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Updated: Taco Bell, Firestone, Autobell car wash coming to Route 28

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — Would a new Taco Bell, carwash, and tire store be right for Route 28 just outside Manassas?

That’s what the Prince William County Board of Supervisors must decide on Tuesday.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Pavilion Capital is seeking approval of special use permits for the three business, one of which is the drive-through and dine-in fast food restaurant mentioned above, a Firestone tire center, and an Autobell car wash. If approved, the Autobell car wash would be the 14th in the state behind locations in Sterling, and in Hampton Roads.

The three new businesses would sit next to each other on the east side of Route 28 across from the intersection of Hornbaker Road.

The Firestone tire center would have eight service bays. It would be located near an existing Virginia Tire and Auto location that opened last year. (more…)

News
New business parks located on I-66, ideal for distribution companies

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — New building construction for two industrial parks along Balls Ford Groveton roads in Prince William County will offer economic growth opportunities for the County.

The two parks, Premier Business Park and Merritt I-66 Business Park, are both zoned for industrial use and are being marketed to industrial and distribution companies as part of the county’s economic development strategy.

“Their proximity to Interstate 66 and the Prince William Parkway provide excellent transportation infrastructure required by industrial and distribution uses. In addition, their large size and zoning provide the spaces needed for outdoor storage required by some of the businesses. The County’s highly skilled workforce and affordability are attractive to these types of industries,” said Ginny Person, Communications, Marketing and Research Manager for Prince William County’s Department of Economic Development.

Premier Business Park will consist of three, one-story industrial buildings totaling 456,000 square feet.
The developers for the project, Chalmers Property Company, has a long history of working in Prince William County. (more…)

News
Only Downtown Manassas vet clinic a family affair, aims to build trust

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MANASSAS — After he was done caring for pets for the Washington Redskins, he and his wife opened the only veterinarian office in Downtown Manassas.

Samuel and Virginia Martinez own the Old Towne Veterinary Clinic on Center Street. They opened it in May, and since then have been taking care of small dogs like Chihuahuas, and cats — the favorite animals of people that live in the growing number of small apartments and condos in the city.

It’s a far cry from the oversized Pitt Bulls, and Bull Mastiffs owned by Washington, D.C. football players. Samuel Martinez had been working as a vet at a clinic in Ashburn, near Redskins Park.

“Sometimes they would come in and just ask us to look at their dogs,” Samuel said. “Sometimes they brought us t-shirts, but we never got any autographs. We kept it professional.” (more…)

News
Heritage Brewing Company to anchor Manassas’ largest development, Landing at Cannon Branch

MANASSAS — Heritage Brewing Company will be the center at the largest development in Manassas history.

The four-year-old brewery will expand from its current ocation on Center Point Lane behind the old Georator Corporation building to a new mixed use development on Gateway Drive behind the DMV called the Landing at Cannon Branch.

The $9 million, 35,000-square-feet production center and restaurant will anchor the Landing project, which sits on 40 acres of land adjacent to the Cannon Branch retention pond. Inside the facility will be a beer production warehouse, a full-service restaurant, bottle shop, and a production facility for the Veritas Coffee Company, a company that operates underneath Heritage’s corporate umbrella.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe was in the city today and announced a $250,000 Agricultural and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) grant to help the brewery expand. The grant will help to create 66 new jobs — many of which will go to military veterans. (more…)

News
Business owners at CENTERFUSE get earful on litigation

MANASSAS — For small business owners, litigation is time-consuming and expensive.

But in today’s world, anyone can sue anyone for just about anything. That’s the message delivered at the CENTERFUSE coworking space in Downtown Manassas on Tuesday by Randolph Frosttick, of Vanderpool, Frostick, and Nishanian, P.C.

The attorney provided business owners with information and tips on how to deal with litigation, and how to protect themselves and their businesses.

If served with a lawsuit, don’t ignore it because it’s not going away, said Frostick. Consult an attorney immediately, don’t rely solely on internet sources for legal information, retain business documents, and have the proper business insurance. (more…)

1 Million Cups Relocates to CENTERFUSE in Manassas

Entrepreneurs devoted to helping start-ups and small business owners find a like-minded atmosphere, and centric location to engage

CENTERFUSE, a Coworking Space fills the gap for businesses to operate economically and efficiently and brings opportunity for the many entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and emerging ventures that need a fully equipped space to do business, network and grow.

1 Million Cups Prince William will begin meeting weekly at CENTERFUSE, in Downtown Manassas starting Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. The group meetings are free and open to anyone.

The move to CENTERFUSE from the Hylton Performing Arts Center, where it has met for the past four years, will serve to support entrepreneur engagement, collaboration, and discussions around a variety of business topics and every-day challenges. The relocation shows a commitment to serve and support founders of start-up businesses and to engage them where they work.

“Small business owners are tackling new challenges every day, and finding new solutions to problems in our everyday lives,” said 1 Million Cups Prince William Volunteer Organizer Nickey Monroe. 

1 Million Cups Prince William invites a speaker who has a majority equity stake in a company to talk about their firm. In the process, the group of 25 to 30 attendees provides feedback for the business owner. There is no cost to the presenter. Free coffee is also provided each week by a local business. (more…)

BerkleyNet finds the secret to attracting and keeping talent — make them feel valued

Editors note: This sponsored post is the first in a monthly series written by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Potomac Local.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — An insurance company headquartered in Prince William County encourages young professionals to write on the walls.

This is not your typical coverage provider.

Started in a warehouse in Manassas in 2006, tech firm BerkleyNet is a leader in forward-thinking business growth in Prince William County. BerkleyNet is a member company of W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 company.

Headquartered in Innovation Technology Park in Prince William County, their business is entirely online, a unique concept for a firm that provides workers compensation insurance.

In just 11 years they have grown from six to over 200 employees. The majority are headquartered in Prince William County, with satellite offices in places like Minneapolis, Nashville, Tenn. and Las Vegas.

John Goldwater, BerkleyNet’s former President, and CEO, has gone on to become an Executive Vice President of W. R. Berkley Corporation. Five founding employees remain on BerkleyNet’s senior leadership team.

The most unique aspect of their business growth? They hire curious problem-solvers, encourage ownership and invest in their employees. (more…)

Local lender expands free Q&A series for business owners

Local business capital advisor and direct lender One Degree Capital is expanding their successful series “Capital Over Coffee.” These informal forums are hosted at local coffee shops throughout the DC Metro area providing local business owners an opportunity to ask questions about finding and securing business loans in an informal setting without the hassle and formality of going through a loan application process just to get feedback from a lender.

“Our first Capital Over Coffee event in Falls Church, Virginia, sold out quickly,” explains Rod Loges, co-founder, and president of One Degree Capital. “As word spread we had several other business owners asking when we would be hosting an event near them. It just seemed logical to expand into other areas in the DC Metro area.”

“There is a clear need for this type of forum in our area,” says Jenn Mathis, co-founder and vice president of One Degree Capital. “Business owners don’t need yet another loan option thrown at them. What they need is help objectively evaluating the dozens of options that exist today to determine what is best for their particular business situation right now.” (more…)

News
Remodeled Woodbridge ALDI reopening, followed by hiring event

WOODBRIDGE — The new and improved Woodbridge ALDI is scheduled to reopen on Friday, August 18. Their Official Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, followed by a Golden Ticket giveaway, eco-friendly bag distribution, and Produce for a Year sweepstakes, is scheduled to begin at 7:50 a.m.

This newly updated location is one of 1,300 U.S. stores the company plans to remodel by 2020. The Woodbridge store joins other remodeled ALDI’s locations in Manassas, North Stafford, and Fredericksburg that opened earlier this summer.

The renovations come as Lidl, a competitor grocer that followed ALDI to the U.S. from Germany, is opening stores across the country. Lidl will soon open locations in Prince William County at the corner of Minnieville and Old Bridge Roads in Lake Ridge, off Ashton Avenue near Manassas, on Route 234 near Dumfries, as well as in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. (more…)

News
Food supplier expands in Prince William County

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY — US Foods chose Prince William County in which to expand and to bring 100 new jobs.

From Gov. Terry McAuliffe:

“Virginia’s distribution base remains strong and continues to grow, thanks to leading companies like US Foods that choose to reinvest in the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This important project was very competitive, and we are proud that major companies continue to recognize the advantage of Virginia’s strategic Mid-Atlantic location and extensive transportation infrastructure. As we celebrate another step forward in our ongoing efforts to build the new Virginia economy by promoting the growth of existing businesses, we thank US Foods for its continued partnership and growth in Prince William County.”

US Foods is one of America’s great food companies and a leading foodservice distributor, partnering with approximately 250,000 chefs, restaurants, and foodservice operators to help their businesses succeed. With nearly 25,000 employees and more than 60 locations, US Foods provides its customers with broad and innovative food offerings and a comprehensive suite of e-commerce, technology, and business solutions. US Foods is headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois and generates approximately $23 billion in annual revenue.

The company employs 900 people across two campuses in Virginia, with one on Livingston Road in Prince William County near Manassas, and the other in Salem, near Roanoke.

More from a press release:

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Prince William County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $350,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the county with the project. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

News
Sheetz Mapledale Plaza wins approval

DALE CITY — Sheetz will be the gas station and 24-hour convenience store in Mapledale Plaza.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the nearly 6,000 square foot convenience store that will sit on two and a half acres of land at the corner of Dale Boulevard and Queensdale Drive in Dale City.

The gas station and store will operate 24-hours a day and have eight fuel pumps, allowing for up to 16 vehicles to refuel at once.

Some residents who spoke at a public hearing prior to the board vote said the new gas station would bring more traffic to the neighborhood, as well as provide a place for people to loiter.

Sheetz will replace an old Mobile gas station that used to sit on the same corner but closed about 10 years ago, said Jay Du Von, a spokesman for the company developing the gas station. Since then, the old mobile has been boarded up, what Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey Stewart a blight on the neighborhood. (more…)


News
Work to demolish the old Toby Keith’s restaurant begins

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WOODBRIDGE — Things are starting to happen at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center in Woodbridge as crews prepare to demolish the building that once housed Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. 

An Alamo Cinema and Drafthouse will soon be built. A pedestrian plaza that will be used for live events during summer ice skating in winter will replace the old restaurant building.

From Stonebridge spokeswoman Anastasia Paszkiewicz:

Construction fencing has gone up and the outer ring road around the property has been closed in sections to allow the site work (plumbing, storm water drains) to be moved first.  Once this is completed the outer ring road will be reopened and the road immediately behind the vacant Toby Keith’s will be closed so they can start tearing the building down. The whole construction project including the building of Alamo will last until early fall of 2018. 

Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center opened in 2008 with the addition of a 138,000 square-foot Wegmans grocery store. Since then, apartments, restaurants, and retail shops to include an Apple Store opened at the mixed-use shopping center.

The Potomac Nationals Minor had been in negotiations with Prince William County officials to relocate the ballclub to a new 6,000 seat stadium at the shopping center, however, team owner Art Silber pulled the project from the discussion last week and is now reportedly in talks with Alexandria to bring the team there.

News
Prince William County to sponsor Serious Play Conference

Prince William County is hosting for the first time the Serious Play Conference, a program that encourages the application of game mechanics for education and training.

The conference also looks to educate students of potential career options in the field, and bring together pioneers in the field to share what they’ve learned. 

From a press release:

Prince William County Department of Economic Development is proud to sponsor this year’s industry-leading Serious Play Conference taking place on July 18-20, 2017, at the George Mason University Science & Technology Campus, Prince William County, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.

More than 100 thought leaders driving the adoption of game-based and simulation learning will gather to share experiences in implementing serious games. They represent leading public and private institutions including the U.S. DOD, private industry sectors and higher education, according to a press release.

DOD training leads, contractors, state and local government CIOs will share what they’ve learned training the country’s armed forces with developers and instructional designers from the serious games industry.

This year’s speakers include training personnel from the Office of National Intelligence; the Center for Deployment Psychology; Defense University; UCF; OPM; contractors from the Veterans Affairs Administration, the Army and the Navy; police departments; prisons; as well as companies implementing gamification programs, healthcare providers, researchers, developers, instructional designers and K-12 faculty using games in education, according to Serious Play. (more…)

News
Novant Health UVA Health System names Gill CEO

The leading healthcare provider in western Prince William County is now under new leadership.

From a press release: 

Maggie Gill has been named the chief executive officer of Novant Health UVA Health System.

Gill comes to Novant Health UVA from Memorial Health (Memorial) in Savannah, Georgia where she served as president and CEO since 2011. She joined Memorial in 2004 as vice president of finance and managed care and became Memorial’s chief operating officer in 2005. Prior to working at Memorial, Maggie was chief financial officer at several hospitals in the Tenet Healthcare South Florida region.

As CEO, Maggie expanded the on-campus medical school and physician residency programs, in partnership with Mercer University School of Medicine, to improve the region’s medical education opportunities. She partnered with physicians to grow Memorial’s clinical services, including trauma, specialized surgery, heart and vascular, and oncology. She also executed a $140 million capital plan that included a children’s hospital and the implementation of Epic. In 2016, Becker’s Hospital Review named Gill one of its “135 Nonprofit Hospital and Health System CEOs to Know,” as well as one of “130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know.”

In addition to various ambulatory clinics in the region, Novant also operates two larger facilities: Prince William Medical Center in Manassas and Haymarket Regional Medical Center just outside Haymarket. (more…)

News
Drive-through Starbucks planned at Cheshire Station

DALE CITY — A drive-through Starbucks could soon replace this small hillside.

The 2,082 square feet building would allow commuters to pull in, order, and pick up their coffee at a window. It would also have room enough for those who want to get out of the car and walk inside and order their beverages.

Outside, there would be about 360 square feet of patio seating. The front door of the building would face an existing Safeway store across a parking lot.

The standalone building would be new construction at the Cheshire Shopping Center at the corner of Minnieville and Dale Boulevard in Dale City.

The building would be placed in an existing space that today is an embankment. Trash dumpsters and parked cars sit at the bottom of the embankment, next to Yogi Cream frozen yogurt, the first in a series of shops in an adjacent strip center. The embankment would be replaced by a wooden retaining wall, according to plans submitted to county officials.

This new Starbucks would replace an existing walk-in only Starbucks already located inside the shopping center, at the opposite end of the aforementioned adjacent strip center. 

The Prince William County Planning Commission must approve the construction before its built. It will take up the matter at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 26 at a public meeting at the Prince William County Government Center McCoart Building.

If approved, it will be the second drive-through Starbucks in Prince William County behind a new drive-through location under construction at the old double drive-through McDonalds, at the corner of Prince William Parkway and Worth Avenue near Potomac Mills mall.

A standalone drive-through Starbucks also sits near the corner of Liberia Avenue and Signal Hill Road in Manassas City.

News
Stafford to enter tax break negotiations with Harris Teeter

STAFFORD — The stalled revitalization of Aquia Town Center is the biggest failure of Paul Milde’s political career.

For more than 10 years the once bustling shopping center at the corner of Route 1 and Garrisonville Road in North Stafford has been nothing more than an empty field. The last of the buildings in the strip center, excluding a Rite Aid pharmacy, are demolished.

“When I ran for office I promised to fix it, and I couldn’t have done a more miserable job,” Milde said Wednesday.

Now the Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, preparing to leave office in December after 12 years representing the Aquia District, Milde is making a last-ditch effort to kickstart the redevelopment project — again.

County leaders voted 5-2 Wednesday to allow County Executive Thomas Foley to begin negotiations with the current owners of Aquia Town Center, Mosiac Realty Partners. The developers asked for $18.3 million in tax incentives over 20 years, on top of the $6 million in tax breaks already awarded to jumpstart development and lure a grocery store to the center.

Eron Sodie, of Mosaic, says a 67,000 square-foot grocery is what’s needed to anchor the shopping center, and attract other businesses. Harris Teeter, its parent company Kroger, is the only grocer that has shown interest in the site, he adds. (more…)

News
Didlake, Hylton partner for sensory friendly performance of the musical ‘Oklahoma!’

From an email: 

We have partnered with the Hylton Performing Arts Center (HPAC) and the Prince William Little Theater (PWLT) to offer a sensory friendly performance of the musical Oklahoma! On Saturday, July 22 at 2:00 pm at the Hylton in Manassas.

Didlake’s Director of the Autism Center of Excellence, Rachel Payne, and Marit Majeske the Hylton’s Community Inclusion Manager are providing consultative services to the PWLT to ensure the performance is both entertaining and accessible. I’ve attached the flier for the event. 



PotomacLocal.com is the newest tenant at CENTERFUSE

PotomacLocal.com is the newest tenant at CENTERFUSE, the budding co-workspace in Downtown Manassas.

The seven-year-old digital media company with a focus on local news, politics, and transportation issues in the Prince William County region will not only produce news coverage and content at the Manassas co-working center but will engage with readers and local business owners there, too.

“My job as an entrepreneurial journalist on any given day requires me to be in multiple places in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. While a traditional office has never been in our plans, the flexibility, open work environment, and business support from the staff at CENTERFUSE are just what our company needs to grow,” said Potomac Local Media Founder and Publisher Uriah Kiser.

With Potomac Local’s acquisition of a dedicated workspace at CENTERFUSE, the company will launch a new podcast to discuss issues facing area residents. Additionally, Potomac Local will hold community events at CENTERFUSE to engage readers and residents, as well as hold scheduled publisher’s “office hours” where readers may visit with Potomac Local writers to share story ideas, as well as voice
neighborhood concerns in a one-on-one setting.

“We’re very pleased to welcome Potomac Local as our newest member of CenterFuse.  Our facility, located in Downtown Manassas lends a perfect opportunity for Uriah to connect with areas of Prince William County while working in a pristine location in the City of Manassas,” said Historic Manassas Inc. Director Debbie Haight. 

CENTERFUSE opened in early May and caters to entrepreneurs in need of shared workspace. Historic Manassas Inc. is contracted to provide small business support services to CENTERFUSE members.  

News
Stafford Chick-fil-A under renovation, will reopen later this summer

From Garrisonville Chick-fil-A Franchise Owner Leslie Brown:

The Garrisonville Chick-fil-A in Stafford, which originally opened in April 2001, closed on June 15 for renovations that will incorporate the chain’s newest innovations to increase capacity and improve the customer experience, whether guests choose dine-in, carry out or drive-thru service.  
 
The kitchen will be reconfigured to create a smoother flow, improved team member environment and room for future growth. The dining room will be updated and the drive-thru will be reconfigured, resulting in increased vehicle capacity and better use of the parking area.
 
The restaurant is projected to reopen later this summer with its normal operating hours of 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.Monday through Saturday.

News
Prince William Chamber urges officials support new Potomac Nationals stadium in Woodbridge

From a press release: 

This morning the Board of Directors of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce unanimously voted to endorse the proposed Potomac Nationals stadium in eastern Prince William County. After several months of meetings with representatives from the County and the project, Chamber Board members agreed the new stadium represents a significant economic opportunity that should not be missed by Prince William County.

“Earlier this year, Prince William County approved their new strategic plan. That plan calls for what the County has branded as their ‘moonshot goal’ of more than doubling the existing commercial tax base,” said 2017-2018 Chamber Chairman, Jim Elliott. “Projects like this one only come around but so often and if the County is serious about meeting their economic development goals, they should support these types of initiatives.”

The Chamber’s Economic Development Committee Chairman, Gary Jones, II, stated, “I hear from business owners regularly on how they would like to see our region be more aggressive in terms of our approach to economic development. I am glad that the Chamber’s Board voted to endorse the stadium. This project, along with the great work JBG Companies has already done in the corridor, has the opportunity to fundamentally reshape economic development in eastern Prince William County.” 

See attached letter sent to Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

News
Manassas EDA explores legal options to recoup $5,000

The Manassas Economic Development Authority is prepared to pay $1,500 to recoup $5,000 in public funds.

A $10,000 city grant to the now-closed “The NEW School” stipulated the non-profit had to remain open for five years or pay back the funds.

The now-defunct after-school program for children paid back half of the money. The full grant was meant to be used for scholarships for city children to attend the center’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics program. 

The NEW School closed last fall after six months in operation in a shopping center on Liberia Avenue. Representatives from the closed business did not return requests for comment.

The EDA ordered the Manassas City attorney to explore legal options and costs — up to $1,500 — to recoup the funds, according to EDA Chairman Board member Holmes Smith who voted against pursuing a lawsuit.

The majority of the board voted to proceed with a 4-2 vote.

“The EDA signs these performance agreements with the company, and the performance agreements state that if the company does what is says it’s going to do, that we are obligated to pay them and, in some cases depending upon how the agreement is written, there are recapture provisions that if the company does not stay in business or does not meet its obligation, they’re obligated to pay us back,” said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.

The agreement differed from others, like retail shop “Totally Vintage” in Downtown Manassas, where the business agreed to move to a new corner location, invest in new store fixtures to improve the business, and then afterward be rewarded with a $6,000 EDA grant for which the business applied.

The city attorney is expected to return to the EDA if the cost to pursue a lawsuit exceeds $1,500. If it does, the EDA will take a second vote on the matter, said Holmes.

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