reached out to another company for extra assistance.

“…Through JTC we worked with another company and sent the hard drive out and they were able to recover some of it (not all)…” said Peck. “It wasn’t any client information or anything like that, it wasn’t anything critical to our operations, it was just something we wanted to keep for nostalgic reasons.”

Though the other company was located out of state, Peck said overall experience was very easy.

“We did everything through JTC so they came, picked up the hard drives from us. We paid everything through them, they took care of everything.”

Peck also noted that without JTC, Inc.’s network, they would not have known what company to contact. 

Peck Peck and Associates have worked with JTC, Inc. for over four years and originally chose JTC, Inc. for two reasons:

1. JTC, Inc. had been recommended by the previous company Peck Peck and Associates employed for their IT services

2. JTC, Inc. offered the best agreement to their firm

JTC is a Microsoft Certified Partner and a Dell Authorized Partner and utilizes Microsoft and Dell technology.

The preceding post was written by Potomac Local under an agreement with Jewell Technical Consulting.

McDonald’s adds Old Bay to fish sandwich

Fast food chain McDonald’s has partnered with the Maryland-based company McCormick & Co. to introduce an Old Bay Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

The sandwich will only be available in 700 stores, including locations in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.

McDonald’s will begin serving the sandwich on February 16.

Mark Furr, a McDonald’s location owner in Washington D.C., and Baltimore first came up with the idea to create the regional menu offering.

“McDonald’s is extremely excited to be able to deliver a true local taste to our customers via our classic Filet-O-Fish with a special OLD BAY tartar sauce,” said Furr in a press release.

In order to incorporate the Old Bay seasoning that is a regional favorite, McDonald’s will be adding an Old Bay tartar sauce to the Filet-O-Fish menu item.

McCormick & Co. is excited to collaborate with McDonald’s and offer this special product to costumers in the area.

“Old Bay is proud to collaborate with McDonald’s to offer a unique way to enjoy the distinctive flavor of Old Bay right in the Chesapeake Bay region,” said Ed Hernandez, Old Bay Brand Manager for McCormick & Co. in a press release.

Downtown Manassas hosts “Souper Bowl” Friday

Downtown Manassas kicked off their February First Friday with their “Manassas Souper Bowl” – a soup sampling contest offered by Historic Manassas Inc., and downtown partnering restaurants.

Residents had the chance to take part in the soup sampling by purchasing a $5 wristband. This allowed them to roam the streets of Downtown Manassas, visiting the seven locations that were participating to try a sample of their soup.

Participants got the chance to vote for their favorites, and the winning restaurant of the soup sampling event will be announced tomorrow at 4p.m.

More on the restaurant’s that took part in the “Manassas Souper Bowl” event:

At Allyssa Bryn, try Okra’s classic creole gumbo with chicken, andouille sausage, and tasso.
At The Things I Love, try chicken cauliflower soup from Monza.
At Records & Rarities, enjoy smoked brisket chili from The Bone.
At Prospero’s Books, sample soup from Zandra’s- ancho tomato soup + zandra’s grilled cheese- yum!
At Creative Brush Studio, warm up with clam chowder from Philadelphia Tavern.
At the Manassas Museum, treat yourself to some tortilla soup goodness from El Cactus.
Check out Love, Charley for shrimp bisque from City Square Cafe.

Manassas hosts their First Friday events every month from 6p.m. to 9p.m.

Hilarious, heartfelt: ‘Laughs and Love’ — A night you will remember!

capitol steps, hylton, rotary

The Capitol Step will perform at the Hylton Performing Arts Center thanks to Bull Run Rotary.

On Feb. 21, don’t miss Bull Run Rotary’s Laughs and Love benefit, at the beautiful Hylton Center featuring the Capitol Steps.

Why laughs and love? Here’s the love:

One of the greatest benefits of business ownership is being able to be part of give back to our community. Those who have faced hardship are struggling and in need.

Washmydeck.com is a seasonal business. We have a small fleet of vehicles that get lots of use eight months of the year. This leaves four months that where we can use our vehicles to help families in need have reliable transportation in order to help them work and get on their feet. We just look at it as doing a small part, with the resources we have.

Bull Run Rotary is doing it BIG by celebrating five hero organizations whose hard work day in and day out enriches the lives of those around us.

On one night, we set an ambitious goal to raise $50,000 to help abused children find security, battered women feel safe, families who have had hardship achieve the American dream of home ownership, and help feed our neighbors who live in tents in the woods.

Please help Bull Run Rotary in supporting CASA, Calling All Souls, Habitat for Humanity of Prince William County, Transitional Housing BARN, and Therapeutic Riding Rainbow Center, it promises to be a night to remember.

Oh yeah, there will be laughs!

Have you seen the hilarious Capitol Steps? They put the MOCK in Democracy with their song parody of political current events. The night will also have some surprise big VIPs. Regardless of your political leanings this is sure to be a night you will be talking about for some time.

Purchase tickets online at the Hylton Performing Arts Center box office.

See you there,

Steve Chapman, Founder, and President Washmydeck.com

New tenants, façade mark rebirth for Manassas Mall

manassas mall, shop, virginia, retail

Things at Manassas Mall — They’re changing.

The indoor shopping center on Sudley Road just outside Manassas got a new property management company that is already breathing new life into the 43-year-old mall. New mall entrances, new soft seating, new landscaping, and a few new tenants are some of the changes happening.

Where there once was a Target store, the vacant 103,000 square-foot space will be divided up into separate parcels to make room for Autobahn Indoor Speedway and child’s indoor playground Billy Beez – two new entertainment destinations mall owners hope will draw a crowd.

“These new tenants represent new options that are currently not available in the county,” said J. Michael Gately, Manassas Mall’s general manager.

They will also be joined by a new burger and frozen yogurt joint. The changes are slated to happen this year, Gately told a crowd gathered at  the mall Thursday morning for a Prince William Chamber of Commerce event.

manassas mall, shopping, retail

A crowd of Prince William Chamber of Commerce members gathers in the food court at Manassas Mall to hear about new coming tenants and renovations at the 40-year-old center.

Manassas Mall represents an expansion for Gately’s firm, Pyramid Companies, headquartered in Syracuse, N.Y. With 17 malls, Manassas is the only one in their portfolio of properties not located in New York or Massachusetts. Continued population growth and density made a Manassas a choice location for the company, said Gately. Keep Reading…

Wegmans in Alexandria to hire 300 part time workers

Grocery chain Wegmans will open a new location in Alexandria on June 14. The new store will bring five hundred jobs to the area.

More from a press release:

Wegmans Food Markets is now hiring and training for part-time positions at its new location in Alexandria, which is scheduled to open Sunday June 14 at 7:00 a.m. The company’s seventh store in the state is part of Hilltop Village Center, a retail and office complex located at Telegraph Road and Beulah Street.

Three-hundred available part-time positions include everything from culinary professionals to customer service representatives. Recruitment and training for full-time positions began in October and is ongoing. In total, the store will employ 550 people, 500 of whom will be new to the company and hired locally.

“Though the opening is months away, we’re training our team now so that they receive some of the most in-depth culinary, customer service, and product education in the industry,” said Store Manager Mike Dempsey. “Come June 14, we’ll open the doors eager to offer incredible customer service to all of Alexandria.”

Applicants may apply online at www.wegmans.com/careers or call 1-877-WEGMANS (934-6267) for more information. Interviews are conducted by appointment only and applications are neither available nor accepted at the construction site.  

“Wegmans offers flexible scheduling, competitive pay and benefits, and a fun, family atmosphere,” said Heather Gole, Wegmans Human Resources Manager for Virginia. “We’re also proudly celebrating 30 years of the Wegmans Employee Scholarship Program, which has awarded college tuition assistance to more than 30,000 part-time and full-time employees totaling $95 million.” 

Rochester, NY-based Wegmans Food Markets is known for incredible customer service and restaurant-quality prepared foods. The 126,000 square-foot Alexandria store will be the first in the state to feature a full-service restaurant called The Pub by Wegmans. The company plans to open additional Virginia stores in the future including Chantilly, Charlottesville, and two locations in the Greater Richmond area.

County facilities bring science and tech jobs

The Prince William County Department of Economic Development has seen an uptick in capital investment, which will bring $513 million dollars and hundreds of jobs to the county.

The department, which has been running for eighteen years, has brought in private capital investments mainly in the life science and information technology industry. The county has secured nineteen projects and will see the addition of four hundred and sixty-nine new jobs, and more than one hundred jobs retained in the area.

“Prince William County continues to experience significant private capital investment in our targeted markets. As a result, we are further solidifying our position as a top destination in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area for the Life Sciences and Information Technology industries,” said Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, in a press release.

Along with these capital improvement projects, the county now houses the brand new Prince William Science Accelerator. This facility is unique, as it is the only public-private wet lab in the Northern Virginia area. This lab will allow for several companies to potentially move into the county, bringing in more jobs and industry.

At the Prince William George Mason University campus, the Economic Development Department helped to get the Virginia Serious Game Institute up and running. The Institute will help growing start-up companies in the tech industries, including video game design.

This concentration on business development in the area of life science and technology is a calculated move for the future of the county. As these industries are growing and will need space and employees to create their products and services.

“By concentrating in Life Sciences and Information Technology we are creating growth opportunities that can open up new markets and new types of business opportunities, influencing other technology sectors and the region, as a whole,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development, in a press release.

More on the nineteen projects from the department, from a press release:

2014 Projects

Potomac EScrap, buys and recycles computers and electronics emphasizing the security of data stored on disposed equipment, recently moved into new space close to their old location. Capital Investment of $0.64 million and 2 new jobs.

Elvaria, a leading manufacturer of frozen yogurt and soft-serve ice cream machines, relocated its operations to Prince William County. Capital Investment $1.95 million and 13 new jobs.

George Mason University Potomac Science Center. The center is to support the study of the watershed of the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Capital Investment $30 million and 20 new jobs.

The Virginia Serious Game Institute, a public-private partnership for IT start-ups and entrepreneurs in the fields of simulation, modelling and serious game design, based in George Mason University – Prince William Campus. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony March 27, 2014.

The Prince William Science Accelerator, Northern Virginia’s only public-private commercially available Wet Labs space, opened in June 2014.

ISOThrive, the first tenant to locate in Prince William Science Accelerator.

QBE, a leading management and technology consulting organization for the federal government and defense community, located its new headquarter offices in the former PACE West School building in Gainesville, Va. Capital investment $1.2 million 30 jobs.

Federal Facility. Capital Investment $5.4 million and 50 new jobs.

ZTech Solutions, Federal Contractor. 2 new jobs.

Shibuya Hoppmann Corporate Headquarters & Automation Systems Equipment. Capital investment $2.2M and 20 new jobs.

Elite Shooting Sports LLC, one of the nation’s largest and most advanced indoor shooting ranges opened in November 2014. Capital investment $14 million and 50 new jobs.

Rick Sebastian named Didlake president, succeeds Rex Parr

The board of directors of Didlake, Inc., a leading provider of employment and other opportunities for people with disabilities, has named Rick Sebastian as its new president, effective April 1.  

Sebastian, an executive with 30 years experience in the disability services arena, will assume the role of president as part of an ongoing transition process in which he will ultimately succeed current president and CEO Rex Parr.  Parr, who has led the organization since 1977, will remain as CEO while the transition plan is completed and continue to serve in a consulting capacity afterward. 

“The board undertook an exhaustive national search process to identify the best possible candidate to steer us into the future and continue the record of excellence established under Rex’s leadership. We have found that person. Rick is a motivational leader who is passionate about creating environments where all people excel, explore and live their aspirations and dreams. Most importantly, he shares our vision of communities enriched by the inclusion of people with disabilities in valued social roles,” Dr. Joseph Pascale, chairman of Didlake’s board of directors stated. 

“I’m truly excited to be joining this premier organization.  Didlake has a 50 year history of creating opportunities for people with disabilities and demonstrating the unlimited power of human potential,” said Sebastian. “I very much look forward to joining the team and furthering this impactful work and mission.” 

For the past 11 years, Sebastian has been the President/CEO of Human Technologies (HT), a Utica New York headquartered not-for-profit corporation, operating as a self-sustaining Social Enterprise. He is a prominent advocate and frequent speaker on advancing opportunities for self-determination, self-sufficiency, community engagement and meaningful employment. He serves on several national and international not-for-profit boards and holds degrees in Psychology (BS, Utica College of Syracuse University) and Pastoral Counseling (MS, Loyola University Maryland). 

Didlake, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. It provides contract business services for commercial and government customers and has won numerous awards for its facilities maintenance; packaging/ assembly; and administrative services.

The organization operates throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area, in the Roanoke Valley and in Greater Hampton Roads. It serves more than 2,000 people with disabilities annually. Didlake, Inc. is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne program. Its partners include the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, local Community Services Boards and United Way of the National Capital Area. For more information, visit didlake.org.

Happy Hour signals change in Downtown Manassas

On February 11, Downtown Manassas businesses will gather for a Happy Hour at Imagine on West Street to speak about upcoming changes to the Downtown area. 

The event is being held by Historic Manassas Inc. Several local businesses are taking part in sponsoring the Happy Hour, including Philadelphia Tavern, The Bone, Heritage Brewing and Zandra’s Taqueria.

“We’re reaching out to our sponsors that we’ve had in the past and supported HMI and [reaching out] to potential new sponsors, so that Happy Hour is a way to bring them together and give a yearly report on what we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished and where we plan on going. So it’s a opportunity for new companies to become involved in Downtown,” said Debbie Haight, Director of Historic Manassas Inc.

There have been some openings in the Downtown area recently, and according to Haight, these are quickly being filled by businesses that will contribute to the community and offer something new to Downtown Manassas.

“There are some potential open spaces. You’re going to see…more clustered businesses and more niches. There’s a bridal shop coming in – and that’s a great niche for what we have down here. It shows what Downtown Manassas can offer,” Haight said.

For Haight, the goal with this event and attracting new businesses to the area is to create an experience where Manassas residents have access to everything they need, right in the Downtown area.

New Chief Executive Officer for ACTS

After the completion of a national search, Action in Community Through Service’s (ACTS) Board President Craig Gerhart has announced the appointment of Steven G. Liga as the new Chief Executive Officer of ACTS. “Mr. Liga will provide ACTS with the leadership it needs to build upon its 45-year legacy of serving the community, ensuring it is here for those in need for years to come.” 

Mr. Liga joins ACTS full time on March 30th, bringing over 22 years of experience in the Human Services Field. He is currently the CEO & Executive Director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) of Middlesex County, Inc., a nonprofit public health agency in New Jersey dedicated to reducing the impact of substance abuse and related problems in local communities.

Mr. Liga also teaches at Rutgers University for the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, where he has developed a number of undergraduate and graduate courses. A passionate advocate, Mr. Liga has collaborated with elected officials on multiple pieces of legislation, including New Jersey’s 911 Lifeline and Overdose Prevention Acts. He has served on numerous professional and governmental committees and task forces and is an in-demand conference speaker. He has also served as President of several nonprofit boards and provides strategic planning services to others. 

Mr. Liga has a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova University. He is a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Licensed Social Worker, Certified Clinical Supervisor and Certified Prevention Specialist.

Mr. Liga is excited to be moving to Prince William County, where he can return to his roots serving those most in need and be near his family here in Virginia and Maryland. He is looking forward to working with the ACTS Board and Staff to help the organization continue to grow and thrive, while always maintaining an environment that respects human dignity and serves the community with integrity, compassion, confidentiality and professionalism.

Mr. Liga shared with ACTS staff “I am honored to accept this position with ACTS. Its legacy of helping those who are too often invisible to society is truly inspiring.” He continued, “The sheer number of volunteers who support ACTS everyday is testament to its good work. I can’t wait to get started.” 

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