Business Profile

Business Profile

In the Loop with Hawksbill Brewing

By Bob Tagert Last month we attended a dinner sponsored by our friends at Shadow Mountain Escape near Luray, Virginia. The dinner was designed to bring business people together who have helped with the success of the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop and we were honored to be included. It was a nice gesture by owners Ralph and Karen Riddle and in the process we had the opportunity to meet Alexandrian Jim Turner who is founder of Hawksbill Brewing Company in Luray. The interaction was good, the conversation stimulating and Jim Turner’s story of Hawksbill is told here. Turner grew up in a Navy family that moved to different duty stations when he was growing up and eventually ended up at a large Navy base in Memphis, Tennessee. Upon graduation from high school turner enlisted in the Air Force and ultimately ended up in Berlin, Germany where he worked as a Russian Linguist. “Yeah, he tells me, the Berlin Wall was still up and I was aware that it was a huge flash point…I touched it, I drew on it and signed my name on it. I have a piece of it. It was a good place to be back then.” After the Air Force Turner went for his undergrad degree in Tampa. After graduating, he went job hunting and placement through the USAF. “They sent me to Anheuser Busch where they had an opening in the quality control sector of the plant. Twenty seven years old and working for a beer company. What’s not to like about that?”, he exclaims. Eventually he decided to enroll in Southern Cal and get his MBA. Upon graduating, he became a management consultant to the federal government advising on facilities and real estate. “I consult with the IRS, the Army, the Veterans Administration…

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Business Profile

Keep An Eye Out for Mary’s Wings

By Lani Gering We normally dedicate this space to profiling a small business that is located in our distribution area. This month, however, we thought it would be prudent to highlight a “local” event that a “national” foundation has been hosting in Alexandria for the last 7 years. As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While we all agree that every month should be “awareness” months for all diseases, it is good to bring awareness to the top of the list once a year for this cancer that has affected millions of people over the years. The National Breast Center Foundation, located here in Alexandria – whose mission is to improve the lives of women by removing barriers that prevent them from getting proper screening, diagnosis, treatment and education about breast cancer regardless of income and availability to insurance – is hosting their 7th Annual “Walk to Bust Cancer” on Sunday, October 23rd. Leading up to the walk, the foundation will be partnering with several Alexandria shops, restaurants, exercise studios, and more to promote the walk and Breast Cancer Awareness month. A pair of giant angel wings, now a known symbol of the Walk to Bust Cancer, will be traveling to different locations throughout Alexandria, where people can take photos, tag on Instagram and Facebook, register for the walk, and learn more about breast cancer risks and genetic testing.  In honor of long-time Walk to Bust Cancer Committee member and creator of the Angel Wings, Mary Edwards, the wings are now named the Mary’s Wings.  Edwards, who passed in January, had said “The wings allow people to honor those who have lost their battles but also represent those being lifted up and supported as they fight along their journey.” The October 23rd walk provides an important opportunity…

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Business Profile

Eric McNair – Insurance Broker, Athlete, Adventurer….

By Bob Tagert ….and all around really nice guy. After thirty five years of publishing the Old Town Crier it is always nice when I encounter an experience like meeting Eric. Not only did I meet an impressive young man but he reduced my insurance premium on my two vehicles by almost 70% percent! Let me explain. I had just had my insurance premium with a well-advertised company double two months ago. Luckily, one evening I went over to National Harbor to visit friends at The Irish Whisper. As I was sitting on the terrace enjoying a cigar, a nice young man sat next to me and we engaged in a conversation. When I discovered that he was an insurance agent and handled property and casualty coverage I asked him about my vehicle insurance. When I told him what my premium jumped to he was shocked. After he obtained a couple of quotes from companies he represented, I made my choice and for much less money and I got more comprehensive coverage. Needless to say, I thought that this young man would make a great business profile. Eric is originally from Washington D.C. but when he was very young his military dad was transferred to Texas, so the whole family moved to the Lone Star State. In 2016 at the age of 25, the family returned to Maryland. Eric’s first introduction to insurance was when his mom, who is a financial advisor introduced him to an Allstate insurance agent that she worked with. “I worked for him for two years and made him so much money that I decided to go into the business myself,” Eric tells me. Eric shortly established himself as an Allstate insurance agent but after three years he didn’t like being a captive agent (an agent…

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Business Profile

Izalia Laser Hair Removal & Rejuvenation Spa – Obsessed With Doing It Right!

By Lani Gering Annette Antonelli opened Izalia in the 100 block of North Columbus Street in Old Town Alexandria 16 years ago and has been growing the business ever since. She moved the Spa to its current location at 114 South Patrick Street in 2008 and became the OTC’s next door neighbor. That is when we met this crazy creative girl with the fantastic imagination!  While we moved from South Patrick about 7 years ago, we have stayed in touch and watched her business blossom. It has been 12 years since we profiled Izalia and we thought it would be good to circle back. To be honest, I had no idea how many men and women there are out there that are plagued with excessive hair until I met Annette. All I could think of at first was Steve Carell and the chest waxing scene in 40 Year Old Virgin! Yikes! Laser hair removal, however, requires more than one treatment and from all appearances doesn’t involve a lot of pain and is a more permanent solution to getting rid of unwanted hair. The spa interior is very inviting and care has been taken to make clients feel at ease and feel confident in the professionalism of the staff. Izalia uses the latest in technology with their aesthetic energy devices and sets itself apart from other laser spas in that they GUARANTEE their results as long as clients follow the prescribed requirements for prepping for treatments and follow-up. This is a lifetime guarantee. If, after the prescribed 8 treatments, you have hair that returns they will treat it for free. Antonelli is literally obsessed with “doing it right” and Izalia is the only laser hair removal entity in the area to make this offer. The following information was garnered from Izalia’s…

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Business Profile

Gold Works USA – An Old Town Gem

By Bob Tagert We started the Old Town Crier in 1988 and two years later David Martin opened Gold Works at 1400 King Street – it has been an Upper King Street icon ever since. In 1983 Martin made his move to Alexandria and joined other jewelers at a co-op in Belleview shopping center near the Fort Hunt area specializing in jewelry design and repair. At the time, Martin was doing repair work for jewelers throughout the Washington, D.C. area. In 1989-90 he decided to go his own way. These were the days when the west end of Alexandria was beginning to grow. More restaurants and businesses were renting the old warehouses and opening their doors. Martin worked hard to establish his reputation as a quality designer with exceptional repair work skills. As his business grew he continued his education by studying at the Gemological Institute of America, specializing in jewelry design, casting and stone setting. At Gold Works, Martin has many custom rings that he has designed and is just waiting for the right customer to come in and select the perfect gem for the setting. To complement that one-of-a-kind ring, Gold Works also carries a large selection of stones and estate pieces. As a jewelry designer one must master many skills – scientist, mediator, consultant and sculptor. David’s own personal background as a graphic illustrator in the fields of architecture, historical art and medicine has been invaluable as a jewelry designer. He began designing jewelry as he developed those illustrations into wearable art and miniature sculpture. Carvings he has done include alabaster, malachite, turquoise, marble and opal – all have become part of his unique, handmade jewelry. He will also inlay stones into wedding bands made of gold, white gold and yellow gold, as well as rings and…

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Business Profile

Mural – mu·ral /ˈmyo͝orəl/ – A Visual Art Form

By Lani Gering / Photos by Lee Moody By definition, according to our pals at Wikipedia, a mural is “any piece of graphic artwork that is painted or applied directly to a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate. Mural techniques include fresco, mosaic, graffiti and marouflage.” As you can see, we are stepping outside of the box, as we are want to do on occasion, and taking a different path with the Business Profile this month. I have always loved the whole concept of murals on otherwise boring buildings; especially on those structures that are in somewhat of a state of disrepair, however, the murals printed here are on very viable businesses located in the Del Ray section of Alexandria. There are others around our fair city that are not. The first local mural that I remember seeing in our area was on the side of the former King Street Blue’s Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. It has since been painted over but another original is still hanging in there on the side of the Walgreen’s on Mount Vernon Avenue. I lived in Del Ray at the time – I believe it was at least 25 years ago (maybe longer) – when the building housed a fantastic antique and collectible store. Since that time, murals have popped up all over Del Ray as well as in Old Town. All that being said, the intent of this piece is to encourage you all to take a drive, bike or walk around our fair city and not only check out these amazing works of art, but maybe think about patronizing those businesses that provide the canvas for them. There is only so much room for images in this space so we want to give you some more incentive to go on a…

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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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