Business Profile

Business Profile

SomaSou MedSpa: Where Eye Care and MedSpa Collide

By Lani Gering Things have gotten way out of hand for me this month and I am running way behind. As fate would have it, just when I was agonizing over a business to profile this month, I received an email from our friend and local PR professional Maurissa Potts of Spotted MP. She saved the day! We always like to profile new businesses and as luck would have it this new business falls in line with Mother’s Day since the majority of their services are for the women in our lives. Alexandria’s newest med spa, SomaSou, opened its new location in the Del Ray section of Alexandria on April 21st. If it “sounds Greek” to you, that’s probably because it is…SomaSou, which means ‘your body’ in Greek, is Del Ray’s first med spa, offering services to promote vitality, strength, and confidence to all individuals of all ages. The 1400 square foot spa will provide medical aesthetics and non-surgical treatment options that focus on creating personalized treatment plans for clients to help them meet their personal aesthetic and wellness needs. The med spa will be introducing a variety of services ranging from and including skin rejuvenation treatments, laser hair removal, innovative fat burning and muscle building technology, as well as tailored men’s services. One of their signature services is Radiofrequency Microneedling, which is a non-invasive treatment to help skin texture and strengthen the skin’s collagen. With no downtime or peeling, this treatment is a patient favorite. The med spa also carries a curated selection of medical-grade skincare for both women and men. Whose idea was this in the first place? The new med spa concept was created by Dr. Dora Adamopoulos, a local and well-known Optometrist, who is the founder of Eye2Eye, a community-oriented eye care practice that has been in Del Ray since 2008. “Practicing…

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Business Profile

Mae’s Market & Café – A South Washington Street Gem

By Lani Gering Many of you readers may not be aware of this gem that is just 2 blocks off of the beaten path in Old Town Alexandria. Since August of last year, Mae’s Market & Café has been occupying the space in the Atrium Building (277 South Washington Street) where Eat Good Food group opened Society Fair several years ago. After the demise of SF in the summer of 2019, the space stayed vacant until then. Mae’s is the brain child of Chef Nicole Jones – think Stomping Ground and Bagel Uprising in the Del Ray section of town – and is named for her Lithuanian great grandmother. I have been told that Great Grandmother Mae taught Jones how to cook and is responsible for many of the original recipes used in many of the items in the pastry case. With the opening of several “coffee-centric” establishments of late in Old Town, Mae’s has an impressive Espresso/Coffee/Tea/Kombucha counter on top of a deli, daily pastries and a self-proclaimed “edited grocery and bodega filled with house-prepared foot and pantry items”. In researching Mae’s on the ‘interwebs’, I found that there is quite a bit of information on the café/food side of the business but not much about the grocery and bodega side. I believe that just looking at the photos you can tell Mae’s stocks a myriad of products ranging from eco-friendly cleaning supplies to classy cocktail mix. The majority of the pantry items lean toward the healthy side and include many organic, gluten free and vegan options. There is something for everyone here. The beer and wine selection at Mae’s is also very impressive as is the prepared food case. They carry some fun novelty items (they even have Peeps for Easter) that are reminiscent of the old Society…

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Business Profile

Kings Jewelry – All In the Family

The Old Town Crier is in our 35th year of business in Alexandria. I have seen a lot of changes over those years but the one thing that has remained constant is King’s Jewelry on King Street which is celebrating their 67th year in business. With two years of covid disrupting all businesses, Norman “Brad” Bradford has remained solid in providing excellent service to clients. Brad is an original to Alexandria by growing up and attending school here. A young Brad held down a job after school at the old Cannon Shoe Store on King Street. It was in the course of selling shoes and working with people that he discovered not only what he enjoyed, but also that he was a natural born salesman. Recognizing Bradford’s unique talents, Moritz Bier, then owner of King’s Jewelry, made an offer of ten dollars more a week to the 19-year-old in June of 1962 and Brad made the move. His initial training was “on the job”. Bier took Bradford under his wing and taught him – hands on – about the jewelry business. “I was always doing it under his guidance,” Bradford said. “He was kind of grooming me to take over someday.” As time passed, Bradford took on more of the everyday operations and in 1978, when Bier and his family wanted to retire, they sold the business to Bradford. That early-on family environment is the cornerstone to the family run King’s Jewelry of today. Ten years after Bradford started at King’s his sister Helen joined him at the store working for Bier. After he bought the business, his daughter Tari joined the growing business in 1983. “Wow, how time flies,” Tari tells me; I have been working at King’s Jewelry for more than 39 years. Working with family and co-workers…

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Business Profile

Wine – Food & Art – Wine Gallery 108 Has It All!

By Lani Gering We were in a bit of a conundrum about what type of small business to feature in this issue since we try to stay with the monthly “theme”. Not a lot of local businesses that cater to Presidential Stuff since America closed on lower King Street and Mount Vernon isn’t exactly a small business. So we decided to go the Valentine route and what says “I love you” better than a few chocolates and a lot of bubbly? Wine Gallery 108 has them both. It is always a pleasure to see the owner, Lisa Katic, every month when we drop off her copies of the OTC and it has also been rewarding to watch how her business has weathered the brunt of the pandemic. Fortunately for her, many people needed wine almost as much as they did toilet paper to get through those first months of the Covid craze. Lisa purchased and rebranded what was formerly Altura Wine and Gourmet in mid-2018.  She made significant changes and additions that morphed into the fun, eclectic space that is the epitome of a boutique winery. Wine Gallery 108 features fine wines including organic vintages, craft beer, artisanal foods, local art and handcrafted gifts. The items that she has chosen to accompany and compliment the wine she sells are very unique as well. She recently added coasters that feature her artwork and some other branded items. Her wine selection features quality vintages in all price ranges. You can find a very good bottle of wine for $14 as well as the more pricey labels at a good value. This month you might want to pay special attention to the Villa Jolanda ‘I Love You’ bubbly and the Wine Gallery 108 caramels with sea salt and Miss Maude’s Chocolates. I purchased…

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Business Profile

Urban Evolution – Get A New Perspective On Life

By Lani Gering Urban Evolution – Get A New Perspective On Life Going into the New Year, I believe we all need to focus on changing up some of our day-to-day routines. With the unstable situation with the ongoing pandemic, we need to remain diligent in taking care of ourselves so we can continue to take care of others.  A bit of change is always good for the mind, body and soul. It’s time to step out of your workout routine box. Urban Evolution (UE) is just the place to start. Located in a nondescript commercial/industrial type building in the western part of Alexandria just off of 395 and Edsall Road, this place is amazing inside. It has to be one of the most eclectic exercise based business in the DMV. Instead of weights, treadmills and stationary bikes, there is a full blown Parkour course, an aerial silks room and space dedicated to adult gymnastics, doing yoga and hip hop dance routines. Owner Bill Wotowiec told me that UE is a fitness “facility” NOT a “gym”. They don’t compete with the Gold’s and Planet’s in the area. UE focuses on movement in a structured environment.  This is evident in the programs that are offered. Each of them involve training you to use your mind as much as your body as you navigate through your environment. Most everyone I know understands the basics of gymnastics and yoga as well as the concept of Hip Hop dancing, but I’m not so sure you all may know what Parkour and Aerial Silks entail. Parkour – A training discipline where practitioners move from one place to another in a complex environment without assisting equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible.-Wikipedia Bill tells me that Parkour is a “philosophy” as much as…

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Business Profile, Featured Post

The Old Town Shop – “Where the Past Is Your Present”

By Lani Gering The Old Town Shop – “Where the Past Is Your Present” It is hard to believe that this wonderful little shop hasn’t been around for many years. It just has that sort of vibe when you walk into the foyer and into the door on your right at 105 South Union Street. The Old Town Shop (OTS) will celebrate its 5 year anniversary in March of 2022. After the closing of a longtime favorite specialty retailer, The Virginia Shop that was located pretty much just across the street from the OTS, it was a welcome addition to the shopping scene in Old Town. We missed our “Virginia” specific retailer and were very excited to hear about long time Alexandria resident Valerie Ianieri’s plan to open an “Old Town Alexandria” specific venue. This shop is not just for those visitors who want to take something home to remind them of their experience in our fair city but it is for those of us who live here and want to share our fabulous locally made products and history with family and friends alike. Ianieri is definitely following through with her vision to help preserve and promote the culture, history and most importantly the creativity of our Alexandria locals along with others in the Commonwealth. This shop is a PERFECT place to find a gift that will impress that person on your list who has everything. The description on the OTS website pretty much says it all: “The Old Town Shop is the only area shop to feature a variety of local curated artisan products that are offered at the Alexandria Farmers’ Market. This section, known as Locals’ Alley, is dedicated to showcasing a variety of artisans who vend regularly at the Farmers’ Market, giving these artisans a more permanent presence in…

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Business Profile

Row, Row, Row Your Bloat…..

By Lani Gering Row, Row, Row Your Bloat….. That’s an odd headline, right? It does, however fit right in with the subject matter of this month’s Business Profile. The Row House Old Town blipped across my radar a couple of weeks ago and I have been smitten ever since. Anyone that truly knows me probably thinks this is a new “Happy Hour” joint on the water in Old Town but alas, it is one of the most amazing “Workout” joints in the area. Yes….I have found a workout that I think I can stick with. This will be the first time since the late 80’s when I took “JazzerciseLike the name implies, the Row House is a place where you go to “row”…and a little more if you like. The “boats” aka ergs in this case aren’t vessels on the water but are machines that glide seamlessly in place in a cool, literally, room with fun lighting and invigorating music. The concept of the Row House workout includes building both aerobic endurance and muscle strength all in one session. A combination of classes are offered that incorporate resistance training in conjunction with rowing and stretching. ”! I am taking this opportunity to get a head start on rowing my “bloat” – from holiday eating that is sure to take place – away before it gets even more out of hand. I always knew that swimming exercised virtually every muscle in your body without an impact on any joints, but until I met with Row House Old Town’s General Manager, Cynthia Svendsen, I didn’t realize that rowing engages over 86% of your muscles including your arms, legs, core and back without any impact on any joints as well. This is good for any of you who have had joint repair or…

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Business Profile

Get Fixed at The Physical Therapy Zone

By Bob Tagert Get Fixed at The Physical Therapy Zone Leading an active life can sometimes result in accidents where medical treatment is necessary and then physical therapy to return our bodies to the condition prior to the accident or incident. In 1968 I fractured my right femur in a motorcycle accident. I was six weeks in traction, six weeks in a body cast. The cast didn’t work so the doctors decided to insert a rod inside the femur and graft a portion of my hip bone around the break. When all of this was over, I could not have physical therapy to get my knee to bend more than 30 degrees for fear of causing a separation of the break. Over time the break healed, the rod was removed and I became active again even to the point of wrecking another motorcycle (only broke a tooth) and learning to play rugby. By constant use I achieved 90 degree movement over the next 50 years. Seven months ago I had my knee replaced. I was standing on the leg a day after surgery and even taking some steps. After the use of a walker for a few days, I was walking on my own but I had limited movement in the knee due to scar tissue. I needed physical therapy. Through therapy we got the knee to bend as much as 110 degrees and that is where it stands now. My therapy began in Calvert County near the hospital where I had the surgery but also near a friend’s house where I spent the first two weeks in rehabilitation. When I returned to Old Town I continued my therapy at The Physical Therapy Zone in Old Town. Dr. Lori Alexander began her career as a physical therapist working for the…

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Business Profile

Harbor Wines – From Moldova to Marlboro Pike

By Lani Gering Harbor Wines – From Moldova to Marlboro Pike It was a pleasure to meet Cristina Tufts and her husband Brian at the Harbor Wines warehouse on Marlboro Pike on a hot afternoon in late August. I was greeted with a very refreshing glass of Italian Prosecco and they proceeded to me their story. It is a good one. Harbor Wines isn’t exactly the typical business that we profile since they are an importer and distributor instead of a retail or service based entity but I was very taken with Cristina’s story after “texting” with her making arrangements to donate some cleaning materials for the warehouse. She and Brian live in the Harbor and I met her virtually through a mutual Facebook page. She is an amazing person. Cristina is from a small village in the equally small country of Moldova in Eastern Europe. While it is a relatively poor country, it is known for its fertile soil that is perfect for growing grapes. Thus, making wine is a large industry. In fact, Moldovans have been producing wine for literally 50 centuries. That is a longggg time. Cristina grew up drinking wine on a daily basis – a custom of most European countries. It was at a very young age when she grew to appreciate wines and the nuances they all have. You could say it was “in her blood”. She is a very well educated young woman with two Masters Degrees and she speaks 5 languages fluently. Her initial career path was in linguistics and she was headed for a job with the Federal government when it was discovered she couldn’t pass the top security clearance requirements because she had daily contact with a “foreign national”…her mother lived with them, even though they both had been through…

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Business Profile

Speed & Style Coming Back to Old Town

By Rick Myllenbeck Speed & Style Coming Back to Old Town It was late at night, and I was closing up shop – standing on the top step leading to the front door of Sonoma Cellar – when something amazing caught my attention. It was lower King Street. Silent. Empty. Aglow with light from the streetlights, shops and tree lights, in a tranquil, peaceful and beautiful, gem-like moment. It was exceptionally quiet and wonderfully enchanting. Not a soul was out – there were no cars – nothing was moving. In that very serene moment, I was struck in the head with a lightning bolt of an idea… That was the start of what has become The Old Town Festival of Speed & Style, an event that celebrates the heart and spirit of the community while highlighting the elegance and style of Old Town. That late night moment on the 200 block of King Street took place over four years ago and has since translated into one of the biggest events in Old Town in many years. Now, the Festival is orchestrated by a fascinating and effective committee comprised of local car enthusiasts who care deeply about the community and volunteer their time. The inaugural event was held on May 19, 2019, and King Street was overwhelmed with spectators numbering in the multiple thousands. People were excited and in awe to see rare and exotic supercars up close for the first time, which added to the spectacle. And many of the businesses and restaurants were overwhelmed with foot traffic not seen in years. It was a moment to celebrate! Since then, COVID hit and the Festival was forced to be postponed three times. Remarkably, the organizing committee has stayed together – for over two years now – and continues to be…

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