An Arlington-based ice cream shop that brings together flavors from around the world is planting its flag in the Mosaic District to further an ambitious expansion plan.
Mimi’s Handmade will take up residence in the Merrifield neighborhood at 2985 District Avenue, Suite 160, replacing 520 Ice Cream and Tea after the cafe closed late last year.
Currently expected to open around mid-August to early September, the new store will closely resemble the original Mimi’s, which opened in Pentagon City in December 2021, owner Rollin Amore says.
“You’ve got to have consistency across the board, consistency in the quality of your ice cream, consistency in your offerings,” Amore told FFXnow. “I mean, I want to appeal to a broad base. I want to appeal across the age span from 8 months old to 80 years old.”
Mimi’s is a family affair, dedicated to Amore’s daughters — Mimi and Alexandra — and inspired by gelato, custard and sweets recipes passed down by his Italian and German grandmothers, according to the website.
Venturing into ice cream after retiring from a nearly 40-year career as a banker, Amore has developed a diverse assortment of over 40 flavors, from classic options like French vanilla and chocolate to bolder scoops like sweet corn or wasabi peas — one of several to incorporate ingredients he encountered while traveling in Asia.
Mimi’s has 32 flavors on display at any given time, all made in-house with “real” ingredients, not flavoring, Amore says. About 70 to 80% of them are fixtures, while others rotate based on the season or their creator’s inclinations.
“If I get inspired, I’ll try a new flavor,” Amore said. “As an example, a couple of weeks ago, I started making a red guava sherbet…It’s more summer. I’ve been making fresh watermelon and fresh cantaloupe, and I just pureed a few fruit and then add a little sugar and make a sorbet out of them.”
Calling the Mosaic District “a good spot to be in,” Amore says he has always envisioned Mimi’s as “a small chain of stores.” The business is also coming to Chevy Chase in two weeks and Rockville in three months.
Looking into 2024, leases have been signed for locations in Annandale and West Falls Church, though Amore couldn’t share the exact addresses yet. A Sterling shop is also a possibility, along with a commissary kitchen where all of the ice cream production will ultimately be consolidated.
Despite the aggressiveness of the planned expansion, he expressed confidence that Mimi’s can maintain the quality that has earned it near-universal acclaim on Yelp and a nod from Northern Virginia Magazine as one of the region’s best restaurants.
“Ice cream stores, the whole dynamic is changing,” Amore said. “We went from two years ago the Baskin Robbins, the Ben and Jerry’s to now a new generation of more artisan ice creams. There’s a bit of shift in the industry, and I think I’m on the edge of that in terms of my flavor strategy, my preparations and so forth.”
The new Apple store at Tysons Corner Center is ready to say hello.
Opening to customers at 10 a.m. today (Friday), the 13,010-square-foot store has been branded as a “new chapter” for the technology company, which launched its original retail location at the mall on May 19, 2001 — exactly 22 years ago.
Given that history, Apple was “excited” to introduce its latest design features in Tysons, a spokesperson said, as the business seeks to maintain its status as a trendsetter in the ever-evolving world of retail.
“It’s so exciting to see how many people know about our old Tysons Corner store,” Jason Reyes, a business expert for the Tysons store, said at a media preview yesterday. “It’s the first one ever in the whole world, and for it to kind of get into its next generation, really, is so exciting to see. It’s just showing how we’re evolving as a company.”
Now located on the mall’s second floor adjacent to Victoria’s Secret, the remodeled Apple Store trades its predecessor’s enclosed, almost utilitarian design for a warmer, more natural look with wood paneling and a wrap-around, all-glass storefront.
Accessibility and sustainability were top priorities for the new design, according to Apple Retail and Design Manager Bill Bergeron-Mirsky.
In addition to being carbon-neutral and operating entirely on renewable energy sources, the store was built out of plant-based materials, with “biogenic acoustic panels and baffles” for the ceiling and biopolymers for the floor.
“That replaces a petrochemical product, but it also increases the performance of the floor itself,” Bergeron-Mirsky said.
He highlighted the varied table and chair heights, intended to ensure all customers can “engage with the store team,” and wide aisles designed for easier navigation by wheelchair users. The store also has a portable hearing loop to assist people who use hearing aids.
The store layout will be familiar, with long tables and wall displays for different products, from iPads and phone cases to Apple Music and Apple TV+, the company’s streaming services.
Additions include a more prominent “Genius” bar for technical support next to a pickup counter for online orders. There is also a table for “Today at Apple” workshops and an Apple Watch studio where both the products and the environment can be customized.
“We can end up transforming this room to highlight [a] new product, or we could bring a music experience into it,” Reyes said. “I mean, the possibilities are endless. Even the lighting itself can be changed, depending on what experience we want to give the customer in this room.”
The focus on accessibility extends to the store’s over 100 employees, a team that includes speakers of American Sign Language, Spanish, Arabic, Korean, Vietnamese, French, Amharic and other languages, Bergeron-Mirsky said.
Apple declined to comment on whether any of its other 500-plus stores will get similar overhauls, but the relocation has boosted the company’s profile in Tysons Corner Center, placing it closer to the Plaza that owner and developer Macerich built as the mall’s focal point.
“Apple has been such a key partner with Tysons Corner Center since they opened their store in our center 22 years ago and we look forward to working with them on this next chapter of their brand evolution for their new location within the center,” Macerich Director of Property Management Jesse Benites said. “As a leader in innovation and design, Apple has always been a destination retailer for malls and we wish them continued success.”
Dior has arrived at Tysons Galleria.
The French fashion house’s new boutique is now in business on the mall’s second floor near Neiman Marcus. Tysons Galleria announced that the store had opened on April 28 — beating its previously projected timeframe of summer 2023.
Selling clothes, handbags, shoes and accessories, the store is Dior’s first retail location in Virginia, saving local patrons from a trip downtown to the one in CityCenterDC.
The company’s public relations team told FFXnow it was “unable to secure a quote” on why Dior chose Tysons Galleria for its first Virginia location, but given the mall’s wealth of luxury designers, from Prada to Balenciaga, the brand that helped define post-World War II fashion seems like a natural fit.
The 5,188-square-foot store is next-door neighbors with Gucci, and a Versace boutique is just two doors down.
According to its website, other recent arrivals to Tysons Galleria include watch manufacturers Breitling and Omega. The mall also welcomed Swiss watchmaker Panerai, the restaurants Jiwa Singapura and Yard House, and the dine-in theater CMX CinéBistro earlier this year.
Tenants listed as “coming soon” include the Los Angeles-originated studio Alo Yoga, French swimwear brand Vilebrequin, and a Hair Social And Med Spa.
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
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.
Jewelry worn by stars like actor Kristen Bell and singer Kelly Clarkson will soon be for sale at Tysons Corner Center.
Texas-based designer Kendra Scott is planning a three-day grand opening to celebrate the arrival of her new, 2,653-square-foot store at the mall, where it’ll be located next to Lululemon.
Doors will open on Friday, April 21, at 10 a.m. for Kendra Scott’s first Tysons location, though the business also has stores at Reston Town Center and the Mosaic District in Merrifield.
During the grand opening, which will run from April 21-23, the store will offer giveaways — including a free piece of jewelry for every shopper who spends at least $75 — and donate 20% of its proceeds to local nonprofits.
“Kendra Scott hosts more than 10,000 Kendra Gives Back events in retail stores annually and looks forward to establishing relationships and connecting with the Tysons community,” the company said in a press release.
Here is the schedule for the grand opening:
Friday, April 21, 6-8 p.m.
- Proceeds go to the Junior League of NoVa for “social activism-focused projects directly benefiting the local community.”
- Floral Pop Co will offer complimentary custom floral bouquets for the first 25 supporters who spend $100 or more. Guests may enjoy “sips and sweets” while they shop.
Saturday, April 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Proceeds go to Best Buddies of Virginia & DC, funding programs that support individuals with developmental disabilities.
- Complimentary coffee will be provided by the Bean Bag Bakery.
Saturday, April 22, 4-7 p.m.
- Proceeds go the food bank Food for Others as part of a partnership with the Tysons Community Alliance.
- Guests will enjoy entertainment by Deejay Courtney and may enjoy sips and sweets while they shop.
Sunday, April 23, noon-3 p.m.
- Proceeds go to Chi Omega and Make-A-Wish, which grants wishes for children with critical illnesses.
- Charcurry Boards will provide charcuterie cones, and guests may enjoy sips and sweets while they shop.
Established in 2002, Kendra Scott sells jewelry and other fashion accessories, including watches. With a flagship studio in Austin, Texas, the company has grown to over 130 stores and pop-ups, and over 850 specialty boutiques in the U.S.
Scott appeared as a guest judge on the 12th season of the reality show “Shark Tank,” and her designs are regularly worn by celebrities, including a necklace that has been seen on everyone from Taylor Swift and Blake Lively to Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, according to People magazine.
After the grand opening, the Tysons store will be operate from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. on Sundays.
(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) A New Jersey store that specializes in full-length dresses and other clothes for women has expanded its reach into Tysons Corner Center.
Moda Natty opened a pop-up store next to Nordstrom on the mall’s first floor in early February, according to an Instagram announcement.
The store will only be around for a limited time, though, setting an end date of Nov. 30, a Tysons Corner Center spokesperson told FFXnow.
“Things have been going very well for them,” the spokesperson said.
Based in Clifton, New Jersey, Moda Natty advertises itself as the “biggest Turkish modest fashion boutique” in the U.S., with brands imported from Turkey and Europe, according to its website.
Intended to be modest and comfortable, the clothes on display include dresses, evening gowns, coats, tunics, skirts, athleticwear, and shawls that can be used as headscarves, reflecting the company’s focus on Muslim women as a target audience.
“Our recent market search shows that there is a high demand from our customers in Virginia to open a store so that they could reach our products more conveniently,” the company told FFXnow. “We also realized that there is a very high population that seeks modest clothing, so we opened up a store in Tysons Corner area.”
Moda Natty is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday to Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
In other Tysons Corner Center news, the stuffed animal store Squishable has returned with a pop-up near Seasons 52. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, though the website notes store hours are “subject to change.”
Hey, you , do you want store info? Well here you go! Our Tysons VA location is back in action! Here's some other updates too, like our Garden State Plaza and Woodfield Mall locations are up and running too! 🎉
🛍 More Store Info: https://t.co/VZwhMkvwSZ 🛍 pic.twitter.com/39AbTCHBtZ
— Squishable ◕‿◕ (@squishable) March 23, 2023
Squishable is located a couple of doors down from Candytopia, the traveling, sweets-happy exhibit that opened earlier this month and is slated to stick around until the end of May.
The mall will welcome another pop-up, The Dr. Seuss Experience, on April 7.
(Updated at 2:10 p.m.) Opening day is on the horizon for South Block’s new McLean cafe.
The local juice and smoothie chain will open its latest location at 8 a.m. on Monday in the Chesterbrook Shopping Center (6246 Old Dominion Drive), according to a spokesperson and the website.
While this will be the 14th store for South Block, it holds special significance for owner, founder and CEO Amir Mostafavi, who grew up in McLean and is a graduate of McLean High School.
“I am most excited about being back in the community where I grew up,” Mostafavi said. “I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new people in the community. It’s truly a full circle moment for me to open a business in the same town and community where my dad opened his video store.”
As he previously told FFXnow, Mostafavi got his first taste of the retail world as a worker at Box Office Video, the video rental business his parents owned for about two decades. The locally owned alternative to Blockbuster is now closed, but it once had stores around McLean and Falls Church.
In a stroke of fortuitous timing, Mostafavi is now the same age that his dad was when the first Box Office Video opened at the Langley Shopping Center — just two miles away from the new South Block.
Started in Clarendon in 2011, South Block sells cold-pressed juice, smoothies and acai bowls with a focus on fresh, healthy ingredients and community involvement. The business also has a Vienna location and one in the works for the first phase of Amazon’s HQ2 campus in Arlington.
“South Block continues to prove that real food has the power to transform your life and Mostafavi is committed to growing his thriving business to new markets and more people,” the company said.
The McLean store will operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. A block party is being planned to celebrate its grand opening on April 22. More details will be shared on South Block’s Instagram, Mostafavi says.
Anchored by Safeway, Chesterbrook Shopping Center is undergoing an $8.5 million renovation. The façade is on track to finish this year, while the amenity spaces are scheduled for a 2024 completion, per a news release.
The center added Kosmo Nail Bar last fall, and the clothing store J. McLaughlin is expected to open this summer, according to property manager Federal Realty.
(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.
Wegmans is officially opening its doors to the public tomorrow (Wednesday) in Brookfield Properties’ new Halley Rise development.
The 85,000-square-foot grocery store is located at 11950 Hopper Street and will officially open at 9 a.m.
Most of the store’s 425 employees were hired locally, according to the company.
Katie Sullivan, the store’s manager, told FFXnow that the Reston location is unique because it was adapted to an urban-focused environment.
“This store is unique in that it’s an urban-style Wegmans in a mixed-use development. We’ve automated the shopping experience at this store, with a unique layout that is built for the urban environment,” Sullivan told FFXnow.
The Reston location also has a self-serve coffee bar — the first in any other Wegmans store in the state. A Burger Bar is also available through the company’s online ordering app.
The store has the traditional restaurant section, which is a staple of the Wegmans’ brand. Items on the menu include fresh sushi, pizza, salads, sandwiches, packaged subs and other prepackaged meals.
In celebration of its opening, the grocery store has committed $20,000 through donations and event partnerships in the Reston area.
Parking is accessible in a structured parking garage below the grocery store. Residential units tower above the grocery store, which is accessible from the Reston Town Center Metro station.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc has 109 stores along the East Coast, including ones in Fairfax, Chantilly and Capital One Center in Tysons.
The grocery store is an anchor tenant of Brookfield’s development, which will transform a 36-acre office park near the Metro station with 3.5 million square feet of housing, retail, offices and open spaces. Up to 1,500 residential units, 250,000 square feet of retail, and 1.5 million square feet of office space are planned.