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Chamber Scholarship Deadline Extended

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The Prince William Chamber has extended the deadline for its 2011-2012 Scholarship Program. Application packages are now due to the Chamber no later than Monday, March 19.

Through this program three scholarships of up to $2,500 each will be given to high school seniors who have shown a commitment to academic excellence and community involvement. Additionally, to be eligible, students must be an employee of a Chamber member company or the dependent of an employee.

“We have long supported academic success and giving back to the community through our scholarship program. Now, we are also able to reward the members of our local business community for all that they do to enhance the economy and quality of life in the Prince William region,” said Prince William Chamber President and CEO Rob Clapper.

The Prince William Chamber is the largest chamber in the Metro Washington, DC area, representing nearly 2,100 organizations and their more than 90,000 employees. Clapper noted that every employee of a member company is in fact a member of the Chamber, and can take part in programming and services.

“We look forward to learning more about the extraordinary young people living and working right here in Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park and helping them to achieve educational success,” said Clapper.

Information on the scholarship, including the full criteria and application packet can be found at by clicking the “Scholarship Info” button. The Chamber will also host its annual Frostbite Scramble golf event and luncheon on March 21 to raise funds for the program.

Members of the public are invited to participate. Registration information can be found online under “events” or by calling 703-368-6600.

-Press release

Pr. William Hires New Economic Development Director

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — After a nationwide search, Jeffrey A. Kaczmarek has been named the Economic Development Director for Prince William County because of his expertise, experience and documented successes in local economic development efforts. The Board of County Supervisors approved his hire during a special meeting on March 5, 2012, and he is expected to begin work April 2, 2012.

“Economic Development is a key strategic priority for the Board of County Supervisors,” said At-large Prince William Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart. “We have become one of the top areas for job growth in the country, and Mr. Kaczmarek has the talent and proven track record to allow us to continue our success.”

Kaczmarek comes to Prince William County from Kansas City, Mo., where he served as the President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City from 2005-2011.

During his time in Kansas City, Kaczmarek had several accomplishments:

-Announced 135 projects with $2.1 billion in private sector investment and 14,000 new jobs;
-Oversaw a $4 million budget, with a 30-member agency;
-Helped to develop a new marketing brand for Kansas City – “America’s Creative Crossroads;”
-Developed a life sciences cluster in Kansas City, including the creation of an animal health corridor;
-Provided technical support to technology driven projects, including animal health, alternative energy and information technology;
-Facilitated the opening of a biotechnology micro-incubator;
-Launched the KCBizCare initiative to retain existing businesses and increase job growth; and
-Worked to develop partnerships with the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Council of Kansas City.

Newspaper Company Seeks to Shed Print Division

News & Messenger is published five days per week and serves Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Prince William County, Va. — The parent company of the News and Messenger announced today it is looking to sell some of its newspaper properties.

Richmond-based Media General, Inc., which owns the local newspaper and its companion website, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Tampa Tribune, stated the company is exploring the potential sale of newspaper operations. No specific newspapers in its collection of community and metro newspapers predominantly located in the southeast U.S. were named, and no timeframe was given as to when the properties could be sold.

In addition to newspapers, Media General also owns several TV and internet properties.

News & Messenger and covers Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Media General changed the name of the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger to News & Messenger in 2008, consolidating both papers. Late last year, the Manassas-based newspaper reduced the number of days in circulation from seven to five days per week.

The organization in recent months has put more focus on its web presence, branding its web and print publications as part of the “Insidenova Network,” which includes,, and their respective companion print publications.

Editor’s note: publisher Uriah Kiser was a Media General employee from 2006 to 2010 and worked at News & Messenger and

TitleMax Coming to Parkway

TitleMax loans will open a new location in an old convenience store in Woodbridge, according to bills posted on the building.

Woodbridge, Va. — Changes are coming once again to a corner of Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge.

The Tienda Santa Rita convenience store that for at least 10 years sat near the intersection of the parkway and Russell Road, near Hillendale Drive, will be replaced by TitleMax Car Loans, according to bills posted in the building’s windows.

A fresh coat of blue and red paint has been applied to the building and work is taking place inside the small shop to ready the place for the opening of the loan store, which has yet to be announced.

TitleMax allows customers to borrow money against their car loans. The company was founded in 1998 and has expanded to 600 stores nationwide, according to their website.

Within the last two weeks, the Noble Gourmet restaurant and shop advertised a closing sale. The shop was dark this past weekend.

The restaurant, which specialized in Mediterranean cuisine, filled a space once occupied by a Minnieland Academy daycare facility.

Facebook Push Prompts Ice Cream Stand to Open Early

(Photo: Mary Davidson/

Dumfries, Va. — A popular ice cream stand opened for the season two weeks early.

Jo Jo’s Original Soft Serve in Dumfries opened for business Saturday. The shop on U.S. 1 was slated to open March 10.

“We took a poll on Facebook and a lot of our customers said they wanted us to open early,” a store employee said.

That poll was actually a push made by the owner of the store to get more fans to “like” their Facebook page. If the page received more than 6,000 fans, the shop would open in February.

The store Saturday also used their reach on Facebook to offer a special deal: the first 10 customers who purchased $10 or more received a $5 gift certificate.

Jo Jo’s opened Saturday for the first time since mid-November

Burger King to Reopen at Tacketts Mill

Lake Ridge, Va. — Whopper lovers in Lake Ridge can rejoice as Burger King looks to reopen their doors in that neighborhood.

Owners of the standalone Burger King restaurant that now sits boarded up in the Tacketts Mill Shopping Center at Old Bridge and Minnieville roads said they plan to reopen it early this summer.

The owner of the restaurant, Ron Devine, spoke to Prince William Occoquan Supervisor Mike May about the reopening the once popular fast food joint.

“We are all looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition. It is going to drastically improve and revitalize that part of Tackett’s Mill,” stated May in an email to

Men in hard hats were moving in and out of the building Wednesday morning, apparently preparing for the restaurant’s reopening.

When it reopens it will be in good company, as a McDonalds and Taco Bell restaurants also sit nearby.

Tacketts Mill opened in 1985 and was once home to a multi-screen movie theater. After years of decline, the shopping center has recently attracted a series of new tenants including a soon-to-be built urgent care emergency clinic, and it will also be the new home for the Lake Ridge Community Library.

Pack ‘N Ship Store Moving

Pack 'N Ship Store in on U.S. 1 in Stafford.

North Stafford, Va. — The owner of the Pack ‘N Ship Store in Aquia Park said he’s moving one building over in search of cheaper rent.

Store owner Doug Madison is moving within the Aquia Park Shopping Center on U.S. 1, just south of Va. 610 in North Stafford, and is headed to a new space next to Papa Johns pizza. The shopping center is home to the Zibebo 73 Italian restaurant, and is the new home of Revolution Cycles after they relocated from a shopping center across the street.

Madison said will save over $1,000 per month when he moves to his new location at 2769 Jefferson Davis Highway, unit 111. The move is expected to be complete by March 1.

Madison used to own Mailbox Junction on U.S. 1 in Woodbridge along with the Pack ‘N Ship Store, but sold the store last year to focus on his operation in Stafford. Most of his customers are now comprised of military and government workers who rely on him for their shipping needs, he said.

Also offered at the Pack N Ship store is mailbox and notary services, and fax machine and internet access. Launches Deals Pages

PL Deals on Facebook.

At, one of our duties is to beat the drum for small business as loud as we can. After all, our readers come to us not only for the local news and events happening where they live, but to learn about special offers at the locally owned shops and restaurants around their corner.

More and more readers and businesses are turning to every day, so we decided to given them a new, quick and easy, trusted place to find information on special offers from advertisers.

Potomac Local Deals is a free service on Facebook and Twitter that lists deals from local merchants who advertise with us. It’s an added value to our advertisers, who we cannot thank enough for their support for our organization — the area’s only independent source of local news in Dumfries, Prince William and Stafford counties.

We hope you will support the businesses that support, and we hope you will like Potomac Local Deals on Facebook and Twitter.

-Uriah Kiser


Business Recycling Reports Due Feb. 15

The seal of Prince William County, Va.

All Prince William County businesses are asked to complete the annual recycling report by Feb. 15, 2012. The 15-question report can be accessed by clicking here. The report can be completed in 5-10 minutes preferably by the property manager or the person most familiar with trash and recycling services for the property. The Department of Public Works is conducting the annual program to gather information on recycling activities from all businesses and non-residential properties, a requirement of the Prince William County Code and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Recycling is mandatory for everyone in PrinceWilliamCounty.

Annually, about 58% of the County’s waste gets disposed each year at the Prince William County Landfill and the County encourages residents and businesses to do more to reduce, reuse, and recycle their waste so that we can conserve natural resources and landfill capacity for future generations.

Home-based businesses and businesses located within the cities of Manassas and ManassasPark or the incorporated towns of Dumfries, Haymarket, Occoquan, or Quantico are exempt from filing this report. The recycling information is needed in order for the County to comply with recycling reporting requirements established by the Commonwealth of Virginia under Code of Virginia, Section 10.1-1411 and 15.1 – 11.5.2. For more information on the annual non-residential recycling report or to learn more about ways that you can reduce, reuse and recycle in PrinceWilliamCounty, please visit or call the Solid Waste Division at (703) 792-4670.

-Press release 

Staffing Agency Recognized

Stafford, Virginia, January 31, 2012 – Express Employment Professionals announced that it has been named to Inavero’s 2011 Best of Staffing™ Client list. Best of Staffing, presented in partnership with CareerBuilder, is the nation’s only satisfaction award that recognizes exceptional client service within the staffing industry.

“Less than one percent of staffing firms in the U.S. and Canada have been named to the Best of Staffing List for Client Satisfaction,” said James Matthews, franchise owner of the Express Stafford office. “We are proud and honored to be recognized for our efforts in this way.”

Staffing firms competing to make the Best of Staffing list underwent a rigorous client survey process followed by careful analysis of responses to determine satisfaction levels. Express received satisfaction ratings of 9 or 10 out of 10 from 74 percent of their clients, significantly higher than the industry’s average of 47 percent. Best of Staffing participants secured a place on the list by earning an average Net Promoter Score? that was more than double the national staffing industry benchmark for client satisfaction.

“These are exciting times as the staffing industry is helping lead the way to renewed economic vitality,” said Eric Gregg, Inavero’s Founder and CEO. “It has been estimated that staffing firms have helped to fill at least one quarter of the 93,000 new jobs opening up each month in North America over the past year. Along with the increase in demand for talented job candidates, companies engaging with staffing firms expect impeccable service more than they ever have. It is our hope that businesses searching for a staffing partner use the Best of Staffing List as a guide to firms that have truly outperformed the industry for the service that they provide.”

Inavero designs and manages satisfaction surveys for a global list of clients in more than 15 countries. Inavero’s proprietary technology platform gathers and reports staffing firm client and talent satisfaction information through online surveys. Inavero’s team analyzes satisfaction feedback from more than 300,000 staffing firm clients and talent each year, and serves at the American Staffing Association’s exclusive research partner. The firm’s surveys protect more than $4.3 billion in staffing firm annual revenue. Inavero’s complete Best of Staffing list can be viewed at

In addition to making the Best of Staffing list, Express’ International Headquarters was named a World Class Franchisor by FranSurvey for the sixth year in a row and Best Staffing Firm to Work for finalist by Staffing Industry Analysts.

The Stafford Express Employment Professionals franchise began operation in 2008 and serves Fredericksburg, Stafford, and the surrounding areas. Express provides expertise in evaluation hire, temporary staffing, professional search and human resources and works across a wide variety of industries. Worldwide, Express employs nearly 300,000 people each year and has more than 550 offices in four countries.

-Unedited press release 

IKEA Has Gift Cards for First 100 Customers Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

Woodbridge Chick-fil-A Sales Top in Nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Chinese Restaurant Opens in North Stafford

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

By Stephanie Tipple

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Lion Stores Returning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bloom conversions in our area:

Dale City – 6306 Dumfries Road, 5592 Staples Mill Plaza

Montclair – 5227 Waterway Drive

Lake Ridge – 12429 Dillingham Square

Stafford – 905 Garrisonville Road, 2612 Jefferson Davis Highway

South Stafford – 736 Warrenton Road

Bottom Dollar conversions in our area:

Dumfries – 17120 Jefferson Davis Highway

Woodbridge – 14641 Jefferson Davis Highway, 13414 Jefferson Davis Highway

Real Estate Brokerage Opens


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Thrift Store Coming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Milk Delivery Popular Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Holy Cow Delivery customer email

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

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

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

Doc Popcorn Opens at Mall

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

By Stephanie Tipple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Health Foundation Accepting Grant Apps

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

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

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

-Unedited press release 

Diner of TV Fame to Reopen in January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dumfries Coffee Shop Serves Up Joe, Treats

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

By Stephanie Tipple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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