IKEA remodels Woodbridge restaurant


Reginald Thomas looks forward to his breakfast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stratford University students participate in Flory Center Start Up Workshops

Stratford Students and Dr. Redmon

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon Sinek, internationally acclaimed author of “Start with Why,” has a powerful TED Talk that is sure to inspire you to action.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

harpers santa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arbor Terrace Sudley Manor makes its debut


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

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

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

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

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

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

7-story tower going up at Manassas Park City Center


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hassan does not own the existing City Center development.

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

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

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

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

Knowing the needs of the client

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

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

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

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

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

Clients also have to feel welcomed and comforted.

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

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

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

Willingness to adapt 

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

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

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

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

A rewarding career

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Macaron Tart hopes Haymarket has a sweet tooth

macaron tart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

City Council OKs Manassas Gateway waterfront development


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chinese travel to Manassas to learn about local government


When delegates of the Shaoxing Yuecheng District in China were looking for an American local government to learn from, they selected the City of Manassas.  

On Oct. 20, 2015, the City of Manassas hosted five members of the Shaoxing Yuecheng Delegation from China.  Vice Mayor Way and City Manager W. Patrick Pate put together a team of senior staff to speak to the group.  The group heard from the Chief of Police, Voter Registrar, Treasurer, City Attorney and the Purchasing Manager about local government processes and transparency in government.

Members of the delegation were impressed to learn that the Manassas City Police Department is in the top one percent of police departments internationally as evidenced by their current CALEA rating.  Delegates asked questions as to which agency, out of the Federal government, state or local governments were responsible for the different aspects of government, such as elections and public safety.

At the end of the event, members posed for a group photo.  Members from the City of Manassas include City Manager W. Patrick Pate, Vice Mayor Jonathan Way, Purchasing Manager Jimmy Falls, Treasurer Robin Perkins, Voting Registrar Ann Marie Bausch and Director of Economic Development Patrick Small.  The Shaoxing Yuecheng Delegation included Mr. Jin Quanhai, Vice Secretary, CPC Yuecheng District Committee of Shaoxing City, Mr. Chen Jirui, Town Chief, Yuecheng Lingzhi Town People’s Government of Shaoxing City, Mr. Wang Yin, Director, Yucheng Fushan Sub-district Office of Shaoxing City, Mr. Zhao Xiongwei, Deputy Director Shaoxing City Yuecheng District Economy and Information Technology Bureau, and MaChao, Secretary, CPC Yuecheng Chengnan Sub-district Committee of Shaoxing City.

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