WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




Sinistral Brewery to open in Downtown Manassas with help from city funds

MANASSAS, Va. — A new brewery will open in Downtown Manassas, and it will have a little help from the city’s Economic Development Authority. 


Sinistral Brewing Company is proud to announce its plans to bring a new brewery to Old Town Manassas. The 3,500 square foot brewery, located at 9423 Main Street, adjacent to the Philly Tavern, will consist of a seven-barrel brewhouse, taproom and beer garden.

Direct from owner and head brewer Blane Perry’s passion for the art and craft of brewing, Sinistral Brewing Company will offer a selection of flagship beers, rotating seasonal specialties and experimental beers using locally sourced ingredients. Flight tastings, pints and crowler fills will all be available.

The city’s EDA voted to award Sinistral a $10,000 grant to help launch the new brewery, which is slated to open in summer 2017.

The building is now occupied by Thousand Oaks Barrel Company, makers of barrels in which to store spirits. It will relocate its manufacturing operation to the old Arlington Iron Works building on Euclid Avenue, said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.

Thousand Oaks once operated a barrel museum and a retail store in their Downtown Manassas space. A $10,000 grant awarded to the company by the city’s EDA for the museum and store was paid back, added Small.

Manassas EDA recoups half of NEW School grant

MANASSAS, Va. — The Manassas Economic Development Authority recovered half of a $10,000 grant to a now defunct after-school program.

City EDA Chairman Holmes Smith said Alice Megler, CEO of the NEW School which opened on Liberia Avenue this past spring and closed by fall, came to his house on December 13 and gave him a $5,000 check.

“This was the first payment in paying her debt back,” Smith said. “She said that is her intent to pay the whole debt back. But she said the NEW School wasn’t dead. She said they’re working on trying to get another site, and I turned that check over to our director, so that’s good news.”

“When are we getting the rest,” asked EDA member John Intihar.

“Well, I don’t know, she didn’t say,” replied Smith.

A stipulation in the grant requires the money be paid back to the city if the business fails within the first five years of operation.

Smith and Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small said they have no phone number for Mergler. Small said Mergler signed for two certified letters sent to her address notifying her of the business’ obligation to pay back the grant.

“Do you think you can have a further conversation with her?” EDA member Mark Olsen asked Smith.

Smith directed Small to send a new letter to Mergler thanking her for her payment. Small suggested asking for a promissory note “to give this body some comfort that [the money] is coming.”

Also in grant news, the EDA voted to fund a $25,000 matching grant to KO Distilling. Earlier this year, the state announced the distillery would receive a $25,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

The $50,000 total will allow the business to hire new workers, and use Virginia-grown corn, wheat, and rye in its products.

The EDA also approved new bylaws on that state the body will hold regular meetings on the third Tuesday of each month beginning in January. Before the vote, the EDA did not hold regularly scheduled meetings.

Ground broken at Manassas Gateway, now Landing at Cannon Branch

MANASSAS, Va. — The Gateway development at Route 28 and Godwin Drive is now called The Landing at Cannon Branch. 

The name comes from the creek that forms the retention pond next to the property. 

City officials and developers broke ground on the project on Tuesday. 

From a city press release: 

Today, representatives from the City of Manassas and Buchanan Partners, a full-service real estate development firm operating in the Washington, D.C. metro area, came together to break ground on The Landing at Cannon Branch. The two entities have formed a public-private partnership to develop the city’s only waterfront property, commonly known as Gateway property and located just off of Prince William Parkway, in a way that will spur community engagement and economic growth.

The Landing at Cannon Branch property—40 acres located on Gateway Drive, between Prince William Parkway/Route 234 Bypass and the Manassas DMV—is to be transformed into a space for retail, offices, restaurants, hotels, and over 270 new homes. The project will be developed in phases, with the initial phases already underway.
Last week, the city sold the first 9 acres of residential property to Buchanan Partners for $6 million. These proceeds will be reinvested in the community and over the next 6 months, Buchanan Partners will prepare the site and install the utilities that will make residential and commercial construction possible. Additionally, Buchanan Partners is aggressively pursuing Heritage Brewing to bring them on as an anchor tenant for their new brewery and restaurant, and the City currently has a parcel under contract to a hotel developer.

The Landing at Cannon Branch project is expected to generate more than $250 million in new investment, nearly $20 million in land sale proceeds for the City of Manassas, and $3 million in real estate taxes down the line. In addition, the new development is expected to generate jobs and tie into local businesses at the Manassas Regional Airport and Innovation Park.

Restoration firm SC Companies to present at 1 Million Cups Wednesday

SC Companies will present Wednesday at 1 Million Cups Prince William. The group meets 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas.

This will be the last meeting of the 1 Million Cups Prince William for 2016. The event is free to attend.

The group will resume weekly meetings at the Hylton on January 11, 2017.


SC Companies Inc, founded in 1983, is family owned class A general contractor specializing in restoration, construction, cleaning, and inspections as well as project management services.

Our wide range of services allows us to see the entire project and develop detailed scopes that address the entire situation, not just a small part. This allows for an overall better-finished project and, many times, cost savings with our expertise, management, and pricing. We serve a wide variety of customers including homeowners, real estate agents, property managers, insurance agents, new home builders, and community managers.

We are able to handle our array of services because we have some of the best people in the industry. Our people that have years of experience and care about the project as well as the overall relationship we have with each customer.

In addition to caring about our customers, we care about the community as well. SC Companies helps including Autism Society of Northern Virginia, March of Dimes, Sweet Julia Grace Foundation, and local schools. SC Companies is a member of the Prince William Chamber, Community Association Institute and National Association of Home Builders.

Speaking on behalf of SC Companies will be Jennifer Osborn, CEO, and Owner. Jennifer is a lifelong local resident. She graduated from Potomac High School before earning both her Bachelor’s Degree and MBA from George Mason University. Jennifer is a certified in Mold Inspection and Remediation by both IICRC and ESA. She lives in Bristow with her husband Stephen, and their two kids.

Manassas theater owner goes ‘rogue,’ builds a community movie house

MANASSAS, Va. — The world of Star Wars is about to go “rogue” and branch off into a series of movies never seen before, with a new story that involves few of the original main characters of the 30-year-old sci-fi series.

For Kiran “Bunny” Khorana, owner of the Manassas 4 Cinemas on Mathis Avenue, he’s also going rogue with a departure from the ‘big box” chain movie houses he competes against for first-run showings of movies like “Star Wars: Rogue One” due in theaters December 16.

“It’s easy,” explains Khorana, “I listen to our customers and provide unique services and value that they can’t get by watching a movie at home or a big cinema.”

Manassas 4 Cinemas is a family-friendly cinema, providing first run movies most days for $7.50, or $10 per ticket after 4 p.m. Tickets on Tuesday and Wednesdays are $5 all day, about half the price of the big cinemas.

One of the most popular theater rooms at Manassas 4 Cinemas is the Cafe Cinema. Outfitted with couches, recliners, and other comfortable seats, this theater allows you to enjoy a first run movie while sipping on a beer or glass of wine along with foods like pizza and hamburgers.

It is a great example of the “cinema and draft house” trend that is increasing in popularity around the country. This specific theater is available for private rental and a great place to host holiday events, birthday parties, and corporate events.

Being an independent theater gives Khorana flexibility to have a voice. When most major cinemas were reluctant to show the 2014 comedy, “The Interview,” which poked fun at the reclusive leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un, Khorana was one of a handful of independent moviehouse owners who chose to screen the movie.

Competing against the big cinemas isn’t easy, but Khorana has diligently worked to make his business success. After selling another movie house, Khorana opened Manassas 4 Cinemas in May 2011 with a first-run showing of Pirates of the Caribbean. With a lot of hard work, Khorana grew his small operation to $1.2 million in his first year.

Despite recovering from recent quadruple bypass surgery, you can often find Khorana greeting customers in the lobby. He wants to hear what his customers want, and he wants to be close by to help them get it.

Khorana expanded his customer base in Manassas and Manassas Park by providing big screen showings of international soccer and rugby matches, along with movies from other countries.

Manassas 4 Cinemas is located at 8890 Mathis Avenue in Manassas. The movie house lists showtimes on its website.

The Facts: 

Manassas 4 Cinemas
8890 Mathis Avenue
Manassas, Va. 20110
Owner: Kiran (Bunny) Khorana
Showtimes: manassas4cinemas.com/location/1262/Manassas-4-Cinemas

*This post is written by Rod Loges and Jenn Mathis, of One Degree Capital in Occoquan, in collaboration with Potomac Local.

Shining Sol glows at 1 Million Cups Prince William


Shining Sol Candle Company was the presenter at 1 Million Cups Prince William on Wendesday. 

Prior to presenting, the Manassas-based company founded by Pete Evick, lead guitarist for Brett Micheals, shared their story with us

1 Million Cups Prince William meets at 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. The group brings an entrepreneur to the front of the room each week to talk about their business. The leader also presents a challenge question to the group, and the group helps to mastermind a solution to the challenge.

The event is free to attend. 

1 Million Cups Prince William will hold its final meeting of the year on Wednesday, December 14. The group will return to the Hylton meeting on a regular, weekly basis on January 11, 2017.

Manassas Economic Development Director urged denial of NEW School grant

MANASSAS, Va. — Treasury agents within the Manassas City Government have been unable to recoup a $10,000 grant made to the NEW School after it closed its doors just months after opening.

The grant from the city’s Economic Development Authority stipulated that the cash must be paid back if the NEW School closed within its first five years. The NEW School opened in April and had shuttered by fall.

A letter and multiple phone calls requesting to speak with Alice Mergler, the owner and director of the failed after-school education center and recipient of the grant, have gone unreturned.

Manassas Economic Development Authority Chairman Holmes Smith approved the grant. He, too, said that he has been unsuccessful in reaching Mergler to recoup the funds.

Despite the independent authority’s approval of the funds, City documents obtained by Potomac Local show Manassas City Economic Development Director Patrick Small, who works for the city government, thought it was a bad idea. His letter dated in February and addressed to school co-founder Keeyana Mahoney states:

“…your application was evaluated against the criteria of several programs that the city offers to new and expanding businesses. Awards are based on statutory eligibility and return on investment.”

Localities have a track record of providing economic incentives like tax breaks or grants when companies create multiple jobs. Mergler and Mahoney were the NEW School’s only full-time staffers at the time the school opened.

Holmes said he did not see the letter, but noted that he did take Small’s recommendation into consideration before awarding the grant.

“As we travel across the state, we hear time and again how important education programs like these are,” said Smith. “Given the chance to vote again for something like this, or similar, we would probably vote for it again.”

The NEW School was located at 9830 Liberia Avenue. The non-profit business aimed to provide a place for students to do homework, take SAT prep courses, learn robotics and prepare students for college and the workforce.

The City EDA will meet in a special session at City Hal on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m., and again during its regularly scheduled gathering on December 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Shining Sol Candle Company to present at 1 Million Cups

MANASSAS, Va. —  The founders of the Shining Sol Candle Company in Manassas will be the featured presenters at 1 Million Cups Prince William at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. 

The candle shop, founded by guitarist Pete Evick, who plays with rockstar Bret Micheals, will be joined by Deron Blevins. Both will discuss the recent opening of their new storefront in Manassas and growing their business from an online-only company into a brick and mortar storefront. 

More from Shining Sol: 

From Pete:
I started Shining Sol Candle Company in 2012, along with Sara Rodriguez, as an online only venture operating in my hometown of Manassas. Using the worldwide visibility of my life long career as an award winning musician/touring guitarist with rock music icon Bret Michaels, I was able to spread the word and gain national brand recognition within an industry that generates almost $3 billion a year. Being somewhat of an environmentalist, I chose to use a combination of all natural soy wax and wood wicks. This unique combination does not release the toxins typically found in traditional paraffin wax and (most) cotton wicks.
Trying to set yourself apart within the candle market is not an easy task. Using my entertainment industry knowledge and contacts, I launched a line of officially licensed candles with some of the world’s largest entertainers including legendary bands such as Aerosmith and Kiss. As the company grew, I was fortunate to have a childhood friend (Deron Blevins) who was not only a web/graphic design and marketing professional, but who also was passionate about all the things I and the company needed to go to the next level. To my good fortune, Deron was keeping a mindful eye on the company from afar. Deron brought to the table an overall knowledge that exceeded what a lot of small business owners hope to find in a partner, and also a well studied knowledge of business in general.
From Deron:
1MC-Hi-Res-LogoI spent the last 20+ years of my professional career honing my skills in graphic/web design and marketing with a handful of companies (including my own). I’ve assisted several local clients in growing their businesses into multi-million dollar companies, and maintaining those increases to this day. A couple years ago I was watching as Pete developed Shining Sol into a quality candle company. While I knew I could utilize my knowledge and help him with his vision in the early days of Shining Sol, I did indeed “watch from afar” so as not to be one of those “me too” friends. There came a point in 2014 where, being the picky web guy I am, I could no longer let his old website detract from the candles he was creating. I offered my help in building Shining Sol a new website for free, and as they say, “The rest is history.” We quickly realized that, working together, there was a real opportunity to take Shining Sol to a level that most only dream about. With the combination of Pete, Sara and myself – the sky truly is the limit in this ever growing industry. 
From Shining Sol:
The most amazing thing we’ve experienced with Shining Sol is the wide range of people who love our products. They range from male to female, teenagers to senior citizens, and literally any and every person in between. Our customers look for many things in a candle; comfort, warmth, ambiance, freshness… the list is truly endless. When everyone else in small business is trying to take their brick and mortar stores worldwide with internet marketing, we chose the opposite. We couldn’t be happier with the result so far. There is a sense of realness and self accomplishment you just cant get from the Internet only business. 
We chose this particular point in time to launch our storefront because we know we have a superior product when matched up against most other store bought candles. We spend a lot of time making sure our candles have long burn times, scent a whole room (and some), retain their scent, do not blacken our customer’s walls/ceilings/air vents, and that they also provide many other benefits. There has been a growing backlash against many large candle companies the past couple of years for not accomplishing, what we consider to be, essential items on the “candle checklist.”
To be a part of the Small Business movement that is sweeping across America right now is, without a doubt, the right choice for us. Both Deron and I were born and raised in Manassas, Virginia and we are beyond grateful for all the local support so far. We have been in Old Town Manassas for only a short time and we have seen our business grow and exceed our already high expectations.

Totally Vintage Design nets $6,000 from Manassas City EDA

MANASSAS, Va. — Melissa Harris has doubled her sales since moving to the corner of Center and Main streets just six weeks ago.

Harris is the co-owner of Totally Vintage Design, which moved from an old location one block over on Battle Street into what was previously a sandwich shop inside the old Rohr’s Museum in Downtown Manassas.

The gift boutique has become known for its selection of unique gifts, and for a selection of chalk paints used to restore old furniture and other home fixtures.

The Manassas City Economic Development Authority this month granted Totally Vintage $6,000. It’s cash the small shop doesn’t have to pay back as long as it remains in business for the next two years. Harris said she would use the cash to build a dressing room inside the store, add metallic store fixtures, and erect a barn door in place of an older, large door that leads to Main Street.

Harris scored a 60 out of 100 possible points on a rubric the city’s EDA uses to evaluate a business’ contributions to the city. Totally Vintage Design’s scoresheets notes the business will invest $28,000 in capital improvements to its retail space, collect $291,000 in gross receipts, and generate $3,155 in business taxes for the city.

Harris’ shop employs about five part-time employees. She plans on increasing the number of hours her employees work as sales grow, but the grant money will not be used toward that effort.

She moved her shop from Jefferson Street in Haymarket to Downtown Manassas two years ago, where she found a more engaged local business community, and multiple events designed to draw shoppers to the neighborhood, she said.

She runs the store with her mother — something she said she always wanted to do. Before opening her shop, she taught spin classes at the Freedom Fitness and Aquatics Center.

Founded in Stafford, Ricks Roasters ready for growth

STAFFORD, Va. — The founders of Ricks Roasters will take the lessons learned in Stafford and use them as the company aims to expand into the Northeast.

“Our strategic vision from the beginning has been the replication of the model we’ve built in Stafford. We are a local coffee roaster providing an outstanding product while being integrated into the community. When opportunities to repeat that model present themselves, we will pursue them aggressively. We are currently pursuing such opportunities in Martinsburg, W. Va., New York City, and Jonestown, Pa,” stated Sean Ricks, a company co-founder, in email.

Their coffee can now be found at various locations in Fredericksburg, Stafford, and at the Virginia Railway Express station in Quantico. Ricks boasts 80 company partners that work with the roster including the Great Harvest Bread Company in Lorton and Agora coffee shop in Downtown Fredericksburg.

While the company roasts its special blend of coffees for smaller shops and restaurants, Ricks says their future lies in roasting large quantities of coffee beans.

“Though we have a coffee shop at the VRE station, our primary path to market is wholesale. We’ve been very successful at customizing coffees for businesses, often paired with their menus. We not only have custom blends for coffee shops and restaurants, but also mortgage brokers, realtors, and gyms. We see all of our customers as partners and do everything we can to help them grow,” stated Ricks.

The business started after a husband and wife couple began searching for something they could do togehter.

“In May 2013, Keely and I were searching for a business we would be passionate about and could work on together. We loved coffee and decided we’d pursue a coffee I used to drink in Indonesia while serving in the Navy. The day after we settled on coffee, my motorcycle broke down on the way to my job at the Pentagon. After making the necessary repairs, we went to Tim’s Rivershore for lunch where Ricks Roasters was sketched out on a napkin. What began as a little “side” business for us has taken off into an exciting small business employing several veterans and veteran dependents.

Growing the business has presented challenges along the way as the coffee couple kept their full-time jobs.

“I am still on active duty in the Navy, and Keely is a social worker by trade. From the beginning, we knew our full-time jobs would preclude our ability to run this business all on our own. We’ve had to hire more people than we would have had to had we been able to work full time.

Bringing on staff and the nature of getting roasted product in the bag have made our labor costs track linearly with our sales numbers. As always, limited cash flow has throttled our growth and made decoupling the sales and labor numbers challenging.”

As the company grew, Ricks says he’s learned a thing or two about shipping and inventory costs. Raw coffee is heavy when shipped, so Ricks Roasters had to find a way to cut down on the weight it shipped to keep costs under control.

“Our raw product is very heavy so early-on we did our best to maximize the amount of product we would bring in per shipment. While this did help keep the cost per pound in freight down, it had a major impact on cash flow. Ultimately, we found the sweet spot in shipment size that saved the most amount of money per pound while not presenting very large inventory purchase bills.”

The Facts
Start Date: May 2013
Owners Names: Sean & Keely Ricks
Roastery: 1304 Interstate Business Park, Fredericksburg, VA 22405 (Stafford County)
Retail Location: 550 Railroad Ave, Quantico, VA 22134
Phone number: 540-318-6850
Website: ricksroasters.com

*This post is written by Rod Loges and Jenn Mathis, of One Degree Capital in Occoquan, in collaboration with Potomac Local.

Martin to present Wednesday at 1 Million Cups

MANASSAS, Va. — Realtor Stacy Martin will present at 1 Million Cups Prince William on Wednesday. 

From Martin: 

I have been a real estate agent for the past 13 years, trainer, recruiter, and an owner/investor in several Keller Williams Realty Market Centers. 

As a Realtor in the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, I have been consistently recognized as a Multi-Million Dollar Producer.  I also earned the Accredited Buyer Representative designation, Military Relocation Professional certification, Certified Negotiation Expert designation, and Certified Military Specialist certification.

Prior to entering the real estate business, I focused her attention on the IT and Telecom consulting industries, in which I worked for over nine years.  

I am also a motivated member of the community.  I participats in and supports many philanthropic events, and also has personally driven the raising of over $120,000 for lupus research in seven years through her annual “Raising the Stakes to Fight Lupus” casino night fundraiser.    

Meeting weekly on Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, 1 Million Cups provides free networking and coffee to the public while providing  a platform to a local entrepreneur to talk about their business.

Each session is free to attend.


Editor’s note: Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser is 1 Million Cups Prince William volunteer organizer. 

MAG Aerospace, InCadence pick up ‘GovCon’ awards


Prince William County congratulates MAG Aerospace, a recognized leader in global aerial surveillance and situational awareness services, and InCadence Strategic Solutions, a technology leader in operational intelligence, biometrics solutions, identity and knowledge management services, on receiving awards at the 14th Annual Greater Washington Government Contractor ‘GovCon’ Awards.
The ‘GovCon Awards’ is a celebratory event honoring the leadership, innovation and commitment to excellence of the individuals and businesses in the Greater Washington region government contracting sector, hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and Professional Services Council.  A prestigious panel of industry and government professionals select finalists and winners from a large pool of nominees. 
In the case of InCadence, its game-changer program – Ares™ Mobile Biometric Application was selected as Program of the Year.  The Program of the Year recognizes the most exemplary program among all finalists recognized.  Ares is the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) Mobile Biometric Application, deployed to agents worldwide.  InCadence provides the Ares software as a commercial product, and supports the FBI Global Initiatives Unit with the integration of Ares into the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division enterprise.  In spring, Ares™ Mobile Biometric Application also won the Transformer of the Year award at the 2016 ACT/IAC igniting Innovation Showcase and Awards.  
MAG Aerospace received the Contractor of the Year Award in the $25 – $75 million category, which is given to acknowledge “distinguished financial and operational accomplishments and outstanding contributions during the past year to employees, the government contracting industry and the U.S. Government.”  This awards follows a string of awards in 2016 for MAG Aerospace, most recently being recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in the Washington region.  In October, MAG received the 2016 Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Award of Excellence in International Trade.  Prior to that, MAG Aerospace CEO, Joe Fluet took home a 2016 SmartCEO Future 50 Award.

Stafford Technologies closes offices, now a virtual company

NORTH STAFFORD, Va. — A computer repair shop on Garrisonville Road has closed its offices in North Stafford and changed its business plan.

From Stafford Technologies Owner Micheal Pollaci: 

After a lot of thought and consideration, we have decided as a family that the store was simply taking too much time away from the more important things like spending time together. We are going back to focusing on the one thing we LOVE to do – Web Development and Internet Marketing.

There is no way we can say thank you enough to the loyal customers and friends we have made over the past few years. You can visit our new site at www.StaffordTechnologies.net for more information on the services we now offer. 

We would like to refer our computer and cell phone repair customers to Rockit Repair. We have met with their management, toured their facilities, inspected their work and spoke to their employees. We are now confident that they will be your best alternative to Stafford Technologies.

The offices of Stafford Technologies that were located near the intersection of Garrisonville and Onville roads in North Stafford are closed permanently. 

Pollaci stated in an email to Potomac Local that Stafford Technologies will now operate as a virtual company.

Carmello’s of Manassas touts service award 

Carmello’s of Historic Manassas, Va. was awarded City Beat New’s Spectrum Award for Excellence in Customer Service. 

The Spectrum Award of Excellence in Customer Satisfaction was established to spotlight companies providing exceptional service and experiences to their customers. Our research is done annually and is completely independent and unbiased. The award is only bestowed upon that fraction of companies earning our highest ratings. Through this award we honor our mission to provide voice to the unheralded small businesses that are the foundation of our communities and to find and promote excellence wherever we find it. 

Carmello’s of Old Town Manassas, Va. was established in 1987 and is owned by Portuguese immigrant, Alice Pires of Manassas, Va. The family-owned restaurant offers fine dining, serving a contemporary American cuisine with Portuguese and Mediterranean influence. In 2011, its sister restaurant, Monza, was created, providing bistro fare. Carmello’s earned the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine for six consecutive years, and has been voted best fine dining restaurant by Prince William Today for 2013. Their seasonal menus are complemented by their fresh produce from the restaurant’s garden. Carmello’s and Monza are active volunteers in its community, uniting with local charities to help those in need and to build community spirit. 

How selling on Amazon ‘changed everything,’ led to new Occoquan toy shop

OCCOQUAN, Va. — An online toy business has grown into a brick and mortar retail operation in Occoquan.

From Past Generation Toys Owner Joshua Kluger:

Past Generation Toys started in 2007 as a way to clear out my ever growing collection of vintage toys. Was a fan of Star Wars since the I saw it in the 70’s and it has been part of my life since.

I started selling on eBay professionally then. After I had sold through most of the vintage, I contacted name brand manufacturers to open accounts.

Now that I was selling vintage and current lines eventually Amazon noticed and invited me to sell on their platform. That changed everything, and the business has grown steadily.

In 2015, I was at the point I wanted to try something new: a retail store. So I researched the area, and after two months I found my spot.

Occoquan is where Past Generation Toys chose to open our first retail store. Why Occoquan? Well, that’s easy: it may be a small town, but it’s big on personality.

Another great part of this community is that it holds events throughout the year that brings people together. In 2016, the town worked with Prince William County and Fairfax Water to develop a new park at the west end of Mill Street – and it’s beautiful.

Past Generation Toys is located at 310 Mill Street in Occoquan. It is open Friday to Sunday noon to 7 p.m.

With ‘Bare Knuckle,’ KO to release first wheat whiskey

MANASSAS, Va. — A gin distillery in Manassas will get deeper into the whiskey business on Friday.


KO Distilling is releasing their first-ever brown spirit, Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey, just in time for Black Friday. Containing a high wheat and no corn mash bill of 60% wheat, 30% rye and 10% malted barley, all from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Heathsville, Va., Bare Knuckle has been aged for a year in full-size 53-gallon new charred American Oak barrels.

KO Distilling will unveil Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey at a public release event, Black Friday, November 25th from 1:00pm-7:00pm at their distillery in Manassas. To mark this special occasion, KO is offering a limited number of commemorative bottles of Bare Knuckle to the general public. Each commemorative bottle comes with a special label that has been hand numbered and signed by both Bill Karlson and John O’Mara, KO’s founders.

As of January 1st, 2017, Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey will be on the shelves at 100 Virginia ABC stores. Starting in December, it will also be available at liquor stores, restaurants and bars in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Delaware.

The distillery already offers a white whiskey, and three types of gin.

KO Distillery over the summer received $50,000 in grant monies to expand it’s Manassas City-based operation, hire new employees, and to source Virginia grains for its products exclusively from state producers. 

Occoquan will have Small Business Saturday gathering point

OCCOQUAN, Va. — Small business owners in Occoquan may visit the offices of One Degree Capital on Saturday, which will serve as a rallying point for Small Business Saturday activities in the town.

From a press release: 

Merchants in the Town of Occoquan, Virginia, will get a boost to their marketing efforts this Saturday as they prepare to entice local shoppers into their businesses. This Saturday, November 26, 2016, is a heavily promoted national day to ‘shop local’ thanks to the efforts of American Express Corporation’s Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® initiatives.

From 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday, November 26, One Degree Capital will have over 300 pre-inflated blue and white helium balloons as well as a helium tank for use by town merchants who may need it. In addition, freshly brewed coffee from Stafford County-based Rick’s Roasters Coffee Company and donuts from Locust Grove-based Doughlicious Donuts and Bakery will be provided free-of-charge to town merchants. Occoquan town merchants can also register to win prizes.

Rod and his business partner, Jenn Mathis, routinely seek ways to give back to the communities in which their business serves, including donating goods, services and time as well as mentoring aspiring young entrepreneurs through their newly-launched scholarship program.

The One Degree Capital office is located at 204 Commerce St. in Occoquan.


NEW School closes, Manassas seeks to recoup funds

MANASSAS, Va. — Manassas City economic development officials will attempt to recoup $10,000 in funds from the NEW School.

The afterschool educational facility that opened in April has closed. The Manassas Economic Development Authority gave the business $10,000 for scholarships to make it easier for parents to send their children to the school.

Multiple attempts by the EDA to contact Alice Mergler, who is listed as the school director and owner on city documents, have been unsuccessful, said Manassas EDA Chairman Holmes Smith. Smith directed city Economic Development Director Patrick Small to send a letter to Mergler in an attempt to recoup the funds.

Under the terms of the agreement, The NEW School was to pay back the monies if it did close within its first five years of business. The business was also to provide a bi-monthly list of the names of students receiving scholarships.

The NEW School was located at 9830 Liberia Avenue. The non-profit business aimed to provide a place for students to do homework, take SAT prep courses, learn robotics, and prepare students for college and the workforce.

Nominations now accepted for Prince William Chamber Business Awards


The Prince William Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for their 2017 Business Awards from November 16-December 21, 2016.  Each year the Chamber’s Business Awards are held to honor “business excellence” among the members of the Chamber, representing Prince William County and the Cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. Industry-specific categories like the Tech Company of the Yearand the Government Contractor of the Year rotate to allow the Chamber to shine the spotlight on varying industry segments within the community.

“Our members do outstanding work, day in and day out; contributing so much to this community that often goes unnoticed. Our Business Awards allow us to give them the kudos they deserve,” says Chamber Director of Marketing & Communications Andrea Whaley. “Businesses can self-nominate or individuals may choose to nominate someone with whom they do business. I cannot think of a single professional who does not take pride in being recommended to others based on the quality of their services. I encourage everyone to think hard about a local business that has wow-ed you in the last year. A nomination for a Chamber award is a great way to say ‘thank you.’”

Nomination forms are available online at pwchamber.org/events/business-awards/. Business people and Prince William County/Manassas area residents are encouraged to nominate their favorite local businesses. Winners will be chosen by the Business Award Selection Committee, comprised of members of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Nominations containing testimonials or stories are typically well-received.

Categories include:

  • Excellence in Small Business Award (1-10 Employees)
  • Business Excellence Award (11 + Employees)
  • Emerging Business of the Year
  • Innovative Practice/Partnership of the Year
  • Community Outreach Award
  • Government Contractor of the Year
  • Outstanding Professional Service Award
  • Tech Company of the Year
  • Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Awards: Awarded to 2 not-for-profit organizations making a demonstrable contribution to the quality of life in the Greater Prince William region. Each award is accompanied by a check for $1,000 to continue the winner’s work. Awards are given in 2 sub-categories: Arts & Education or Health & Human Services. (Please note: In 2017 the Agnes Colgan Community Service Awards will be given out at a separate event highlighting the outstanding contributions of local not-for-profit organizations on April 4, 2017)

Business Award winners will be announced during the Prince William Chamber of Commerce Business Awards dinner on February 28, 2017, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas. For more information or to purchase tickets to the awards dinner, call the Chamber at 703-368-6600.

Click to view photos and highlights from the last 5 years of Business Awards.

MTCI re certified as woman-owned business


MTCI, a government contracting firm, has been recertified as a business owned, controlled, and operated by a woman by the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), the first national certifier of Women Business Enterprises. Certification of woman-owned business is the result of over 700 public and private sector individuals participating in the establishment of standards and procedures for this rigid certification review. The goal of the certification program (and recertification) is to streamline the process and increase the ability of women business owners to compete for contracts at a national level.

Dalena Kanouse, MTCI President and CEO, last year served as Chairman of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

*This post first appeared in Potomac Local Biz. 

New neighborhood emerging in Stafford with addition of Aquia Fifteen, planned stores

STAFFORD, Va. — There are more signs of life at Aquia Town Center now than have been in the past 10 years. 

A new apartment building called Aquia Fifteen opened for business and residents are moving in. 

The building’s bright exterior may be a metaphor for the good things to come for an old shopping center changing into an emerging mixed-use neighborhood. 

In recent years, Aquia Town Center has became known for dormant piles of dirt and rock as property owners decided what, and when redevelop Aquia Town Center. Now, with a new condo building, and the closure of the Regal Aquia 10 movie theater that will be demolished to make way for a new Harris Teeter grocery store, things are changing.

Here’s more from Christopher Beckwith, a spokesman for the Aquia Fifteen development:

The parcel [on which Aquia Fifteen sits] was rezoned to allow for a mixed-use development that could support up to 725,000 square feet of residential, office and retail. The REIT recently sold off the adjoining residential piece, which is currently being developed into a 256-unit Class A, multifamily project named, Aquia Fifteen Apartments at Town Center.

Aquia Fifteen Apartments began leasing June 2016, and as of today, the development is 50% leased, construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016, and is expected to be fully leased by the end of Q1 2017. This apartment community offers one, two, and three bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $1,125 to $1,500 per month.

Apartment interiors feature fully-equipped kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, energy-efficient appliances and digital programmable thermostats, and full-size washer/dryer included in each apartment home. Community amenities include a two-story state-of-the-art clubhouse featuring a fitness center, lounge, business center, conference room, and a resort-class swimming pool. 

Long before Aquia v was envisioned, Aquia Town Center was a bustling shopping center in the 1980s and 90s anchored by a Shoppers Food Warehouse and Rite Aid Pharmacy.

The center was a hub for artists, music lovers, and Java fans who were drawn to the center’s unique Gargoyles Coffeehouse.

Shoppers Food in 2003 moved to a new shopping center called Stafford Marketplace, less than a mile west of its old location. Dwindling traffic at the shopping center led Gargoyles to close its doors.

Today, with new owners, and many of the old shopping center buildings at Aquia Town Center razed, new stores — including a new Harris Teeter grocery store — will soon open.

From Beckwith: 

In May 2015, Mosaic purchased Aquia Towne Center (“Aquia”). Aquia is a 25-acre development site off the I-95 interchange at Garrisonville Road (Route 610) in Stafford County, Virginia. This I-95 exit is the southern terminus of the recently complete express lanes. Current tenants are Regal Cinemas and Rite Aid. A public REIT purchased the property in 2006 and partially razed what was was then a 200,000 square foot neighborhood shopping center. Before the redevelopment, this parcel was an abanded shopping center and parking lot that will now support dozens of new businesses and provide convenience for Stafford County residents.

Mosaic is bringing a 76,000 square foot grocery store that is new to the Stafford market to Aquia. The end result will be a 160,000 square foot, grocery-anchored town center with a total of 6 commercial buildings with an opening date of 1st Quarter 2018.

Existing businesses include:
· Aquia Fifteen Apartments at Town Center
· Exxon Gas
· Tires Plus
· McDonalds
· PNC Bank
· Carlos O’Kelly’s
· Ruby Tuesday
· El Gran Charro
· Mick’s
· Best Western

Delivering 3rd Quarter 2017 to 1st Quarter 2018:
· Harris Teeter Grocery
· Petco
· Hair Cuttery
· Coffee Cup
· Philly Subs
· Eyewear Etc.
· Buffalo Wings Sports Bar
· Rite Aid Pharmacy
· Burrito Border
· FroYo
· Salads and Wraps
· Fruit Smoothies


Page 3 of 2712345...1020...Last »