Now Closed: Red Velvet Cupcakery in Reston Town Center

by Fatimah Waseem May 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm 27 Comments

Red Velvet Cupcakery in Reston Town Center has officially shuttered its doors.

The store, located at 11939 Democracy Drive, closed on Sunday (May 27). Owner Aaron Gordon announced the closure in early March. His decision was driven by Boston Properties’ paid parking structure.

There are no immediate plans to open another brick-and-mortar location. The store has another location in the District.

Gordon said he was thankful to the community for their support and cherished the eight years his store served the Reston community.

We did our best to fight paid parking in RTC and we are proud to have played a large role in forcing the owners to reduce the paid parking hours, which costs them tens of millions yearly.  We only regret we were unable to force them to scrap their greedy money-grab entirely,” Gordon said. “Finally, we want to send out our best to our many neighbors and friends [whose] businesses were destroyed by paid parking like Busara, The Bike Lane, Neyla, M&S Grill, Appalachian Springs, Origins and many, many more to come.”

Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls will open in the cupcakery’s former location.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

  • SupBrah

    “Incoming closure”?!? Did you mean “upcoming closure” or “impending closure”? #editingmatters #ESL

  • Chuck Morningwood

    Bye bye, Cupcake. We’re going to miss you.

  • vdiv

    “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!”

  • Willie Reston

    Shots fired!

  • LaffyTaffy

    Is anyone actually surprised that a cupcake store closed? Some owners seem to be using the paid parking as a deflection instead of recognizing changing times and outdated business models. I doubt their business was booming prior to paid parking. Their price vs demand was way to high. Busara had some other issues, check out their yelp page. There is a lot of competition out there, people are finding better price and quality else where regardless of the paid parking. Different businesses well move in and do just fine.

    • The Aristocrats

      How much of a bonus did you get for saying this? My guess the ill-gotten loot wont last, chances are you already spent it on credit card late fees.

    • Chkitout1

      Some of these businesses may have had other issues, however; I think you’re making a grave mistake to not say that Boston Properties decision to implement paid parking at RTC has had a significant impact on the success of many of these businesses.

    • JoeInReston

      You needed only visit the Reston Town Center before and after the paid parking policy went into affect. The number of visitors to the place declined significantly. You can’t catch as many fish in the same waters if the number of fish in the pond have declined significantly

      The eyes tell the story – they aren’t lying.

  • John Lovaas

    We will miss you, Aaron and your delicious treats!
    Thanks for fighting the good fight and all the best wherever you decide to go!
    Understand another of our favorites, Edibles Incredible, is right behind you, leaving end of August–number 14 or 15 driven out of Reston by the spiteful parking policy of BP.

    • Guest

      There appears to be a great deal that “progressive” John Lovass has to learn about the meaning of “private property”. (He is more interested in income redistribution and the promotion of democrat/liberal ideology of course.)”Spiteful” parking policy? Really, John , was is “spiteful” about it? Silly or misguided perhaps, but this is a capitalist society and Boston Properties seems to be quite willing to live with both its parking policies and leasing decisions. You don’t shop there anymore, except when parking is free, I presume, so who is being spiteful here?

      • Edward Calvert

        Except the regular folks , especially restonistas, view the parking policy as nothing more than a spiteful money grab by BP executives… Mr. Burns never knows why Springfield hates him, but there’s a reason he lives in a big mansion all alone. Sure, he controls the power and the town’s workforce, but he complains to smither about being an unloved billionaire. The same thing happened with Dan Snyder. People generally don’t like rude boorish rich people, no matter how capitalist they may be. That’s why we have country clubs and public golf courses lol. No need to mix with the riff Raff.

        • Guest

          Here’s a News Flash for you, Mr.Calvert….RTC does not belong to the “restonistas”. Perhaps you really are better off watching reruns of The Simpsons? If folks want to hate both Mr. Burns and Boston Properties, fine, it’s a free country (lol) but you still have a pony up to park in my garage. Life sucks and then you die, after all!

          • Mike M

            Key point. We don’t HAVE to pony up nor park in your garage. Let’s see who wins this. I think BP has already lost, but too arrogant to make further concessions. They have made some.

      • Mike M

        Let’s see if it works for BP before declaring their victory, Guest.

      • I agree to Disqus ToS

        If you asked most people around here they dont see it as a “capitalist society”, they see it as their community, their neighborhood. And for that matter its called Reston. So stop it with the arrogant, insular cultural narcissism already.

  • Greg
  • 30yearsinreston

    Soon to be replaced by a cheap lunch convenience store of the sort that plague all office parks

  • CLP

    Does anyone realize that they were pushed out? They were not even given a lease by Boston Properties! When there lease came up for renewal, Boston Properties had already leased their space to “Lobsters”!

    • Greg

      I don’t think so. Even the owner’s quoted diatribe references paid parking, not an renewed lease, as the proximate cause.

      • JoeInReston

        Aaron Gordon hinted about this in late August of last year. Selected quotes from Gordon in this Reston Now article:


        I feel very, very, very confident that they are planning not to renew our lease, and they’re stonewalling us. This is all retaliation, plain and simple.

        I have no doubt that they are retaliating against me and Red Velvet Cupcakery for being one of the leaders of the fight against paid parking. I have a whole timeline of reasons I believe this to be true.

        Before this whole battle, they loved Red Velvet, they loved me as an owner, and they loved the new concepts I [would be] putting in. Until, of course, now.

        We received a message from them — we couldn’t even get a meeting — that, basically, they’re looking for new and fresh ideas and they want to scour the marketplace, and we may not fit into their plans, but they won’t know until the end of the year. In my mind, this is ‘Shut up until the end of year, because we’re considering you, but we’re looking for new and fresh ideas.’ The whole thing is ludicrous.”

        Different, unique, locally owned — that’s everything Red Velvet is

        If we’re not renewed, I’ll have very different feelings, as you can imagine, toward my landlord. I can’t help but saying I’ll care a whole lot less about the future of Reston Town Center

        • Greg

          That’s still not pushing them out.

          In renting space, commercial or residential, one assumes the risk of a lease not being renewed. For no reason.

          If it was a well-written lease, it would have had anti-disparagement clauses. Maybe it does and maybe Boston Properties will enforce them.

          In this case, he lost his parking battle and his business space and is left with his sore-loser postings.

          • JoeInReston

            The presumption is that Boston Properties did not renew their lease with Red Velvet Cupcakery because of Aaron Gordon’s activism against paid parking.

            Do you disagree with that presumption? Or do you disagree with using the term “pushing them out” to describe such action?

          • Greg

            Both. A presumption is hearsay. The fact is that the lease was not renewed. No one pushed anyone.

          • John Higgins

            This sounds like a distinction without a difference. In the vernacular, they were “kicked out”. Whether that was for the reasons BP cited or punishment for the stand against BP’s parking policies, Red Velvet was involuntarily ejected. That was BP’s right. And there are consequences to exercising that right. The RTC hardly had a great reputation leading up to this; but its image has now dropped a few notches.

          • Greg

            But it is different. It was a decision made by a private business. The only fact we know is that the lease was not renewed. Period. You can style it in any way you wish, but it’s none of our business.

            BP, and its landlords, know what it is doing and oversee one of the most successful and profitable mixed-use developments in the country.

            Moreover, BP’s fiduciary duty is to it shareholders, not to any particular business — let alone one who has a long history of advocating adverse positions.

            Let Red Velvet Cupcakery move to go North Point, Lake Anne, South Lakes, Fox Mill, Herndon, Tysons Corner Center, or hundreds of other places where parking is free.

            Or not free. What is the cost of parking in Georgetown? Or Doha?

  • JoeInReston

    Peter Johnston, Boston Properties executive vice president for the Washington, D.C. region, on the future of the Reston Town Center:

    “We’re going to lose. We’re going to lose so much. We’re going to lose revenues because of our parking policies, we’re going to lose RTC merchants. We’re going to lose so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of losing, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t lose anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. Johnston, we beg you sir, we don’t want to lose anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else.’” Johnston said. “And I’m going to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re going to keep losing, losing, losing, losing, We’re going to make the RTC suck likes it never sucked before.”

  • Del Mueller

    The replacement is coming in late Sept 2018. The Lobster roll franchise. $16+ for a lobster roll. I will check it out but it better be damn good for that price. How many middle/upper class families of four will drop $64 plus tax with no drinks? After the initial rush I suspect that their business volume will drop appreciably.


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