A business acting as a trading post for outdoor gear is ramping up for a big unveil in Herndon.

The newly formed Good Wolf Gear looks to buy and sell camping goods, pet products and other items at Herndon’s Sunset Business Park (287 Sunset Park Drive);

The business is focused on backpacking, camping and hiking gear and features brands such as Arcade Belts, Cotopaxi, Gregory, National Geographic Maps and Rumpl.

It’s been operating by appointment only but will have its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. Once open, it will have store hours fr0m that same timespan Tuesdays through Saturdays.

“When people ask why we decided to open Good Wolf Gear, the truth is that we were inspired by our friends: they helped set up our first tent; they shared their scary stories around the campfire; and they let us dig into their Dutch Oven breakfasts while we struggled to get our contacts in,” owners Margaret Kim and Tana Sarntinoranont say on the Good Wolf Gear website.

The owners say   they created Good Wolf Gear for those friends and anyone else willing to share those experiences while helping people become better stewards of nature. That’s why they prefer reselling items — to keep them from landfills.

“I hope we can inspire people to connect with a part of nature they never even knew existed,” store manager Spencer Horn says in a news release. “Ultimately, we’re storytellers, and we want to inspire others to become storytellers as well.”

Resellers can get 25% of the resale price in cash or 50% of the resale price in store credit.

“Good Wolf Gear’s goal is to build community through sustainability,” the company says. “Has your toddler outgrown her kid carrier? Trade it in for credit towards her first pair of hiking boots, and tell us about the adventures you’ve shared. Has your family pup learned to stay on the trail? Stop by for a local trail map and get advice on favorite hikes from other dog owners.”

Photos via instagram.com/goodwolfgear

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has made wedding planning an especially turbulent affair in recent months, couples in Herndon at least have a new option for getting outfitted for their walk down the aisle.

The bridal and event planning shop Lulu’s Bridal and Global Events is holding its grand opening today (Friday) with an official ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m. The store is located in Suite 202 at 731 Elden Street, right across from Herndon’s Old Town Hall.

Founder and owner Luzette “Lulu” Njweipi has dreamed about dresses she’s wanted to design her whole life.

“Since about the age of 16 I have always wanted my outfits to be unique and standout,” Njweipi says on her website.

She started designing and making wedding dresses officially in 2019, but she was designing dresses before then.

“I have a love for love, and weddings and everything dresses,” Njeweipi. “So I’ve always wanted to have my own bridal shop.”

Lulu’s Bridal and Global Events doesn’t just make dresses, though. They also help plan events, put together accessories and decor, and do make-up.

While there are some dresses that can be bought off the rack, Njeweipi specializes in making unique gowns that fit the vision of each individual customer.

“If you have a unique style that you want, we are able to kind of work with you to bring it to life,” she said.

Information on booking consultations and images of some of the looks Lulu’s Bridal has can be found on their website. Custom pieces and designs need to be ordered with plenty of advanced notice so the designers have time to make the items.

Lulu’s will be doing a bridal show in September to showcase some of its designs. More information will posted to the store’s Instagram and Facebook pages when it becomes available.

“We’re excited about the grand opening and we hope we will be able to serve the community as a whole,” Njeweipi said.

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Morning Notes

A swallowtail butterfly on white phlox (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Reston Man Among Suspects in Maryland Murder — Reston resident William Rivera-Martinez, 20, is among five people who have been arrested and face charges in the April murder of a 15-year-old Nelson Ramos. As of Thursday morning (June 24), Rivera-Martinez was in Fairfax County custody and awaiting extradition to Prince George’s County. [The Washington Post]

Threat of Mass Evictions Looms with Moratorium Set to End — Fairfax County officials say there’s “plenty of emergency rental assistance” to help residents at risk of eviction, but with Virginia expected to let its eviction moratorium expire when the COVID-19 state of emergency ends on June 30, they worry it will take too long to get the money to landlords to stave off evictions. [Inside NoVA]

Herndon Startup Chosen for Amazon Program — The data analytics company HawkEye 360 has been chosen by Amazon Web Services for a four-week business accelerator focused on the space industry. The 10 companies selected for the program will get business advice and support in their efforts to collect data from satellites for cloud computing. [Axios]

Reston Trucking Software Company Acquired — “Trucker Tools LLC, a Reston outfit that offers a digital freight management platform, has been acquired by ASG, a California company backed by private equity firm Alpine Investors that specializes in purchasing and building software-as-a-service companies.” [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Inlet Court townhouses (via vantagehill/Flickr)

General Assembly to Hold Special Session in August — “Governor Ralph Northam today [Wednesday] issued a proclamation calling the members of the General Assembly into special session on Monday, August 2. A special session is necessary to fill judicial vacancies and allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding.” [Office of the Governor]

TJ Admissions Changes Result in Increased Diversity — The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Class of 2025 will include more Black and Hispanic students, more girls, and more economically disadvantaged students than past years, according to Fairfax County Public Schools data. This is the first cohort to be admitted under a new admissions system that ditched the magnet school’s usual admissions test and $100 application fee. [The Washington Post]

Herndon Office Building Sold — The investment company Boyd Watterson Asset Management has purchased a 160,000 square-foot office building at 13651 McLearen Road for $48 million. The McLearen Center is in the same complex as the Transportation Security Administration’s Freedom Center and Nysmith School, and it counts Boeing as a long-term tenant, though the lease is set to expire in May 2022. [Washington Business Journal]

Reston Contractor Reports Medicaid Data Breach — Maximus Corp., a government health data services provider based in Reston, says a data breach that occurred between May 17 and 19 exposed the personal information of more than 334,000 Medicaid healthcare providers nationwide. The incident did not affect information about patients or Medicaid beneficiaries, according to the company. [Information Security Media Group]

Irish Rock Band Joins Arrowbrook Concert Lineup — The D.C.-based Irish rock band Scythian will perform at Arrowbrooke Centre Park in Herndon on July 17 as part of Fairfax County’s Music at Arrowbrook Centre concert series, one of several free summer concert series organized by the county park authority. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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CACI ranked ninth on The Washington Post’s “Top Workplaces” list for the largest companies (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Reston newcomer CACI International is one of several companies in Reston and Herndon that were named among the best places to work in the D.C. area by The Washington Post’s eighth annual Top Workplaces survey.

Recognized in a virtual awards ceremony on June 17 and publicly announced on Friday (June 18), the list features the 200 highest-ranked companies in the region based on employee surveys conducted by the third-party engagement firm Energage LLC.

According to the Post, more than 3,500 area companies were invited to participate in the contest, and more than 65,500 employees filled out the questionnaire, which considered factors ranging from pay and benefits to retention and confidence in the organization’s leadership.

While the Post still identifies CACI as an Arlington-based company, the information technology contractor cut the ribbon on its new headquarters building near the future Reston Town Center Metro station at the end of May.

Ranked ninth in the “largest companies” category, which includes organizations with at least 1,000 workers in the D.C. area, CACI employs 7,743 people locally and recorded $5.7 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2020, putting it on the Fortune 500 list of the largest companies in the U.S. for the first time since its founding in 1962.

Here are the other Reston and Herndon companies that found a spot on the Top Workplaces list:

Large (500-1,000 employees)

  • Deltek (#12)
  • Noblis (#14): This is the Reston contractor’s eighth consecutive year on the Post’s list, according to a news release
  • GAP Solutions (#19)
  • Northwest Federal Credit Union (#27)

Mid-Size (150-500 employees)

  • Acclaim Technical Services (#5)
  • Procentrix (#6)
  • B3 Group (#12)
  • Ventera Corp. (#19)
  • Dev Technology Group (#24)
  • Amyx (#56)
  • ATCS (#61)
  • Brightspot (#73)

Small (50-150 employees)

  • ThunderCat Technology (#9)
  • Navitas Business Consulting (#19)
  • Expedition Technology (#21)
  • Northstrat (#23)
  • Northramp (#28)
  • Intact Technology (#40)
  • Actualize Consulting (#49)
  • Assured Consulting Solutions (#53)
  • Electrosoft Services (#58)
  • SeKON Enterprises (#68)
  • HawkEye 360 (#69)
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Morning Notes

Purple flowers in outdoor planter at Lake Anne Plaza (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Local Birds Suffer from Mysterious Ailment — “People should refrain from feeding birds until scientists determine the cause of a mysterious ailment that has blinded and killed hundreds of birds in Maryland, Virginia and the District since at least late May, a federal agency said Monday.” [The Washington Post]

Dogwood ES to Hold Meeting on Principal Selection — Dogwood Elementary School will hold a virtual meeting today (Tuesday) at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the process for selecting a new principal with staff, families, and community members. The meeting will be conducted through BlackBoard. [Dogwood ES]

Herndon IT Firm Officially Bought by Booz Allen — “McLean, Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton, already the largest government IT contractor in the D.C. region, has completed its acquisition of Herndon-based Liberty IT Solutions for $725 million…Liberty IT Solutions has a backlog of more than $2 billion in IT modernization work. Booz Allen says the acquisition will immediately increase revenue growth and earnings.” [WTOP]

Reston Software Company to Be Acquired — “Investment firms Blackstone and Vista Equity Partners have reached an agreement to acquire Reston-based higher education software company Ellucian, according to an announcement from the companies released Monday…Ellucian provides enterprise resource planning software products such as student information systems, data analytics tools and graduation-tracking platforms for more than 2,700 higher education customers in more than 50 countries representing more than 26 million students.” [Virginia Business]

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District Floor Depot is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony this month for its new showroom in Herndon (Photo by Yusuf Mehmetoglu)

More than a year after it originally planned to open, District Floor Depot has set a date for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the launch of its new store in Herndon.

The hardwood flooring retailer had anticipated opening its new showroom at 1051 Elden Street back in April 2020, but the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic derailed those plans, according to District Floor Depot Managing Partner Yusuf Mehmetoglu.

The new store has been welcoming customers since Oct. 12, when it had a soft opening, but the ribbon cutting was canceled to ensure the event would be in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines, Mehmetoglu says.

Now, District Floor Depot will finally get to introduce itself to downtown Herndon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. on June 24.

“We opened the District Floor Depot Herndon location to help customers make great design choices and to make the best flooring options accessible to them at a great price,” Mehmetoglu said.

This is District Floor Depot’s third store. The retailer opened its original location at 1600 Rhode Island Avenue in D.C. in April 2017, followed by a second spot in the District at 1306 Good Hope Road SE.

A fourth store in College Park, Maryland, is currently in the works, according to the company’s website.

In addition to selling various types of flooring, including hardwood, vinyl, and bamboo, District Floor Depot provides related accessories and services, such as restorations, stains and finishes, moldings, and cleaning products.

Refreshments will be served at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and attendees will also be able to enter to win gift cards and floor cleaning kits, Mehmetoglu says, adding that he’s thankful for the Town of Herndon and all residents and businesses that have already stopped by the showroom.

“We offer top quality flooring including everything from hardwood to bamboo and reclaimed to vinyl,” Managing Partner Mani Pahlevanpour said in a press release. “We are committed to providing our customers with the best flooring options at the best prices, without compromising quality or customer service.”

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Morning Notes

Second COVID-19 Vaccine Could Be Approved for Teens — “Biotechnology company Moderna announced Tuesday that its two-shot coronavirus vaccine produced the same protective immune response in teens as it does in adults, and the firm said it plans to submit the data to U.S. regulators for review in early June. If authorized, the vaccine would become the second available for adolescents as young as 12.” [The Washington Post]

Fairfax County Updates COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard — The Fairfax County Health Department launched an updated version of its vaccine dashboard yesterday (Tuesday) with data on administered doses, how many people have gotten vaccinated, demographic breakdowns, and other information. [FCHD]

Preliminary Work Begins on W&OD Wiehle Bridge — “Preliminary work is being performed @ the Wiehle Ave intersection in Reston in preparation for the eventual bridge there. Over the next couple of weeks, Dominion Energy will be making improvements to the gravel trail so that it may be used as a detour as they relocate facilities.” [The W&OD Trail/Twitter]

Man Hit with Bottle in Castle Rock Square — Police responded to the 2200 block of Castle Rock Square in Reston around 11:49 p.m. on Monday (May 24), when a man was hit “in the upper body with a bottle by someone known to him,” the department says. The victim in the incident, which was not a stabbing as initially reported by a scanner, said that he didn’t want the case to be investigated by officers. [FCPD]

County to Hold Meeting on Proposed Bicycle Lanes — Fairfax County will hold a virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 8 to discuss striping changes that would create bicycle lanes on several roads. The Hunter Mill District proposals focus on Herndon, adding lanes on segments of McNair Farms Drive and Thomas Jefferson Drive and converting the “underutilized” outside travel lanes on Coppermine Road to buffered bike lanes. [FCDOT]

Herndon Company Recognized for Veteran Hiring — “Herndon-headquartered Serco North America earned the designation VETS Indexes 5 Star Employer as part of the 2021 VETS Indexes Employer Awards. The designation recognizes Serco’s commitment to recruiting, hiring, retaining, developing and supporting veteran employees, military spouses and others in the military community.” [Fairfax County EDA]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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After months of virtual classes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a consensus emerged in Fairfax County that in-person learning is the ideal approach for students, but for the thousands of students who attend Stride Inc.‘s kindergarten-to-12th-grade schools, online classes are the norm, rather than the exception.

Stride says it has provided virtual learning to more than 2 million people since launching as K12 Inc. in 2000, but last Tuesday (May 18) represented a first for the Herndon-based company, as a dozen students and their families gathered at its corporate headquarters for the first-ever K12 National Spelling Bee.

“Spelling bees are a rite of passage for students everywhere, but it’s never been done online at this scale,” Stride CEO James Rhyu said in a statement.

The competition featured 12 students from nine states, including Virginia, who advanced to the finals after winning contests within their schools and regions. There were four finalists each at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, all of them from Stride’s online public school program.

Stride schools regularly offer activities and events for students to interact with classmates in person, including student clubs, field trips, and extracurricular activities, but the spelling bee championship gave students a chance to meet peers from around the country, Director of Corporate Communications Emily Riordan says.

“We are always looking for new ways to provide students with experiences that further enrich their academic pursuits, to give them space to demonstrate what they know, and to connect with each other,” she told Reston Now. “…The National Spelling Bee is one way we’re bringing together students from different schools, but who share the experience of attending public school online.”

Students at the event were required to wear face masks for its entirety, and they completed health screenings prior to arriving, according to a press release from Stride.

However, some students still attended virtually instead of traveling to Herndon, including Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) third grader Ilyannie Gonzalez, who participated remotely from the other side of the country.

Ilyannie ultimately won the elementary school-level championship, beating out three other students who were attending in person after 18 rounds.

“Competing in the Spelling Bee is a dream come true for me,” she said before the competition started. “I love the challenge, and I am able to expand my vocabulary by learning words that are new to me. Most importantly, I would be making my family and my WAVA community proud.”

Like many other online education providers, Stride reported an increased demand for its services during the pandemic.

In an earnings presentation for the third-quarter of fiscal year 2021 on April 20, the company said that its enrollment had gone up from 122,100 students on March 31, 2020 to 185,300 students one year later, including 155,800 general education students.

In addition to hiring more than 1,300 teachers for the 2020-2021 school year, Stride rebranded in November to reflect its efforts to branch out into adult education and acquired two businesses with the goal of expanding its technology and healthcare career training offerings.

The past year hasn’t been entirely positive for Stride. According to NPR, the company was fired by Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida after technical issues led to a disastrous launch of the district’s virtual learning platform, and online charter schools in general have drawn criticism for students’ performance and a for-profit business model funded by taxpayer money, rather than tuition.

Still, Stride believes the past year has shown that virtual schools can be viable option for students looking for more flexibility than traditional public schools, and the National Spelling Bee suggests social interactions don’t have to be sacrificed in the process.

“Unlike a lot of their brick-and-mortar peers this past year, learning in an online setting is not new for these students, and neither is the opportunity to connect with their classmates and show off what they’ve learned to family and friends,” Rhyu said. “We’re proud of each of the Spelling Bee finalists, and we’re excited to celebrate with them here in Herndon.”

Photo courtesy Emily Riordan/Stride Inc.

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Morning Notes

Virginia to Lift All Capacity Restrictions on June 15 — If COVID-19 cases continue to decline, Gov. Ralph Northam will lift all remaining capacity limits on businesses on June 15, as suggested last week. He has not decided whether to extend the state of emergency set to expire on June 30, a move that would be necessary to keep mask requirements in place. [WTOP]

Anti-War Activist Disrupts General Dynamics Meeting — The co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink disrupted General Dynamics’ annual shareholder meeting in Reston earlier this week, accusing the company of contributing to war, particularly in Yemen, by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. General Dynamics’ CEO called the comments “potentially libelous and incorrect.” [Common Dreams]

Town Center Parkway Study Comments Due Today — Friday (May 7) is the deadline for the public to provide feedback on the Virginia Department of Transportation’s study of the feasibility of extending Town Center Parkway under the Dulles Toll Road. Comments can be shared via mail, email, or online survey. [VDOT NOVA/Twitter]

Herndon Company to Launch SatellitesBlack Sky announced yesterday (Thursday) that it will deploy two more satellites on May 15 as part of an ongoing mission to launch nine “high-resolution multi-spectral” satellites by the end of 2021. The move will allow the company to expand its satellite network as it prepares to go public. [Business Wire]

Cicadas Spotted in Reston — “Based on some pretty sophisticated data analytics (on the four reported sightings), we can conclude that like Realtors, Brood X apparently prefers fashionable North Reston by a (checks supercomputer) three-to-one margin.” [Restonian]

Worldgate Fitness Facility Affiliate Owner Declares Bankruptcy — Sport and Health Virginia Properties filed for bankruptcy in Alexandria on April 22, about two months after the company had its lease for the Worldgate Sport & Health fitness facility in Herndon terminated. The Worldgate facility is now under new management and has been renamed the Worldgate Athletic Club & Spa. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

New Police Chief to Speak at Public Input Session — Community members will get their first chance to talk to new Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis at 7 p.m. on Thursday (May 6). Local civil rights groups have criticized Davis’s past record and a hiring process they say lacked transparency and public involvement, prompting the county board to issue a statement last night reaffirming its support for Davis. [Supervisor Rodney Lusk/Twitter]

Fairway Apartments Sold to Swedish Investor — Swedish investment firm Akelius has acquired Fairway Apartments, a 346-unit apartment community near Reston Town Center, from JBG for $93 million. Akelius says it plans to add new washers and dryers, renovate some kitchens and bathrooms, and make other minor upgrades to the property, which is 97% occupied. [Bisnow]

More Spots Open for Tour de Hunter Mill — More registrations are now available for the Tour de Hunter Mill bicycle ride that will take cyclists through Reston, Vienna, and Tysons on May 15. The event has expanded in response to Virginia easing restrictions on public gatherings that day, according to Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn’s office. [Walter Alcorn/Twitter]

Herndon IT Firm Acquired by McLean Contractor — “McLean, Virginia-based government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton will acquire Herndon, Virginia-based Liberty IT Solutions LLC for $725 million. Liberty IT Solutions has about 600 employees…Its work includes IT modernization projects for government agencies and in the health care industry.” [WTOP]

Nonprofit Food Pantry Distribution Helps 260 Local Families — “We’re happy to have assisted 260 families from the Herndon, Springfield, Chantilly, Alexandria, and Centreville area with groceries, toiletries, fresh produce and store gift cards to help with pantry staple purchases.” [Cornerstones/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County Clears COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist — The Fairfax County Health Department’s vaccine waitlist is now at zero, according to its data dashboard. That means everyone who registered before the county entered Phase 2 on April 18 has now been invited to schedule an appointment. The department registered a total of 435,981 people. [FCHD]

Northam Raises Capacity Limits for School Performances — “Northam said the spectator cap for school performances, including musicals, is increasing to a maximum of 100 attendees for indoor venues — a substantial boost from the previous limit of 50. Outdoor venues will be allowed to welcome up to 500 people.” [WTOP]

Herndon Police Make Arrest in Two-Year-Old Robbery Attempt — A 20-year-old Herndon man has been charged with multiple counts of robbery, assault by mob, and gang participation, among other charges, for an incident that took place on June 18, 2019. According to police, two people had tried to grab a man’s cell phone while he was going for a walk but ran when the robbery attempt proved unsuccessful. [Herndon PD]

Herndon Contractor Buoyed by Space Rover Work — “By spring, coming off a successful mission to help NASA land the Perseverance on Mars and having acquired two big-name companies — a section of Northrup Grumman and Perspecta — Peraton will soon employ 24,000 people and bring in $7 billion in revenue.” [Inside NoVA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

New Fairfax County Registrar Sworn In — Scott O. Konopasek was officially sworn in as Fairfax County’s new general registrar by Clerk of the Court John T. Frey yesterday (Monday). Konopasek was appointed by the Electoral Board in March 11 and replaces Gary Scott, who retired after working for the county’s elections office for 24 years. [Fairfax County Office of Elections/Twitter]

Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities High Despite Pandemic — “Despite the reduction in vehicle traffic, early data from 2020 indicate the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in traffic incidents remained steady across the [D.C.] region — accounting for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities, the Metropolitan Council of Governments said in a news release.” [Inside NoVA]

Governor Tours Tysons Mass Vaccine Site — “Today, I toured @TysonsCorner Vaccination Center w/ @GovernorVA, @RepDonBeyer, @DelegateKeam, @JeffreyCMcKay, & @SupvPalchik to see the set up for tomorrow’s opening. From machines that connect folks to a translator in real-time to 3k appointments for tomorrow. The site is ready.” [Senator Mark Warner/Twitter]

Herndon Satellite Company Expands Capacity — “BlackSky, a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services that recently announced a planned business combination with Osprey Technology Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: SFTW), today shared that its BlackSky 7 satellite completed the commissioning process and entered full commercial operations within two weeks of launch.” [Black Sky]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Local police are investigating burglaries at three Herndon businesses that happened on March 15.

Two burglars smashed the front doors and windows of businesses on the 700 block of Grant Street with rocks and stole cash registers. A third suspect waited in the car, according to the Herndon Police Department.

Information about the incident was released on Tuesday. A spokesperson for HPD declined to release the names of the targeted businesses.

“We aren’t releasing the business names right now, for privacy reasons and because of the ongoing investigation,” the spokesperson told Reston Now in a statement.

Police believe the burglars attempted to target another business but ultimately failed.

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A new French-inspired cafe and bakery is coming to Sunset Park Drive in Herndon next month.

Le Vingt-Trois Cafe and Bakery plans to open on Feb. 23 at 311 Sunset Park Drive, according to Inside NOVA, which first reported the opening of the businesses.

The cafe offers a mix of fresh breads, bagels, croissants, sweets, coffee, and tea. Gluten-free options are available upon request.

Customers can drop by on weekdays between  7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Orders can be placed online. Curbside pickup is also available.

Photo via Le Vingt-Trois Cafe and Bakery

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