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Manassas business owner invited to the White House

President Donald Trump invited small business leaders to discuss regulatory concerns and business growth this week. 

From Jacqueline Krick, CEO of ECU Communications in Manassas:

President Trump invited small business owners from various parts of the country to a small business discussion focusing on the issues that affect small businesses. Many of the issues raised were similar in nature and included, access to capital, regulatory reform, and taxation. (more…)

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Golden Marketplace in Gainesville touted future ‘city center for the Asian community’

*Story tip and photo from Deron in Bristow.

It looks like the old Shoppers Food Warehouse in the Somerset Crossing shopping center in Gainesville is being marketed as a new indoor mall/flea market style shopping experience dubbed “Golden Marketplace.” 

The project targets investors, and its website notes retail offerings for Washington, D.C.’s growing Asian marketplace has not kept up with the population.

The property and buildings, developed and built in 2002, is valued at $18.6 million, according to Prince William County property records. 

Here’s some text from a YouTube video use to promote the project to potential investors: 

Washington D.C., the international capital of the world is about to introduce its newest groundbreaking attraction which will alter the region’s shopping experience Washington D.C. which has some of the highest wealth and education demographics in the United States and attract sophistication and talent from every corner of the nation and the world.

The new and modern upscale shopping center Golden Marketplace with more than 150 stores and restaurants locals and tourists will be drawn to unique shopping that only independent retailers can produce. Golden Marketplace will…offer the individual investor a chance to own their own real estate in a marketplace.

(more…)

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Dulles Glass and Mirror relocating to Prince William, bringing 40 jobs

From the Virginia’s Governor’s Office: 

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Dulles Glass and Mirror, a manufacturer of glass, mirror and shower doors, will invest $7.5 million to consolidate its corporate headquarters, research and development, manufacturing, and warehouse operations in a renovated 84,010-square-foot facility in Prince William County. The company will retain 96 jobs and create 40 new jobs over the next five years.

Dulles Glass and Mirror [currently located at 9151 Euclid Ave in Manassas City] is a privately held company that manufactures glass, mirror and shower doors for residential and commercial uses. The company delivers its products nationally and offers installation services in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. Dulles Glass and Mirror also offers a large variety of glass and mirror products that are customizable through its online store.
(more…)

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1 Million Cups answers your questions

Submitted: 

Jessica Drummond with JD Wellness was our presenter at 1 Million Cups Prince William this Wednesday. 

Last week, we had an impromptu session where attendees had the opportunity to present their own challenges. As always, it was a dynamic session full of great ideas.

Some of the questions that were addressed:
-When considering supporting a fundraising event for a charitable organization, What sponsor perks are most important?
-What are some best practices for identifying target clients?
-What are some best practices for attracting attendees for classes and events?
-What steps should I take before opening a business in Virginia?

We meet every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

Potomac Local Publisher Uriah Kiser will present at 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. He’s also a 1 Million Cups volunteer organizer. 

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Imagewerks presents at 1 Million Cups

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Kathy Strauss from Imagewerks Photography and Art presented Wednesday at 1 Million Cups.

Strauss discussed with the group of about 20 people in attendance her efforts to offer more photography solutions to her customers, which include the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. She also talked about an upcoming photography cruise, which is a new venture for her company.

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. 

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

News
AMC Potomac Mills 18 adds ‘premium large format’ screens, Dolby sound

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — New screens with enhanced sound were added to AMC Potomac Mills 18 Theatres on December 30. 

From a press release: 

AMC Theatres and Dolby Laboratories, Inc. have elevated the movie-going experience in Woodbridge, as movie lovers at AMC Potomac Mills 18 can now experience the next generation of premium large format theatres with the opening of Dolby Cinema™ at AMC.

Dolby CinemaTM at AMC combines Dolby’s spectacular imaging and sound technologies with innovative seating that takes comfort to the next level with AMC’s spacious recliners. Guests of Dolby Cinema can expect:

DRAMATIC IMAGING – The picture comes alive with astonishing brightness and contrast, and captivating color that more closely matches what the eye can see.

MOVING AUDIO – Guests are transported inside the story withsound that flows all around them, including overhead, with breathtaking realism that creates a powerfully moving experience.

INNOVATIVE SEATING – Moviegoers enjoy next-level comfort with spacious, high-power, reserved recliners that pulsate with the action.

Updated

From Facebook: 

Katy Lau Our movie was at 2 pm, the tickets cost $16.25 each. I think this is about $3-4 more than a regular theater at the same time if i remember correctly. The movie we saw only had this theater or 3D available though.

GM Bunno Brinkley Yeah. Saw underworld in it. They need to turn the volume down a notch or 2. I understand great new option look at us but still there is a thing called too much… Not alot just a notch or two.

Shawn Riley You can go to the one in centerville for half the price, recliners, reserved seating, and many more perks.

Crazy if people are paying what the movie costs when it comes out on blu ray.

I’ll drive the extra, go to Sweetwater for dinner then slide on over. Had a better dinner than around Potomac mills and saved money with better experience at theater.

Donna DeFife I’ll wait & watch at home in my own recliner.

News
NyeasParty owner, balloon decorator Annia Jaffa will present at 1 Million Cups Prince William

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Party Store owner and Balloon Decorator Annia Jaffa will present at 1 Million Cups Prince William on Wednesday, Jam. 18, 2017. 

From Jaffa: 

I retired in 2014 to open the party supply store in Woodbridge. My prior experience was 30 years as a telecom professional with a major corporate firm.

As a new entrepreneur I have learned lot about the party industry becoming involved with the community and listening to my customers and clients. I have taken balloon decorating classes, attending the World Balloon Convention and taken several party and balloon workshops. I have also extended balloon decorations as a major service to my customers and clients.

In 2015, we were awarded the Thumbtack’s Best of 2015 in the Event Decorators category. This award was a direct result of customer reviews.

In 2016 were awarded the Red Tricycle’s “Totally Awesome Award Phenomenal Party Supply Stores” category.

Award is based on parents voting for their favorite stores in each city.

NyeasParty also supports the community and provides discounts to all teachers and military personnel.

 

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

News
What do you think of Gabe’s?

This discount clothing store for men and women brands itself as “unbelievable.”

From shirts, pants, shoes, to home accessories, Gabe’s is a one-stop shop for fashionistas on a budget looking for department store brands.

After opening a store just outside Fredericksburg, Gabes is now open in Featherstone Square in Woodbridge.

Have you shopped there? What do you think? Is the store as “unbelievable” as they say it is?

Tell us in the comments.

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Manassas Health and Rehab Center turns 10, celebrates

Manassas Health and Rehab Center turned 10 years old. The staff held a thank you celebration for residents earlier this month.

Submitted: 

To celebrate we hosted all patients, residents, families, and staff on December 7 to a formal dining experience here in our renovated dining room. Staff assisted our patients and residents with getting dressed in their best to come out and celebrate. 

Our chef and his team prepared a delicious meal and the staff served the families and residents. This celebration was to recognize our patients and residents and thank them for choosing us as their center to receive care and reside. The Center hired a band which included a live singer who sang during the event while we raffled off gift baskets and prizes.

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Kathy Strauss’ photography cruise will be first 1 Million Cups presentation of 2017

Kathy Strauss is merging photography with the pleasure cruise. 

Strauss’ Prince William County -based business ImageWerks, will hold a special photography cruise to Bermuda in 2017: 

From ImageWerks: 

Everything is included in this one-of-a-kind adventure—hotel, meals, entertainment—even photography lessons with award-winning photographer Kathy Strauss of ImageWerks & the Workhouse Arts Center. Kathy will teach you to embrace your creativity by discovering stories to be told, refining your composition skills, learning to share your photos in new ways, and so much more!

And this is not just any cruise, it is also a special fundraiser to help support the education programming at the Workhouse Arts Center.

What you’ll learn
You’ll spend your days at sea learning (or improving) your ability to “see” amazing photographs, becoming more skilled in using your camera to make pictures, and experimenting with new ways to share your photographic creations. Through lessons, creative exercises, and feedback from Kathy and your peers, you’ll take your first steps beyond vacation snapshots to make photographic art at sea and in Bermuda! Other highlights of this photography cruise include:

  • Learning to take photos tailored to a theme or a story
  • Group photography field trip while in Bermuda
  • Access to the ship’s onboard image studio
  • Learning how to turn your photos into fun products to share or sell
  • Cocktail reception while onboard
  • Special access to restricted parts of the ship for photo exercises
  • Special art show and competition onboard, judged by the ship’s official photographers!
  • Opportunities to share your cruise photography

Our photographic adventure continues at the Workhouse Arts Center upon our return, where we’ll host an event for friends, family, and the public to view your best photographs from the cruise.

Strauss will be the first presenter for 2017 at 1 Million Cups Prince William where will present her business, more details about the cruise, and learn from others in the group how the cruise may become a new revenue stream to build her business. 

1 Million Cups is a free, educational event held Wednesdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Hylton Performing Arts Center, located at 10960 George Mason Circle in Manassas. 

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

News
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. 

Submitted: 

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.

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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.

News
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.

News
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.

Submitted: 

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.

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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
703-330-3538
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.

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Shining Sol glows at 1 Million Cups Prince William

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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