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

Business Profile 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…

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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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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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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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Business Profile

Welcome to Market Place 2021!

By Lani Gering Welcome to Market Place 2021! This time last year we were feverishly trying to figure out how to navigate our local farmers markets. How is pre-ordering from our favorite vendors going to work? Which way do I enter the market since it is a “one-way” in and out situation? How do I know the produce is good if I can’t look at it up close? And on…and on. We are so happy to say that this summer we can shop like we did in the summer of 2019! The month of July in our area can be pretty brutal between the heat and the excess humidity but it sure makes for some good produce. The sweet corn is in season, the tomatoes are actually ripening on the vine and the glut of yellow squash and zucchini is on the way! In addition to the produce and flower vendors, the diversity of the other vendors at the markets is pretty impressive. From food stuffs (eggs, bacon, beef, fish, cheese, etc.) to high end jewelry; from products to pamper yourself and your pets; from high end art to note cards, the markets cover the gamut. While not all of our area markets require vendors to peddle their “own” wares, the Del Ray and Old Town North Markets are adamant about this. This is an important component to me. I want to support the local guy who spends his/her money in his/her community in order to produce his/her products. While the listing accompanying this piece may not be all inclusive since there are markets popping up all over the area, they are some of the most prominent in Alexandria. No matter where you are, we encourage you to support your local farmers and vendors and enjoy the bounty of your…

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Ice, Ice, Ice House Baby….

By Lani Gering Ice, Ice, Ice House Baby…. …Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats is settling in nicely at the newly renovated historic Ice House located in the west end of King Street in Old Town Alexandria at 200 Commerce Street. The long awaited opening happened on May 29th. Many of you readers may recognize the Goodies name from the popular Metro Van named Gigi that occupied the DC areas first and only vintage mobile eatery. While Gigi is still a big part of this operation, she has been relegated to being used for catering and private events. Clad in dapper plaid Bermuda shorts, stylin’ button front shirts and bow ties, the forces behind the Goodies enterprise are none other than Brandon Byrd and his side kick Rozell Moore. Byrd is the Founder and CEO of one of the “Nations’ top 4 Food Trucks and the #1 Dessert Truck” – according to the Food Network – and Moore is his Operations Manager. I had the pleasure of meeting Brandon and Rozell in 2016 when they were occupying one of the Kiosks on American Way in National Harbor. I was living in the Harbor then and the Goodies Kiosk was my favorite and it looks like this new location is going to become a neighborhood favorite in no time as well. While I was taking photos and talking with Brandon, several neighbors stopped by and expressed their excitement about having Goodies just a few doors away. As the word spreads, I am sure this will soon become an Old Town destination. The Goodies Mission Statement – “We are founded on a pioneer spirit of character, integrity and high quality; our company is dedicated to excellence in products and service to our customers”- pretty much says it all. When you meet Brandon and…

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The Pearmund Farm Store – It’s All That and a Bag of Chips!

By Lani Gering The Pearmund Farm Store – It’s All That and a Bag of Chips! Many of our faithful readers and Facebook followers are probably familiar with Pearmund Cellars for more than a few reasons. The winery has been featured in the VA Wine section of the publication many times over the years, they are good advertisers and their winery and tasting room are the setting for many a Facebook page post. On top of that….they have very good wine! And….now they have a very happening Farm Store on the property. The brain child of owner, operator and winemaker Chris Pearmund, this converted farm house is now home to a very eclectic assemblage of everything from pillows to party games, crackers to crafts, soups to nuts and….yes, those bag of chips! (Route 11 to be exact). The inventory is comprised of 90 % Virginia made food stuffs and products with the majority being produced in Fauquier County. There isn’t enough room to describe everything so I am hoping the images on these pages give you an idea of what awaits. In addition to the retail, the Farm Store is a nice place to sample a flight of Pearmund Cellar wines accompanied by a baguette, a cheese plate and the soup of the day. There is a nice enclosed sun porch on one side as well as seating on the front porch of the house complete with a porch swing! If being totally in the out of doors is more to your liking, there are several seating areas around the yard and a nice fire pit setting. Another nice feature of the Farm Store is that the upstairs “bedrooms” have been transformed into intimate meeting/party spaces. The caveat to securing the space is the purchase of a $100 gift certificate…

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The Corner of King and Alfred – Your One Stop Shop Old Town Shoe & Luggage – Old Town Pack & Ship – Old Town Mini-Mart

By Lani Gering The Corner of King and Alfred – Your One Stop Shop Old Town Shoe & Luggage – Old Town Pack & Ship – Old Town Mini-Mart Rodrigo and Jenny Restrepo opened the doors to Old Town Shoe and Luggage in 1996 at their original location at 726 King Street. A few years went by and they decided that Old Town could probably use a place for its residents to take items to be packed and shipped and a place for mailing services so Old Town Pack & Ship AKA TOP Services opened its doors in 1999 at 615 King Street. Fast forward to 2006 when they incorporated both businesses into the current space on the corner of King and South Alfred Streets – 822 & 824 King. One would think that owning and managing two successful businesses would be enough to keep them busy but Rodrigo felt that there was a need for a place for locals to pick up food items and staples in Old Town without having to go to the mainstream grocery store. Hence, Old Town Mini-Mart opened its doors in January of this year. The Mart and TOP Services now operate out of the same space at 822 King. The Shoe & Luggage “division” of the Restrepo Enterprise have maintained 4-5 star ratings for years. The quality of the shoe and luggage repair is stellar and they take great pride in their work. They pride themselves not only on their work but on their customer service. I have had them repair several pairs of shoes and purses over the years and I can vouch for both. The store also has a large inventory of luggage and travel accessories with every size you can imagine. They also carry a nice line of shoe maintenance…

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Imagine Artwear and the Faces on the Kismet, “All You Need is Love” mural.

Imagine Artwear and the Faces on the Kismet, “All You Need is Love” mural. By Carol Supplee   I bought my business in June of 1992.  Almost on day one, in walked Nina Tisara who introduced me to KiSMET.  I joined immediately and have been a member and/or an officer ever since.   Kismet means destiny or fate and this was mine as it turned out 28 years later.   In 1974, I was hired by Peggy Amsterdam to work on The American Freedom Train Foundation.  We remained friends through many moves and marriages and careers.  She became a fierce defender of funding for the arts and their importance to communities.  She moved to Delaware where she was Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts.  Then she moved to Philadelphia and served as President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.  We are shown here on a trip to China in 1998.  In Wilmington, she lived next door to Joe and Jill Biden.   The next person who visited me was Joe Egerton.  He also championed beautifying the retail scene on King Street and is shown here from a 2009 Washington Post article with new planters on our street.  He happened to be photographed in front of Tiffany Tavern, a famous landmark for jazz and country music.  That was also the same time Joe, John Brown, Elizabeth Stone and I came up with the design and means to wrap King Street lampposts with garlands and red bows.  Funding came from the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association.     In 2001, I again agreed to be a venue for First Night Alexandria and I continued being a site for great entertainers every year until now.  We will miss this year because of Covid19.  I have enjoyed immensely being part of a highlight of the year in Alexandria.  Fireworks for many of the early years took place at George Washington Masonic…

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