As COVID-19 continues to cause major economic disturbances across the country, Visit Fairfax has a new program to support local businesses and people impacted by the pandemic.
Fairfax County is heavily reliant on tourism and visitors for conferences. Visit Fairfax’s president Barry Biggar said the organization is working to combat some of the economic downturn.
Biggar said restrictions on non-essential businesses coupled with the economic downturn have had “devastating” consequences for local businesses, services and eateries in the last three weeks.
While many restaurants are trying to pivot by offering delivery, curbside pickup and delivery, some have temporarily closed. Biggar said that he expects many won’t reopen.
Visit Fairfax staffers are trying to help coordinate tools for the community through the “Fairfax First” program, he said.
The program is a collection of tools, lists and opportunities that residents can take advantage of to support themselves and others during this turbulent time, according to the website. It includes fun things to do while at home, virtual tours of popular attractions, mental health resources and ways to support local businesses.
Visit Fairfax is also promoting “Virginia Is for Restaurant Lovers Takeout Week,” which runs from March 30-April 5.
“Virginians are encouraged to order takeout, delivery or curbside pickup from local restaurants and to use the hashtag #VirginiaEatsLocal to spread the word,” according to Visit Fairfax’s website.
Last year around this time, hotels in the area were at or above 70% capacity, according to Biggar, who added that now they are at or below 18%.
Around Virginia, he said more than 24,000 people in the service industry have lost their jobs permanently due to staffing cuts.
Along with other resources, Visit Fairfax coordinated with local hotels to help first responders find a list of steeply discounted rooms that will put them up if they are either self-isolating away from their families or need another place to rest, according to Biggar.
As the pandemic continues in Fairfax County without any sign of slowing, Biggar said that he can’t make a judgment yet about how this will affect the economic well being of the area going forward, but does predict an eventual rise in domestic travel around the third and fourth quarters later this year.
Though things are “changing every day,” Biggar said he wants people to “start thinking and dreaming about what you want to do when this is over” in terms of vacations and getaways to boost the economy again.
Photo courtesy James B. Crusan III
American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association will be under new leadership after the retirement of its current president and treasurer, according to a press release.
The non-profit organization, which is based in Reston, provides military life insurance, help with wealth management, survivor assistance and mortgage services, according to its website. Walt Lincoln, who served with the company for 28 years will be succeeded by Michael Meese, the press release said.
Both Meese and Lincoln served in the United States armed forces for significant stints themselves, according to the press release, which added that during Lincon’s management, the company expanded membership growth 36%.
“Working for, and alongside, so many great people for so long, doing work that we know makes such a positive difference in the lives of the families who have sacrificed so much for our country and its freedom — it will be difficult to step away from all of that,” Lincoln said in the release.
It is unclear exactly when leadership responsibilities will transition over to Meese, but he comes into the position after serving as the chief operating officer for the company since 2013, according to the press release.
Photo via Jon Sailer/Unsplash
To help startups and small business owners, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce decided to host free online “business success” webinars.
These online events will teach people how to manage various challenges, covering issues like prolonged teleworking and financial strife, according to a press release.
Each event will be held through Zoom, a free digital teleworking software.
“These are free webinars designed to provide education around issues that are on the minds of people and businesses right now as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” the press release said. “They have also adapted their popular Business Education Series (BES) to a webinar format.”
Though the seminars kicked off on March 27, there are several more scheduled in the next couple of days.
On Wednesday (April 1) people will be able to attend the digital seminar “Practical Tips for Prolonged Teleworking“from 1 until 2 p.m.
A seminar on “Financial Advice for Yourself, Your Business, and Details on SBA Loans” will be hosted on April 3 from 1 until 2 p.m.
To finish off the series, “How to Maintain Wellness (Physical, Mental and Nutritional) When it Matters Most” will be held from 1 until 2 p.m. on April 7.
People can visit the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce‘s website for more information on upcoming digital events.
Photo courtesy Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce
Blood Drives in Fire Station Parking Lots — “Several Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Volunteer Fire Departments are partnering with Inova Blood Donor Services to hold blood drives in their fire station parking lots. Due to current events, blood supplies in Fairfax County and the nation are at dangerously low levels and dropping.” [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]
County Buildings to Close to Public — All government facilities and buildings will be closed to the public beginning Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. The county government remains open for business online and by phone and email. [Fairfax County Government]
Metro Closes More Stations — “Metro’s Pandemic Task Force today announced the strategic closing of 17 additional stations, effective Thursday, March 26, 2020, in an effort to conserve critical resources and protect the health and safety of Metro employees and the public. This follows drastic measures already taken to reduce travel on Metro to essential trips only, leading to a Metrorail ridership decline of 90 percent.” [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]
Economic Injury Loans for Small Businesses — Small businesses in the state can apply for low-interest Economic Injury Loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Businesses can get up to $2 million in working capital loans. [SBA]
Don’t Use Drug Take-Back Boxes — The boxes at the county’s police district stations will be closed until further notice to protect residents and first responders. [Fairfax County. Government]
Photo by Marjorie Copson
Homeowners in the Herndon area looking to install new hardwood floors will have another retail option with the grand opening of District Floor Depot.
The showroom (1051 Elden Street) is expected to open in April, according to a customer representative.
The shop will offer customers six different hardwood floor styles including traditional, distressed, luxury resilience, renewable, reclaimed and exotic, according to the website.
The varieties vary in cost, and prices can be found online.
Other District Floor Depot locations include two in D.C. at 1600 Rhode Island Ave NE and 1306 Good Hope Road SE, the website said.
Photo via District Floor Depot/Facebook
Several Reston-based companies made it to a national list that recognizes employers for dedication to diversity and inclusion.
The yearly list of 500 companies, which is compiled by Forbes magazine, included three Reston-based companies and 13 companies in Fairfax County.
SAIC, an information technology company that stands for Science Applications International Corporation, ranked #91 on the list. Leidos, which is opening up its headquarters in Reston Town Center soon, got the 455th spot while Bechtel, an engineering and construction company, got the 500th spot.
“The workforce today – and the workforce of tomorrow – want to see a commitment to diversity and inclusion by employers, and it is a testament to these Fairfax County companies’ efforts to attract talented employees from all backgrounds and walks of life that they are part of this impressive national ranking,” said Victor Hoskins, president and CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.
Forbes’ list was compiled using survey data from a sample of more than 60,000 U.S. employees. Other factors like diversity levels among executives, leadership positions responsible for diversity, and the presence of a diverse company culture were also considered as part of the determination.
Photo courtesy Boston Properties
While most of my columns are about issues that need resolution and challenges that state government must meet, a column focused on what others are doing to improve life in our communities is appropriate from time to time. If we allow ourselves to relax for a few moments to see and marvel in some good news, it does not mean that we are any less committed to improving the world or that we will lose our momentum in trying to do so. There are many more stories of progress that I hope to share in this short space in the future, but an event last month deserves our immediate attention.
The Business Roundtable made up of 181 CEO’s of America’s biggest companies issued a new “Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation” last month that makes a dramatic shift from past statements that emphasized shareholder primacy to a “fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.” The broadened purpose is explained to include delivering value to customers, investing in employees, dealing ethically and fairly with suppliers, and supporting communities in which they are located. (opportunity. businessroundtable.org)
Socially responsible actions taken voluntarily on the part of many companies may have spurred the new Business Roundtable statement, but the hope is that other corporations will follow with actions that are as positive for their workers and the communities they serve as they are for the bottom line. As the Roundtable statement explained, “investing in our employees…starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits.” Maybe there will be a future where my bill to increase the paltry $7.25 an hour minimum wage in Virginia will be supported by local Chambers of Commerce instead of outright opposition they have expressed in the past. Concern for workers at the minimum should be that they are paid a wage on which they can live.
The Roundtable statement acknowledged that “while each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders.” Among the stakeholders are the communities in which businesses are located to which the Roundtable members expressed that “we respect the people in our communities and protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses.” The consumer continues to have the choice of buying products that are made in a sustainable way and to refuse to purchase those that are not.
The auto manufacturers who made an agreement with the state of California to follow strict emission standards for automobiles regardless of the irresponsible action by the federal government to lower standards are to be applauded and supported by other states in the court suit. How ironic would it be if the courts decided that companies could not gain a competitive advantage by being more environmentally responsible.
The Business Roundtable Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation concludes that “each of our stakeholders is essential. We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.” Those same “stakeholders” are referred to in government as “constituencies.” When the common goals of business and society as reflected through its government are recognized, success will be realized by stakeholders and constituencies!
Although most of the business is fully operational, the mind and body studio will require repairs over the next several weeks.
The fallen tree damaged Onelife’s HVAC unit. Punctures in the roof also led to major flooding.
Onelife is offering additional yoga classes in the main group exercise studio beginning today (Monday):
- Monday 7:30 p.m., Sunset Yoga
- Tuesday: Noon, Vinyasa Flow Yoga; 7:30 p.m., Slow Flow Yoga
- Wednesday 7:30 p.m. Vinyasa Flow Yoga
- Saturday 11:30 a.m.Power Yoga
- Sunday: 8:00 a.m. Vinyasa Flow Yoga
“Even though most of the damage was in the Mind/Body studio, the team has worked non-stop since Tuesday night and we will be able to host classes on Monday morning,” Nancy Terry, senior vice president of marketing at US Fitness Holdings, told Reston Now.
The kids club opened last Wednesday and all amenities in the women’s locker room opened later in the week.
Onelife Fitness is located at 11445 Isaac Newton Square.
Photo via @codesurfer_/Twitter
White HART Massage, a business that offers pain management and injury rehabilitation, is moving to a larger location in Herndon.
A ribbon cutting with Town of Herndon officials is set for Tuesday, June 11 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the new location (491 Carlisle Drive).
The business will host a grand opening on Saturday, June 15 from 5-8 p.m.
Casey White, the owner and a licensed massage therapist, said her business is entering its fifth year of work. She called the new location a “tranquil oasis in the middle of bustling Northern Virginia.”
The office community where we are located is a tranquil oasis in the middle of bustling Northern Virginia. It is a calming space. But more importantly, as we focus on massage for pain management and injury rehabilitation we choose a location with direct access to our first floor suite. The ability for our clients to reach us is of utmost importance. That also determined our location, which is close to the Fairfax County Parkway and the Toll Road, which allows easy access for our clients who travel from all over to see us. Our clients come from Bristow, Fredricksburg, Arlington, West Virginia, and of course Herndon/Reston. So proximity to major roads was important to us.
White HART offers massage therapy, corporate massages and a pre-natal massage.
Photos via Casey White
Forcepoint Federal, a company owned by defense contractor Raytheon and private equity firm Vista Equity Partners, has signed a lease for the Monument II building on Worldgate Drive in Herndon.
The global security company will lease more than 46,000 square feet.
EDGE Commercial Real Estate, a commercial real estate firm, represented the landlord, Washington REIT, in the transaction. In a release, the company issued the following statement about the lease:
“The extremely large concentration of high-quality businesses contained within the Herndon, Dulles, Reston, Chantilly and Sterling sub-markets, each of which is accessed via a modern transportation network, makes this building the perfect choice for Forcepoint,” explained Scott Rabin of EDGE Commercial Real Estate. “This location is also convenient for the company’s many clients associated with the Federal Government, with offices throughout the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C. region. Monument II is an extremely high-profile building that matches the integrity and professionalism of Forcepoint.”
Monument II is located in Worldgate Centre, which is located at 13025 Worldgate Drive.
Map via Google Maps
Lake Anne Hair Design at Lake Anne Plaza (11404 Washington Plaza W) is being sold following the death of longtime owner Randy Burr in January.
The hair studio has been in business in Reston for 30 years as a no-appointment-needed barber shop.
According to an obituary, Burr went to barber school at 17 and started the design studio in the late 1970s.
“[Burr] became a neighborhood fixture waiting to strike up a conversation or watch any tennis-match on TV,” according to the obituary. “He, a true optimist, was always genuinely willing to help others in any way he could.”
In a Facebook post after Burr’s death, Lake Anne Plaza wrote a short tribute:
Randy has been on Lake Anne Plaza almost from the beginning- cutting hair, making jokes, telling stories and waving at the passersby from his comfortable chair outside his shop. He will be missed by many.
Photo via Robyn Burdett Real Estate Group
Updated at 3:25 p.m. — Deputy Minority Leader Mark Sickles was recently added to the event.
An upcoming Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce event plans to examine how the current political climate will likely impact businesses across the state.
The event next Wednesday (March 13) features House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-66th District), Deputy Minority Leader Mark Sickles (D-43rd District) and Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington.
Attendees can expect to learn about how Gov. Ralph Northam’s policies and a narrowly divided General Assembly may affect businesses for the next two years. Cox will provide insight into which passed bills will impact the business community.
The event will be held from 7:30-10 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street). Online registration will close on Tuesday (March 12).
Image via @SpeakerCox/Twitter
D.C.-based fitness chain Solidcore plans to open its doors in about three weeks at RTC West.
Solidcore plans to open its Reston studio at 12100 Sunset Hills Blvd on March 9, according to an email yesterday (Feb. 14) to potential customers.
The opening is part of a larger expansion of Solidcore, with more than a dozen new locations slated to open in the next year, along with ones in Arlington and D.C.
Started in D.C. in 2013, Solidcore offers pilates classes, along with a boot camp for full-body workouts. The fitness chain has more than 40 locations across the country, including nearby ones in Tysons Corner and the Mosaic District.
The schedule for the grand opening is set to get posted on Feb. 25.
Photo via Solidcore
Baskin-Robbins is no longer dishing out ice cream at its store on Elden Street in Herndon.
A spokesman for Dunkin’ Brands, which owns the ice cream chain and franchises Dunkin’ Donuts, confirmed that the shop at 1258 Elden Street in Herndon has closed. He did not answer questions about when the store shuttered its doors or why.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to our loyal guests,” according to a statement from Baskin–Robbins. “We recommend guests visit our location at 13344 Franklin Farm Road in Herndon.”
Baskin-Robbins also has a location in Reston at 1446 Reston Pkwy.
Image via Google Maps
Google is significantly expanding its operations in Northern Virginia, as part of a $13 billion round of investment in new offices and data centers across the U.S.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced the plans in a blog post Wednesday afternoon.
“With new office and data center development, our workforce in Virginia will double,” Pichai wrote.
The post did not specify exact locations or other details, but Google currently has an office at Reston Town Center and was reported to be considering a major new lease near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.
It was also previously reported that Google had purchased sites in Ashburn and Leesburg for two new data centers.