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IKEA Has Gift Cards for First 100 Customers Saturday

Woodbridge, Va. — IKEA on Saturday is celebrating 25 years in business in Woodbridge by offering free gift cards to the first 100 adult customers.

Store employees will hand out the gift cards, valued between $5 and $250 to the first 100 customers in line. They’ll also be things for children to do, like free face painting and a children eat free at the store’s restaurant between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Radio Disney is scheduled to appear at the store for music and giveaways on Sunday, said IKEA spokeswoman Wendy Rogers.

IKEA first opened its doors inside Potomac Mills mall after it opened in 1985 and used to sit where AMC Theaters is located. In 2002, the store opened at its current location outside the mall off of Telegraph Road.

The IKEA store in Woodbridge is the company’s only retail location in Virginia. It’s one of nearly 300 IKEA stores worldwide.

News
Woodbridge Chick-fil-A Sales Top in Nation

Woodbridge, Va. — It has one of the most confusing drive-through lanes of any of the fast food restaurant in the Potomac Communities, but that hasn’t kept away the thousands who clamor for chicken sandwiches.

Chick-fil-A on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge has been recognized at the top-performing restaurant in the fast food chain.

Restaurant owner/operator Luis Hevia asked PotomacLocal.com not disclose the store’s annual sales figures for 2011, but did say sales rose over several million dollars in 2011.

Chick-fil-A Woodbridge spokeswoman Heidi Dykstra said the location is tops in the country because of where it sits.

“We are blessed with a tremendous location that is so close to I-95 and Potomac Mills. Many of the restaurants located near us do very well here,” said Dykstra.

If any given Saturday afternoon at this fast food restaurant is any indication, Chick-fil-A in Woodbridge does very well with its faithful who order fried and grilled chicken sandwiches with signature waffle fries. In recent months the company has rolled out their version of a spicy chicken sandwich, specialty soup, lighter options like salads, all coupled with breakfast served six days a week – all Chick-fil-A stores are closed on Sundays.

The food is so popular, Prince William police officers are often called on Saturdays to direct traffic in and out of the parking lot, ensuring drivers properly navigate a forced loop around the restaurant’s parking before they can enter the queue for the drive-through window.

There is discussion of opening a second Chick-fil-A location in the Woodbridge area, however, it’s not yet known where it will be built. Dykstra said a new Chick-fil-A will soon be opened this spring in the Springfield area off Backlick Road. Another location in the Potomac Communities sits in on Va. 610 in North Stafford.

Since 1967, Chick-fil-A has opened 1,540 restaurants across the U.S., and continues to close on Sundays, according to its website.

News
New Chinese Restaurant Opens in North Stafford

Vicente and Nancy Santos of Stafford try out the new Jin's Garden restaurant in North Stafford on Monday. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

By Stephanie Tipple

North Stafford, Va. — If you’re craving some Chinese food for dinner, then you should consider heading over  Jin’s Garden, a newly opened Chinese restaurant in North Stafford.

The restaurant’s owner, Jin, started his career working in restaurants in the New York City area, and then came to Virginia to start his first restaurant in Richmond. Jin’s Garden hopes to provide a fine dining experience, divergent from other Chinese restaurants at a reasonable cost.

“I already had friends here and like the area and found the people of Stafford friendly,” said Jin through an interpreter.

Their menu has a wide array of offerings from appetizers to desserts. They offer the usual favorites, like chow mein, fried rice, and Lo mein, children’s meals and fun and inventive specials hand crafted by Jin himself.

One of the more popular meals, the Dragon & Phoenix, is a blending of General Tso’s chicken, coupled with spicy shrimp.

Jin’s Garden, is located at 263 Garrisonville Road, Suite 101 in North Stafford – where Topps China Buffett used to sit — and is open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

News
Food Lion Stores Returning

The Bottom Dollar grocery store in Station Plaza in Woodbridge is one of several Bottom Dollar and Bloom stores in the Potomac Communities that will be converted to Food Lion stores as part of a plan to boost slumping sales. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Woodbridge, Va. — The Food Lion grocery store brand will be roaring back into the Potomac Communities.

Several Food Lion stores that were converted to Bloom and Bottom Dollar grocery stores in the middle of the past decade, but it appears the new brands never fully caught on with shoppers in the area, according to information released by Food Lion parent company Delhaize America.

All of the Bloom and Bottom Dollar stores will be converted to their former Food Lion brand, and the company will retire the Boom brand altogether, Delhaize America reported. The Bottom Dollar name will live on at stores in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets where it has done well.

“This portfolio optimization will enable us to focus our efforts on the most promising Food Lion stores and markets and to accelerate our profitable growth,” the company reported.

Nationwide, 42 Bloom stores and 22 Bottom Dollar stores will be converted, while 113 under preforming stores will be closed, according to Delhaize America.

The conversions are taking place in Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. The company said it plans to open “hundreds” of new Bottom Dollar foods stores in Pennsylvania in the next five years.

Bloom conversions in our area:

Dale City – 6306 Dumfries Road, 5592 Staples Mill Plaza

Montclair – 5227 Waterway Drive

Lake Ridge – 12429 Dillingham Square

Stafford – 905 Garrisonville Road, 2612 Jefferson Davis Highway

South Stafford – 736 Warrenton Road

Bottom Dollar conversions in our area:

Dumfries – 17120 Jefferson Davis Highway

Woodbridge – 14641 Jefferson Davis Highway, 13414 Jefferson Davis Highway

News
Real Estate Brokerage Opens

Donovan

Stafford County, Va. — A new real estate brokerage firm has opened, and they’re operating without walls.

Robert Donovan opened Donovan and Associates on Jan. 1, a real estate brokerage operating in the Potomac Communities, is operating online and face to face, said Donovan.

Donovan and his wife, Kristie, both live in Fredericksburg and graduated from Mary Washington University. They also have both worked in real estate and educate perspective homeowners on the home buying process.

“Interest rates are at historic lows, and we’ve seen home prices in our area drop back to where they were in the 2002-2003 timeframe,” said Donovan.

Focusing on residential real estate, many of Donovan’s first time home buyers put about three percent down on a new home loan, which qualifies them for a loan through the Federal Housing Administration. Other first time buyers looking to live in rural areas, including portions of south Stafford County, could also qualify for loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Donovan.

“We really don’t have a particular client. We work with a lot of people at many levels, from the first time homebuyer to the client who is purchasing a million dollar home,” said Donovan.

Prior to launching Donovan and Associates, Donovan was the marketing director for the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. He’s also been active in the Fredericksburg Area Builders Association.

News
Another Thrift Store Coming

Savers Thrift Store will open a new location in the Potomac Festival shopping center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. — Another store is entering the growing thrift store market in Woodbridge.

Savers super thrift store appears to be opening a new location on the Potomac Festival shopping plaza, across from Potomac Mills mall.

A banner noting the store will be “coming soon” hangs above the entrance to a vacant retail space next to Hard Times Café. The same space used house computer retailer CompUSA, which closed their Woodbridge store after the company announced cuts in 2007.

The Bellevue, Washington – based Savers is a for-profit thrift store with 107 locations in the U.S. and 123 in Canada, according to company information posted to their website.

The store will carry clothes, shoes, kitchen items and furniture, to name a few.

Savers is the latest big-box thrift store to set their sights on Woodbridge in less than a year.

In August, B-Thrifty opened its doors in Station Plaza at U.S. 1 and Va. 123 in Woodbridge. The store, which was converted from the Hi-Mart mini mall, carries similar items to what Savers claims to carry.

News
Milk Delivery Popular Again

A Virginia couple is delivering milk to Woodbridge residents the old fashioned way: right to their doorstep.

Samantha and Tim Stern, along with their children, founded Holy Cow Delivery in 2009. At their 20-acre farm in Strasburg, they raise sheep, goats, and Rhode Island Red Chickens. And at Samantha Stern’s father’s farm, South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Md., is where fresh, whole, homogenized milk is produced for delivery to the Potomac Communities.

Samantha, an agriculture teacher for 10 years, and Tim a former Botanist for Winchester, started out selling 15 half-gallons of milk per week at local farmers markets, including the popular Dale City Farmer’s Market. The business has grown to selling and delivering 1,000 half-gallons per week, and they now fill orders made on their website.

“Doing home delivery was a better way to reach you guys instead of people coming out to us on our farm. Why not have farmers on wheels delivering locally produced milk and dairy products,” asked Samantha Stern.

In addition to Woodbridge, Holy Cow delivers to towns along Interstate 66 – a road where they attracted at least one customer:

I found your site while drivi[n]g on I66 on your cool truck, ironically from grocery shopping at Giant. Got on the internet while driving, (not cool) to get your phone number. I spoke with your very patient and witty mom and got most of the info I need to place an order. I’ve been in the market researching the best possible milk I can find in the market for my 3 kids without having to buy a share of a cow or traveling to the ends of the earth to get it.

-Holy Cow Delivery customer email

For many, having milk delivered fresh to their homes is something they’ve never experienced. Samantha, herself, was surprised at the concept of delivering milk to people’s homes and exclaimed “holy cow” when she and her husband began talking about the idea — hence the business name.

The Sterns say they make it easy for anyone to come out to their farm to put a face with the milk.

“It’s like were all a family when they come to our house to meet us, we chat over email, we all become part of a family,” said Samantha Stern.

News
Doc Popcorn Opens at Mall

Tong Zheng serves up new popcorn flavors at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge. (Photo: Stephanie Tipple/PotomacLocal.com)

By Stephanie Tipple

Woodbridge, Va. — If you’re looking for a tasty snack while shopping at the Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge then look out for the bright yellow Doc Popcorn shop in the food court.

Doc Popcorn, created in 2003 in Boulder, Colorado, is all about the all-natural and healthy popcorn snack, with many innovative flavors and a family friendly franchise atmosphere. This is the first Doc Popcorn location in the Potomac Communities, and is the first of three that Tong Zheng, the franchise owner, plans to open in Northern Virginia.

Tong Zheng, of Manassas, started his career in the food industry in high school, helping to run his parents restaurant. While Zheng loved the food business, he wanted to branch out and move into a franchise that would allow him more time to spend with his two children, who are both students in Manassas public schools. To find the right franchise, Zheng reached out to business consultants, and found Doc Popcorn.

“I think what we try to offer is product that is all-natural, to be healthy with the product, recycle materials and we all try to make the customer’s smile, which is the most important,” said Zheng.

These tasty and moderately priced popcorn treats come in a variety of flavors, all of which are made with whole grain kernels, made in 100 percent corn oil. Zheng’s personal favorite is the Triple White Cheddar flavor.

The Hoppin’ Jalapeno flavor is a subtle kick, but just enough that it gives you the savory and spicy flavor –perfect for those that love spicy food. The Triple White Cheddar hits the notes of cheddar cheese dead on, but is light and melts in your mouth.

The Cheesy Cheddar is a more cheese based flavor than its triple cheddar counterpart, and has a taste reminiscent to Smartfood popcorn. The Better Butter flavor is a great alternative to movie theater popcorn, without the heavy butter flavoring.

The Sinfully Cinnamon, like the name implies, is chock full of cinnamon and was one of my favorites that reminds me of the holidays. The Caramel Kettle flavor is very bold, and is a great treat for someone with a serious sweet tooth. The Klassic Kettle is very similar to kettle corn, but with sweeter undertones and by far, my favorite flavor was the Sweet Butter Flavor. This flavor is the sweetest of the bunch, and is a step up from the Klassic Kettle in terms of sweetness.

The cost of the popcorn typically ranges from $4-$6, and the Doc Popcorn location is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

News
Health Foundation Accepting Grant Apps

Woodbridge, Va. — The Potomac Health Foundation Board of Directors announces the start of its next round of large grants. Beginning in January the Foundation will begin accepting applications for the spring 2012 grant cycle. Eligible grant recipients are nonprofit organizations that provide health services to communities in eastern Prince William County, southeast Fairfax County and north Stafford County.

Applying for a large grant is a two-step process. The first step is to submit a “Letter of Intent,” a brief concept paper which describes the project. Letters of Intent are due on January 31, 2012. The Foundation then invites a limited number of applicants to submit a full proposal, based upon the merits of the project. The Board of Directors will make and announce its large grant awards on June 8, 2012.

Attend the Letter of Intent Workshop on January 9, 2012, to learn more details about the grant application process. The Foundation will explain the types of grants it will offer and the requirements for the Letter of Intent. The training will be held at Sentara Potomac Hospital, Hylton Education Center, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Reservations are requested. Call 703-730-4445.

-Unedited press release 

News
Diner of TV Fame to Reopen in January

Stafford, Va. — On the blue walls over a lunch counter, a sign still hung on Wednesday harkening back to what this restaurant turned made-for-TV diner use to be.

The sign states “County Fare – A Great American Diner,” the restaurant in Stafford that closed in October despite getting national attention from TV’s Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible” in April. The show helped to remake the diner at the corner of U.S. 1 and Hope Road over 48 hours by giving it a new coat of paint, remaking its lunch and desert counters, and added some new menu items like a Ruben burger.

Though the changes came too late for County Fare’s owner, Eric Green, new owner In Jun Bang hopes to build a successful business here, and he’ll call it “County Café.”

“I saw the restaurant on TV, and Eric, the old owner, I think he’s a really good person but he didn’t have that much experience on the restaurant business,” said Bang, who’s run a restaurant in Georgia for the last 10 years.

Being the restaurant business is tough, said Bang. He and his wife – who for the past 10 years has managed an eatery on K Street in Washington – both have done it for more than 25 years. The key to success here will be great food.

“When we open and do the food test, we want to make sure that we have what we need to make delicious food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” said Bang.

The menu will be a mix of American food, a taste of southern cooking he picked up while in Georgia, as well as some Korean favorites like Bulgogi, or marinated beef.

Bang lives in Maryland with his wife but is looking to move to Stafford to be closer to his new business.

“I checked the neighborhood and they’re not a lot of restaurants in this area, and the most of important thing for small business is location, location, location, and this area is not hot but it’s not bad,” said Bang.

He’s been cleaning the restaurant for the past month, as he said it was left in mediocre condition. Bang plans to open in late January and will invite area residents to a special tasting event prior to the grand opening.

News
Dumfries Coffee Shop Serves Up Joe, Treats

Emoni’s Coffee and Desert Bar founder Cici Matthews. (Stephanie Tipple/PotomacLocal.com)

By Stephanie Tipple

If you’re in Dumfries and are looking for a great cup of coffee and a treat, then look no further than Emoni’s Dessert Bar & Café. Emoni’s has been open for just three months, in the previous Dumfries Coffee location, but has already been warmly received by various members of the Dumfries community, due to Emoni’s wide variety of offerings and excellent baked treats. The word “emoni” means faith in Swahili, and Emoni’s CEO Cici Matthews has quite a bit of faith in her business and her product.

Matthews, a Los Angeles native, and 17-year Virginia resident has had the opportunity to see the impact and importance of a strong community, and this is something that is being incorporated into her business model.

The dessert bar and café is named after Matthew’s daughter Emoni, a student at Woodbridge Senior High School, and this is appropriate when considering all that Emoni’s aims to do for residents of Dumfries. In addition to offering quality baked goods, the café plans to host several cultural and community events, working with poets and artists from the DC metro area, like poet Phillip Gregory, to get children, teens and adults reinvested in the Dumfries community.

“I believe that you have to put seeds in other people’s dreams and talents, in order to get your own seeds for your dreams,” Matthews said.

Emoni’s also offers coffee and wine pairing educational talks with customers, teaching customers about the impact and reasoning as to why certain coffees and wines pair with different desserts, allowing customers to get the full flavor experience. They also offer free WiFi to all of their customers, which means that you can have your cake and eat it too, when it comes to grabbing a treat and getting some work done.

They offer cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, brownies, pies, and cheese cakes, and will take special orders within 24 hours. All of these bakery items are made daily and fresh on the premises, and all of the left-over products are donated to local charities and organizations in the community.

And like any good reporter, I took it upon myself to perform the grueling task of sampling various dessert offerings that you’ll find at Emoni’s. The lemon cupcakes were fresh and light, a perfect pick me up when you want dessert, but without the afterward heavy bloated feeling. The Kentucky Derby pie didn’t disappoint, and was crisp and flaky like a pie should be when made just right. But overall, my hands down favorite had to be the German chocolate cake. There was just the right amount of fudge and coconut topping to blend together, and didn’t leave my mouth with an overly sweet or chocolatey taste.

News
JCPenney to Reopen

JCPenney will reopen in Potomac Mills mall.

Woodbridge, Va. — After closing its outlet store at Potomac Mills mall earlier this year, JCPenney will reopen in its old location as a full retail store.

Work is underway now to transform the old drab gray 107,000 square-foot interior of the old store to match the brighter look of the company’s’ regular retail stores.

“The addition of JCPenney will enhance our great value retail mix and establish us as an innovative hybrid shopping destination, offering outlet, value and full-price retail selections,” says Mike Sullivan, general manager of Potomac Mills in a press release. “We believe that our shoppers will appreciate this one-stop shopping opportunity and it will soar Potomac Mills to new heights.”

The new store is expected to open in March, and will join other nearby large anchor stores like Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH .

This is the latest in a series of changes taking place at the mall. Last week, Potomac Mills mall replaced its iconic highway sign after the old one blew away during a windstorm in February, and a new children’s playground was installed.

News
Jeweler Buys Elizabeth Taylor Piece

Jenny Caro of Jewelry By Design purchased a piece of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry and will now display it in their store in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. — The owners of a Woodbridge jewelry store are now the owners of jewelry worn by Elizabeth Taylor.

Jenny and John Caro recently went to New York City to purchase a necklace and two pairs of earrings from Taylor’s collection, reports Patch.com.

Competing with the likes of Kim Karsdashian, the Caro’s bought the cheapest item to be auctioned off.

Taylor’s jewels were auctioned off last week at Christie’s auction house in New York City.

If you’re on Facebook, you can see photos of Caro’s trip to Christie’s.

News
Quinn Appointed to IJO Board

Terry Quinn and his wife, Joy. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Terry Quinn of Quinn’s Goldsmith in Occoquan was recently honored by being appointed to a position on the Board of Directors of the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO), according to an announcement by IJO President and CEO Jeff Roberts.

“Terry was chosen from among 850 retail jeweler members, which really says a lot about his leadership abilities, and the confidence the membership as a whole has in him,” Roberts reported. “I’m excited to be working with Terry, as is the rest of the Board.”

The IJO Board of Directors is comprised of nine retail members and two supplier members.

The Board position is to act as a liaison between the membership and IJO management, and to help form ideas for the betterment of the overall operation of IJO.

“Terry will be a great asset to IJO’s Board – he’s been an active, contributing member of this organization since the moment he joined ten years ago, and we’re privileged to have his input,” said IJO’s Director of Member Services Penny Palmer.

Independent Jewelers Organization is the world’s largest jewelry buying group, enabling its retail members to buy at group savings and pass those savings along to their customers. IJO also provides the latest education and information on product knowledge, techniques, trends and styles to its members, to further benefit their customers.

“Being associated with IJO represents integrity, quality and trust, and I’m proud to be able to give back to this organization that has helped my business in so many ways. I look forward to serving my fellow members in any way I can over the next three years,” Quinn stated.

Quinn operates two jewelry stores in the Potomac Communities, one in Occoquan in one in Woodbridge. 

-Submitted

News
Library, Clinic Ink Deal with Tacketts Mill

Lake Ridge, Va. — The neighborhood library that has had more homes than any other in Prince William County is about to move again.

The Lake Ridge Neighborhood Library will move from the Fairfield Office Park on Harbor Drive where it’s been since 1995 back to nearby Tackett’s Mill Shopping Center. The library recently inked a new lease with the shopping center’s management company, Rappaport Companies, and will move into a 3,500-square foot space on the upper level of the shopping center between a pizzeria and barbershop, near a Safeway grocery store.

“For years we’ve had people come in and say they have a hard time finding us, or call and say they can’t find us at all,” said library supervisor Lynn Casey.

The library has not announced a moving date , and officials with the county’s library office had been looking for a new space for at least the past six months, added Casey. The library will pay about $38,000 per year for the space, about $15,000 less than what they were paying to house the neighborhood facility in the office park.

The library’s relocation will benefit not only the shopping center but the neighborhood too, said Prince William Occoquan District Supervisor Mike May.

“…the location is much more visible and will attract many folks who might not have otherwise had occasion to visit this section of Tackett’s Mill. This will, in turn, benefit the other businesses that are located there–after people are done visiting the library, they may want to grab a bite to eat or stop in at one of the other shops. Hopefully the new library location brings new vitality and excitement to this part of the center,” said May.

The Lake Ridge Neighborhood Library opened in 1985 in Tackett’s Mill but moved the facility to the nearby office park in the mid-1990s due to budget cuts, according to the library’s webpage.

The library is one of six neighborhood libraries in Prince William County.

Also slated to open in Tackett’s Mill is Patient First Neighborhood Medical Center. With a location in North Stafford, the new location in Lake Ridge will be the walk-in clinic’s second site in the Potomac Communities.

Patient First will be built in the on a pad site where an old Shell gas station used to sit, said Rappaport Companies spokeswoman Sheryl Simeck.

News
Osprey’s Landing Reopens

Osprey’s Landing restaurant in Belmont Bay has reopened after it closed for two years. (Stephanie Tipple/PotomacLocal.com)

By Stephanie Tipple

Woodbridge, Va. — If you’ve missed fine dining and the views of the Occoquan River at Belmont Bay then you’re in luck, as Osprey’s Landing restaurant has reopened for business.

The restaurant has been closed for the past two years, but this fine dining experience is now ready to serve local customers. Osprey’s, a fixture in the Belmont Bay area, serves American food with a French flair – and it’s all about the superb dining experience.

The restaurant’s owners surveyed residents about what foods they’d like to see served at Osprey’s, and the public has spoken, prompting the American food menu with French flair. The clientele, mainly consisting of Belmont Bay residents, and Alexandria, Manassas and Stafford residents have been very supportive over the course of the reopening, coming out in droves for their soft opening – a Sunday Brunch that was held back in October.

Richard Davila, Osprey’s Landing Director of Food and Beverages, has 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry, and this experience has helped him understand the palette and the pricing needs of his customers. “What we’re trying to do on a daily basis, is to give people a great value for a meal that you’re not going to get at a lot of other places in the area,” said Davila.

The average cost for a meal here is about $19 per person.

People come from all over the county for their tuna slider appetizer, and the roasted chicken with mushroom Foam is one of Davila’s favorites. Osprey’s Landing is known for their desserts as well, serving up their famous waffle bread pudding and the crème brulee, which has a flavor change every two days.

News
Old Borders Now Used Bookstore

The old Borders Books on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge is now 2nd and Charles books.

By Stephanie Tipple
For PotomacLocal.com

Woodbridge, Va. — The one-time Borders location in Woodbridge off Prince William Parkway has been given new life. It’s been converted in a 2nd and Charles – a used book store chain based in the southeast U.S. with an eclectic assortment of merchandise.

This old Borders location is the only one that once belonged to the now-defunct book retailer that has been transformed in to a 2nd and Charles.

“There’s a big market for used books. There are lots of people, especially in this economy, who want to get books that are cheaper, that are perfectly fine – they’ve just been read before,” said general manager Kim Sarratt.

The current retail climate, families’ push for more conservative spending, and the local customer base made this a prime location for the company, said Sarratt.

Two managers and 15 former employees of Borders were also retained, which has made for an east transition for the new store and its customers.

While it may seem like large shoes to fill in the wake of the closing of all Border’s locations, Sarratt says there is a great demand for used books. And while 2nd and Charles puts a large focus on their used book selection, they make it a point to let customers know that they’re not just a book store.

They also carry movies, video games and vinyl comic books.

“We want an eclectic type of atmosphere, where people can come – we’re a destination place for people to come and find that rare treasure, as well as new stuff,” Sarratt said.

The store also has a buy-back and trading program for customers to trade in their books and video games, earning them cash or store credit for books. The store has been open a week and, thus far, they have already seen a positive level of sales from both new customers and former Border’s customers, said Sarratt.

The bookstore chain has five locations, with the Woodbridge store being the only one in Virginia. The company has plans expanding further at the start of the New Year.

A Borders store in Stafford Marketplace also closed this year. In October is was occupied by a Halloween costume store which has since closed for the season.

Stephanie Tipple is a contributing writer for PotomacLocal.com.

News
Local Black Friday Deals

In the current economic climate, more and more people are choosing to spend their dollars locally. According to an often cited research study, for every dollar you spend at a locally-owned business, 72 cents remains in the local economy supporting small business owners and employees.

As a locally-owned, run, and supported small business, PotomacLocal.com is proud to support other local businesses as much as possible.

We asked locally owned businesses to send us what special deals they’re offering for Black Friday. We’ve posted them here for free to show our support for local business in the Potomac Communities!

Shopping for: Wife, girlfriend, fiancé

Shop at: Touch of Gold, 202 Washington Street in Occoquan.

Deal: Touch of Gold will be offering jewelry specials Friday-Sunday including 50 percent off a selection of fine jewelry already on sale, 50 percent off Celtic/Irish sterling jewelry, 25 percent off of diamond semi-mounts, 25 percent off genuine pearls, Buy One Get One Free on Kameleon Jewel Pops with any Sterling purchase.

Why we love it: Touch of Gold offers personalized service, unique lines, and a wide variety of special order products. If you’re a TrollBeads fanatic, this is definitely the shop for you. The pink and grey color scheme and boutique feel make this Occoquan jewelry shop extra charming.

Shopping for: A best friend, girlfriend, or co-worker

Shop at: The Polka Dot Divas, 405 Mill Street in Occoquan.

Deal: A Black Friday rolling sale with a different special on select items that will rotate every two hours. Cyber Monday on Nov. 28 will feature 10 percent off everything on polkadotdivas.com.

Why we love it: Bouncing back from serious flood damage, Polka Dot Divas’ new location still offers adorable styling and wide variety of gifts never fails to produce a perfect find for your best gal-pals. Their charming and funny combinations would also be a hit in any white elephant swap.

Shopping for: Wife, girlfriend, fiancé

Shop at: Jewelry By Design 2932 Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.

Deal: 3 Days Only: Friday, Saturday and Sunday Save on Gifts for Everyone in Your Family! 14K Gold Diamond Studs ¼ ctw $149, Silver Pearl Earrings $29, 14K Gold Diamond Ring ½ ctw $999, Gold Black Diamond Studs ½ ctw $149, Silver Cross Pendant, $199, Silver Sapphire & Diamond Pendant $149, Silver Diamond, Pendant $199. Free iPAD2 with purchase of $2,499 or more

Why we love it: JBD has a huge selection of items to choose from and its right it the heart of Prince William County’s shopping district, just off I-95.

Shopping for: Your crafty friend, sister-in-law, mommy-group buddies

Shop at: Pink Crow Designs, etsy.com/shop/pinkcrowdesigns

Deal: 10 percent off already discounted prices and free shipping using code BLACKFRIDAY10, or 10 percent off any custom order placed on Black Friday.

Why we love it: Shopping online? No lines? Count us in! Plus these unique designs are all handmade locally.

Shopping for: Your crafty friend, sister-in-law, mommy-group buddies

Shop at: Pink Crow Designs, etsy.com/shop/pinkcrowdesigns

Deal: 10 percent off already discounted prices and free shipping using code BLACKFRIDAY10, or 10 percent off any custom order placed on Black Friday.

Why we love it: Shopping online? No lines? Count us in! Plus these unique designs are all handmade locally.

Shopping for: The person on your list with everything

Shop at: Workhouse Arts Center, 9601 Ox Road in Lorton.

Deal: Workshops, parties, plays, demonstrations and more, with no admission fee or requirement to buy anything. Santa will be on hand, raffles and food and carolers will be part of this full day experience, too. Events start at 9 a.m. and run to 7 p.m.

Why we love it: Instead of waiting in line at 4 a.m. alone, come out to the workhouse with the whole family and be entertained while shopping from the great works of local artists. Bonus- signing your kid up for a drama, art, or music class won’t clutter the toy room and gets them out of your hair once a week.

Shopping for: Just about anything- clothes, books, gifts, decorations

Shop at: Old Town Manassas

Deal: Just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you can purchase Old Town Chocolate Bars at participating shops, and if yours has the golden ticket, your child gets to escort Santa in the Old Town Christmas Parade

Why we love it: Escorting Santa. Enough said!

Shopping for: Wife, girlfriend, fiancé

Shop at: Quinn’s Goldsmith- Choose from Occoquan or Potomac Town Center at Stonebridge

Deal: This they’re giving away an iPad 2: One on Mens night Dec 14 in Occoquana and one on mens night Dec 15 at our Woodbridge location (near Wegmans), and another one Christmas Eve.

Why we love it: If you’ve got to buy jewelry anyway, you may as well win a little something for yourself, too!

Shopping for: Fun

Shop at: Wherever you want, but drop the kids off at Kids In Motion Woodbridge

Deal: Kids in Motion will offer a Black Friday fun camp for kids ages 3-12 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for $5-$7 per child. For more information or to sign up, visit their website at kidsnmotion.biz.

Why we love it: There’s no way the kids are going to make it from a 4 a.m. trip to Macy’s all the way to when the indie stores open….what, you don’t teach yours to deal hunt?

Shopping for: Home cleaning services

Shop at: Jazzy’s Cleaning Service

Deal: Save 30 percent off your first home cleaning service if you call before Dec. 15. Call 540-272-3438!

Why we love it: It’s holiday time and with all the parties and get-togethers you’ll want to have your place looking it’s best. Why not let Jazzy’s help?

 

 

News
Civil War, Mall, Museums Boost Tourism

Prince William, VA-Tourism revenue is on the rise in the greater Prince William region and across Virginia, according to data released by the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

Visitors to Prince William County generated almost $444 million in revenue last year, a 6.8 percent increase from 2009. In the City of Manassas, visitors generated almost $54 million, a 5.5 percent increase from 2009 and in Manassas Park about $1.2 million, which was a 3.7 percent increase.

The figures, which were calculated by the U.S. Travel Association, represent what domestic travelers spent on everything from meals, lodging and public transportation to shopping, admissions and entertainment. Virginia Tourism Corporation officials also said that every dollar Virginia invests in tourism marketing, generates $5 in tax revenue.

“We attribute the growth to the interest in the region’s Civil War history coupled with our other top attractions,” said Ann Marie Maher, Executive Director for Discover Prince William and Manassas, the regions convention and visitors bureau. “Prince William & Manassas is making a name for itself as a destination that is diverse, culturally dynamic and a tremendous value for travelers to the metropolitan D.C. area.”

Maher said visitors are coming to the greater Prince William area not only to see the Manassas National Battlefield Park and walk the Civil War Trail, but to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Potomac Mills Mall and the community’s quaint main streets. Others are attracted to the arts, culture, events and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Tourism supported 5,600 jobs in Prince William last year and 524 between Manassas and Manassas Park. Travel-related state and local tax receipts also increased in Prince William by 3.7 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

Maher said she expects tourism will rise as the community builds on the momentum of the 150th Civil War anniversary and gets ready to open new attractions including the American Wartime Museum.

At the state level, domestic visitor spending in Virginia generated $18.9 billion in revenue in 2010, up 6.7 percent from 2009. Officials with the Commonwealth said spending by overseas travelers to Virginia increased by more than 12 percent last year. The number of visitors from Canada is also on the rise. In 2010, almost 575,000 Canadians came to the Commonwealth and spent more than $133 million, up 16.6 percent from 2009.

“The increase in revenue from tourism is very encouraging,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said. “Tourism is an instant revenue generator and job creator for Virginia, which is why I continue to advocate for more resources for tourism marketing. Smart investments in tourism provide economic benefits to communities across the Commonwealth and good jobs for our citizens.”

For additional information on things to do and places to see in Prince William & Manassas, call 1-800-432-1792 or visit www.VisitPWC.com or www.ManassasBullRun.com

Discover Prince William & Manassas is the Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing Prince William County and Manassas, Virginia as a destination for leisure and business travelers, group tours, conferences, meetings and events.

-Unedited press release

News
New Restaurants, Day Care Coming to Aquia Towne Center

As Aquia Towne Center awaits a construction rebirth, the company developing the center has assured Stafford County leaders they’re working hard to bring businesses to the once-popular shopping center. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

North Stafford, Va. — The on again – off again project to redevelop Aquia Towne Center is progressing with several new businesses signed up to lease space at the mixed-use shopping center.

New restaurants including Bungalow Ale House, Travinia Italian Kitchen, as well as other businesses like Gold’s Gym, a new Regal Cinemas and a child development center called The Learning Experience have all signed leases to open in the center.

Bungalow already has a location in Woodbridge, and Travinia has a planned location at Potomac Town Center. 

“Construction has slowed, but the developer, Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, assures us they are in the process of signing leases to fill the center with businesses that will help improve the lives of the residents in Stafford. We think the newly developed center will be a great addition to the area,” said Aquia Supervisor Paul Midle.

Construction slowed, county officials said, after the developer encountered financing issues and the effects of the stalled economy. 

Stafford’s Board of Supervisors in 2006 approved a rezoning for the property near the intersection of U.S. 1 and Va. 610 in North Stafford to include a mix of retail and commercial office space. Since then, a new office tower that houses Northrop Grumman was built on the property.

But other businesses that were once a staple in the center, such as a Big Lots, Rite Aid Pharmacy, and the locally-owned Gargoyles Coffee Shop have were all closed and demolished. A Shoppers Food Warehouse that was in the shopping center moved into Stafford Marketplace in 2004.

“We anticipate the center to be well under construction in the next two years. They’ve got good leasing activity going on now, but they tell us they’ve had some financial problems in the past that should be resolved and construction should be back on soon,” said Stafford Economic Development spokesman Tim Baroody.

News
Car Dealership a New Neighbor

North Stafford, Va. — First houses, then a convience store, and now Nissan car dealership.

The Hills at Aquia continues to expand as Rosner Nissan of Stafford has opened its doors along U.S. 1 in North Stafford. It’s affiliated with Rosner Toyota, which sits about a half-mile away on nearby Va. 610.

“We’re pulling a lot of people who have not had the choice to by Nissan in Stafford, giving them another choice than Toyota,” said general manager Bob Gasbarri.

The car dealership hired 73 people when it opened last month, something Gasbarri said is difficult for many businesses to do in this down economy.

“For us, we’re fortunate enough to plan on keep growing and growing,” said Gasbarri.

And the dealership plans to continue expanding, as it’s clearing land directly behind the Nissan dealership to make room for another one.

The dealership stocks between 300 and 400 new cars on its lot.

Behind the dealership, several single-family homes have been built. The asking price for the new homes is $405,000, according to the developer’s website.

In addition to the car dealership, the area just north of Va. 610 now boasts at 7-Eleven and a new hotel.

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