WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




‘uBreakiFix’ to open in Manassas

Need somewhere to get your smart device fixed in Manassas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The store is slated to open September 10.

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

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Bar J is back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ventech Solutions coming to Manassas, bringing 200 jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from a release:

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

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

Expansion readies BadWolf Brewery for local distribution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheetz expanding in Bristow, Manassas, Stafford

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grab a bite at Duck Donuts in Bristow Center

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There’s a new donut shop in Bristow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drive throughs proposed at Aquia, Stafford office complex

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

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

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

Town Center at Aquia

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

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

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

North Stafford Office Complex

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

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

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

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

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

Dumfries barbecue joint moves to Quantico gate

The Lazy Pig has moved from Dumfries to Triangle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incoming Manassas trampoline park to hire 70 employees

Sky Zone Trampoline Park is coming to Manassas next month.

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

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

More from a Sky Zone release:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Neighborhood’ coffee shop coming to downtown Manassas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could rising temperatures impact the area’s data centers?

UntitledFacebook, Google, Amazon.

Chances are these are names you know well. But what you may not know is that companies like these own large data centers across the U.S., including Northern Virginia.

Data centers, used for storage, backups and communications, use a lot of power for both powering their equipment and for keeping their facilities cool.

But a report titled ‘Risky Business’ completed by the Paulson Institute, asserts that climate change and rising temperatures – over time – will negatively impact these data centers and the electrical infrastructure.

Rising temperatures will make the infrastructure less efficient, and harder to keep the data centers cool.

There are about 25 data centers in Prince William, according to Prince William Economic Development Executive Director Jeff Kaczmarek.
Stafford has several data centers, but they won’t disclose the total because of confidentiality reasons.

For Kaczmarek, the data centers, which invest $3.7 billion into Prince William, will be able to combat rising temperatures.

“Data center companies are looking both at conventional as well as alternative energy systems…it’s a problem that can be solved. I don’t think it would cause [companies] to pull back in wanting to build data centers…the power and cooling problems will have to be solved, and they will be – it’s just a matter of how they’ll do it,” said Kaczmarek.

Manassas doesn’t have a data center, but their Economic Development Director Patrick Small asserted that during the coming years, data centers would be able to drastically change their technology in order to combat any possibility of increased temperatures.

“There are huge power consumers that are all over this state…I would think that the temperature would have to rise so significantly that it would be as uncomfortable for us to walk outside, as it would be for the data center to exist. The equipment in these [data centers] goes obsolete every two to three years, the useful life of the building is 30 years…over the next 100 years, technology’s going to change an awful lot,” said Small.

According Dominion Power spokesman Dan Genest, Dominion accounts for increased power usage and infrastructure strain in their planning, and would be able to replace equipment without a major issue for customers.

“As we move several decades out, ‘current’ equipment would either be replaced or augmented with more new power stations, transmission lines and distribution systems,” said Genest.

According to the report, during the last 30-years, on average in the Southeastern U.S., there have been nine days over 95 degrees per year.

By about 2050 there will be on average 17 to 53 days over 95 degrees each year, and 47 to 115 days over 95 degrees by the end of the century.

Why Supervisor Principi is wearing a Trader Joe’s shirt

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Supervisor Frank Principi wants a Trader Joe’s grocery store in Woodbridge.

And to prove that point, Principi will be taking a trip in a Trader Joe’s shirt he bought on eBay to the store’s headquarters in Monrovia, California on August 17.

At the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo building in Woodbridge, Principi hosted a reception last week with residents to talk about the campaign for a Trader Joe’s location to come to Woodbridge.

The privately-owned specialty grocery chain was started in 1958 by Joe Coulumbe, according to the Trader Joe’s website. The chain currently has more than 400 locations in the United States.

“I grew up in Southern California…when I was growing up we had a Trader Joe’s on what seemed like every corner…[and] as I was growing up my family owned a chain of grocery stores,” said Principi.

Currently there are three Trader Joe’s locations in Fairfax, but none in Prince William.

In order to appeal to Trader Joe’s, Principi and his staff have started a Facebook page and a petition that will be used as verification of community support when he visits their headquarters.

Additionally, Principi said that he has been meeting with individuals that are involved in selecting Trader Joe’s locations and retail site owners that could offer space for a new Woodbridge location.

“We have been meeting with developers who own and operate commercial centers, and we have three of them who have agreed to provide us confidential proprietary lease packages that add a lot specifics for the decision from Trader Joe’s to relocate here. I will be bringing with me ‘my homework’…the demographics of the three locations we’re looking at…the lease packages are part of it…a cover letter on ‘why Woodbridge’ to make the case for us,” said Principi.

Principi noted that the trip he is taking to California, as well as an additional trip to a broker for Trader Joe’s in Boston, will be paid for out of his own pocket.

Trader Joe’s makes their decisions about new locations each January, and it would take at least one to two years before a retail location is open, said Principi.

“Woodbridge is changing. Frankly, not as quick as we’d like, but it is changing and the new Woodbridge is becoming a reality…we need a Trader Joe’s to help brand our community,” Principi said.

Stop commuting to DC! SRA is Hiring!

SRA is seeking qualified professionals who currently hold a DoD TS/SCI clearance to work in the Stafford, VA, area in support of the newly awarded contract, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Information Technology Directorate Services (ITDS)

If you are cleared and have one of the following skillsets, we would like to meet you at our recruitment invitational which will take place multiple days next week.  Visit us at www.sra.com/careers where you can create a candidate profile against opportunity 5053: NCIS Event Requisition.  After receiving your resume, a SRA Recruiter will contact you within 24 hours.

We are looking for highly motivated people to fill the following positions:

Information Assurance Engineers Network Engineers
Systems Administrators Business Systems Analysts
Content Administrators Geospatial Engineers
Field Computer Specialists Software Developers
Systems Integrators Software Testers
Requirements Analysts

Database Administrators

User Support Specialists

VOIP Engineers

About SRA International, Inc. 

SRA International, Inc. is a leading provider of sophisticated information technology and professional services to the U.S. federal government. Our services help our government customers address complex IT needs in order to achieve their missions. We are inspired by our customers’ missions and strive to provide the best people, working together to generate the best ideas, to deliver the best possible performance – all driven by our enduring values of Honesty and Service®. SRA was founded in 1978. We are headquartered in Fairfax, VA and employ approximately 5,600 professionals.

Bakery in Woodbridge offers European, New York desserts

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In the mood for some European-inspired deserts?

Bellash Bakery’s owner Mario Rubio, opened the New York and European style bakery a few months ago in Woodbridge.

“I saw there were no Italian or European bakeries around. So I thought it was something that the neighborhood would want,” said Rubio.

Rubio, who owned a bakery in New York for 30 years, wanted to bring residents a way to try European baked goods you couldn’t find elsewhere in the area.

Bellash Bakery offers an assortment of European desserts including butter cookies, Italian biscuits, French pastries, European tortes, cupcakes and Rubio’s custom cakes.

“A lot of people think that with a European bakery, they expect that all of our products come right from Europe. And around here, you aren’t really able to get those ingredients. But in New York, we are able to get those ingredients. So we are able to do a combination of the European tastes, with the American style bakery. You’re going to get the original taste from Europe, but you can imitate it with American ingredients,” said Rubio.

The bakery is located at Station Plaza on Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge.

The pollo guizado is great, at Woodbridge bakery

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Guadalupe Castro has been baking and cooking up classic El Salvadorian food for a long time.

Castro, who is the owner of Castro’s Bakery in Falls Church, recently opened the doors at her new location in Woodbridge, near Potomac Mills Mall.

Castro has owned the Falls Church location for 30-years, and after requests from customers, she decided to expand.

“She was thinking about opening a second location, and we came down a couple of times…and then when she saw this location – next to the [El Salvadorian embassy] – she thought ‘well okay, I’ll open it,’” said Pam, the Woodbridge bakery’s manager.

Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago, and built her businesses up from scratch.

“Her whole experience – how she worked herself up to where she is now – she’s amazing. She just has this gift about her with cooking,” said Pam.

The Castro’s Bakery location in Woodbridge offers not only baked goods and custom cakes, but traditional El Salvadorian food as well – like enchiladas, pollo guizado, and paselito de carne.

The bakery is located at 14556 Potomac Mills Road, and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Restaurant promises ‘sweet’ burritos in Dale City

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Try some unconventional eats at Sweeto Burrito in Dale City.

From their luchador theme to their unconventional menu, Sweeto Burrito will be one of the coolest places to eat in Dale City at the Staples Mill Plaza at the intersection of Minnieville Road and Spriggs Road.

The burrito franchise got its start as a food truck in Idaho in 2011, by owner Jon Pierre Francia.

“It was really a blue collar story, where a guy went and borrowed money from his family to start a food truck, and the market came to him to start franchising,” said Virginia’s Sweeto Burrito franchise owner Mike Sarago.

Sarago first got involved with the company after seeing them on the Travel Channel program ‘Food Paradise’. Shortly after the program aired, Sarago flew out to Arizona to meet with Francia.

“I went out with the intention of buying a two or three franchise unit package, and by the end of the weekend, I had bought the rights for the state of Virginia,” said Sarago.

There are currently plans to open 25 Sweeto Burrito locations in Virginia in the next 10 years. The first location will be opening on August 17.

While the Sweeto Burrito will offer traditional TexMex style burritos, they also have plenty of unconventional fare on their menu.

“The food is very unconventional, but it has a complex flavor profile that you wouldn’t expect to click in the way that it does. You’re combining things into these TexMex burritos and it really creates these new and original things, with all these flavors that just clash together in a very positive way,” said Sweeto Burrito manager Max Haddad.

Haddad mentioned two burritos in particular – the ‘Buff Chick’ and the ‘White Chick’.

The ‘Buff Chick’ includes Buffalo wings, tater tots, cilantro ranch dressing and cheese. The ‘White Chick’ has grilled chicken, black beans, pepperjack cheese, sour cream, rice and cilantro ranch dressing, said Haddad.

According to Haddad, they also offer breakfast burritos, including the ‘Rise and Shiner’ – with steak and eggs, cheese, tater tots, cilantro ranch dressing and sriracha sauce.

Once the location is open, Sarago plans to work with community groups to host fundraisers.

“We want to do a partnership in the community, and do fundraising, and donate to the schools. That’s something I’d like to be involved in,” said Sarago.

The restaurant will have its grand opening ceremony on August 22.

Abrakadoodle expands to Prince William

Abrakadoodle is bringing its award-winning creative, mobile art programs to benefit children and adults with the addition of its newest franchise unit in Prince William County.

Abrakadoodle, with its global franchise headquarters in Sterling, welcomes this latest unit in Prince William County that joins Virginia locations in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia and Norfolk/Virginia Beach.

Dave Buck, a Business Coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source, introduced the Moore’s to Abrakadoodle. New owner Eileen Moore will be providing a wide range of art programs to include visual arts classes, camps, workshops, in-school field trips, special events and arty parties at schools, community centers, and other sites that serve children. Fall art classes will be offered via Enrichment Matters at Ashland Elementary and The Nokesville School.

Abrakadoodle also offers creative art programs and social art parties and events through its Art Splash program, which is designed specifically for adults. Abrakadoodle will be establishing programs at schools and sites throughout Prince William County to include Woodbridge, Manassas, Dale City, Lake Ridge and Quantico.


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