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Lake Anne Florist Owner Seeks Buyer for Business

by Karen Goff September 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm 52 Comments

Lake Anne FloristLinda Fuller, owner of Lake Anne Florist, Virginia Wine & Gourmet, says her shop at Lake Anne Plaza is for sale.

Fuller is 65, and she says that after selling flowers and other gift products in Reston for 40 years, it is time to go.

Fuller started her business in 1974, selling flowers from a van in the Lake Anne Plaza parking lot. She opened her first Lake Anne store in 1976, and eventually moved to a larger space in Herndon and a kiosk at Hunters Woods Village Center.

Lake Anne Florist returned to the plaza in 1996, and in 2007 moved into its current space at 11426 Washington Plaza, where Fuller stocks local food products and wine, and Chesapeake Chocolates leases space.

The business has morphed from flowers into gift baskets, wine pairings and gourmet foods. The store is the site of many special events, including wine tastings and food samplings.

“I need to find someone that has the energy to do the marketing to move the business forward,” Fuller said. “I’m not going to wait around for the redevelopment. I have been waiting for 15 years.”

Fuller is speaking of the Lake Anne revitalization project, which will bring more density to the area around Lake Anne, as well as hopefully revitalize the retail area in the historic area of the plaza. Fairfax County chose Lake Anne Development Corporation, a division of Republic Lane Development, last summer to redevelop the aging, 181-unit Crescent Apartments nearby.

LADC plans more than 1,000 housing units, as well as nearly 200,000 square feet of retail and office space, but work has not yet begun on the project.

But meanwhile, it is a period of transition for the existing businesses. In the last six weeks, Lake Anne Florist neighbors The Cupcake Ladi and New Family Naturals have closed up shop.

Earlier in the year, Lake Anne Pharmacy, the oldest continuously operating business at Lake Anne, was sold. If a tenant cannot be found by the end of this month, that store will close. Earlier in the year, Cafe Lakeside, the lunch counter operation within the drugstore, closed.

Also this year, Jasmine Cafe, a longtime Lake Anne restaurant, was shut down after failing to pay the rent. And the Lake Anne Coffee House remains for sale.

Fuller says someone with vision could come in and create a larger and especially viable business that would be well established by the time redevelopment occurs. She added she will stay open at least until the end of the year or until a buyer is found.

The asking price Lake Anne Florist, Virginia Wine & Gourmet is $24,995.

  • Heh

    Moribund business in decaying shopping plaza full of loitering vibrants seeks buyer.

    Yeah, people will be lining up to take that offer.

    • wildcatmack

      Yeah, gotta watch out for those vibrants.

    • vdiv

      Loitering vibrants… so vivid, I like it!

      We have found the new Reston mascot, the Loitering Vibrant 😉

  • Mike M

    Let’s just put a fork in it. The place is a failure at the concept level. Extend the line on it’s current trajectory. Only Lord Simon and the “museum” will be there.

    I like Kalypso’s and the restaurant next door, but that whole venue is toast.

    • Billy Smith

      The 65 year old owner is selling her business, why is that failure? It paid her bills for years and years, again why is that a failure?

    • LakeAnneFan

      Mike M – I have to agree with Billy. How is this a failure? Many of these businesses have been there forever.

      • Mike M

        And now? And how many external interventions have there been. I remember the Safeway anchor. Kaput.

    • Genie

      The concept of Lake Anne was originated 50 years ago. It was to have a place where people could live, work and play in the same area. I, among many others, have done all three for 38 years. The book store, pharmacy, florist, barber shop, coffee house, among many other places have thrived for decades. Employing people such as myself. The owners of these businesses have worked for 40+ years paying their bills, raising their families, and putting their kids through college. How is this shopping center a failure? These business owners are all just ready to retire. Some of the businesses that have failed here, the owners weren’t putting in the required work/hours to make a business succeed. That is definitely not to blame on the plaza. Those same businesses would fail anywhere. Lake Anne has been a wonderful place that I have loved to call home and will continue until I myself am lucky enough to retire here.

      • Mike M

        I would call you lucky too. But that place is a failure. Were it not it would have never needed the intervention it received from the outside. It has struggled for a long time and is now clearly tanking, As I stated, there are things I like about it too, but it is failing economically and if you can’t see that, walk around. There are other Reston centers that have failed. The ones thriving seem to have received a complete overhaul.

        • Genie

          I guess we just disagree on the term “failure”. I do agree with you that the shopping center needs to be revitalized. It has for a while. I’m glad their plans for when they do it will combine much needed upgrades with keeping some of the historic part intact. I think the biggest problem is parking. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the farmers market, the Thursday jazz nights, and the once a month movie night but the plaza is packed. But, parking is a struggle. I think the new plans will help bring in more people/businesses and I can’t wait to be here to see it. I do walk around here now and it makes me sad that so many places are vacant. But, to say the plaza is a “failure” means that it was never successful and that couldn’t be further from the truth. I grew up here and for decades this plaza was home to every child who grew up around here. It was exactly as the founder intended it to be.The plaza was always packed with people. Now granted, there was an arcade and a grocery store so that had A LOT to do with it. Plus, back then you were allowed to swim in the lake. That brought in the crowds. I do like the new paddle board company down here. I think they’re bringing a little bit of that back. I think with the pharmacy, the coffee shop and the florist leaving the concept will be leaving. But, I still don’t consider the plaza a failure. It just needs to catch up to the rest of the shopping centers and get a little makeover 🙂

          • Mike M

            I would say it needs an overhaul.

            I would also say, those who ran successful businesses there over many years probably could have done much better in a more open facility had they chosen to move.

          • Genie

            Hard to say. I think you’re right about some of them doing much better somewhere else. For instance the Natural Lady (she sold health drinks/food) probably would have done better in RTC. But, she kept really odd hours. Sometimes only being open 10a.m-2p.m. I don’t see how that would work anywhere. The cupcake lady definitely wouldn’t have succeeded in RTC. There’s already two cupcake places there. But, maybe could do better somewhere else. Jasmines was a great restaurant. That place would have done much better in Arlington in my opinion. The coffee house used to be successful when Alfredo was the owner. But, after changing hands the food/coffee wasn’t very good. The kids that come down here seem to love the bookstore. Can’t say that would’ve been successful anywhere else. Considering Barnes and Noble couldn’t even make it in Reston. The flower shop did try to move into other locations in Reston and Herndon, but ultimately moved back here because the other locations weren’t successful. The Pharmacy has been the main staple of Lake Anne and the owner definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. His love for his customers wouldn’t take him elsewhere and the customers love for him is success no matter how you rate it. So, yes I think you’re right that some would’ve done better elsewhere but not all would have. My only hope is that a bunch of chain places don’t come in here once it gets revitalized. I could do without that.

          • Rob Norwood

            I think the reason the Lake Anne merchants have remained and stayed “successful” is because they were content to run proprietor-operated establishments and earn reasonably low income. Unfortunately, the most successful business model for retail these days is centered around corporate-owned entities and corporate landlords. Lake Anne is not this; Lake Anne is what it was in the 1960s. So the merchants stayed and a small but loyal community continued following them, and that is fine.
            But either way it’s going to be a ghost town this coming winter.

        • animallover

          I’m not sure what you would consider a success other than the Reston Town Center? Most of the smaller centers have struggled over the years, shops have come and go, it’s the nature of the small shops center. Lake Anne actually held onto a lot of tenants longer than most of the other comparable ones-South Lakes, Tall Oaks, Hunters Woods, etc.

          • Angel

            Very true animallover. And many businesses at RTC have failed as well. i.e Ruby Tuesdays, Uno’s, Lee’s Ice Cream, etc. If you as the owners (bookstore, florist, pharmacy, consignment shops, etc) they will tell you the reason they stayed at Lake Anne was because they WERE so successful there.

          • Mike M

            I’m sorry, but South Lakes does OK now that it has been overhauled. Lake Anne has been shedding stores for as long as I can remember.

          • animallover

            Go out and support your local centers if you want to keep them alive, that’s the bottom line. Lake Anne’s not going away, it’s going to be “redesigned” over the next couple years but will still keep the integrity of the beautiful design and architecture that is it’s cornerstone.

          • Mike M

            I shop where it makes economic sense.

  • John Lovaas

    We certainly hope this very special business does not go away.
    It is bad enough we are losing our wonderful institutional family pharmacist.

    Lake Anne Florist is a unique little store run by two of the loveliest merchants in Reston. And, how on earth can you beat a place which provides beautiful flowers created by a flower genius, delicious and homemade chocolate to go with or without the flowers for all occasions. And did I mention the wines, peanuts, crab soup and so much more?!
    All my favorite food groups (chocolate and wine and the other stuff) and two very special people who take great care of us.
    Linda, I know you’ve earned your retirement, but think of the rest of us!

    • Meh

      how on earth can you beat a place which provides beautiful flowers created by a flower genius

      Answer: shop for flowers on the internet.

      • Genie

        Who do you think makes the flower arrangements that you order on the internet? They send those orders off to florists such as this one.

        • Meh

          Not proflowers. I’ve always had good results with them.

          • Angel

            Proflowers ships their flowers in boxes using UPS. I wouldn’t exactly put that in the same category as a woman who makes beautiful flower arrangements in vases. The other company’s like 1-800 flowers, FTD, Teleflora, etc keep the service charge for themselves then take out @30% of what you paid for the arrangement and then and only then do they outsource what’s leftover to an actual florist in the area of where you’re sending it. That’s how they make their money. If you call a local florist, such as the above florist, directly you would get the same arrangement and save a ton of money.

          • Meh

            Proflowers provides great flowers and service at a good price. Much better bang for the buck than a local florist.

          • Sue

            I used Proflowers once. The flowers showed up in a box, no water, no vase. The flowers were half dead. They did correct the mistake but the only way they could was to call a local florist and have them deliver something. Wasn’t a very good experience.

          • reston99

            They’re the worst out there, you clearly have no taste. meh.

          • Meh

            Once again, FOAD.

          • reston99

            Nice 8th grader response, and typical of a teenager to tell someone to F off and Die when challenged.

          • Meh

            This from the reptile whose principal contribution is to sneer that people have no taste and don’t know how to read.

          • justsayin

            Meh you’re a lowly Troll. Get a life.

          • Guest

            You know Meh , this is an article about a woman who put her heart and soul into a business for 40+ years. I don’t think she would appreciate the foul language and negative comments. Please have a little respect and if you want to post those kinds of things do it elsewhere.

          • Meh

            What I said was not directed at her, but at reston99, and thus your condescending rebuke is wide of the mark.

          • Jay

            I was in her shop yesterday and she was extremely upset because of your comments. What Reston99 is saying is uncalled for as well. Your comment that people should just order flowers on line followed by the cursing is upsetting. You are of course entitled to your own opinion. I just don’t know why you would share it under an article such as this. Think about the people behind the story. A wonderful, hard working, lovely person who is just trying to retire after working 60+ hours a week for over 40 years. She has a unique business that she is just trying to pass on. If you enjoy ordering flowers on line that is great. But, you don’t have to bash someone’s living while you do it.

        • Angel

          You know, this is an article about a woman who put her heart and soul into a business for 40+ years. I don’t think she would appreciate the foul language and negative comments. Please have a little respect and if you want to post those kinds of things do it elsewhere.

  • reston99

    Great artsy little center, full of potential just went to the jazz & blues festival had a great time, not the same feeling at snooty RTC, never will be. They are in the process of renovating anyways, hopefully we will get back some great restaurants, Jasmine was a gem.

  • Paulette Lincoln-Baker

    Everyone who has something critical to say about Lake Anne, I just want to know, what have you done to support that center? I love that plaza, I frequent there often, the coffee house is a gem, the bookstore is a treasure and Lake Anne Florist is wonderful. I am so sad to see so many businesses leaving. I imagine the rents are obscene (I once looked at a condo near there, and frankly, I would need a 6 figure salary to afford it, so I can only imagine business leases.).

    • LakeAnneFan

      Actually the rents in the Lake Anne Center are more affordable, that’s why they have such a…what’s the word…Eclectic mix of merchants.

    • Meh

      I would “support” it if it had any stores worth supporting. They are all, at best, mediocre. I am a book lover, and I have never found anything worth buying in the LAP bookstore.

      • reston99

        do you even read? meh.

        • Meh

          Yup. Hundreds of books a year.

          So FOAD reston99.

          • reston99

            try a book on manners you snarky little thang… LOL.

          • Meh

            Manners are wasted on insects like you.

          • reston99

            ditto.

    • reston99

      We love Lake Anne, always have and support the farm market & craft fair Sat’s, music events & festivals, love the bookstore. Miss my Jasmine and the woman’s boutique shop that was across from it. I don’t think it appeals to the pretentious millennial crowd, they are found more at Reston Town Center, but that suits me just fine.

    • Rational Reston

      What have I done for Lake Anne? Nothing, there’s nothing that appeals to me in that center from the buildings to the businesses. And judging by the number of businesses that do not succeed, I am not the only one.

      Lake Anne needs some serious out of the box thinking to make it work. Until then it’ll just be the graveyard for bad business ideas.

    • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

      Paulette,
      It is not our job to “support” the plaza as if it is a charity. If the businesses don’t attract customers, don’t blame the potential customers. Not all good businesses can survive in a depressing area that feels unsafe. It should be imploded. If shops want to sell fancy chocolates and 5 dollar cupcakes, they should move to a shopping center that is not surrounded by Sec 8 housing and illegal immigrants loitering all day. Its really not hard to understand.

      • Feh

        But… but… the diversity… and the affordable housing… our community needs them!

        Don’t ask me why, but we do, and no sacrifice is too great to keep them!

  • Rob Norwood

    I’m sad to see Linda go, but I can’t fault her for retiring. Her asking price for the business is fair. I suspect the right person could definitely make it work. But I, too, am concerned about the current viability of Lake Anne with the number of closing businesses there. In my opinion, a few opportunities were missed. I know the community center is a great space, but at the end of the day it’s a community center – that space would be better off with a niche market like Trader Joe’s in there.
    When winter comes this year, it will be a ghost town.

    • LakeAnneFan

      They break ground next year on a boutique grocery to be at the corner of Village & Baron Cameron.

      • Rob Norwood

        The plans still say “Developers envision a boutique grocery store.” They break ground on the Lake Anne redevelopment next year, yes, but there really aren’t that many boutique grocery stores that would be interested in that space. Trader Joe’s has an owned location and it’s too small for Whole Foods or Fresh Market.
        But that’s irrelevant. It would have been perfect for Trader Joe’s when Trader Joe’s came to Reston and it would have been a boon to the community for the past decade, but that would have required a ton of concessions from the Lake Anne community at the time.

  • justsayin

    I did frequent the Lake Anne florist for wine and flowers, and enjoyed the tastings she would have on Saturdays after the farm market. Good luck to you! Wish you a happy retirement.

  • justsayin

    I actually like the Lake Anne center the way it is as I grew up here but have hopes that the redesign will bring in new blood /merchants and fit all types of new shoppers & diners. They’re also redesigning the Reston International center, which is supposed to be a huge new growth area..so all good reston, we’ll adapt.

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