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Massage Envy will take over one of several vacant spaces at Woodland Park Crossing (via Google Maps)

Woodland Park Crossing, a shopping center near the Herndon Metro station, is slated to welcome a new tenant.

Massage Envy, a national franchise that offers massage, stretch and skin care services, is set to open in the shopping center at 2328 Woodland Crossing Drive, according to Fairfax County permits.

While the company did not return multiple requests for comment, county permits show that it will take over Suite C in the same building as Kumo Sushi.

Woodland Park Crossing is home to other tenants like Harris Teeter, Manhattan Pizza, Visionworks, Hotworx and Moby Dick House of Kabob.

The shopping center has 11 open spaces, according to its website.

Massage Envy has another location nearby in Reston at North Point Village Center. A location on John Milton Drive in Herndon is temporary closed, according to the company’s website.


You wouldn’t guess from looking at the warmly lit, orderly store that Vienna’s Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio is about to turn 70 years old.

The beauty and skin care shop will hit that milestone this Friday, Sept. 1, making it the town’s second oldest business to still be standing — after the Money & King Funeral Home, according to store owner Sharon Holland.

Anticipating that many potential attendees will be out of town for Labor Day weekend, Holland is planning to throw a birthday bash on Saturday, Sept. 9 instead. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be food, champagne, games with prizes, store-wide discounts, and giveaways, including an offer of a gift with any purchase.

“It’ll be a lot of fun,” Holland said. “We usually have a lot of fun at our events. At Christmas time, we have an ugly sweater Christmas party, which always is a big hit, so that’s a lot of fun too.”

Established in 1953, the Vienna franchise of Merle Norman Cosmetics first set up shop on the west side of town before relocating to Danor Plaza when the shopping center opened in the 1960s. It has occupied the corner suite at 401 Maple Avenue East ever since, according to Holland.

The business came into Holland’s life through her marriage: her husband’s mother bought the store from its original owner in 1971, and she helped run it until they sold it to a friend in 1986.

During that time, the pair added a Merle Norman franchise in Fair Oaks Mall, and in 1990, they expanded further with a store in Centreville that lasted 25 years.

On Sept. 1, 2015, the same day that the Centreville studio closed — a decision influenced by her mother-in-law getting older and repeated rent increases — Holland brought their journey full circle by re-acquiring the Vienna location.

“We bought this one back, so it’s back in the family, so to speak,” Holland said.

A user of Merle Norman products herself, Holland attributes the Vienna studio’s longevity in part to the loyalty of “Merle girls” — as the company calls its regular customers.

Founder Merle Norman developed “Three Steps to Beauty” — a cold cream, Miracol lotion and a power base — while studying medicine and chemistry in college, according to the company’s official history.

After initially planning to sell the cream, a deal killed by the 1929 stock market crash, Norman instead opened her own store in Santa Monica, California, in 1931 and saw such success that 94 studios were in the works by the end of 1934.

Still owned by Norman’s family, the company has stayed true to her practice of letting customers try its makeup and skin care products for free before they make a purchase, Holland says.

“We’re not pushy, you know. We let you decide what you like, try it if you like it, that’s great. If you don’t like it, that’s fine too,” Holland said. “…Sometimes they come in and just chat. It’s a safe place for women to come, and yeah, they just like it. They like coming in here and the personal attention that they get, and you make friends. We make friends with all of our customers.” Read More

The Maryland chain Symmetry Salon Studios is expanding to Virginia with a Vienna location (courtesy Symmetry Salon Studios)

An expanding hair salon chain from Maryland has chosen to set up its first Virginia location in the Town of Vienna.

Later this year, Symmetry Salon Studios will open a 3,925-square-foot space (262 Cedar Lane, Suite N) at the Cedar Park Shopping Center, which is also getting the gym Starfit Studio.

Started in Bethesda in 2012, Symmetry advertises itself as an “elevated” experience for “elite stylists,” per its tagline.

“Vienna doesn’t have that today,” Symmetry CEO and founder Tom Ruder said. “We’ve done our research and there’s nobody in the marketplace that can kind of provide that. And [when] we say Vienna, it’s not only Vienna, but it’s also Tysons and Merrifield, the Mosaic District.”

Deviating from the commission-based approach of traditional hair salons, Symmetry is stylist-owned and operated, according to Ruder. It provides rental studios for individual stylists, while the company handles the business operations, including landlord discussions and facility maintenance.

That gives each stylist flexibility over the services they provide, the ambience and their working hours, since they will have around-the-clock access to their studio, Ruder said.

“They get to decide…what works for them,” he said. “So, someone might have a wedding and they’re going to come in early on a Saturday morning and do the wedding party, would just be one example, or someone’s got a client who’s out of town and they can only visit at 11 o’clock at night or 2 in the morning. They could come in and provide a service at that time.”

Leasing is already underway for the Vienna location, which will have 23 studios for 26 stylists.

The front desk will be staffed for about 80 hours each week during the busiest times of the day, and there will be a beverage bar with coffee, tea, soda and water for patrons waiting for an appointment, which Ruder says is intended to create a “luxurious feel.”

That emphasis on comfort extends to how Symmetry’s locations are constructed, Ruder told FFXnow, highlighting the use of wide hallways and concrete floors “padded” with tile.

“The stylists stand on their feet all day long and it’s really bad for their feet,” he said. “It’s bad for their posture, and it’s uncomfortable. So, we focused on that and spent a tremendous amount of research and time to get the floors so they’re comfortable.”

The company is in the process of obtaining permits from Fairfax County and Vienna. Once that is complete, Ruder anticipates the build-out will take another 12 to 14 weeks for a potential opening this fall.

The Vienna location will be Symmetry’s fifth, joining sites in Bethesda, Rockville, Annapolis and Gaithersburg.

Comparing the expansion plans to Morton’s The Steakhouse, rather than McDonald’s, Ruder says the company is seeking to add one to three locations a year. Though he couldn’t give details about ongoing negotiations with landlords, Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington, Manassas and Woodbridge are “all in play,” along with D.C.

“We’ve looked for years to try to make it into Virginia and we’re thrilled with our opportunity in Vienna,” Ruder said.

Alexandria-based Bare Skin Waxing has opened a second location in Vienna (photo by Danielle M.)

A new waxing salon has arrived in Vienna with promises of a less harrowing experience than the one Steve Carell was subjected to in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”

Bare Skin Waxing will get a ribbon-cutting at 6 p.m. today (Thursday) to mark the opening of its second location since launching in Alexandria a decade ago. With Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert scheduled to attend, the ceremony will be outside the salon at 123 Church Street NW.

“We chose Vienna as our next major milestone due to its alignment with our core values of diversity, inclusivity, and a strong sense of community,” a Bare Skin spokesperson said. “The vibrant history, cultural richness, and the community’s embrace of different backgrounds resonated deeply with us.”

According to the company, Bare Skin originated in Old Town Alexandria with the goal of developing a “unique and gentle waxing technique” that would work for people who have sensitive skin.

The salon’s specialty is Brazilian waxes, but it provides bikini, leg and eyebrow waxing services as well, per its website.

“Our aim was to provide a comfortable hair removal experience without any irritation in a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” the spokesperson said. “Over the years, we have served thousands clients in the local area, helping them achieve smooth, hair-free skin — with comfort as our top priority.”

Bare Skin says it decided to expand to Vienna after noticing an abundance of clients visiting the Alexandria shop from Vienna, McLean and Fairfax.

“As most of our waxing and skin care treatments take less than 30 minutes, we wanted to ensure that the journey to our salon was shorter than the service itself!” Bare Skin said by email. “…We are excited to contribute to Vienna’s thriving beauty and wellness scene while forging meaningful connections with the local community.”

The body sculpting business LightRx Body & Face is opening a new spa at Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons (courtesy LightRx)

A clinic that provides liposuction, laser hair removal and other cosmetic services is ready for its big reveal next month in Tysons.

LightRx Face & Body will introduce itself to Pike 7 Plaza (8365 Leesburg Pike, Suite C) with a grand opening on June 8. The “premiere party” will run from 5-8:30 p.m. and feature an appearance by Miss Virginia 2022 winner Victoria Chuah, the medical spa announced last week.

The event will also offer live demonstrations, discounts, the chance to meet staff, and gift bags for the first 150 visitors with product samples, merchandise and coupons.

“Everyone deserves to feel confident and beautiful on their own terms, regardless of budget, lifestyle or circumstance,” LightRx President Rich Morgan said in a statement. “That’s our vision — and we can’t wait to offer our services at Tysons…to help people regain their natural confidence and bring out their inner light.”

Founded in 2014, LightRx had 88 locations across the U.S. by 2018, but the Michigan-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2019 amid growing consumer complaints and financial challenges attributed to its rapid expansion. At one point, a Reston location was in the works.

Since then, the company has downsized to 27 locations, with the Tysons spa representing its fourth in Virginia. There is also a location at Beacon Center (6700 Richmond Highway) in Groveton.

The expansion to Tysons gives LightRx a “perfect, centralized location” to serve the D.C. area, Morgan said.

The spa provides free consultations for laser liposuction, laser hair and fat removal, body contouring, cellulite reduction, skin tightening, and other non-surgical body sculpting treatments.

Other tenants expected to open at Pike 7 Plaza this year include the grocery store Lidl and Dave’s Hot Chicken. Fairfax County also issued permits on May 17 allowing construction on a new, 2880-square-foot drive-thru building for Shake Shack on the northeast corner of the shopping center’s parking lot.

A salon recently opened in the Reston-Herndon Business Center (via Salon de Muse)

A luxury hair salon has officially opened in the Town of Herndon.

The Salon de Muse held a grand opening in late January at Reston-Herndon Business Park.

Located at 366 Victory Drive, the salon has six chairs for independent hair stylists on the main level and an upper level with three treatment rooms that host massage therapists, estheticians, and make-up and eyelash extension technicians, according to its website.

The business is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

Nordic-Knot, a local business that specializes in pretzel baker, has also signed a lease for that building for a production-only location, the property manager announced earlier this week. Its flagship location at Lake Anne Plaza will remain.

Co-owner Melissa Romano emphasized that the second location is strictly for production only.

“There will be no change to operations for our business, we are simply adding additional production space off-site,” Romano wrote in a statement.

Nordic Knot specializes in hand-made pretzels that are baked to order.


As Wicked Goddess readied for its March 1 opening in the Shops at Avenir Place, founder Rachel Mantha admits she was nervous about how the community would react.

To her relief, residents and other businesses have been fully supportive of the tattoo and body piercing shop since it opened at 2672 Avenir Place, where it sits between a Tropical Smoothie Cafe and MyEyeDr just steps from the Dunn Loring Metro station.

“The local neighborhoods have been super welcoming of us, actually,” Mantha told FFXnow last week. “I was a little concerned whether or not we’d be accepted. You know, tattoo shops…kind of get a bit of a bad rap, but the locals have like been super, super great [about] our presence and stuff there.”

An 11-year veteran of the body art industry who specializes in piercings, Mantha hopes to foster a similarly accepting environment at Wicked Goddess for customers and her all-female team of artists.

As an independent contractor, she was already working under the company name while employed by a different tattoo shop in Fairfax County, but about four years ago, she started contemplating launching her own brick-and-mortar location.

At the time, the body art world was grappling with allegations of abuse, racism and sexual misconduct, as the #MeToo movement spurred customers and artists to share their experiences in an industry that prides itself on being self-regulating and “edgy.”

While she didn’t detail specific experiences, Mantha says many of the artists now at Wicked Goddess came from shops “where not-so-great practices have been established.”

“There’s been a lot of unfortunate events, I guess, is the best way to put it,” she said. “…Unfortunately, a lot of our clients have kind of been in that same boat too, where they came out of a tattoo or a body modification situation feeling like they weren’t heard or like they weren’t actually represented appropriately in their service.”

Wicked Goddess aspires to provide an alternative, inclusive space for female and LGBTQ individuals, as well as people from different cultures. Many of Mantha’s Muslim clients, for instance, will only work with female artists, she says.

Mantha started planning the shop and researching potential locations in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when businesses were required to close. The lack of existing tattoo or piercing shops in the Dunn Loring area and its proximity to Metro made Avenir Place a good fit.

“We wanted to be in a place that was underserved more or less,” Mantha said, noting that many clients and even some staff members “don’t necessarily drive…So, we do get a lot of clients that just having Metro access is super important to them.”

Open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, Wicked Goddess has six service bays and currently employs three tattoo artists, along with Mantha as the piercing specialist and a shop manager who’s also Mantha’s apprentice.

The shop is open to walk-in customers, but Mantha recommends that anyone interested in a specific artist make an appointment, since they can get booked up quickly.

While there are no plans at the moment for additional locations, the shop could expand as it adds more artists and potentially outgrows the approximately 1,500-square-foot space.

“Our base has grown in the last few weeks, it seems, and our presence is much better known, which is just really exciting,” Mantha said. “I think everybody is just excited to kind of take on this new project and be a part of something that’s not common in the industry.”

Charles’ Barber Shop is closing after at least three decades at the Cedar Park Shopping Center in Vienna (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Haley Vananh is ready to lay down her scissors.

The owner of Charles’ Barber Shop will permanently shut down the small hair-cutting outlet tucked in the back of Vienna’s Cedar Park Shopping Center at the end of August, she confirmed to FFXnow.

Vananh took over the barbershop about seven years ago, but the store has been at 272 Cedar Lane since at least the 1980s under three previous owners, including the late founder Charles Wright.

A business profile for the store indicates that it was founded in 1984. Vananh says Wright opened it after serving in the Navy.

“I don’t know much about the history here. I just know stories from customers, older customers,” Vananh said. “They tell me…this barber shop been here since this shopping center opened.”

While she has loved running the store, Vananh says it has become unsustainable since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, upending customers’ habits even as rent keeps going up.

With more people working from home, customers have been inclined to go three to four months between haircuts, rather than getting one every few weeks, according to Vananh. She says kids have also been letting their hair grow longer.

At the same time, rent for the 525-square-foot space has been increasing every year. With the current lease concluding on Aug. 31, Vananh says she unsuccessfully asked the landlord for a reduced price, noting that the business’ location inside the shopping center makes it tricky for customers to find.

First Washington Realty, which owns Cedar Park, didn’t return FFXnow’s requests for comment.

Vananh told FFXnow she has enjoyed the freedom of running her own business, and many regular customers have become more like friends, but considering the challenges facing the shop, she believes the time has come to retire.

“[It’s a] little bit sad, but…after I pay for the rent and utilities, there’s not much left. So, why do it?” Vananh said. “I keep telling my customers: try to understand, if I work for somebody else three days a week, I make more money than I do today, and now, I work six to seven days a week.”


The nation’s largest beauty retailer now has a location in Tysons.

Ulta Beauty will open its doors in Pike 7 Plaza (8387A Leesburg Pike) at 10 a.m. today (Friday) for a soft launch. A grand opening has been scheduled for April 11.

“We’re excited to join the area and start servicing both customers and clients,” Shanyce Chambers, the Tysons store’s service manager, said.

Adjacent to Staples, the new store is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In addition to selling beauty products, including cosmetics, fragrances, and skin care items, the 9,749-square-foot store features an eight-chair hair salon and a “brow bar,” according to an Ulta Beauty spokesperson.

Pike 7 Plaza property owner Federal Realty Investment Trust announced in August that Ulta Beauty would open a store at the shopping center this spring. This is Ulta Beauty’s fifth store in the Fairfax County area, joining locations in Fairfax’s Fair City Mall, Springfield, Fair Lakes Shopping Center and Bailey’s Crossroads.

According to the property website, Pike 7 Plaza has leased a 3,605-square-foot space to the upcoming restaurant Ingle Korean Steakhouse, and the chain Grill Kabob obtained a commercial gas permit from Fairfax County on March 14 for its new location in the center.

Federal Realty got the county’s approval on March 8 to build a drive-thru restaurant facility in the Pike 7 Plaza parking lot. Representatives for the property owner previously stated that the new building will be occupied by Shake Shack.


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