WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia




Acqtel Realty, Inc. moves to Downtown Manassas

Acqtel Realty, Inc. relocated its headquarters to Downtown Manassas.

The firm invested $30,000 in renovations into a property at the corner of Church and Main West streets, across from the city’s Old Post Office building.

The company relocated from offices off Gaskins Way, near the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College in Prince William County.

Title Associates of Virginia and New Penn Financial are also located inside the new offices at the 131-year-old building.

Acqtel Realty, Inc. Owner Jim Smith said he began searching for a place to relocate his business in January.

“I came here to look at the Old Post Office building which was for sale, and then I turned around and noticed this building,” said Smith.

He jumped at the chance to renovate an older building, saying he has a passion for older homes and historic buildings in the neighborhood. Acqtel Realty, Inc. replaces a law firm that had been located inside the building.

The new owners of the building held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and barbecue on Friday, July 15.

It’s a go: Manassas funds small business accelerator

Manassas will inject $200,000 into a small business accelerator in the heart of its downtown.

The center will be a co-work space for start-up companies looking for office and conference space, mailbox services, and for entrepreneurs attend community events designed to educate small business owners and spur economic growth in the city, said Manassas Economic Development Director Patrick Small.

The business accelerator will be located inside the Hynson Building at the corner of Main and Center streets. The building most recently Fiducial, a company that specialized in business payroll, tax, and accounting services.

The small business accelerator will be located in the bottom floor of the building, with offices for Whitlock Wealth Management and ECU Communications will be located on the top floor. Both independent firms formed an LLC to purchase the building for $1.3 million earlier this year.

“It took a lot of hard work on a lot of people’s parts to come up with a plan solid enough to go to City Council,” said Small. “These conversations have been ongoing for four years.”

The $200,000 grant from the City will be paid to the buildings’ owners once they receive an occupancy permit for space from the city, following a proper build out. The money comes from the city’s economic development reserve fund, with funds gained from land sales like the city’s decision to sell the Downtown Post Office building in 2006, a sale that netted city coffers $657,000, according to Small.

If the accelerator closes within 12 months of opening, the city will recover 66 percent, or $132,000. The city and the private owners will cut their losses wipe their hands of the deal if the center is not profitable within three years.

It will take at least 36 to 48 months before the business becomes profitable, said Small. In the meantime, the private owners, with an investment of at least $650,000 in the building, must hire staff to run the accelerator and pay to keep the lights on.

“I think it’s great that the city is going to have a say in what happens in the premier building in its downtown,” said Gayle Whitlock, a spokeswoman for the controlling LLC owners group.

The accelerator plans to hold educational events while offering two paid membership levels, one for novice entrepreneurs who need additional guidance, and more experienced business owners said Small. It’s not clear when the new center will open for business.

Before the City Council’s vote to fund the $200,000 grant, the City’s Economic Development Authority privately discussed financing the grant with its cash. The idea never gained traction, and the EDA Board of Directors at its June 21 meeting, following a closed session that lasted over an hour, decided to take no action on the funding request.

Chick-fil-A in Haymarket hiring 80

From an email: 

Jason Ward, who became one of Chick-fil-A’s youngest franchisees and seven years ago opened the area’s second Chick-fil-A restaurant, is hiring more than 80 new team members in preparation for the opening of Haymarket’s first Chick-fil-A restaurant slated to open later this summer.

Ward will hire full-time and part-time positions at his restaurant located at 15180 Washington St., near the intersection of Route 15 and John Marshall Highway. Benefits include scholarships for continuing education, Sundays off and opportunities for career advancement.  
Applications are available in person at Ward’s Gainesville Virginia Gateway Chick-fil-A location at  5015 Wellington Road, Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Online applications can also be found  at www.snagajob.com. Ward is holding open interviews at the Virginia Gateway location on two Saturdays including June 25 and July 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Tuesday, July 12, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Chamber discusses coming federal changes to overtime pay

The Prince William Chamber of Commerce met with business owners to discuss sweeping changes coming to full-time employee salaries.

President Obama signed new legislation that redefines what it means to be employed full time.

From the Department of Labor:

Key Provisions of the Final Rule
The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);

Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and

Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

The law allows non-full time employees to now collect overtime pay.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

From Prince William Chamber:

Betty Dean, Chair of the Chamber’s Policy Committee and Owner of Dean & Associates summarized the reactions of member businesses saying, “I think it’s fair to say that the biggest concern from the members’ perspective was the increased costs that are likely to result, but that was followed closely by concern about how to manage the potential, unintended consequences of the new regulations. Many businesses and especially not-for-profit organizations have employees whose salaries are below the new threshold.” Dean went on to note that employees often require a great deal of flexibility to do their jobs; attending before/after-hours events, traveling from location to location and scheduling appointments outside of normal business hours.

Allison Dembeck, executive director for education, labor and workforce development, congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was on hand to hear questions from Prince William Chamber members.

Questions included how to regulate employee use of mobile devices during non-business hours and how that time can be tracked. Committee members also discussed the likelihood that mobile communications will need to be strictly curtailed; likely having a negative on business as well as a chilling effect on employee morale.

We asked several area politicians to weigh in on the move. Virginia State Senator Scott Surovell replied: 

New gym Rebel Fit USA wants to know how many push ups you can do

A new gym will open in Daniel Stuart Square in Woodbridge.

Beny Blaq, the founder of Rebel Fit in Alexandria, will expand to a new location in the same shopping plaza as Shop Rite at the intersection of Route 1 and Opitz Boulevard.

From Blaq:

“Established in 2013, Rebel Fit USA LLC is a family oriented health and fitness community that specializes in helping clients reach their health and fitness goals through expert coaching, support, and accountability. What experience do you have? Beny is certified in personal trainer, basic nutrition and suspension training through the National Personal Training Institute with five years of experience.”

The new gym will open July 9. It is the company’s first indoor location.

From Blaq:

“The business has been open for the past two years running outdoor and indoor boot camp programs as well as a small group program. We decided to open a brick and mortar facility to be able to provide our members and others in the community a central location where they can get a great workout and serve our community better.”

The gym plans to offer several options for its customers.

From Blaq:

“We currently offer morning and evening large group and small group personal training sessions Monday-Friday. We also offer a 6-month personalized nutrition program that is serviced by our certified Precision Nutrition Coach.”

The gym on it opening day will partner with Push Ups For Charity, a Texas-based organization which has provided donations to military veterans centers across the country. Participants in the push-up event will challenge participants to do a set number of push-ups for cash.

The event is designed to simulate the experience of those in the U.S. military, according to the Push Up for Charity website.

The Children’s Therapy Center opening in Gainesville

Submitted The Children’s Therapy Center

My name is Alexandra Smith and I am the Marketing Coordinator at The Children’s Therapy Center. The first week of July we are opening a new office in Gainesville and would love to get news coverage on it.

The Children’s Therapy Center currently has two offices, one located in Springfield and the other in Sterling, Virginia. Seeing that your paper reaches areas surrounding Gainesville this story has a local angle and will also be newsworthy for many parents in the area.

Just some background information on our practice, it was established in 1979 and has been flourishing ever since! We offer Pediatric and Adolescent Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy.

Woodbridge residents Paul and Reneé Jones co-own the new FirstLight Home Care

A FirstLight Home Care office will open in Woodbridge. A public relations staff sent us this note and photo: 

Woodbridge residents Paul and Reneé Jones co-own the new location, which offers a variety of companion and personal care services to residents of Prince William and Fairfax counties, including the communities of Burke, Clifton, Dale City, Fairfax Station, Lake Ridge and Woodbridge.

The FirstLight Home Care office is located at 3310 Noble Pond Way Road in Woodbridge and serves area seniors, new mothers, those recovering from surgery and other adults in need of assistance. FirstLight caregivers are available to help with a variety of needs – from personal hygiene and household duties such as cooking, cleaning and running errands, to mobility assistance and dementia care.

“Over the last twenty years, I was fortunate to serve the community of Louisville, Kentucky as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Over time I developed a desire to broaden my understanding of leadership and business, in hopes of making an even greater impact in the lives of families in need,” explained Paul. “In 2014 I returned to my alma mater, the University of Louisville, and earned my Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in health sector management. I want to put my education and experience to work building a business with an organizational culture that sets the standard for excellence in service to the community. FirstLight shares our vision and gives us the opportunity to build a company that loves its employees like family, who are, in turn, empowered to change our community and the world.” 

“Paul and Reneé’s goal to build a business that benefits the Woodbridge community, coupled with their business acumen and commitment to creating a culture of care for their clients and employees, make them the perfect pair to open the first FirstLight location in the Woodbridge area,” said Jeff Bevis, FirstLight Home Care Chief Executive Officer. “We can’t wait to see the positive impact their work is sure to have on the communities they serve.”

Since opening its first franchise location in 2009, FirstLight Home Care has experienced steady growth and now has 115 locations in 30 states throughout the U.S.

Sung Lee joins Whitlock Wealth Management

Sung H. Lee, has joined Whitlock Wealth Management, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., as a financial advisor.

His office is located at 12848 Harbor Drive, Lake Ridge VA 22192. Lee began his career at Ameriprise in August 2001. He is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia PA with a BS in Finance.

Originally from Baltimore, Lee recently moved to Prince William County with his wife and son. As a financial advisor, Lee provides financial advice that is built on a solid understanding of client needs and expectations, and provided in one-on-one relationships with his clients. For more information, please contact Sung Lee at Sung.H.Lee@ampf.com, or (703) 492-7732. 

KO Distilling wins fourth medal of 2016

KO Distilleries

From KO Distillery

KO Distilling wins BRONZE MEDAL at the 2016 Craft Spirits Conference held in San Diego, CA. Manassas, Virginia, April 8, 2016 –

KO Distilling brought home a Bronze Medal this spring for their Virginia Moon White Whiskey at this year’s Craft Spirits Conference in San Diego, California, hosted by the American Distilling Institute (ADI). This is their fourth medal of 2016.

To date, KO’s Virginia Moon White Whiskey has won an award in each competition it has entered. The American Distilling Institute has been a part of the craft distilling industry since 2003 and has since become the largest and most-respected organization devoted to craft Sprits. ADI is instrumental in the growth of the craft community through education, networking and creating the largest gathering of licensed distillers in the U.S.

Earlier this year, KO received two Bronze Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for their Virginia Moon White Whiskey and Battle Standard 142 Navy Strength Gin. The 2016 SFWSC featured more than 1,850 entries and is considered to be the most influential spirits competition in the world. 

Regal Garrison 12 movie theater to anchor new North Stafford development

Stafford County is proud to announce that Regal Entertainment Group will open a 50,539 square foot luxury twelve screen movie theater in The Garrison at Stafford, formerly known as Stafford Village. The new 500,000 square foot mixed-use community, located off Garrisonville Road, is under development by The Pence Group.

The Garrison will be an exceptional mixed-use property. Regal’s reputation for providing a luxury movie-going experience will be most welcome in Stafford County,” stated Stafford Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Laura Sellers, Garrisonville District. “Stafford did a retail survey with citizens and a nice movie theater was one of the most requested businesses.”

The Regal Garrison 12 will feature luxury recliners with footrests and swivel tables for dining. The menu will feature enhanced food and beverage options as well as traditional cinema snacks. The lobby includes a lounge where guests can relax before or after the movie and table seating to accommodate appetizers, entrées, desserts, and drinks. When completed in 2017, the 1,230 recliner cinema will provide traditional and 3D films on all twelve screens. 

“We are pleased to bring the premium environment of Regal Garrison 12 to The Garrison and are excited about the potential entertainment and destination themed experiences interested in joining the project,” said Geoff Pence, President at The Pence Group.

Efforts to bring new retail options began in 2012, when the Stafford County Board of Supervisors approved the Stafford County Retail Attraction Initiative, designed to aggressively market Stafford County’s business advantages to retail developers, businesses, and real estate professionals.

“Regal is proud to be a part of this entertainment destination at The Garrison at Stafford.  With easy access off of I-95, we’re certain it will draw moviegoers from a wide area to this affluent community,” said Todd Boruff, Senior Vice President of Real Estate for Regal Entertainment Group. 

Announcements of additional companies and stores that will be in The Garrison at Stafford complex will be publicized when leases are finalized.

Southland Concrete to invest $6 million in Prince William for new corporate headquarters and yard

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently announced Southland Concrete Corp. will invest $6 million and add 30 new jobs to Prince William County.

The Southland Concrete corporate headquarters and yard is newly located at 12775 Randolph Ridge Lane, near Manassas. Prince William County was selected above other regional jurisdictions due to the ease of access to transportation corridors and a readily available, highly-skilled workforce.

The company plans to use the existing building on-site for its headquarters and lease nearby land for a yard. The headquarters will employ 30 staff in addition to approximately 225 field employees.

“We are excited to be in our new headquarters facility in Prince William County. The County has been great to work with, it has many options with the zoning we need and outstanding amenities nearby, as well as, excellent transportation and a workforce that is second to none, in the area,” said Randy Green, Southland CEO and President.

“With more than 40 years as a key player in the construction industry, Southland Concrete has an established market profile and product reputation that is a valued and welcome addition to our business community,” said Corey A. Stewart, Chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors. “We are committed to supporting its future growth.”

Corporate headquarters are categorized as a Targeted Industry in Prince William County. As such, the Board of County Supervisors signed a conditional performance agreement with Southland Concrete to be administered by the Prince William Industrial Development Authority.

The agreement includes a $40,000 incentive grant for relocation, renovation and equipment costs from the County’s Economic Development Opportunity Fund. Southland Concrete is a recognized leader in the construction industry and manufactures cast-in-place concrete for a variety of commercial structures in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The company performs tilt-up concrete construction for a variety of applications including warehouse, data centers and blast-proof progressive collapse office buildings, foundations and flat work for steel frame construction, podium construction, specialty projects such as parking garages, museums, retaining walls and other commercial structures.

Southland Concrete projects in Prince William County include the Montclair Community Library, Tribute at Heritage Village, Novant Health Prince William Medical Center, National Museum of the Marine Corps, Heritage Hunt, FBI Training Facility, George Mason University, Jiffy Lube Live and many others over its 40+ year history.

To learn more from the Prince William County Department of Economic Development sign-up to receive email newsletters or follow us on Twitter @ PWCDED.

Workers comp firm BerkleyNet moving headquarters from Woodbridge to Innovation Park

Insurance underwriter BerkleyNet will relocate its headquarters from Woodbridge to Innovation Park just outside Manassas.

The company broke ground on a new 72,500 square foot facility on Wednesday, May 25.

More in a press release: 

Due for completion in 2017, the three-story building, which will be called BerkleyNet Center @ Innovation Park, will feature prime Class A office space, with BerkleyNet occupying just over 50,000 square feet. Strong interest among the business community has already resulted in approximately 8,000 square feet of the remaining space being pre-leased to Christopher Consultants.

With renowned architecture and design firm, MGMA, serving as the base building architect, BerkleyNet Center is anticipated to be an architectural showpiece within Innovation Park that will set the standard for future developments. BerkleyNet’s spaces, designed by M Group Architects in Reston, Virginia, will incorporate ultra-modern finishes; an open workspace environment; a communicating space between the second and third floors to accommodate company-wide meetings; as well as a furnished outdoor patio for gatherings.

BerkleyNet’s home had been just off Prince William Parkway, across from the county’s Government Center.

The company is workers compensating company conducts business exclusively over the web and is a member of the W.R. Berkley Corporation casualty insurance group.

Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson issued a statement about Innovation Park, located in her district:

“Today’s groundbreaking is another important milestone in the development of Innovation Park. It is part of the ongoing realization of the vision for Innovation Park – a vision that was borne several decades ago. The Park has evolved considerably from the establishment of George Mason University’s lone academic building in 1992 followed by the attraction of its first corporate client, American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) in 1998, to what we see before us today – a thriving, university-centered research and corporate park, the only one of its kind in the Washington DC Metro area. Innovation Park is now a veritable economic engine of growth and employment creation that is home to over 30 companies providing well-paying, sustainable jobs for over 2,300 people.”

Velocity Wings expanding to Bristow

Jim Speros was an assistant coach for the championship 1982 Washington Redskins in the Superbowl.

More than 30 years later, he is expanding his restaurant business into Bristow. Speros owns Velocity Wings, and will open his third location in the Braemar Village Center in Bristow next to Safeway. The new restaurant will serve customers from Bristow, Gainesviille, and Manassas, according to a company press release.

It is the third Velocity Wings to open since the company opened doors in Loudoun County at its first store in Purcellville and then expanded to South Riding. The restaurant will seat 125 people and serve 25 flavors of wings, hamburgers, salads, and milkshakes.

Speros is President of Velocity Five Sports Restaurant. The Northern Virginia chain has locations in Fairfax and Loudoun counites. He was also president of Champions Sports Restaurant now owned by Marriott hotels, according to a press release.

Vecolity Wings in Bristow will be located near the intersection of Sudley Manor and Linton Hall roads. It will open for business at 11 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and at midnight Friday and Saturday.

The restaurant is slated to open in September. A website for the new restaurant will appear online in June, according to a press release.

Locally-owned Jirani Coffeehouse celebrates grand opening

Jirani Coffeehouse recently celebrated their Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting in Manassas.

Located at 9425 West Street in the Manassas Historic District, Jirani’s proprietors, Ken and Detra Moorman are excited for the local community to see the place that they envision as much more than just a space for coffee and conversation.

Jirani is the Swahili word for neighbor or neighborhood – Ken and Detra hope it will become a neighborhood hub and a center for arts and culture. They started Jirani Coffeehouse with the mission of bringing people of all ages and interests together in a “third space” – that welcoming atmosphere that you love to frequent outside of home and work.

From their shared workspaces to the open library-style shelves to live group performances an open mic nights on weekend evenings, Jirani has something for everyone throughout the day and evening.

The Grand Opening event kicked off with the arrival of Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish and Virginia Delegate Jackson Miller in a Mercedes limousine provided courtesy of All About You Limousine Service. Mayor Parrish welcomed Jirani to the Manassas Historic District noting the comfortable and inviting atmosphere Ken has created in his coffee shop compared to the more austere setting of large chain coffee stores.

In addition, Delegate Miller urged Ken to savor the grand opening festivities as he looks to the future to envision a long and prosperous business for Jirani. The audience listened to the elected speakers, as well as Ken’s speech, with rapt attention, and often humorous remarks.

Committed to building other small businesses as well as their own, the Moorman’s have created their own small incubator for other local businesses who bake on site in Jirani’s space. Baked goods are made by local businesses including Works of Wonder Bakery, Sweet Pearlz Cheesecakes, and Pies + Petals. These businesses utilize the Jirani kitchen to make their goods which are also sold at Jirani.

6Robins Photography and Mosemak Creative have also found a home from which to promote their businesses within Jirani’s space.

Jirani is already welcoming a clientele eager to enjoy the coffee and baked goods in a comfortable, refreshing environment. There is even a private event space that can be rented for your next corporate meeting or community group – it’s known as “the Bean Box” and makes a great place to gather! Jirani’s open mic nights and scheduled singers offer entertainment for a diverse range of musical tastes and genres.

Stop by and see all that is happening at Jirani: Their business hours are: Friday, 5:30am to 2am, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Manassas leaders float idea of downtown co-working space

Manassas City officials propose spending up to $200,000 to place a co-working space inside the newly acquired downtown Fiducial building.

The co-working space would serve entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in the market to rent personal workspaces, offices, and conference room space to hold client meetings. The move comes after the Mason Enterprise Center, which catered to small start-up businesses on the Science Technology Campus of George Mason University in Prince William County, was shuttered a year ago.

The vacant Fiducial building, once home to Fauquier Bank, was jointly purchased earlier this month by ECU Communications and Whitlock Wealth Managment. ECU will relocate its offices from Prince William County to the 2nd floor of the building. Whitlock also plans to open a second office there.

The $200,000 would be used to build out the 1st floor of the building for the co-working space, according to sources familiar with the project. The money would be a one-time investment on the city’s part, and funds could come from a pot of about $600,000 the Manassas City Economic Development Authority has in reserve — not taxpayer funds.

A group made up of city administrators, Historic Manassas, Inc. officials, and the new owners of the Fiducial building approached the EDA about acquiring the funds, according to sources.

The city’s EDA is funded by monies it receives from outstanding loans issued by private banks and backed by the city and state economic development authorities. The city’s EDA collects a tenth of one percent of each outstanding bond at the end of the year, said EDA Chairman Holmes Smith.

The city’s EDA also provides grants to help city businesses open and expand. Recently it gave $20,000 in grant money to help open Jirani Coffeehouse in downtown, and The New School on Liberia Avenue to open its doors, Smith added.

The one-time $200,000 for the co-working center would be a one-time, good-faith investment to spur new business in the city. Some cities, like Fairfax City, which provided $25,000 from its annual fiscal 2017 budget to fund its Mason Enterprise Center located off the university campus, can opt to fund incubators on a yearly basis.

Mason Enterprise Center business incubators in Woodbridge and Spotsylvania County have closed. A Mason Enterprise Center at the Science and Technology Campus of George Mason in Prince William is now the Serious Games Institute. Stafford County leaders this month voted to use $500,000 fund a new business incubator in that county.

If the Manassas co-working space fails within three years, the money must be paid back to the EDA, sources said.

Fredericksburg provide a $50,000 grant to Fredxchange so it could open its co-working space called “The Foundry” which opened in August 2015.

Neither the Manassas City Council or the EDA have held public discussions about the project. A straw poll during a closed session at the EDA’s last meeting May 17 ended with two Board members in support of the project, two who opposed it, and three others on the seven-member board seeking more information about the proposal, sources said.

Historic Manssas Inc., the city’s downtown promotional arm, would be tapped to staff the co-working center, promote it, and recruit new businesses to rent space the center, sources said. The organization is already charged with promoting the city’s downtown by holding events, and advertising empty storefronts.

New responsibilities at the co-work space would be an expansion of Historic Manassas Inc’s role in downtown. Any additional expenses incurred by the expansion of duties, to include new staff, would be paid for by the building’s owners, sources said.

ECU Communications Founder and President Jackie Krick and her company provide marketing and recruitment advertising for Federal Government agencies. She has received multiple calls from interested business owners about renting space in her new building, she said.

Krick said she started her business from her kitchen table and would have benefited from a co-working space early on. She declined to comment about the co-working space eyed for her building. 

“We want somebody to fill the space as soon as possible,” said Krick.

EDA Chairman Holmes Smith said he wanted to hold a public meeting on the matter “as soon as possible.” Smith suggested that he could call a meeting of the EDA in the conference room of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce at 7:30 p.m. June 16 to discuss the matter for the first time publicly.

How does Stafford honor its Business of the Year? In front of its new indoor pool and sports facility.

Access Eye Center is Stafford County’s Business of the Year.

Ophthalmologist Arash Mansouri and his wife Michele took home the annual business appreciation award given by Stafford County’s Department of Economic Development.

“This is the American Dream,” Michele Manouri, originally from Southern West Virginia. “My husband, an Iranian immigrant and me a small town girl.”

The two purchased the business in Falmouth in 1999, located inside an old fire station. Today the building on Route 1 is adorned with unique murals that make it stand out other cookie-cutter shopper centers located along the highway.

The Mansouri’s also have Access Eye Centers in North Stafford, and in King George and Spotsylvania counties.

The award was presented during Stafford County’s annual business appreciation ceremony. The new Jeff Rouse Indoor Swim and Sport Center served as the backdrop for the catered ceremony. The center, named after Stafford County Olympian Jeff Rouse, boasts one of eight Olympic-sized swimming pools in Virginia, as well as 11 turf fields outside the building.

The 2016 Cornerstone Business Award winner is Earl’s Hardware in Falmouth, formerly owned by Earl Broyles and his son, Wayne, and currently owned by Keri DeBenard.


Olympian Jon Lugbill, whose face appeared on the front of Wheaties cereal boxes in 1986, was the keynote speaker for the event and touted the new center as a magnet for the growing “sports tourism” business. Thousands of parents and their children travel for hundreds of miles to attend soccer and other sporting events, said Lugbill. Soon, they’ll be going and competing at Stafford’s Rouse Center.

“They come for the sporting event but then they might come back to visit, or might come back on vacation, and then might come to Richmond after visiting Fredericksburg,” Lugbill joked,

Lugbill works for the Richmond Sportsbackers, a group that promotes sports tourism in that region.

Manassas wants to know what keeps you coming back to Downtown, and what more you want to see.

Historic Manassas, Inc. (HMI) is in the process of re-branding itself and wants public input.

HMI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit contracted by the City of Manassas, but many people are unaware of what HMI does for the community.

However, much of what the community participates in is planned and coordinated by HMI.

“Many people hear ‘Historic’ Manassas and automatically think we run the museum and the historical landmarks in the City, but that’s not us,” said Executive Director Debbie Haight.

HMI created a short survey to gather a general idea of what people that HMI is, what draws them to a great downtown area, and more. The survey is designed to take no longer than 15 minutes of one’s time and also provides for an opportunity to win a gift card to the shops and restaurants in historic downtown Manassas.

HMI’s survey has only been up and running for less than a week, but the response has been incredible.

“The responses we’ve received so far have already shown us that people are confusing what our organization does,” said Haight. “However, it’s exciting to see so many people invested in the downtown district and we can’t wait to show them what they are helping us to create.”

After a brief look at the results many people are excited about all that has happened in Downtown Manassas over the last few years with new events and art initiatives and all that is to come.

If you have a few moments, consider taking this short survey and getting your opinions and thoughts heard here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FB3XSZ6.  The survey will be up through Sunday, May 29.


Fiducial building in Downtown Manassas sells for $1.3 million

“The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless”

ECU Communications, a full-service digital marketing and advertising firm, and Whitlock Wealth Management, a full-service Ameriprise financial planning firm, have jointly purchased the historic building located at 9073 Center Street in the heart of Downtown Manassas. ECU and Whitlock Wealth Management will share the second floor of the building, and rehabilitate the ground floor for future rental.

The unoccupied building sold for $1.3 million. 

Built in 1915, the building occupies a prime location at the intersection of Center and Main Streets, just two blocks from the Manassas train station and parking garage and surrounded by restaurants, shops and art galleries. The building will serve as Manassas-based ECU Communications’ headquarters and a second location for Whitlock Wealth Management, which has its main office in Lake Ridge. City Manager Pat Pate underscored that “the addition of these two professional firms to Downtown Manassas exemplifies the continuing diversification of the City’s business base, as more and more firms choose this historic, vibrant location”.

“We’re working with the City to make the most of the building’s location, history and character. The possibilities and opportunities it offers are almost endless,” said Jackie Krick, president of ECU. “This acquisition will also help ECU continue to grow our private sector and local client base,” Ms. Krick added. Bennet Whitlock, principal of Whitlock Wealth Management, concurred. “Not only is this a great location,” Mr. Whitlock said, “but it allows us to significantly expand our business footprint into the City of Manassas and central Prince William County, which will help us serve more investor clients.”

As an Ameriprise Advisor, Whitlock Wealth Management specializes in retirement and estate planning, wealth preservation strategies and comprehensive investment planning. ECU Communications specializes in digital and multicultural advertising and marketing, serving government, corporate and nonprofit clients. For more information about Whitlock Wealth Management, please phone 703.492.7732 or visit online at whitlockwealth.com. For more information about ECU Communications, please phone 703.754.7728 or visit ecucomm.com.


IKEA remodels Woodbridge restaurant

Reginald Thomas looks forward to his breakfast.

A bus driver for PRTC, the hot meal is a chance to take a welcome break and put fuel in his tank to keep going for the rest of the day. The price of his meal at a newly remodeled IKEA Restaurant at Potomac Mills mall in Woodbridge is easy to swallow, too.

“It’s 99 cents. By far, this is the best breakfast deal in town,” said Thomas, of Lake Ridge, who is a regular here on workdays.

With a plate piled high full of sausage and potatoes, Thomas poured himself a drink from a self-serve beverage station that sits in the middle of the floor and then he found himself a seat.

“I don’t eat the eggs here,” he said. “For some reason, they’re not cooked the way I like them. I like my eggs cracked, and they don’t do that here.” (more…)

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