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‘Escape Room’ opens in Lake Ridge October 15

Escape Room Woodbridge


Two local businesswomen are first to bring new live action entertainment trend to the area

Escape Rooms – the hottest new trend in entertainment – are arriving in Woodbridge! Escape Room Woodbridge is scheduled to open October 15th, at 12668 Darby Brook Ct. in Woodbridge. With three differently themed rooms, each accommodating up to ten people, Escape Room Woodbridge will be the first to offer this kind of interactive live gaming in Prince William County.

An escape room is a physical and interactive adventure game where players are locked in a room and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles and clues in order to escape within a set time limit. The games are physical versions of “escape the room” video games.

Co-Owners, Angela Curtis and Birgit Campana, have each lived and worked in PWC for over 20 years. “We are bringing fun to Prince William County. PWC is our home and a place we want to help continue to grow. It’s a great place to live and play.” says co-owner, Campana. “Excitement and adventure are right here in our neighborhood. Stay home and play in PWC.” Escape rooms started gaining attention in the U.S. about two years ago as locations first appeared in large cities and quickly became wildly popular. Before that, they were all the rage overseas, and it doesn’t appear their popularity will fade anytime soon.

Each room at Escape Room Woodbridge is themed differently, such as “Adventures in Wonderland”, “Lights, Camera, Murder” and “Dr. Jones’s Apprentice.” Co-owner Curtis says they are ready to help coordinate corporate events and personal celebrations, as well as individual players. “We would love to help you plan your team building event or party.”

The price for the Escape Room Woodbridge adventure is $28 per person for 60 minutes of puzzle and clue solving, and takes place Wednesdays – Sundays. Their motto is find the clue, solve the puzzle, play the game. For more information and convenient online scheduling visit them at

Cash in hand: Prince William County Science Accelerator gets $50,000


The U.S. Small Business Administration awarded $50,000 to the Prince William County Science Accelerator on Thursday.

The accelerator was chosen from a list of more than 800 applicants seeking the funding from the agency’s third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The funding will be used to continue research happening at the center, located near the Science and Technology Campus of George Mason University just outside Manassas.

Carl Knoblock, from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Richmond office, said he worked with many tech start-ups in Pennsylvania before coming to Virginia.

“When I came to Virginia from Pittsburgh for years ago, I thought it would be on the same playing field, and it wasn’t. I kept hearing about biotech business, but I didn’t see it,” explained Knoblock. “Now we can say we have the resources to the compete with North Carolina and Maryland.” 

Overall, the region should position itself as a hub for science and IT businesses, he added. 

Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart said the Science Accelerator is now, for the first time, full of start-up companies doing research at the center. He called it the perfect match between “government and the private sector working to create jobs.” 

From Prince William County Economic Development: 

Prince William County prides itself on being home to the first and only public-private, commercially available wet lab space in Northern Virginia, which is uniquely located within Innovation Park, anchored by the George Mason University Science & Technology Campus. The Prince William Science Accelerator was created to provide the catalyst for a growing life sciences industry cluster.  The SBA grant will strengthen the Accelerator’s graduation program so each startup can successfully exit and function independently in the small business economy, which is achieved by addressing two key issues for scientists: resource constraints; and speed-to-market.

Bret Michaels’ guitarist is opening a new candle shop in Downtown Manassas


The ribbon cutting for this new shop, located at 9109 Center Street in Manassas, will take place 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. 


Historic Manassas, Inc. will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome Shining Sol Candle Company to Historic Downtown Manassas on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 5:00pm.

Shining Sol Candle Company was founded in 2012 by Manassas native and resident, Pete Evick, an award winning musician, producer and author. The company formation came while Pete was on break from a nine month tour of the United States as the guitar player and music director for rock icon Bret Michaels, with whom he’s performed with for the last 12 years.

As an advocate of ‘going green’, Evick decided to use soy wax and wooden wicks allowing them to source all of their ingredients from farms across America. As the company grew, Evick enlisted the expertise of Sara Rodriguiz to continue moving the company forward with new candle scents as Evick returned to tour. Shining Sol’s newest partner is Deron Blevins, a local Manassas native and childhood friend of Evick. Blevins has since strengthened Shining Sol’s web development, graphic design and marketing.

Shining Sol Candle Company is thrilled to open their first retail location here in Historic Downtown Manassas.

$50,000 SBA grant to be awarded to Prince William Science Accelerator


The Prince William Science Accelerator will be the recipient of a new $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

The awarding ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, at the accelerator located at 9385 Discovery Boulevard just outside Manassas.

Less than 20 miles from the nation’s capital sits Innovation Park, which houses the Prince William Science Accelerator a premier life sciences start – up incubation facility. These facilities house the only public-private, and commercially available wet lab space in Northern Virginia.

U.S. Small Business Administration Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho presents a $50,000 check, September 22, to the Center; one of two Virginia winners of the agency’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The core capabilities of the accelerator are information technology and life sciences.

“Promoting entrepreneurship is core to the President’s national innovation strategy,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. “We are excited to have so many Accelerators in the Region empowering and engaging organizations with the sole purpose of helping start-ups create economic growth, innovation, and inspire and empower diverse a community of great American companies.”

The contest provides winners with critical, supplemental capital to operating budgets of entrepreneurial systems across the U.S. Through this highly competitive process, applicants have greater opportunity to scale up, or launch something completely new.

In accepting funds, the Science Center commits to quarterly reporting of metrics including jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. This allows SBA to continue building upon its database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

Hobby Lobby, Uptown Alley to open in Prince William County


Two new large stores are expected to draw customers from Prince William County. 

Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby will open in an old Shoppers Food Warehouse location on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. 

Here’s more in press release from the company: 

Hobby Lobby  Stores, Inc., a  privately held  national retail  chain of craft and home decor stores, opens in Woodbridge, Virginia,  with a ribbon  cutting ceremony and official grand opening celebration on Monday, August 29, at 9 a.m. The Woodbridge store is Hobby Lobby’s ninth location in Virginia.  

Eric Sisk is the store manager of the 64,000 square-­?foot  retail facility at Prince William Parkway and Smoketown Road in Smoketown  Station. The store’s grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is open to the public.

Local dignitaries, ambassadors from the Prince William Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders will attend  the  celebration.    

“We  offer  a  wide  and  ever-­?changing  variety  of  craft  and  home  decor  products   including  many  exclusive  Hobby  Lobby  brands,”  stated  John  Schumacher,  Assistant   Vice  President  of  Advertising.  “First-­?time  shoppers  in  Woodbridge  will  be  pleasantly   surprised  at  the  large  store  and  exceptional  service  provided  by  our  associates.”        

Hobby Lobby has over 700 stores across the nation. Each store offers more than 75,000 crafting and home decor products including floral, fabric, needle art, custom framing, baskets, home accents, wearable art, arts and  crafts, jewelry making. 

Just outside Manassas on Tuesday, Uptown Alley opened its doors at Manassas Mall. 

From the company: 

The newest location of the nationally acclaimed Uptown Alley concept will open its doors at the recently renovated Manassas Mall (8300 Sudley Road, Manassas, Va.) on Tuesday, August 23, at 11 a.m. The $11.5 million, 46,000 square foot entertainment and restaurant venue features 24 high-tech bowling lanes, a professional sound stage for live entertainment, three high-energy bars, laser tag, interactive games with prize store and Red Embers Bar & Grill, with a menu highlighting the best in Americana cuisine, created by award-winning Chef Brad Rishmany.

The immersive entertainment experience features Brunswick® regulation-sized bowling lanes, including ten private lanes, designed for all types of bowlers, from beginner to experienced league bowler. Uptown Alley’s lanes have all the latest in the modern day bowling experience, including 15-foot projection HDTVs, black light party bowling experience, music videos, state-of-the-art scoring system and gutter bumpers for beginners.

Uptown Alley also boasts a bar a grill, billiards, and a laser tag arena inside its Manassas-area location. This is third Uptown Alley to open, following locations in Arizona and a location outside Richmond.


Gabes to open store at Featherstone Square in Woodbridge


Discount clothing retailer Gabriel Brothers, also known as Gabes, will open at Featherstone Square shopping center in Woodbridge.

The nearly 40,000 square foot store will replace an old antique shop that used to be located in the shopping center. In the 1980s, the now defunct Dart Drug and Trak Auto chain stores operated stores there.

Gabes sells designer clothing for up to 70% off retail prices. The company operates 58 stores in the U.S., including a location on Route 3 in Spotsylvania County just outside Fredericksburg.

Building plans for the new clothing store are under review at the Prince William County Development Services Office, said branch chief Chris Roop.

Gabes has not announced an opening date for the new location, said Roop.

The clothing retailer did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Last year, we reported the owners of Featherstone Square and county officials were in talks to remake the shopping center and give Featherstone Square a more upscale look.

A total of 118 homes were built next to the shopping center. The homes sold quickly, according to shop owners at Featherstone Square.

Proposed sign for Uptown Alley ‘doesn’t look like a cheap, blinking, neon billboard’

It’s a part of the changing face of Manassas Mall.

Prince William County Supervisors on Wednesday will vote to allow a large metal sign, shaped like a bowling pin, at Uptown Alley. The new entertainment destination will mix bowling, food, and live entertainment.

Supervisor Jeanine Lawson said the new destination is all about fun.

“Of course, everybody likes bowling. It’s so Americana…. This is a mall that is going to draw people from across our county borders. It’s not going to be just the Manassas or western Prince William folks. My hope is that we’re going to draw people from Fairfax who want to come to Prince William to have fun.”

It’s the latest offering from the Pyramid Companies, a New York-based firm that bought the nearly 50-year-old Mananasss Mall and began making renovations to the shopping center in 2015.

Uptown Alley’s Manassas location will be its second. The company operates a similar venue near Richmond.

Lawson says she’ll support the new signage because it’s unlike anything else in the area and because it’s changing the look and feel of the neighborhood.

“It’s done in a classy way. It doesn’t look like a cheap, blinking, neon billboard. It fits with the look of the mall itself,” said Lawson.

Uptown Alley will join several new businesses that have opened at Manassas Mall, including a new indoor go-kart track, and new restaurants. The Prince William County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing about the sign at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3.

National Religious Broadcasters headquarters leaving Manassas, bound for Washington, D.C.


From NRB: 

Starting Monday, July 25, the headquarters staff of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) will be operating from the association’s new office space in Washington, D.C.

Located at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue NW and North Capitol Street, the office suite is in the National Guard Memorial Museum Building – one block west of Union Station and just a few blocks from the United States Capitol building.

Commenting on the move, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, said, “This action is both historic and timely.”

“Now, more than ever, our first freedoms — of religion, speech, and the press — must be defended vigorously before members of Congress, federal government regulatory agencies, and in the courts,” stated Dr. Johnson. “Our new headquarters on Capitol Hill will more effectively allow us to address our members’ concerns and work with policymakers on these critical issues.”

Since 1992, the NRB has operated out of its headquarters in Manassas, Va. In 2003, NRB opened an additional office on Capitol Hill to maintain a strong presence in close proximity to America’s decision-makers. This past February, the NRB Board of Directors approved a recommendation to relocate the corporate headquarters to Capitol Hill.

In an announcement, Dr. Johnson noted the “growing concerns among our members about their First Amendment rights to proclaim the Gospel.” For more than 70 years, NRB has faithfully represented its members’ public policy concerns in Washington. NRB’s mission is to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence, and defend free speech.

On Monday, the NRB headquarters staff will join Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations, and James A. Smith, Sr., Vice President of Communications, who have been operating out of the new office since June 27.

Mathurin talks to 1 Million Cups Prince William about expanding DJ academy


Jean Mathurin, CEO of Incredible DJs, was the presenter at 1 Million Cups Prince William on Wednesday.

Mathurin built a business as a wedding DJ is now looking to expand his business by creating a DJ academy where prospective DJs looking to break into the wedding industry can learn the trade.

After Mathurin had presented his business to the audience at 1 Million Cups, many business owners attending the event suggested he work with local educational institutions seek space to hold classes for aspiring DJs, and tp explore a vocational certification for his budding DJ Academy.

Incredible DJs also hosts corporate and holiday parties. Mathurin is based in Alexandria and splits his time between the Washington, D.C. and New York City metropolitan areas.

1 Million Cups Prince William meets Wednesdays at 9 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The educational events are free to attend.

ISOThrive supplement developed in Prince William backed by Stanford Gastroenterologist


ISOThirve received a key endorsement today.

Dr. John Selling, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at Stanford Medical School, endorsed the company’s prebiotic nectar, which is designed to improve balance and regularity, aid digestion, and improve the health of the human immune system.

The nectar is a fiber supplement that is a light, sweet syrup that is usually taken in doses of about a quarter teaspoon. It’s been on the market for about six months and is developing following thanks to a new subscription sales program launched by the company.

The supplement replaces fiber that is lost during the preservative food process. “You would have to eat a lot of preserved foods like sauerkraut to get the same fiber you get with a little ISOThrive,” said ISOThrive spokesman Jack Oswald.

ISOThrive ais a prebiotic, not a probiotic, that feeds bacteria in the gut. Without it, the bacteria in the gut can begin to eat the lining of the upper lower digestive tract and causing proteins to the leak from the gut into the blood stream.

More from a press release: 

Dr. Selling said: “Probiotic supplements have been all the rage, yet there is little evidence they provide real health benefits. That is why prebiotics are now poised to replace probiotics as an effective gut health supplement. Our first prebiotic was in our mother’s milk; we were born with the need for them. However, because our diets have changed dramatically in the last 150 years, it is not easy to consume a diet that supports our intestinal flora, yet we need to support our good bacterial growth throughout life. ISOThrive helps meet this need. The science is clear on this. It is more important to support the existing intestinal bacteria so they can provide the nutrients the gut needs to keep it healthy, promoting overall health.”

All of the scientific research for ISOThrive took place at the Science Accelerator at Prince William County’s Innovation Park. It was there that scientists examined what on organisms inside the digestive tract were being fed by ISOThrive, as well as research into what health improvements users of the product would experience while taking the supplement.

ISOThirve is based in California and operates a lab at the Science Accelerator, which boasts over 1,100 square feet of wet lab space in a Class-A office space.

Prince William Science Accelerator welcomes Celetrix, LLC

Prince William Science Accelerator located in Innovation Park, Prince William County welcomes its fifth tenant - Celetrix LLC.

From Prince William County Department of Economic Development: 

Adding to its growing portfolio of life sciences companies, the Prince William Science Accelerator is set to welcome yet another resident – Celetrix LLC (Celetrix) – a biotechnology company. The company will be the fifth tenant located within the brand new wet lab facility.

“We view our decision to locate in the Prince William Science Accelerator as critical to our continued success. Our new location allows us the opportunity to foster and leverage relationships with other tenants within the Science Accelerator,” said Celetrix Chief Executive Officer, Jian Chen. “Moreover, it places us within close proximity to strategic assets in Innovation Park such as the National Institutes of Health Biomedical Research Laboratory, the Virginia Department of Forensic Sciences Northern Laboratory as well as George Mason University’s (Mason’s) Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine; while enjoying the benefits of a cost effective, state-of-the art wet lab space; and access to a talent pipeline that is second to none.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Celetrix to our diverse and growing life sciences community here in Prince William County,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “When we launched the Science Accelerator in 2014, it was generally anticipated that it would be a success based on the expressed need for commercially available wet lab space in the County. However, the fact that we are approaching full occupancy within such a short space of time, has been a welcome boon.”

“The mix of life sciences companies we’ve attracted are all at various stages of research, development and/or commercialization within their respective specialties, which allows for more meaningful information sharing and mentorship that can make a material difference in the success of early stage companies. This is what we envisioned when we embarked on this initiative and I am happy to see it come to fruition,” added Kaczmarek.

Celetrix’s flagship product is an electroporator which is used to deliver DNA, RNA and proteins into cells. Electroporators are widely used in the study and application of molecular and cellular biology, immunology, hematology, neuroscience, cancer research and drug discovery. However, Celetrix’s device is decidedly unique. Whereas traditional electroporators can be highly toxic to cells due to the destruction of cell membranes when delivering DNA, RNA and proteins into cells, the Celetrix electroporator solves this problem, thereby achieving high-efficiency, low-toxicity electroporation. The company has already achieved success in marketing its electroporator within the United States and increasing sales foretell a breakthrough year in 2016. Most recently, Celetrix was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant in the amount of $186,180.

About Celetrix LLC
Celetrix LLC was founded in 2012 in Virginia to commercialize new types of high efficiency electroporators. The company has a team of accomplished biomedical scientists. Celetrix has revamped the traditional procedures of cell electroporation with the introduction of innovative electroporation devices and methods. Besides the electroporation products, Celetrix provides development services to biotech companies and research institutions. Celetrix is also a proud participant of the NIH SBIR/STTR grant program. To learn more visit:

To learn more from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development, Virginia Science and Technology entrepreneurs are invited to attend a Lunch & Learn with Lab Tours to be held at Mason’s Science and Technology Campus, from 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 pm on September 22, 2016. To receive E-Newsletters visit us at: or follow us on Twitter @PWCDED.

Elite Golf opens near Manassas Regional Airport


From Jane Peters, marketing director for Elite Golf. 

“Elite Golf is a family owned and operated business located in Manassas, VA. Owner of Elite Golf, TC Robinson, wanted to start an indoor facility where golfers can play golf during rain, extreme heat and the winter months. Opening in the United Sportsplex facility (formerly Elite Sports) seemed

Opening in the United Sportsplex facility (formerly Elite Sports) seemed like a great place for something like this which is unlike any other in our area.  The sports facility also features the Complete Game Baseball Facility,  Athletes Addiction Strength and Speed and Wrestling. Adding the golf simulators, food & beverages, arcade games, air hockey, pool tables and

Adding the golf simulators, food & beverages, arcade games, air hockey, pool tables and dart boards, seemed like a great addition to the facility.   Elite Golf features Tru Golf Simulators with over 85 world-renowned golf courses and 36 modes of play.  Tru Golf features E6 Software where you can play tournaments online with other golfers around the country.  

Local tournaments and leagues coming this fall.  Our head golf professional, Brian Agee, is available for lessons and short game clinics. The facility is also available for corporate parties, birthday parties and luncheons.”

Lessening growing pains in the government contracting world

When President Jack C. Pines and CEO Robert M. Hemingway founded Analytical Consulting Group, LLC in 2003, they wanted more than just a means to support themselves.  Growing pains were soon realized as they tried to get a foothold in the contracting world.  Hemingway shared that one of the biggest challenges they faced was finding a contracting vehicle.

“If you’re a new company, no matter how experienced you are, if you don’t have a vehicle, you’re dead in the water,” said Hemingway.  In order to become a pre-approved vendor to the Federal Government, companies must have three years of contracting business history. This often equates to working with a larger company because they are already approved. Hemingway asserted there is a lot of competition and the possibility to lose the rights to your work to another company.

The belief that the federal government should leverage the agility and innovation potential of small business by protecting them from large business competition dates back to the Great Depression. In the decades since, it’s become enshrined in policy that small businesses should have “maximum practicable opportunities” to compete for prime contracts and subcontract awards. Translating that into practice for your particular industry is no mean feat and growing your business within the realities of the federal market is its own challenge.  However, if your offering is unique and you’re a small business, the deck is stacked in your favor, shared Steve Charles, co-­founder and executive vice president of immixGroup. 

Along with challenges have come triumphs.  One of those triumphs came when the company was signed as a prime contractor for the U.S. Army, not sub-contracting for a larger company. Hemingway is also proud of the fact that, right after the economy crashed, they were able to still hire people and give them the opportunity to maintain a steady work record. They attribute their success to client satisfaction and providing the highest degree of expertise and industry capability.

“We’re not in this business for the sole purpose of making money,” Hemingway said. “We’re former intelligence analysts. We see it as not just a market, but providing a service. We’re proud that most of our employees are veterans. We’re not limited to that, but we’re proud of it.  We don’t approach this as a market to be exploited.” 

What’s Hemingway’s advice for people going into the contracting business? “Know the basic tenets of federal acquisition regulation. They offer that through the Virginia PTAP,” he said.  The Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP) educates participants on what they can and can’t do in government contracting. The program is administered by George Mason University.

Analytical Consulting Group provides a wide range of services for their clients, including national defense, geospatial intelligence, information technology services, information assurance, cyber security, program management and language services.  More information on Analytical Consulting Group can be found at

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.


Acqtel Realty, Inc. moves to Downtown Manassas


Acqtel Realty, Inc. relocated its headquarters to Downtown Manassas.

The firm invested $30,000 in renovations into a property at the corner of Church and Main West streets, across from the city’s Old Post Office building.

The company relocated from offices off Gaskins Way, near the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College in Prince William County.

Title Associates of Virginia and New Penn Financial are also located inside the new offices at the 131-year-old building.

Acqtel Realty, Inc. Owner Jim Smith said he began searching for a place to relocate his business in January.

“I came here to look at the Old Post Office building which was for sale, and then I turned around and noticed this building,” said Smith.

He jumped at the chance to renovate an older building, saying he has a passion for older homes and historic buildings in the neighborhood. Acqtel Realty, Inc. replaces a law firm that had been located inside the building.

The new owners of the building held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and barbecue on Friday, July 15.

It’s a go: Manassas funds small business accelerator

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

Manassas will inject $200,000 into a small business accelerator in the heart of its downtown.

The center will be a co-work space for start-up companies looking for office and conference space, mailbox services, and for entrepreneurs attend community events designed to educate small business owners and spur economic growth in the city, said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.

The business accelerator will be located inside the Hynson Building at the corner of Main and Center streets. The building most recently Fiducial, a company that specialized in business payroll, tax, and accounting services.

The small business accelerator will be located in the bottom floor of the building, with offices for Whitlock Wealth Management and ECU Communications will be located on the top floor. Both independent firms formed an LLC to purchase the building for $1.3 million earlier this year.

“It took a lot of hard work on a lot of people’s parts to come up with a plan solid enough to go to City Council,” said Small. “These conversations have been ongoing for four years.”

The $200,000 grant from the City will be paid to the buildings’ owners once they receive an occupancy permit for space from the city, following a proper build out. The money comes from the city’s economic development reserve fund, with funds gained from land sales like the city’s decision to sell the Downtown Post Office building in 2006, a sale that netted city coffers $657,000, according to Small.

If the accelerator closes within 12 months of opening, the city will recover 66 percent, or $132,000. The city and the private owners will cut their losses wipe their hands of the deal if the center is not profitable within three years.

It will take at least 36 to 48 months before the business becomes profitable, said Small. In the meantime, the private owners, with an investment of at least $650,000 in the building, must hire staff to run the accelerator and pay to keep the lights on.

“I think it’s great that the city is going to have a say in what happens in the premier building in its downtown,” said Gayle Whitlock, a spokeswoman for the controlling LLC owners group.

The accelerator plans to hold educational events while offering two paid membership levels, one for novice entrepreneurs who need additional guidance, and more experienced business owners said Small. It’s not clear when the new center will open for business.

Before the City Council’s vote to fund the $200,000 grant, the City’s Economic Development Authority privately discussed financing the grant with its cash. The idea never gained traction, and the EDA Board of Directors at its June 21 meeting, following a closed session that lasted over an hour, decided to take no action on the funding request.

Chick-fil-A in Haymarket hiring 80


From an email: 

Jason Ward, who became one of Chick-fil-A’s youngest franchisees and seven years ago opened the area’s second Chick-fil-A restaurant, is hiring more than 80 new team members in preparation for the opening of Haymarket’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant slated to open later this summer.

Ward will hire full-time and part-time positions at his restaurant located at 15180 Washington St., near the intersection of Route 15 and John Marshall Highway. Benefits include scholarships for continuing education, Sundays off and opportunities for career advancement.  
Applications are available in person at Ward’s Gainesville Virginia Gateway Chick-fil-A location at  5015 Wellington Road, Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Online applications can also be found  at Ward is holding open interviews at the Virginia Gateway location on two Saturdays including June 25 and July 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Tuesday, July 12, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Chamber discusses coming federal changes to overtime pay


The Prince William Chamber of Commerce met with business owners to discuss sweeping changes coming to full-time employee salaries.

President Obama signed new legislation that redefines what it means to be employed full time.

From the Department of Labor:

Key Provisions of the Final Rule
The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);

Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and

Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

The law allows non-full time employees to now collect overtime pay.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

From Prince William Chamber:

Betty Dean, Chair of the Chamber’s Policy Committee and Owner of Dean & Associates summarized the reactions of member businesses saying, “I think it’s fair to say that the biggest concern from the members’ perspective was the increased costs that are likely to result, but that was followed closely by concern about how to manage the potential, unintended consequences of the new regulations. Many businesses and especially not-for-profit organizations have employees whose salaries are below the new threshold.” Dean went on to note that employees often require a great deal of flexibility to do their jobs; attending before/after-hours events, traveling from location to location and scheduling appointments outside of normal business hours.

Allison Dembeck, executive director for education, labor and workforce development, congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was on hand to hear questions from Prince William Chamber members.

Questions included how to regulate employee use of mobile devices during non-business hours and how that time can be tracked. Committee members also discussed the likelihood that mobile communications will need to be strictly curtailed; likely having a negative on business as well as a chilling effect on employee morale.

We asked several area politicians to weigh in on the move. Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell replied: 

New gym Rebel Fit USA wants to know how many push ups you can do

rebel fit night storefront

A new gym will open in Daniel Stuart Square in Woodbridge.

Beny Blaq, the founder of Rebel Fit in Alexandria, will expand to a new location in the same shopping plaza as Shop Rite at the intersection of Route 1 and Opitz Boulevard.

From Blaq:

“Established in 2013, Rebel Fit USA LLC is a family oriented health and fitness community that specializes in helping clients reach their health and fitness goals through expert coaching, support, and accountability. What experience do you have? Beny is certified in personal trainer, basic nutrition and suspension training through the National Personal Training Institute with five years of experience.”

The new gym will open July 9. It is the company’s first indoor location.

From Blaq:

“The business has been open for the past two years running outdoor and indoor boot camp programs as well as a small group program. We decided to open a brick and mortar facility to be able to provide our members and others in the community a central location where they can get a great workout and serve our community better.”

The gym plans to offer several options for its customers.

From Blaq:

“We currently offer morning and evening large group and small group personal training sessions Monday-Friday. We also offer a 6-month personalized nutrition program that is serviced by our certified Precision Nutrition Coach.”

The gym on it opening day will partner with Push Ups For Charity, a Texas-based organization which has provided donations to military veterans centers across the country. Participants in the push-up event will challenge participants to do a set number of push-ups for cash.

The event is designed to simulate the experience of those in the U.S. military, according to the Push Up for Charity website.

The Children’s Therapy Center opening in Gainesville

childrens therapy

Submitted The Children’s Therapy Center

My name is Alexandra Smith and I am the Marketing Coordinator at The Children’s Therapy Center. The first week of July we are opening a new office in Gainesville and would love to get news coverage on it.

The Children’s Therapy Center currently has two offices, one located in Springfield and the other in Sterling, Virginia. Seeing that your paper reaches areas surrounding Gainesville this story has a local angle and will also be newsworthy for many parents in the area.

Just some background information on our practice, it was established in 1979 and has been flourishing ever since! We offer Pediatric and Adolescent Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy.

Woodbridge residents Paul and Reneé Jones co-own the new FirstLight Home Care

Paul & Renee Jones_Woodbridge

A FirstLight Home Care office will open in Woodbridge. A public relations staff sent us this note and photo: 

Woodbridge residents Paul and Reneé Jones co-own the new location, which offers a variety of companion and personal care services to residents of Prince William and Fairfax counties, including the communities of Burke, Clifton, Dale City, Fairfax Station, Lake Ridge and Woodbridge.

The FirstLight Home Care office is located at 3310 Noble Pond Way Road in Woodbridge and serves area seniors, new mothers, those recovering from surgery and other adults in need of assistance. FirstLight caregivers are available to help with a variety of needs – from personal hygiene and household duties such as cooking, cleaning and running errands, to mobility assistance and dementia care.

“Over the last twenty years, I was fortunate to serve the community of Louisville, Kentucky as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Over time I developed a desire to broaden my understanding of leadership and business, in hopes of making an even greater impact in the lives of families in need,” explained Paul. “In 2014 I returned to my alma mater, the University of Louisville, and earned my Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in health sector management. I want to put my education and experience to work building a business with an organizational culture that sets the standard for excellence in service to the community. FirstLight shares our vision and gives us the opportunity to build a company that loves its employees like family, who are, in turn, empowered to change our community and the world.” 

“Paul and Reneé’s goal to build a business that benefits the Woodbridge community, coupled with their business acumen and commitment to creating a culture of care for their clients and employees, make them the perfect pair to open the first FirstLight location in the Woodbridge area,” said Jeff Bevis, FirstLight Home Care Chief Executive Officer. “We can’t wait to see the positive impact their work is sure to have on the communities they serve.”

Since opening its first franchise location in 2009, FirstLight Home Care has experienced steady growth and now has 115 locations in 30 states throughout the U.S.

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