Reston, VA

With all the recent events and looming pandemic, there has been a push on social media and within social groups to support locally run businesses owned by locals and community members — allowing them to maintain their livelihoods.

Reston Now rounded up shops within Reston and Herndon that offer some additions to either your home or a gift basket for someone else.

Though Ralph Northam issues a statement on March 24, that only essential businesses are allowed to stay open, it was noted in an official press release that brick and mortar small-businesses are allowed to stay open if they can maintain mandated social distancing orders and cleanliness standards.

“If any such business cannot adhere to the 10-patron limit with proper social distancing requirements, it must close,” the statement said.

Herndon

Right! On Records (731 Elden Street) supplies visitors with an array of new and used records. Prices start at $1 and go up from there. Staff at the store are more than happy to help suggest artists, according to the site. Shipping anywhere in the US is $4 or people can pick up items for free. The store takes credit cards through the phone but can also send customers a PayPal invoice, the site said. They can be reached at (703) 657-4440.

Those seeking custom apparel can check out Fairfax Screen Printing online. Though hours have been reduced from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. staff members are still available by phone at 703 435 3174 and are offering curbside drop off, the website said. The store can print t-shirts, hats, outerwear, kids’ cloths and accessories, the site said.

Shoppers at Senpai’s Corner Anime & Gift Shop (795 Center Street, Suite 4) can find unique and cute items including stuffed animals and wearable gear, the website said. Prices range and the location doesn’t deliver but a staff member said the location limits customers in the store to two at a time, for social distancing purposes.

Reston

Local stop Scrawl Books is delivering reads to the front doors of bibliophiles, according to its Facebook page. Shoppers can discover reads from all genres and many local authors. Though people cannot browse in the store, due to COVID-19 concerns, people can read descriptions online and also pick up the books in the store if they choose, the website said.

Boutique Lou Lou is offering free shipping on purchases above $40. The store offers lots of accessories and clothing for women.

Photo via Scrawl Books/Facebook

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New stores and businesses are preparing to open at Herndon’s latest retail development.

The Elden Corner Center development (902 Alabama Drive) includes space for eight commercial relators, a spokesperson for Capital Realty Advisors said, adding that all of the storefronts — except for one — are already rented out.

According to the spokesperson, tenants will include:

  • Bodega El Paisa, a grocery and market
  • Paraiso Latino Restaurant and Bakery
  • an apparel store
  • Serenity Spa, a body massage business
  • Boost Mobile
  • Madina Pollo Rico

Boost Mobile will be the first business to open in the shopping center, the spokesperson said, adding that it is expected to open by the end of the month.

The last spot available for lease “has been built out for [a] hair salon use,” according to the representative, but can also be used for other retail use.

“Some of the stores are almost ready to open up, while others are just beginning to do their custom build-outs, but everything should be open by the end of this year,” landlord and owner Sanjay Bajaj said in a press release.

Photo courtesy Elden Corner Center

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Restonians can gather next Saturday (Sept. 21) for a community yard sale.

Attendees are welcome to buy or sell items from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot at 1900 Campus Commons Drive.

There will be around 80 booths at the event, according to the Reston Association.

Shoppers may swing by for free, but those wishing to sell items must preregister and pay a booth fee of $45 for Reston residents or $55 for participants who don’t live in the area. The fee includes the rental of two parking spaces. Tables, chairs and other equipment are not provided.

If it rains on the day of the event, the event page indicates that the yard sale will be rescheduled for Sunday, September 22.

Photo via Reston Association

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(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Don’t be surprised if the Sephora in Reston Town Center is closed tomorrow (Wednesday).

The cosmetics chain plans to close its stores for training on Wednesday (June 5) after R&B singer SZA tweeted in April that she was racially profiled at a California store.

Sephora responded with tweets to the singer saying that they “take complaints like this very seriously and are actively working with our teams to address the situation immediately.”

The cosmetics company posted on Facebook on May 23:

On the morning of 6/5, every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees. These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen.

The stores will be closed for one hour, The New York Times reported. Sephora has a Reston Town Center spot at 11960 Market Street.

Image via Google Maps

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(Updated at 9:30 on April 8) After 38 years at Lake Anne Plaza, Small Change Consignment is set to close its doors on June 29 at 5 p.m.

Shop Owner Susann Gerstein told Reston Now that she opened the shop at the age of 32 with her two friends Kathy Paolini and Margaret Johnson. (Paolini retired in 1989, followed by Johnson in 2002.)

As young moms, the three women wanted to provide families with affordable toys and clothes at Lake Anne Plaza — what Gerstein calls “the heart and soul of Reston.”

“From the beginning, we were hoping to create a community space for families to shop and play and chat and that has been my biggest satisfaction, because it really has turned out that way,” Gerstein said. “It is a true community space.”

The shop originally opened in the space that Dogma Bakery now occupies before moving to its current and larger spot at 1629 N. Washington Plaza.

Even with twice the space, Small Change is nearly bursting with rows of kids’ and maternity clothing and toys, including a large selection of ones from Melissa and Doug. Right next to the front door is the Best of Reston award that the shop won in 1992.

Fast forward nearly 40 years, a “skyrocketed” rent is the reason for the closure in June, which Gerstein announced at the end of a panel on International Women’s Day (March 8).

When asked about the upcoming closure by a customer in the shop today (April 4), Gerstein described it as part of the life cycle of businesses at the plaza.

She is hopeful, though, that the store can survive at a different location under new owners.

“There are so many people who want us to stay open,” Gerstein said, adding that people should keep an eye on the Facebook page for the next few months after the shop closes for any announcements about a re-opening elsewhere.

People can drop off clothes to sell through the third week of April.

The shop also has a range of discounts, which will increase as the closing date nears, Gerstein said. Toys are nearly 40 percent off and winter clothes are 80 percent off. Spring and summer attire will have pop-up sales on different days that will get announced on Facebook

“It’s been such a great adventure,” Gerstein said.

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Purcellville-based bakery Teapot and Cake is coming to Lake Anne Plaza.

Building permits indicate that the bakery will move into 11404A W. Washington Plaza — the former spot of Havana Boutique, a high-end consignment shop.

The menu for the Purcellville spot includes a range of sweets, including cakes, pastries, cookies, cupcakes and tea.

A Facebook post from Lake Anne and Washington Plaza says that the opening date is “TBD” — “to be determined.”

Photo via Facebook

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Great Falls Center will soon have a restaurant that focuses on pairing grilled cheese and wine.

Renaud Consulting, a commercial real estate company, recently unveiled that Bites Wine and Grilled Cheese Bar recently signed a lease for a 2,064-square-foot spot at the recently redeveloped shopping center.

The Leesburg-based restaurant, which opened in late 2017, makes its sandwiches on bread from The French Bread Factory in Sterling, according to its website.

Great Falls will be the restaurant’s second location, John Marigliano, a senior vice president at Renaud Consulting, told Reston Now.

Marigliano said that the restaurant is currently going through the permitting process for the spot at 9908 Georgetown Pike. He expects the restaurant to open sometime in June or July.

Photo via Facebook

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The Pines Shopping Center in Herndon has welcomed two tenants to help fill its empty storefronts.

Established in 1959, Pines Center was the first of the shopping centers to pop up along Elden Street.

For roughly the last decade, the shopping center at 690 Elden Street has faced continuing vacancies, which prompted talk in 2012 about revitalizing the center.

News outlets reported the shopping center obtained a new leasing manager — Vienna-based Renaud Consulting — in July 2015. Recently, the commercial real estate company announced that Herndon Laundry and Domino’s signed leases.

Domino’s has 1,600 square foot at the shopping center, while Herndon Laundry occupies a 2,270-square-foot space.

Domino’s lists a location offering both carry-out and delivery at 698 Elden Street on its website.

While Renaud Consulting did not provide the address for Herndon Laundry, its announcement features an image of the closed Coin Laundry at 692 Elden Street.

In its brochure, Renaud Consulting notes that seven out of 19 spaces at the shopping center are vacant, totaling 15,460 square feet of empty retail space.

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A new neighborhood shopping center near Elden Street is almost done with construction.

Located at 900 Alabama Drive, the Elden Corner Center backs up against the Herndon Middle School and is across the street from another shopping center, which includes a hair salon, deli and several other stores.

Sanjay Bajaj, the project’s applicant, told Reston Now that construction is slated to finish next week on the 10,000-square-foot retail center, which includes more than 50 parking spaces.

Plans from Capital Realty Advisors, LLC indicate that about tenants have leased about three-quarters of the shopping center, including:

  • a boutique
  • a bakery
  • a hair salon
  • Boost Mobile
  • Peruvian Chicken

Two spaces are still available — an end spot with 1,453 square feet and one in the middle with 1,130 square feet, according to a listing on LoopNet, an online marketplace for commercial property. Tenants are responsible for their build-out, the site says.

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The Herndon Town Council is moving forward with a planned makeover for an area of South Elden Street that currently has aging shopping centers and a mix of retail, residential and office space.

The area set for revitalization runs along Elden Street from Worldgate Drive to Sterling Road. Currently, the area includes the Dulles Park Shopping Center, Parkway Shopping Center and Elden Street Marketplace Shopping Center. 

The Town Council has been working since 2017 to create a plan for the area, which will serve as a guide for future land use decisions.

The plan is broken into five tiers.

The first tier, which is above Dulles Park Court, and the third tier, which includes the area surrounding Alabama Drive — excluding the Dulles Park Shopping Center, would have similar zoning.

The second tier, southwest of Herndon Parkway and above the Kohl’s, would transform from office space to two-over-twos and townhouses.

Meanwhile, tier four, which includes the Parkway Shopping Center and area east of Elden Street and south of Herndon Parkway, and the last tier — the Elden Street Marketplace Shopping Center — would keep some of the commercial space, with tier five adding up to 45 multifamily units per acre.

Ultimately, the Herndon Town Council wants the area to have greater connectivity to the Metro, add more residential units, provide a diversity of housing and incorporate sustainable design. 

Councilmember Jennifer Baker said the plan “has been a long time coming.” Baker stressed that this plan will set up an outline of what the Town of Herndon wants from businesses and developers.

The Town Council adopted the plan as a Comprehensive Plan amendment at its public hearing on Tuesday (Feb. 12).

Noe Flores, Jr, a Herndon resident and vice president of the Four Season Homeowners Association, told the council that he wants some clarification about the “super exciting” proposal.

Flores said during the public hearing that the two-over-twos should have a capped height stated and that more information is needed to get “an idea of what makes the land use more sustainable now under the proposed plan in the presentation than it currently it is.”

Jay Hadlock, a Herndon resident, said the plan needs to make sure that it balances retail and residential or “or you’re going to have one business after another fail and you’ll have empty storefronts.”

Councilmember Pradip Dhakal added that mixed-use developments can help lessen the impact of any future economic downturns. Still, Dhakal said the Town of Herndon is grappling with how to grow and build without losing what makes it unique.

“We are in a situation where we have to balance two things right now,” Dhakal said. “We are proud of having Herndon as a small town so we are in a continual pressure to maintain the small town presence. We have to be ready for increasing demand of people moving in with residential need and business need.”

Councilmember Cesar del Aguila reminded everyone at the public hearing that the plan is still a skeleton of a draft. With more work left to go, del Aguila urged residents to keep submitting comments and suggestions.

“The worst thing we can do is make decisions within an echo chamber, within a bubble,” he said.

Future steps include adopting zoning map amendments and holding Architectural Review Board hearings.

Construction could begin as soon as late 2020.

Image via Google Maps

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Reston Community Center will present its annual Children’s Fall Flea Market this Saturday from 9 a.m. through noon at RCC Hunters Woods.

Attendees can browse several tables for gently-used toys, books, games, video, and other child-friendly items. Junior merchants between the age of six and 13 will sell the items.

The event is open to all. Admission is one non-perishable item for Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive, which kicks off today.

Vendor spots are still available. Single-size, 3’x6′ tables cost $10 for Reston residents $15 for all others. Shared tables that measure 3’x9′ with two or more merchants are $15 for Reston residents and $23 for all others. Registration is open online.

For more information, contact RCC’s youth program director Debbie Heron at [email protected].

Photo via Reston Community Center

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Local Big Lots fans will soon have farther to travel to get to their favorite discount store.

The location at 490 Elden St. in the Herndon Centre plaza will close Oct. 15, a Big Lots media representative confirmed to Reston Now. Signage now in place outside the store informs customers that after that date, they can visit locations in Sterling (300 Enterprise St.) and Fairfax (11181 Lee Highway).

Lotte Plaza Market will be taking over the 26,000-square-foot Big Lots space in the spring, Herndon spokesperson Anne Papa Curtis confirmed to Reston Now. We first reported in July that the market, described on its website as “the premier source for Asian groceries in Maryland and Virginia,” would be opening in the plaza in early 2018.

In the interim, a large percentage of the west side of the plaza will be vacant, following the closing of Kmart earlier this year. The 84,000-square-foot former department store space is expected to be broken up among several new businesses, Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said at the time of its closing.

Herndon Centre is owned by A.J. Dwoskin & Associates Inc.

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A three-day sales tax holiday begins Friday in Virginia, giving customers a break on back-to-school supplies and other qualifying items.

From 12:01 a.m. Friday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the sales tax exemption will be in effect for school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products. According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, that includes the following items:

  • School supplies, clothing and footwear 
    • Qualified school supplies — $20 or less per item
    • Qualified clothing and footwear — $100 or less per item
  • Hurricane and emergency preparedness products  
    • Portable generators — $1,000 or less per item
    • Gas-powered chainsaws — $350 or less per item
    • Chainsaw accessories — $60 or less per item
    • Other specified hurricane preparedness items — $60 or less per item
  • Energy Star and WaterSense​ products 
    • Qualifying Energy Star or WaterSense products purchased for noncommercial home or personal use — $2,500 or less per item

Before 2015, the three categories of items were available free of sales taxes on three separate weekends throughout the year.

Under current law, the sales tax rate is 5.3 percent — 4.3 percent for the state sales and use tax and 1 percent for the local option sales and use tax. In the Northern Virginia region, there is an additional 0.7 percent state tax for transportation.

For more details and a more extensive list of what items qualify for the tax exemption, check the Department of Taxation’s guidelines.

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After being announced earlier this year, women’s boutique Scout & Molly’s has opened at its new location at 11944 Market St. in Reston Town Center.

The store officially opened in the new space last week. Construction delays had kept it out of the space formerly occupied by PR Barbers for longer than anticipated.

Prior to getting into its permanent storefront between Ted’s Bulletin and Bowtie Cinemas, the boutique had been operating out of a pop-up shop at the eastern end of Market Street for a month.

Scout & Molly’s has more than 30 locations nationwide and expects to double that number soon. It also has stores in Merrifield’s Mosaic District and Ashburn’s One Loudoun.

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As a going-out-of-business sale continues at Kmart in Herndon (494 Elden St.), the town’s mayor says there are big plans in the site’s future.

In a comment on Reston Now’s Facebook page, Mayor Lisa Merkel says the Kmart’s closing has been “coming for a while,” but that she has been in recent contact with the building’s owners and is optimistic about its future.

“They are going to upgrade the facade significantly and subdivide the very large space into several new businesses,” Merkel wrote. “I was mostly pleased with what they shared and gave some specific feedback that we are looking to elevate the status of that end of the center.”

Merkel said she could not share specifics about the new businesses coming in, as leases are still being negotiated.

Howard Riefs, director of corporate communications for Kmart owner Sears Holdings Corporation, said the store will remain open for customers into late July. He called the decision to close the store “difficult, but necessary.”

“We have been strategically and aggressively evaluating our store space and productivity, and have accelerated the closing of unprofitable stores as previously announced. We often hear from our members who are disappointed when we close a store, but our Shop Your Way membership platform, websites and mobile apps allow us to maintain these valued relationships long after a store closes its doors. As a result, we hope to retain a portion of the sales previously associated with this store by maintaining our relationships with the members who shopped this location.”

Kiefs also said customers can continue to shop at the company’s other area locations, and that employees who are eligible will have the opportunity to apply for open positions at those stores. The nearest remaining Kmarts will be in Springfield and Annandale, while Sears has stores at Dulles Town Center and Fair Oaks Mall.

The 84,000-square foot store was purchased in August by Florida-based real estate-investment firm Sterling Organization at a cost of $7 million. At the time, the firm’s CEO said “the real estate fundamentals of — and the demographics surrounding — this property are nothing short of exceptional.”

The rest of the shopping plaza, known as Herndon Centre, is owned by A.J. Dwoskin & Associates Inc.

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