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News
Super Thrift Store Opens to Crowds

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Better late than never. Woodbridge has a new thrift store that opened to fanfare Tuesday night.

Savers, a national chain of thrift stores with seven in the Washington area, held a preview event Tuesday night where shoppers were lined up to get inside the store before it officially opened Thursday morning.

The store’s opening comes about one month later than planned, and store owners did not say what lead to the delay. Signs for the new store went up back in January.

The thrift store chain previously struck a deal with the Vietnam Veterans of America, where the store pays the charity for every donated item. That money in turn goes to support charitable efforts in the area, according to a store press release.

Located in the Potomac Festival shopping plaza across from Potomac Mills mall, the store will continue to hold grand opening specials and give away five $100 Savers gift certificates. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

 

Ladies gathered around to take a closer look at what the store’s boutique counter had to offer. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

JTC’s New Ops Center Keeps Customers up and Running

 

A new network operations center took six months to build at JTC, Inc. in Manassas.

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Several improvements now make it easier for a local technology firm to better serve their customers.

In its early days, Jewell Technical Consulting, Inc. (JTC) was a break-fix shop, meaning customers would bring in their broken computers and then pick them up whenever the virus, malware, or any other host of other computer ailments was fixed.

But now the company is a fully managed IT provider complete with Tier 3 engineers ready to assist remotely when issues arise.

“Many companies will make their customers start with Tier 1 technical support. As the customer’s frustration grows due to the Tier 1 tech being unable to solve the issue, they will then escalate to a higher level tech support,” said company spokeswoman Kristen Maxey.

With the addition of a new network operations center at a cost of about $100,000, JTC is now able to send customers directly to a higher tier level to resolve the problem as quickly and efficiently. The company said this has resulted in more satisfied customers.

The new operations center allows JTC to proactively manage the client’s server and systems, as well as monitor for any downtime or interruption in their business. The center is also used to manage the company’s fleet of vehicles and gives them the ability to dispatch a technician that is closest to their customer’s place of business.

“This is benefiting the customer in the long-run. They are better able to budget their IT needs and not worry about their equipment costing them valuable time while it isn’t working properly” said Maxey.

The build-out and setup of the network operations center was planned about a year ago and took six months to complete.

 

News
Town Center on Shortlist for New Stadium Locations

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Prince William County officials are expected to name Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center as the top contender for a new Potomac Nationals baseball stadium.

The county’s Board of Supervisors will hold a press conference at the developing retail, office, and residential center near Dale Boulevard and Interstate 95 at 10 a.m. Tuesday to announce a new public-private partnership.

A finalized deal is not expected to be announced at tomorrow’s press conference, however, officials — who have been tight lipped about a new stadium for the Potomac Nationals — are expected to announce some details of ongoing negotiations.

The Virginia Department of Transportation and Roadside Development, LLC – developers of Potomac Town Center – are also slated to be at the event.

A spokeswoman from Woodbridge Supervisor Frank Principi’s office said the supervisor in the coming months will work with Woodbridge residents through a series of public meetings to get their input on a planned stadium, and its impact on the developing area.

Potomac Nationals officials were not immediately available for comment early Monday, but in recent months have been working closely with county officials and Board of Supervisors members to find a new location for the team. If a new stadium is built, the team would leave their current home at the 28-year-old Pfitzner Stadium behind the Prince William County Government Center in Woodbridge. A portion of that facility caught on fire late last month and no one was injured.

Stonebridge is an economic development bright spot in the area, as it is already home to Wegmans and several fine dining restaurants and retail stores. With homes already in place, office buildings are also planned for the area.

 

News
Government Contractor Locates in Dumfries

DUMFRIES, Va. — Economic development officials in Dumfries reeled in a big fish.

Alaskan government contractor Bowhead will open a new facility next to Town Hall on July 18. The company will welcome locally-elected officials for a tour of their new facility, and President of Bowhead’s parent company, UIC, Anthony Edwardsen and UIC Board Chair Price Brower, will be at the opening. Both men hail from Barrow Alaska, according to company spokesman Jack Gaige.

Bowhead will serve their clients at Quantico Marine Corps Base and other government clients from their Dumfries office. The company holds multiple federal government contracts, according to their website.

For Dumfries Economic Development chief Debbi Sandlin, welcoming the company to the town is the culmination of months worth of work.

“This demonstrates the Town of Dumfries is able to successfully compete with our neighboring jurisdictions to attract the types of companies that will invest in the community by creating job opportunities, increase the visibility of the town as a place to locate and do business, and increase the tax base through their employees eating at local restaurants and shopping in local establishments,” said Sandlin.

In addition to Dumfries, neighboring Stafford County has been successful in luring several high-level government contractors to North Stafford because of its proximity to Quantico.

 

News
Stafford Seminar Will Focus on Small Business

 SMALL BUSINESS SEMINAR BEGINS TUESDAY  

STAFFORD, Va. — Stafford County has long marketed itself as a business-friendly environment. Now officials will hold a small business seminar at the county’s government center to show small businesses owners to ropes to running their companies.

The Entrepreneur’s Express seminar is designed to provide information on start-up basics, where to find financing, making a plan for business and how to market companies. It comes as Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell declared 2012 the Year of the Entrepreneur in Virginia while claiming the state has the most business-friendly climate in the nation.

Stafford’s workshop begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the county’s Government Center next to its courthouse on U.S. 1. There’s still room for participants, and pre registration is requested.

The workshop made possible by a partnership with the University of Mary Washington, Germanna Community College, and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

 

News
North Stafford Mens Store Loses Lease

NORTH STAFFORD, Va.– A mens clothing shop on Va. 610 appears to be closing. Signs posted outside Sam’s Factory Outlet state “lost our lease.”

The North Stafford shop advertises suits, tuxedos,  alterations and is offering discounts on its remaining merchandise.

The building it occupies was once a newspaper office for the Free Lance-Star.

A clerk working behind the counter Thursday afternoon told PotomacLocal.com he’s not sure what the future holds for the store, or if a new location will open elsewhere in the county.

A customer who lives around the corner came into the shop Thursday afternoon, bought a new shirt and tie, and said he would miss the convenience of a men’s shop in North Stafford.

“We are definitely losing an asset. I don’t really know where I’ll go. Maybe Potomac Mills, but I’ll have to travel outside the area. This one is just right around the corner,” said Maurice Akins.

After speaking with Atkins, the clerk said he did not appreciate PotomacLocal.com speaking with the customer and said he wouldn’t answer any more questions. 

News
County Calls for Verizon 911 Probe

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Emergency call centers in Prince William County are working again after a disruption in 911 service following Friday’s storm.

The storm knocked out 911 and cell service for much of the day Saturday. But it’s the lack of 911 service that has Prince William County officials calling for an investigation into what went wrong.

Verizon, the company responsible for providing 911 service in the, on Sunday blamed the failure on one of it’s facilities in Arlington. But in a press release Tuesday the company states it’s hard to identify just one weakest link in the chain that led to the failure.

“Verizon recognizes the critical public safety nature of 911 services, and we regret that some customers may have been without access to 911 this past weekend,” said Verizon Vice President of Engineering Mike Daigle. “Our 911 network is designed so that there is no one single point of failure anywhere in the network that can interrupt 911 service. Unfortunately, the nature and severity of this particular storm damaged multiple Verizon facilities inside and outside of offices in the affected area, and that’s what led to the weekend’s 911 issues.”

The failures were described as catastrophic, with public officials urging those with emergencies who could not get through to 911 to flag down first responders, to go to the nearest public safety center, or directly to a hospital.

Officials said this is the second time in as many years the 911 system failed. During a snow storm last year, officials said the emergency phone system went down.

“While we appreciate the efforts Verizon made to get the system back up and running, all efforts should be made to ensure that the critical 911 system does not fail in the future,” said Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman At-large Corey A. Stewart. “We expect Verizon to conduct a full investigation into how the 911 service failed and offer solutions to better secure the system. It is imperative that residents of Prince William County and the entire Washington Metro area never have to face such emergencies without the critical 911 service that can be the difference between life and death for those in need.”

Stewart said he hopes other counties in the area will join with Prince William in calling for an investigation into the failure. Fairfax County officials have also called for an investigation into the 911 failure.

News
Chick-fil-A Reopens in Woodbridge

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — It’s a hot day outside the Chick-fil-A in Woodbridge and restaurant employee Michael Booth is directing traffic in the parking lot.

At this busy Woodbridge eatery, Boothe of Stafford, says it’s not unusual for him to direct traffic in and out of the parking lot, or to the drive-through window.

“I’ve never worked anywhere that someone had to direct traffic,” said Boothe.

Traffic cop is just one of his duties. On other days you can find him serving guests or working in the newly expanded kitchen.

Chick-fil-A on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge reopened for the first time in nearly a month Monday. It closed in early June for renovations that brought a new freezer and new refrigeration space, cookers, and a new salad preparation area to the kitchen.

“We didn’t want to close but we needed the extra room,” said restaurant operator Luis Hevia.

The popular eatery opened at 10:30 a.m. to a hungry lunchtime crowd. With no spaces left in the parking lot, diners chose to park their cars two blocks away in a larger parking lot outside a Bed Bath and Beyond store.

New office and storage space was also added to the restaurant. No changes were made to the dining room or playground area.

The expansion comes as plans to build a new Chick-fil-A in Dumfries and Lake Ridge have slowed. A new Chick-fil-A opened in Springfield earlier this year.

Chick-fil-A employee Michael Boothe directs traffic in and out of the busy restaurant on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. (Uriah Kiser/PotomacLocal.com)

 

 

News
Lake Ridge Jeweler Repairs Ring Turned Bottle Opener

Lake Ridge jeweler Fred Van Doren saves a piece of jewelry that was broken when used as a bottle opener.

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — There’s new life for a wedding band that was used as a bottle opener.

Lake Ridge jeweler Fred Van Doren said he spoke with a client who broke their wedding band while popping open a cold one. Van Doren took a look at the ring and noticed the breakage was caused by poor porosity.

“Porosity usually comes from using gold that is not sufficiently clean of other impurities or from gases interjected into the casting process. In this case the client had had the band made overseas where we see a lot of porosity issues arising from jewelers taking old gold to make new products without refining them first,” Van Doren posted to his Facebook page.

Van Doren repaired the band by annealing it, and then made a warning to other men who might have the same habit of cracking a cold bottle with their rings.

“Guys, don’t use your wedding band as a beer bottle opener. Not only will this save your ring it will probably save your marriage,” stated Van Doren.

Van Doren owns Van Doren Jewelers in The Glen Shopping Center at Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road.

 

News
Potomac River Crabhouse Expanding to Lake Anna

Tim Bauckman, proprietor of Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse in Dumfries, and Tim’s 2 at Fairview Beach in King George, will open a third location near Mineral, at Lake Anna. The new restaurant, Tim’s at Lake Anna, will offer high-quality family style dining options and a unique waterfront atmosphere unlike other area establishments.

“Tim’s at Lake Anna will be a year-round operation, and more of a destination restaurant than our other two locations on the Potomac River. We will be able to maintain our waterfront ambiance at this new location, and greatly expand on our offerings for our friends around Lake Anna,” said Bauckman.

“Our core menu items will be available, as will our selection of crabs that so many people come for. We will also have daily food specials to attract a wider range of customers,” said Bauckman.

Tim’s at Lake Anna is situated at The Boardwalk on Lake Anna, and allows diners to arrive by boat or car. The waterside restaurant features indoor and outdoor dining and has a large seating area on their deck overlooking the lake. Several large events are planned for their inaugural year.

One feature present at the new location will be a more expansive selection of wine choices. “We hope to eventually have an extensive wine menu and to partner with Virginia wineries to feature their wines,” said Bauckman.

Although an official opening date has not been announced, Tim and his partners have stated that they are nearing completion of their work to open the restaurant as quickly as possible. “We are located in a brand-new building and much of the interior walls, electrical, and flooring were not yet finalized when we made the decision to come to Lake Anna. We’ve had people working around the clock on this for months now and we’re very close to making an announcement,” said Bauckman.

-Press release

 

News
Workhouse Gets $55K Donation for Hot Glass

 LORTON WORKHOUSE ARTS CENTER 

LORTON, Va. — The Workhouse Arts Center received a $55,000 donation on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, to improve and grow the its new glass hot shop. The only glass blowing studio in Northern Virginia opened at the Workhouse in October 2011 under the leadership of Rick Sherbert, Director of Glass.

The studio and program have been wildly successful. On Wednesday, Ron Devine, of the Devine Family Foundation, presented Lorton Arts Foundation President & CEO John Mason with a $35,000 check from the Devine Family Foundation and a $20,000 matching donation from Richard Hausler, Chairman of the Lorton Arts Foundation Board.

The glass house will include a new glass blowing work station, improved student and classroom facilities, and other basic infrastructure improvements.

-Press release 

 

News
Verizon Keeps Caps on Basic Phone Service

If you still have a land line phone in your home or office, Virginia has reached a new agreement to cap the rising cost of service.

The Virginia State Corporation Commission announced today the extension of an agreement with Verizon to limit the increase on residential phone service to $1 per year. For businesses, the annual increase will be capped at $3 per year.

The caps are limited to basic local exchange phone service only and do not include features like caller ID, call waiting, and voice mail. The cap also does not apply to customers that have plans that bundle multiple features and services. About one third of Verizon’s customers still have basic service, according to a press release.

The original cap agreement has been in place since January 2008. The new agreement will be in effect until January 1, 2015.

 

News
Woodbridge Chick-fil-A Closing for June

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The busiest fast Chick-fil-A restaurant in the nation is closing its doors – at least for a little while.

Luis Hevia, owner-operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge stood in his dining room Saturday telling customers the eatery would close at eight o’clock that evening and would remain closed for the rest of the month. He’s renovating his kitchen to better accommodate the volume of sales there.

The restaurant should be back in full operation by the beginning of July.

While Hevia doesn’t want his annual sales to be a thing of public record, he did say the restaurant is on par to do 250 percent more sales than the store was designed for.

“Closing is not something I want to do, but we need more room to keep serving our customers,” said Hevia.

The restaurant is consistently one of the busiest fast food destinations in the area, with a drive through queue of vehicles that circles the building. Employees must often stand outside to take orders and pass out signature sauces that pair with the chicken sandwiches served here.

Following the opening of a new Chick-fil-A in Springfield, there has been talk about opening new locations in the Potomac Communities – one in Lake Ridge and one near Dumfries – but those restaurants are at least two years behind schedule, said Hevia.

The Woodbridge restaurant was recognized earlier this year for being number one performing store in the chain.

 

News
Woodbridge’s AMC Theatres Sold

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — What’s described as China’s largest investor in cultural entertainment will now own Woodbridge’s largest movie theater.

AMC Theaters, which has 18 screens at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge, will be acquired by Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. The acquisition is part of a move that will give the Chinese firm control of all 346 multiplexes operated by AMC.

The $2.6 billion transaction will also give the Kansas City-based theater chain an additional $500 million to fund AMC’s operating initiatives, according to a press release.

The move comes less than a week after officials at Potomac Mills mall announced it will expand its retail offering, and will build an outdoor retail and restaurant complex that will span between the movie theatres and Costco. The expansion will include new restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, will connect to the mall, and should be complete this fall.

AMC also operates theaters in Alexandria and Washington.

 

News
Stafford Losing Retail Dollars

By URIAH KISER

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Government jobs have come, but retailers have long overlooked Stafford County. Now, a new report shows why.

Surrounded by expansive shopping districts like Fredericksburg’s Central Park and an expanding Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge, the report authored by the business consulting firm, The Riddle Company, estimates consumers spend $656 million each year outside of Stafford – where the demand for goods and services is estimated to be at $1.5 billion per year.

It’s a tough pill to swallow when the next wave of new developments in the region will be places to live, work, and play.

“All of our economic development and marketing efforts are carefully orchestrated to position Stafford County as a place where people can work at jobs that pay family-sustaining wages, as well as a community where people can enjoy their leisure time and dine and shop at locations of their choice,” said Stafford County Board of Supervisors Chairman Susan Stimpson in a press release.

Until now, retail is something county economic officials have failed to target. They’ve chosen instead to build on their location next to Quantico Marine Corps Base and have attracted leading technology and defense firms like Northrop Grumman, QinetiQ North America, ManTech International, and Intuit, all of which have passed over neighboring Prince William County to do trade in a jurisdiction that does not have a Business or Professional Licensing Tax.

By 2015, the average annual median household income in Stafford County is expected to be $108,000. It’ll be $103,000 in the county’s densely populated, suburban northern section, and $118,000 in the larger estate homes located in the mid-county courthouse area, the report states.

Based on those numbers, Stafford is ripe for stores like Whole Foods Market, Trader Joes, Williams & Sonoma, Aveda, and chain restaurants like Austin Grill, Cheesecake Factory, Bonefish Grill, or Gordon Biersch brew pub.

But Stafford is lacking dense areas of development and a traditional downtown, forcing drivers to use only a handful of congested roads like Interstate 95, U.S. 1, and Va. 610, or smaller, outdated two-lane roads to get where they’re going in rush hour traffic. That’s a turnoff for potential retailers. 

There are also long-standing, inaccurate perceptions about the county – even among longtime residents — that Stafford is a blue-collar economy and is lacking when compared to Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and Fredericksburg, the report states.

Those here enjoy a “country culture life on an urban fringe,” where 72 percent of the population is white. The amount of women with dollars to spend on children is high, and the number babies and school-age children even higher. But lacking is a creative and lively arts class of people normally found in more urban areas, the report states.

Economic factors also come in to play when looking at retail growth. Last year, Borders Books and Music declared bankruptcy and closed its doors at the Stafford Marketplace, and the redevelopment of the mixed-use Aquia Town Center – anchored by Northrop Grumman – has advanced at a staggering pace.

The report does outline growth opportunities, as a new website scheduled to be completed this year will be used to attract new retailers, showing market data and will “perpetuate positive media” and information.

Stafford’s cost of living, its high homeownership rate, affordable real estate, and newly completed projects like Stafford Hospital Center and Quantico Corporate Center should make the county appealing to retailers, according to the report.

 

News
New Training, Education Needed to Fill Open Jobs

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

MANASSAS, Va. — A top educator says there will be 500,000 – 600,000 job vacancies in Northern Virginia over the next few decades.

Northern Virginia Community College Dr. Robert Templin made the forecast Wednesday during the Prince William Chamber of Commerce’s education summit, and says it will be due to economic growth, mismatches in worker skill sets, and available jobs. Education is going to be a major player in expanding the county’s workforce, he added.

Templin, and other regional leaders, say the area needs to push for more innovative education programs, and job training.

Amy Harris, head of Northern Virginia Systemic Solutions, began the summit by signing a resolution to work with the chamber to expand educational programs, create internships, and provide job shadowing activities for the future workforce. This partnership also looks to expand STEM learning – an integrated approach to learning science and math — in public schools, to better equip students for careers, and help to prepare them for college.

“Our economy, in Northern Virginia, is becoming a thinking-based economy. Virtually all of those jobs are high wage, high education jobs. We can grow our workers – if we’re really smart, we’ll get to it now,” said Templin.

Northern Virginia Community College currently hosts a workforce and STEM based learning program, titled the Pathway to the Baccalaureate, which helps 7,000 children — particularly those in high risk categories — to move into the career field they want to pursue, guaranteeing the students admission in George Mason University.

George Mason University Assistant Provost of Graduate Education Dr. Michelle Marks said colleges must innovate to stay competitive and cater to the learning methods of the a generation of students by 2020. In this age group, where 50 percent of fifth graders own a cell phone, 90 percent play computer games and 26 percent use more than one form of media at once, college courses were going to need to become customizable, with curriculum and learning methods chosen and created by students, in a mainly virtual setting, said Marks.

Also at the event, three high school students were given $2,500 scholarships to the college of the student’s choosing. The three students; Hannah Weatherington, Hayley Lawrence and Brooks Martino, were chosen by a team of members from the Prince William Chamber for their academic excellence and community involvement.

News
Buffet Buys News & Messenger, Insidenova for $142 Million

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The Manassas News and Messenger newspaper and insidenova.com will now owned by Warren Buffett.

Buffet’s investment firm, Berkshire Hathaway, purchased 63 newspapers from News and Messenger’s parent company, Media General Inc., which also owns the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The purchase includes community and weekly newspapers in Media General’s portfolio of papers in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Alabama, according to a press release.

The media properties will now be owned by Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, BH Media Group which also affiliated with Omaha World-Herald Company. All 63 newspapers and their companion websites were sold. 

For Media General, the deal also means a $400 million term loan to pay off debt due in March, as well as a $45 million revolving line of credit for the company. Media General will also keep its TV stations, which accounted for 77 percent of its total cash flow in 2011.

The sale is expected to be complete by June 25. The company will keep its newspapers in the Tampa, Fla. Market.

In Northern Virginia, Media General owns News and Messenger, Stafford County Sun, insidenova.com, PW Business, as well as publishes Quantico Sentry and Belvoir Eagle.

 

News
Cheesecake Factory to Anchor Potomac Mills Renovation

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A new exterior renovation at Potomac Mills mall will bring Cheesecake Factory and a restaurant from famed TV chef, Bobby Flay.

The mall in Woodbridge announced the expansion Wednesday, saying that an area between the main entrance, Costco, and AMC 18 Theatres will be transformed into an outdoor walkway that will feature earthy designs and river stone. Construction on the renovation is expected to begin later this month and should be complete in November.

The announcement comes more than a year after Potomac Mills management reduced the number of parking spaces it allowed commuters and Slugs to use during the week, causing shockwaves in the commuting community for those who travel to and from Woodbridge and Washington for work. The newly renovated area will be located where commuters used to park.

Joining the Cheesecake Factory, which is known for seafood, burgers, and pasta, will be Bobby’s Burger Palace from Bobby Flay. It will offer 10 signature burgers, made with Certified Angus Beef, ground turkey or chicken breast.

Another restaurant rumored to be Bahama Breeze is also slated to come to the newly renovated mall, but an official announcement on exactly what that restaurant will be is expected later this year.

“These exciting new developments meet shopper demand, while adding another dimension to Potomac Mills’ unique brand of shopping,” said Potomac Mills General Manager Mike Sullivan in a press release. “Our impressive collection of new stores paired with these strong restaurants concepts and exterior enhancements will elevate our already celebrated shopping experience and be a strong catalyst to attract more local residents and visitors from around the world.”

The mall will also welcome a new anchor store, buybuy BABY and Christmas Tree Shops, both which currently have locations in Springfield and Glen Allen near Richmond, respectively.

Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th will also be relocated from its current location to a new location within the mall.

 

News
Top Home Sales in Eastern Prince William

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — The Woodbridge area has long harbored a reputation of having low home values, but this appears to be the year that changed.

According to varealestatetalk.com, the top home sales of the year so far in Prince William County have all been homes located in the eastern portion of the county. It’s a departure from years past when the highest valued homes were sold in developing neighborhoods in western Prince William County.

The biggest gaining neighborhoods in eastern Prince William in terms of home sales this year have been Beaver Creek, River Falls and Coventry Glen, according to the website.

The median home price in Woodbridge continues to hang around the $250,000.

While the area has long been known for its single family residential homes located near strip shopping centers, newer developments like Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center are rising and changing the landscape of the area.

News
Stonebridge Altering Woodbridge Landscape

WOODBRIDGE, Va. –– The closer you look at the plans for Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center the more you realize the landscape of Woodbridge is changing.

Dubbed a lifestyle center, the complex will mix 500 apartments with retail and office buildings. The designer, Roadside Development, is selling the property to retailers with stats like nearby average household incomes of $110,000, and 352,000 people within a 10-mile radius of the center.

The new center is a departure from strip malls developments that have long lined U.S. 1, as well as much of Prince William County.

MORE TO THE STORY: See the plans for Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center and where new retailers will be located.

Wegman’s grocery store opened at Stonebridge in 2008 and now attracts 50,000 per week, according to Roadside. More shops and restaurants have opened since then including local jeweler Quinns Goldsmith, but the developer is working on a second phase of the complex that is slated to include Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, Charming Charlie, Sport and Health Club, a Firebirds restaurant, and REI to name a few.

Last month, politicians toured the center to get a construction progress update. Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman turned Lt. Governor candidate Corey Stewart used the center as the backdrop to launch his campaign, calling the it the future of development in Prince William County.

Nearby longtime retail draw Potomac Mills mall looks like it will also add new attractions to it mix of retail and outlets stores. Rumors last week were spread online the retailer hopes to add Bahama Breeze and Cheesecake Factory restaurants to the center. A spokeswoman, however, quickly batted down those rumors stating they were not ready to discuss details of any new development.

Prince William Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi talks with Economic Development Director, Jeff Kaczmarek, during a tour of Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center. (newwoodbridge.org)

News
Marlin and Rays Opens in North Stafford

NEW RESTAURANT COMES AS PARENT COMPANY SALES DOWN

By URIAH KISER

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A new seafood restaurant chain aims to bring a bit of the beach to Garrisonville Road.

Marlin and Rays, a new concept restaurant from Ruby Tuesday, opened its doors in the Doc Stone shopping center this week. The new restaurant was converted from a Ruby Tuesday, a restaurant long known for their casual dining locations inside shopping malls and for their salad bar.

Marlin and Rays offers a mix of surf and turn on their menu, from Grouper to blackened chicken to sirloin steak. They also offer a line of “adult slushy” frozen drinks and happy hour specials in what appears to be an effort mix more flavorful drinks into the dining experience.

The restaurant is one of nine opened within the chain, which also includes a Marlin and Rays near Manassas on Va. 234.

The opening of Marlin and Rays comes at a time when sales are down at parent company Ruby Tuesday. According to their most recent earnings report, the chain founded in the 1972 has seen a loss in same-restaurant sales and has been forced to close at least one Ruby Tuesday, and plans to close 25 to 27 more Ruby Tuesday restaurants in the next quarter.

“We continue to be focused on controlling our costs and have made significant progress in both identifying and implementing cost-savings initiatives. Our annualized savings discussed last quarter, which are primarily in the areas of procurement, occupancy, and maintenance, are now estimated in the range of $35-$40 million, or approximately $20 million higher than our previous estimates. The majority of these savings will be reinvested into our marketing programs,” said Ruby Tuesday CEO Sandy Beall.

The company reports a net income $4.5 million third quarter sales, which is down five percent.

In an effort to boost the bottom line, Ruby Tuesday announced the purchase of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill for $24 million.

The company closed a Ruby Tuesday location at Potomac Mills mall, but a location at Aquia Town Center in North Stafford remains open.

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