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South Block logo (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

South Block may be on the verge of an East Coast expansion, but for its next location, the regional juice and smoothie bowl chain is sticking relatively close to home.

Announced in a Halloween Instagram post, South Block’s 16th shop is set to open in The Field at Commonwealth (14383 Newbrook Drive) in Chantilly this summer. Construction will begin within the next couple weeks, South Block founder and CEO Amir Mostafavi told FFXnow in an email.

The shop, which serves smoothies, açai bowls, juices and toasts, will be situated alongside a Peet’s Coffee, UPS Store and Chipotle.

“We love Fairfax County,” wrote Mostafavi, who grew up in McLean. Following a 2020 opening in the Town of Vienna, South Block opened its first Fairfax County location last March in McLean’s Chesterbrook Shopping Center (6246 Old Dominion Drive).

The company also plans to start construction on a location in Fairfax’s Fair City Mall (9650 Main Street) this summer and is negotiating a lease in Springfield, Mostafavi wrote.

“Our longer term plan is to start expanding into new markets outside of the DMV, but we feel there [are] still a ton of amazing communities in the DMV that we would love to be a part of,” he wrote.

Private equity firm Savory Fund acquired a stake in South Block in a deal announced at the end of January. That deal keeps Mostafavi as the company’s CEO.

The new partnership aims to bring South Block up to 50 East Coast locations. South Block’s first storefront opened in Clarendon in 2011, and the chain’s most recent location opened last July in Amazon’s HQ2.

“More important than scale, where we add dozens more units, we want to grow the business from within and make sure that we grow the base of our cult following and the locations we currently have,” Savory Fund Managing Partner and co-founder Andrew Smith told FFXnow’s sister site ARLnow.

Following the announcement, Mostafavi told ARLnow that the entire South Block team will stay intact.


This spring will bring a new coffee shop to West Falls Church — or so Compass Coffee hopes.

Construction is underway on the company’s second drive-thru cafe at 7393 Lee Highway. The shop will occupy a former BB&T bank building in the Shops at West Falls Church.

Though Compass Coffee previously said it was “shooting for” a summer 2023 opening, Vice President of Marketing Joel Shetterly says the business is now “looking forward to being open in time for Spring/cherry blossom season.”

Roughly 2,400 square feet in size, per a site plan, the new location will be Compass Coffee’s first in Fairfax County, though it can be found in Fairfax City. The company currently has 16 shops, including one on Langston Blvd in Arlington that hosts its first drive-thru.

In addition to coffee, the cafes sell breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

The Spanish fashion company Mango opened its flagship U.S. store on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 2022 (courtesy Mango)

(Updated at 11:30 a.m. on 12/20/2023) A Spanish fashion brand that has started utilizing artificial intelligence to design its clothes is coming to Tysons Corner Center.

Mango recently announced that it will expand to the D.C. area for the first time with four stores opening in 2024, including one in the region’s largest mall. New locations are also planned at 950 F Street in D.C.’s Penn Quarter, the Westfield Montgomery mall in Bethesda, and Pentagon City.

All of the stores will exclusively sell women’s clothes, except for the D.C. one, which will have both men’s and women’s lines.

The company’s expansion plan for next year also includes its first Pennsylvania store at the King of Prussia Town Center.

“We are very excited to bring the brand experience physically for the first time in Washington D.C. and in Pennsylvania as part of our ambitious development plan for the coming months in the United States, one of our key markets in the coming years,” Mango Director of Expansion and Franchises Daniel López said in a press release.

Founded by brothers Isak and Nahman Andic, Mango opened its first store in Barcelona in 1984 and has since expanded to over 2,500 stores worldwide, though its global growth came at a cost when a factory in Bangladesh collapsed in April 2013. The company now touts a commitment to sustainability and transparency in how its clothes are made.

Though Mango has had a presence in the U.S. since 2006, it launched an expansion plan in the country last year, opening a flagship store in New York City and setting a goal of 40 stores nationwide by 2024.

The Tysons store will be located near Macy’s, a Tysons Corner Center spokesperson says. A Fairfax County permit currently under review indicates that it will be 7,072 square feet in size and located in Suite G4U — currently home to the U.K. clothing company Superdry.

Other fashion brands scheduled to make their debut at Tysons Corner Center in 2024 include the Pakistani retailer Khaadi and the fast fashion company Primark.

Toimoi Bakery recently opened a kitchen and shop in Chantilly (courtesy Toimoi)

A bakery that regularly appears at farmers’ markets around the D.C. area recently opened a permanent production facility and shop in Chantilly.

Toimoi Bakery announced the soft opening of its new “croissant hub” at 4520 Daly Drive in Chantilly Square on Nov. 20. During the week, the shop focuses on making the buttery, flaky pastries that are its specialty, but it opens to walk-in customers on Saturdays and Sundays.

Walk-in hours are currently 9 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. for the soft opening, as staff gets acclimated to the flow of operations, Toimoi owner Shurou Pu says. Pre-orders and special requests are also accepted online.

“So far, it’s been pretty good,” Pu told FFXnow. “We get a lot of walk-in customers who really want our stuff, but sometimes they can’t make it to the farmers market, because we normally sell out even before noon. So, it gives them different options.”

Pu started Toimoi in 2021, baking croissants and other pastries at her home and selling them at Fairfax City’s farmers market. The bakery soon expanded to FreshFarm’s market in Arlington and now participates in markets throughout the region, including the year-round markets at the Mosaic District in Merrifield and at One Loudoun in Ashburn.

In addition to being crafted in house and by hand, Toimoi’s baked goods are distinguished by the use of Asian ingredients, such as matcha, ube and pandan, Pu says. The bakery will tailor its flavors to different seasons and holidays.

Pu is one of many local Asian American bakers tapping into their culture to introduce Asian treats to new audiences or put fresh spins on western, usually French pastries. Other businesses working in that vein include Herndon’s macaron-focused Chiboo Bakery, the recently opened taiyaki shop Rice Culture and the slew of mochi donut chains that have cropped up in the area.

Even with a new brick-and-mortar location, Pu says Toimoi will continue to focus primarily on farmers’ markets, where it has built up loyal customer bases. There are no plans for additional locations yet, as the team is still settling into the Chantilly shop, aiming to ramp up production to support an eventual grand opening.

“It’s a lot of things to consider,” she said. “So far, we’re doing only two days. [We] probably want to expand to maybe three days in the future, like Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

The taiyaki and ice cream shop Rice Culture is open near the Dunn Loring Metro station (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Rice Culture is now serving taiyakis and ice cream just outside the Dunn Loring Metro station.

The pop-up bakery, a regular at several D.C. area farmers’ markets, kicked off the soft opening phase of its first brick-and-mortar shop last week on Nov. 30. Its location in the Shops at Avenir Place (2672D Avenir Place) had been vacant since Bruster’s Real Ice Cream closed in 2020.

“Come through and bring a friend,” Rice Culture said in an Instagram post announcing the opening. “We want to extend our thanks ahead of time for everyone’s patience as we get adjusted to our new space and find our footing.”

Founder MikkiJo Bayawa started Rice Culture in January 2021 with her fiancé Kevin Tsai after getting delivery requests for her homemade taiyakis, a Japanese waffle snack that’s shaped like a fish and stuffed with sweet fillings.

The business quickly gained traction and moved production to Frontier Kitchen in Chantilly, Bayawa previously told FFXnow. It has appeared at the Mosaic District’s weekly FreshFarm market and The Block in Annandale, among other locations across the D.C. region.

With its new, permanent space, Rice Culture has expanded its menu to include soft-serve ice cream, which can be purchased by itself in a cup or with a taiyaki on top. The ice cream flavors — ube, black sesame, corn and pandan — can be swirled, and toppings are available.

Inspired by Bawaya’s Japanese and Filipino heritage, taiyakis can be filled with ube, pandan, nutella, Oreo, or corn and cheese, along with the traditional flavors of traditional red bean paste and vanilla custard. They come in single, three-pack and six-pack orders.

Bayawa says a grand opening will be held in January, but an exact date is still being determined.

For now, the shop is operating during limited hours of 4-9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Dr. Martens has opened a store in Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

It took more than half a century, but Dr. Martens has at last planted a foot in Virginia.

The British shoe company known for its air-cushioned, lace-up boots opened its first store in the Commonwealth on Sept. 8 at Tysons Corner Center, where it sits on the first floor near Macy’s.

An inquiry from FFXnow on why Dr. Martens decided to open a store at the Tysons mall was acknowledged by the company’s press team but didn’t get a response by publication time.

However, a store employee said the opening got an enthusiastic response from locals excited that they no longer have to cross the Potomac River to Georgetown, which previously had the only Dr. Martens in the D.C. area.

Made iconic by The Who lead singer Pete Townshend, Doc Martens boots were first developed by Dr. Klaus Maertens, a doctor in the German Army during World War II who wanted an alternative to the traditional army boot that he could wear while nursing a foot injury. He partnered with a friend who worked as a mechanical engineer and began production in 1947, selling the shoes primarily to older women, according to the company’s website.

About a decade later, the boot was bought by a British company, which made some tweaks and gave it the branding “Airwair.” Initially treated as a work boot, the 1460 model — named after its launch date of April 1, 1960 — later became popular among punks and skinheads as a symbol of working-class pride and youthful defiance.

Eventually, the look was embraced by high-end designer labels, such as Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, that produced similar, military-style boots, according to the New York Times. The 1460 boots now cost over $100.

Having a cocktail in hand might help shoppers channel that original rebellious spirit, but Dr. Martens is not among the retailers participating in Tysons Corner Center’s new public drinking program.

Fairfax City has been working to promote its downtown retail (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Fairfax City is browsing for makers of art, crafts and other products who want to expand beyond an online shop or farmers’ market stall but aren’t quite ready to commit to a full storefront.

Those are the budding entrepreneurs that the Fairfax City Economic Development team (FCED) hopes to attract to Wander In, an upcoming retail incubator store that the city is developing with the Old Town Fairfax Business Association (OTFBA).

Announced in September, the store is expected to launch this coming winter in Old Town Plaza, replacing Sylvan Learning’s tutoring center at 3950 University Drive, Suite 211.

“Establishing Wander In as a business incubator in our historic downtown plaza is an important step in building Fairfax City’s small business retail,” Mayor Catherine Read said in the press release. “It’s a path for our local artisans from online sales and festival participation to a brick and mortar presence. Located in close proximity to a free parking garage and three very busy restaurants with outdoor dining, this multi-vendor retail offers residents and visitors a reason to wander in.”

The FCED and OTFBA concocted the idea for Wander In after the city received a grant that it wanted to use to help small businesses grow, according to Tess Rollins, the business association’s executive director.

Initially, the economic development office suggested opening a temporary pop-up store, but the local business owners on OTFBA’s board of directors were wary of supporting a new business that could compete for customers and the association’s attention.

Rollins and the FCED then pitched the board on the concept of an incubator that would not only provide retail space for up-and-coming businesses, but also educational events and resources to give them the skills needed to be viable long-term — and potentially open a permanent brick-and-mortar location in the city.

“They were more receptive of basically helping…small businesses grow because each one of them has their own establishment, whether it’s a restaurant or a retail store,” Rollins said. “So, they felt that was more in line with the mission and the core values of Old Town Fairfax Business Association.”

Applications for prospective Wander In vendors are now being accepted. Vendors must stay in the space for at least three months, be OTFBA members, obtain a city business license after the first 30 days, and pay a $200 fee each month, along with 10% of sales.

Rollins says one of the initiative’s goals is to promote businesses in Fairfax City, but it’s also open to businesses and entrepreneurs based outside city limits.

“We do want to promote other businesses who may be looking for a place in Fairfax City to see if our community is a good place for them to have an additional location,” she told FFXnow.

At the moment, there’s no limit on how many vendors will be accepted, since the capacity will depend on how much room each business needs. While most will likely sell jewelry, paintings or other artisan goods, Rollins says prepackaged food vendors could be considered.

FCED and OTFBA worked with Old Town Plaza manager Kimco Realty to secure the suite, which is in the same building as the recently opened Commonwealth Brewing Co. With the pub Earp’s Ordinary also on the way, the shopping center’s revitalization is central to the city’s Old Town Fairfax Small Area Plan, which was adopted in 2020 and seeks to make the historic downtown more active and pedestrian-friendly.

To encourage collaboration between businesses and with the larger community, Wander In will work with George Mason University’s Small Business Development Center to assist and provide training to the vendors. It will also host events both inside the store, where customers can meet and learn from the vendors, and outside.

Rollins suggests shopping days or scavenger hunts that involve other Old Town retailers as possibilities.

“I love the idea of the mix of having retail shopping with a creative experience, whether it’s ‘Meet the Maker’ or whether it’s one of their classes,” Rollins said. “I think that having the combination of the two is going to bring something different to Old Town.”

The costume store Spirit Halloween has several locations in Fairfax County for its 40th anniversary season, including at Tysons Corner Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

With Halloween less than a week away, time is running out to assemble a costume and housing decorations ghoulish enough to impress neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

Fortunately for those making last-minute preparations, the seasonal pop-up Spirit Halloween has taken possession of several vacant retail stores across Fairfax County.

That includes a return to the former Lord & Taylor store at Tysons Corner Center, which first got converted last year after previously hosting a mass COVID-19 vaccination site. Long-term plans to redevelop the building at 7950 Tysons Corner Center got approved last month by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Accessible from the Plaza, the store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, except for Sundays, when doors close at 7 p.m.

Other locations include:

  • Fairfax Towne Center in the former Bed Bath & Beyond (12100 Fairfax Towne Center)
  • Crossroads Center in Bailey’s Crossroads, also a former Bed Bath & Beyond (5810 Crossroads Center Way)
  • Springfield Commons in the former Party City (6721B Frontier Drive)
  • Rose Hill Plaza in a former Tuesday Morning (6140 Rose Hill Drive)
  • Village Center in Centreville, another former Tuesday Morning (5619 Stone Road)

The company’s website also lists a store as “coming soon” to the former Office Depot (3536 South Jefferson Street) at Crossroads Center in Bailey’s Crossroads. Spirit Halloween didn’t respond to FFXnow by press time when asked if that location is still coming.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Spirit Halloween announced before this season began that it would be its “biggest” one yet, with more than 1,500 locations around North America.

“We’ve seen Halloween grow from a single day of excitement into a season-long celebration, with so many enthusiasts showcasing their love for Halloween all year long,” Spirit Halloween CEO Steven Silverstein said in a press release. “…However you celebrate this season, we have everything Halloween fans need, from the classics to the hottest new trends.”

In addition to opening physical pop-up stores every fall, the business sells Halloween costumes, decor and animatronics year-round online.

Vivid Chill opens in the Mosaic District (staff photo by Vernon Miles)

There’s a new shop in Merrifield focusing on an eclectic, “curated collection” of handcrafted goods.

Vivid Chill hosted a grand opening this past weekend in the Mosaic District, moving into Suite 150 at 2910 District Avenue from a spot in Great Falls.

The shop offers everything from jewelry and clothing to books, face oils and playdough.

According to Vivid Chill’s website, its focus is on “handcrafted, ethically made, sustainable, nontoxic, eco-friendly” goods.

Originally opened at Great Falls Village Centre in early 2021, the shop won a spot on Washingtonian’s Best New Shopsof 2021 list, which highlighted owner Marika Tsombikos’s dedication to selling only the best assorted items she can find, typically with clean design and bright colors.

Vivid Chill’s website says the store is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Alo Yoga is one of three clothing stores to open in Tysons Galleria this September (courtesy Alo Yoga)

Tysons Galleria’s commitment to serving up high-end retail continues with the recent arrival of three new clothing stores.

A boutique from Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana is now open on the second floor near Balenciaga, the mall announced earlier this week on Instagram.

Measuring 4,004 square feet in size, per Fairfax County permits, the store sells handbags, shoes and other accessories. It also offers tailoring and styling services, along with complimentary soft drinks, according to the store website.

This is Dolce & Gabbana’s second Tysons location, joining a boutique inside Nordstorm at Tysons Corner Center.

Tysons Galleria has also added Alo Yoga, which made its Virginia debut with an opening on Sept. 15. Located on the first floor near Sweetgreen, the store sells clothes, sneakers and other yoga-related accessories, such as mats and towels.

Founded in Los Angeles in 2007, the company says it aims to create comfortable yet stylish clothes that are equally suited for working out or walking down the street. Its website includes photos of celebrities like model Gigi Hadid and singer Taylor Swift sporting its outfits.

Alo offers yoga classes at some of its stores, including one in Georgetown. The Tysons Galleria store doesn’t have a studio, but it will host events, according to a press announcement.

“Try on the latest styles and experience luxe, signature fabrications and exceptional fits in-person, or attend our in-store community events to learn more about wellness practices from breathwork to ear seeding with experts,” the company said.

Finally, the knitwear-focused fashion house St. John opened a boutique at Tysons Galleria yesterday (Thursday), a public relations representative for the mall confirmed.

The boutique operates from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Founded in 1962 and headquartered in California, St. John has just 33 stores worldwide, but its clothes are also sold through other retailers. The company’s products can be found in Tysons Galleria’s Neiman Marcus and at Nordstorm and Bloomingdale’s in Tysons Corner Center.

Located at 2001 International Drive, Tysons Galleria is typically open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.


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