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Fresh World ‘Coming Soon’ banner hangs over old Safeway in Mount Vernon (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Fresh World is slated to breathe new life into the long-empty grocery store at Mount Vernon Square, with a potential reopening scheduled for next fall.

Joshua Kim, the international grocery store chain’s chief operating officer, told FFXnow this week that building renovations are underway, with a tentative grand opening date planned for September 2024. Once open, this would be the company’s fifth location in the Northern Virginia area and third in Fairfax.

“The locals and future customers can expect a well-stocked international neighborhood grocer to take over the former Safeway location early Fall 2024,” he said via email.

Mt. Vernon Square LLC, an affiliate of Fresh World, acquired the 70,617-square-foot property at 7451 Mount Vernon Square Center on June 13 for $17.1 million, the Washington Business Journal reported.

Although the grocery store occupies most of the shopping center, it shares space with several other retailers, including Ledo Pizza, Virginia ABC, M&T Bank, and a nail salon. According to Kim, two more vacant spaces are expected to be leased by the end of the year.

One of those vacant spaces is expected to be a Korean restaurant, according to Mount Vernon On the Move.

Additionally, the shopping center will completely repave its parking lot ahead of the grand opening.

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The grocery store El Super will replace Fusion Dental at 11503 Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston (via Google Maps)

A grocery store that is a subsidiary of the third-largest retailer in Mexico is set to open soon in Reston.

El Super, a supermarket that also includes a restaurant, will open at 11503 Sunrise Valley Drive in Suite 10, according to Fairfax County permits. The building in the Sunrise Valley Center commercial park was previously a Fusion Dental.

The location is expected to open sometime within the next four or five weeks, a company representative tells FFXnow.

Part of Chedraui USA, whose other brands include Fiesta Mart, El Super opened its first store in California in 1997. Since then, the company accumulated 64 stores operating in California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas.

The venture into Northern Virginia is a first for the company, which is a subsidiary of Mexico’s Grupo Commercial Chedraui.

The grocery store sells Latin American products, including fresh bread and tortillas from in-store bakery, and it has a full-service meat department. The in-store restaurant sells items like chile relleno, shrimp fried rice and pupusas.

Image via Google Maps

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Tysons 3 Center is currently occupied by Starbucks, The Tile Shop and an Exxon gas station (courtesy Rappaport)

A Connecticut-based Japanese grocer will bring a brand-new concept to Tysons by the end of this year.

Marufuji Japanese Market is expected to open in December near the Spring Hill Metro station at Tysons 3 Center (8520 Leesburg Pike), taking over a space vacated in 2019 by the furniture store Ethan Allen, property owner Rappaport announced today.

The 18,444-square-foot store will be the largest one yet for the Fuji Mart Group, a grocer with headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, that currently operates eight Maruichi Japanese Food & Deli and Maruichi Select locations in New England.

“We are very excited to have Marufuji at Tysons 3 for their first location in the greater D.C. area,” Rappaport Leasing Representative Zach Elcano said in a press release. “With their specialized Japanese groceries, they provide a truly unique shopping experience, and their food hall component will bring a much-needed boost to the [quick-service restaurant] scene of the eastern portion of Tysons.”

Founded in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1991, Fuji Mart describes itself as a “company for foodies, by foodies” that aims to give customers “the best Japanese gourmet discoveries, Japanese cuisine and unique experiences.”

Since an ownership change in 2013, the company has opened grocery stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Maruichi’s first Rhode Island location is set to open this spring, according to its website.

Marufuji in Tysons will build on those existing stores with “an extensive selection of Japanese groceries, including fresh produce, specialty snacks, and an array of pantry staples,” according to the press release. The store will also feature a delicatessen with freshly prepared items.

“We’re excited to bring the best of all of our store concepts to Tysons Corner,” the Fuji Mart Group said in a statement. “Look forward to world-class sashimi, Japanese and American Wagyu beef, select items that aren’t available anywhere else in the U.S., and so much more. We’re proud to bring the best of Japan and America to the grocery baskets of Tysons.”

Located at the southeast corner of Route 7 and Spring Hill Road, Tysons 3 Center is now fully leased with Marufuji joining The Tile Shop, a Starbucks and an Exxon gas station.

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Old Keene Mill Shopping Center is marshaling a new grocery store, multiple restaurants and other retailers to fill the void left behind by Whole Foods.

The space filled by the grocer until it opened a bigger store last October just down the road in Springfield Plaza is being subdivided into six different suites, and at least four of them have been leased, according to a site plan from property owner Federal Realty.

The confirmed newcomers will be McAlister’s Deli, Crimson Coward Chicken, Zips Dry Cleaner and European Wax Center, all opening in early 2025, a Federal Realty spokesperson says.

A chain started in 1989 by a dentist in Oxford, Mississippi, McAlister’s will open a 2,925-square-foot restaurant near the Rolling Road entrance to the West Springfield shopping center (8424 Old Keene Mill Road).

The deli serves sandwiches, salads, soups, giant spuds (i.e. baked potatoes) and a specialty sweet tea. Its 500-plus locations include ones at University Mall near Fairfax City, Worldgate Centre in Herndon and Mount Vernon Plaza in Hybla Valley.

McKaye Darling, owner of the upcoming Old Keene Mill franchise, says the company is “thrilled” to expand to West Springfield.

“Our location choice was strategic, factoring in demographics, foot traffic, and neighboring restaurants in order to elevate the West Springfield food scene,” Darling said. “Our goal is to deliver the same top-notch quality and service found across all of our locations while seamlessly integrating with the West Springfield community.”

For Crimson Coward, a growing Nashville-style hot chicken chain that started in Los Angeles, California, this will be its first location in Fairfax County. The business landed on the East Coast on Jan. 9, 2023 with an opening in Woodbridge, and Stafford and Maryland restaurants are also apparently in the works, per its website.

It will occupy 1,449 square feet in a row facing Rolling Road with European Wax Center, a national hair removal company that will open a 1,200-square-foot suite, and Zips Dry Cleaner, which will have 1,397 square feet.

The bulk of the former Whole Foods space will be turned into a new, 17,186-square-foot store for “a national grocer,” Federal Realty says, but that grocer’s identity remains a bit of a mystery.

The Washington Business Journal reported in March 2023 that Trader Joe’s had executed a lease for the space, which was previously about 24,000 square feet in size. A Trader Joe’s employee told FFXnow last July that the grocer will relocate from its current location in Springfield Plaza to Old Keene Mill Shopping Center in another “year or so.”

However, when asked if the “national grocer” is Trader Joe’s, the Federal Realty spokesperson said only that details will be shared when they’re available.

On the western end of the shopping center, a Japanese restaurant called Kanji Sushi has leased 4,843 square feet adjacent to Planet Fitness. The eatery is projected to open in mid to late 2024.

“We welcome these merchants to the Springfield community,” Federal Realty Senior Vice President of Asset Management Deirdre Johnson said in a statement. “These new, innovative dining and service providers further cement Old Keene Mill Shopping Center as a popular shopping and dining destination for the Springfield and greater Fairfax County community.”

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Lidl has set an opening date for its Pike 7 Plaza location in Tysons (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

German-owned grocery chain Lidl is almost ready to unveil its brand-new location in the heart of Tysons.

Next week, the chain is opening a new store in Pike 7 Plaza (8387 Leesburg Pike) with a pair of events.

An “open house” is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 5-7 p.m. The event will be open to all ages, with face painting for children and a chance for community members to tour the store and sample wares.

Lidl officially opens on Wednesday, Oct. 4. The store will launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:45 a.m., followed by special offers on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The first 100 customers in line before the store opens at 8:00 a.m. will receive a special gift card ranging from $5 to $100 each,” Lidl said in a release. “Shoppers can also sample Lidl’s award-winning assortment and take advantage of special giveaways.”

The store will be open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. every day.

Lidl is also pushing its “myLidl” membership program. The release said $1 will be donated to the nonprofit Capital Area Food Bank for every new member who signs up and sets the new store as their home page.

Lidl has been expanding its presence in Fairfax County recently, adding locations in ChantillyMcLean and Lorton over the past two years. The grocery store can also be found in Merrifield, Fairfax, Burke, Springfield and Lincolnia.

Elsewhere in Pike 7 Plaza, construction has begun on a new, standalone building for Shake Shack in the southeastern corner of its parking lot. The restaurant will feature a “drive-up” window and support curbside pickups.

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Trader Joe’s current location in Springfield (via Google Maps)

Trader Joe’s is gearing up to relocate from its current site in Springfield.

The grocer plans to relocate from Springfield Plaza on Old Keene Mill Road to another location 3 miles down the street, a company representative told FFXnow.

The grocer will take the place of Whole Foods Market at Old Keene Mill Center (8424 Old Keene Mill Road). Whole Foods is bouncing over to Springfield Plaza, where it has been building out a significantly larger space.

But the move for Trader Joe’s isn’t expected to go into effect for another “year or so,” the staff person told FFXnow.

A public relations manager for Trader Joe’s did not indicate when the store expects to open in the new location.

“We consider many locations. All of the locations that are opening soon are listed on our website. Unfortunately, West Springfield is not on the list at this time,” the company wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

Earlier this year, the Washington Business Journal reported that Trader Joe’s had executed a lease for the Old Keene Mill Center space, but Springfield Plaza property owner Rappaport suggested at the time that the grocery store could still retain its existing location.

Trader Joe’s lease at Springfield Plaza is currently set to expire on Jan. 31, 2024, according to the WBJ.

Photo via Google Maps

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Whole Foods Market in Reston (via Google Maps)

Whole Foods Market may be contemplating a move from its current location in Reston’s Plaza America.

The national grocer appears to be moving into the former Best Buy space (1861 Fountain Drive) next to The Container Store in the Spectrum at Reston Town Center, a nearly 46,000-square-foot space, according to a county permit that is currently processing.

The permit shows that building owner utility upgrades for Whole Foods will include upgraded electrical service and water and sanitary lines.

A store employee confirmed that the existing Whole Foods at Plaza America will relocate, but the closure isn’t expected to happen for another year or so.

Lerner Retail, the landlord for The Spectrum, did not immediately return a request for comment from FFXnow.

Back in November, a Whole Foods Market spokesperson told FFXnow that a Reston store was “in development” but declined to provide any further information at the time. The company did not immediately respond to a new request for comment.

Photo via Google Maps

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Lidl will open its new store in Chantilly on May 3 (courtesy Lidl)

Lidl is almost ready to introduce itself to the Chantilly community.

The German grocer announced today (Thursday) that its store at the Chantilly Crossing shopping center (14445 Chantilly Crossing Lane) will officially open to customers on Wednesday, May 3.

However, for anyone who can’t wait quite that long to get a glimpse of the new store, there will be an open house from 5-6 p.m. on May 2, where attendees can tour the space, try samples and learn more about Lidl, according to a press release.

Then, on May 3, doors will open at 8 a.m. following a 7:40 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The grand opening will include giveaways of gift cards worth up to $100 for the first 100 people in line, along with a raffle for a $500 gift card.

In addition, Lidl will donate $1 to Capital Area Food Bank for every customer who signs up for its myLidl membership program and sets Chantilly as their “home store.”

Occupying a previously undeveloped lot at the corner of Chantilly Crossing Lane and Lee Road, Lidl joins a shopping center already anchored by Costco and Target. The addition will support a community expected to grow after Fairfax County adopted rules allowing more residential development in the area, Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith noted.

“This is a great addition for the community and with the approval of more residential units in the area Lidl will provide another grocery store option for the residents,” Smith said in the press release. “I was pleased to work with Lidl as they went through the County land use process and welcome them to the Sully District.”

The Chantilly store will be Lidl’s 33rd in Virginia and seventh in Fairfax County. The company has also established locations in Merrifield, Fairfax, Burke, Springfield, Lincolnia, and most recently, McLean.

Known for its discounted prices and eclectic assortment of products, Lidl says it invested “millions of dollars” into the Chantilly site and brought more than 40 new jobs to the community.

The store’s regular operating hours will be from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on all seven days of the week.

The company has additional stores in the works at Liberty Market in Lorton and Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons.

“We are in the final stages of construction for both stores and expect to have more to share on both over the coming months,” Lidl spokesperson Chandler Spivey said.

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Local union members protested in front of the Kingstowne Safeway yesterday (Wednesday) in opposition to the proposed merger between grocery store conglomerates Kroger and Albertsons.

About 30 members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 marched near the front door of the Safeway at 5980 Kingstowne Towne Center. The local protest was part of a nationwide day action from a coalition of organizations hoping to stop Albertsons, which owns Safeway, from merging with Kroger, which owns Harris Teeter.

A protest was also held at a Safeway (1100 4th Street SW) in D.C.

“[The merger is] not only going to affect the stores and not only the workers at those stores and not only the customers of those stores, but this merger has the potential to impact everyone who shops for groceries in America,” UFCW Local 400 spokesperson Jonathan Williams told FFXnow. “It’s going to completely shift the grocery retail landscape and we think for the worse.”

The protest was to draw attention to the potential downsides of the merger, ask the public to pressure the Federal Trade Commission to not approve it, and to distribute free, reusable grocery bags.

The merger could mean increased food costs, fewer options, and lower sale prices for farmers, critics say.

The $25 billion agreement to merge the country’s two largest grocery store chains was first announced last October. The timeline for when the deal will be approved — or rejected — is not immediately clear, but it was reported earlier this year that it could be a long process.

UFCW Local 400 represents 21,000 food workers across the Mid-Atlantic region. While Williams didn’t know the exact number of Safeway and Harris Teeter workers represented, both stores have numerous locations in Fairfax County.

If the merger goes through, it could lead to closures and increased unemployment regionally, according to Williams.

“In Northern Virginia…if you look at a map of Safeway stores and Kroger-owned Harris Teeter, they are often in close proximity to one another,” he said. “As a result of antitrust regulations as well as efficiency, it’s unlikely for a merged company to operate both stores. What sense does it make to have a grocery store across the street from your other grocery store? So, we were worried about store closures.”

FFXnow has reached out to both Safeway and Harris Teeter representatives for comments on the protests and the merger, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

Despite nearly $25 billion being on the line, Williams expressed some hope that the merger could be stopped. He saw the Senate grill grocery store leadership late last year and believes there’s some momentum for the FTC to reject the deal.

“Unlike in years past, where these mergers are something of a formality on the Hill…there is a lof skepticism that this deal will be approved,” he said. “We are certainly more hopeful than we have been in years past.”

Williams and the rest of UFCW Local 400 hope protests like the one in front of the Kingstowne Safeway will encourage the public to advocate against the merger to the FTC and local lawmakers.

“We’re not talking about Taylor Swift tickets and Ticketmaster here. We’re talking about bread, butter and milk,” said Williams. “And we can’t allow any kind of monopoly in the food system.”

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(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) In two weeks, a new grocery store will finally open in Penn Daw’s South Alex development.

Aldi is opening its newest location at 6218 N. Kings Hwy on Thursday, March 2, the company announced today. It will be Aldi’s eighth Fairfax County store.

The store opens at 9 a.m., and the first 100 customers will receive a gift bag “with a sampling of ALDI Fan Favorites products and a gift card as part of the ALDI Golden Ticket gift card giveaway program,” a press release says.

The “golden ticket” program enters shoppers into a raffle to win $500 in Aldi gift cards.

Jeff Baehr, Aldi’s Frederick regional vice president, told FFXnow in an email the Alexandria store fits what they are looking for in new locations.

“The new Alexandria store will feature open ceilings, natural lighting, environmentally friendly building materials and additional refrigeration for even more fresh produce, meat and grab-and-go options. Additionally, at the new store, ALDI will offer grocery pickup and delivery.

When it comes to choosing new store locations, we carefully consider several factors. Above all else, we look for convenient locations for our customers that can support a high traffic volume daily. We look forward to serving the Alexandria community with this new store, ensuring the design and experience match the quality of our products.”

The grocery store moves into the South Alex development just off of Richmond Highway and about a mile from the Huntington Metro. The development also includes 41 townhouses, 400 apartments, and other ground-floor retail.

The project has been on the drawing board and delayed for a number of years.

Fairfax County first rezoned the 10-acre parcel of land where the mixed-used development now sits in 2012. The Board of Supervisors approved the project in 2014, and the existing, five-decade-old Penn Daw Shopping Center was demolished in 2016.

Fresh Market was initially scheduled to go into the new development but pulled out of the deal. Nonetheless, ground broke in 2018 on the project, which was renamed South Alex instead of One Kings.

Two years later, a massive fire caused nearly $50 million in damages and set the project back significantly. South Alex finally opened to residents last summer, and Aldi anticipated that it could start selling by the end of the year.

That didn’t quite happen, but in early March, it’s looking like a grocery store at the new Penn Daw mixed-use development will finally be ready to open.

Once it opens, the store will operate daily from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aldi has over 1,000 stores in the U.S. and several in Fairfax County, including locations in Kingstowne and Mount Vernon.

The development is also advertising leasing opportunities for other businesses, but none have been confirmed as of yet.

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