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Läderach opened a store at Glendale Galleria in California in March (via Läderach Chocolatier Suisse)

(Updated at 5:50 p.m.) The Swiss chocolatier that invented the modern truffle is bringing its sweet confections to Tysons Corner Center.

Läderach Chocolatier Suisse will take over the mall’s former Godiva store on first floor, right across the hall from Macy’s. The new store will have a soft opening tomorrow (Friday) with an official launch on Saturday (May 7), just in time for Mother’s Day, according to Läderach spokesperson Ryan Bowling.

“Tysons Corner Center was seen as a good location due to the growing demand for premium fresh chocolate Läderach has seen online and through e-commerce, combined with previous results with the former Godiva location,” Bowling told FFXnow by email.

This will be Läderach’s 40th retail store in North America and one of 34 Godiva locations that it took over with a purchase agreement last year. The chocolatier has expanded significantly since arriving on the continent in 2019, per an April 28 press release that was reported earlier this week by DC Eater.

Shops at Union Station in D.C. and Pentagon City’s Fashion Centre in Arlington opened last year.

“As the demand for premium fresh chocolate continues to grow in North America, so should the experience, and that’s why we’re excited to continue to increase our retail presence coast-to-coast in the U.S.,” Läderach North America President Nathanael Hausmann said in the release.

According to its website, the family-run chocolatier was founded in 1962 in Glarus, Switzerland, by Rudolf Läderach Jr., who invented and patented a new, easier process for manufacturing truffles by filling “thin-walled hollow balls.”

Läderach is also known for its FrischSchoggi, slabs of chocolate bark that come in 20 varieties, according to the press release:

Each Läderach premium fresh chocolate retail store provides chocolate lovers with the opportunity to awaken their five senses through more than 85 varieties of fresh artisanal chocolate directly from Switzerland. The retail stores include Läderach’s iconic FrischSchoggi™ (fresh chocolate) counter at the front behind clear glass featuring multiple large slabs of fresh chocolate bark that can be hand-broken and enjoyed for gifting or everyday occasions.

The company says all of its chocolate is manufactured in-house at its laboratory in Glarus. The cocoa beans are sourced from farmers in Trinidad, Ecuador, Brazil, Madagascar, and Ghana.

For shoppers who won’t be satisfied with access to just one chocolatier, Venchi Fine Italian Chocolates remains on track to open a chocolate and gelato shop this summer, Tysons Corner Center spokesperson Maurisa Potts confirmed to FFXnow.

Venchi will be located on the mall’s second floor, almost directly above Läderach.

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Toby’s Ice Cream found viral success in summer 2021 with limited-time cicada sundaes (courtesy Toby’s Ice Cream/Facebook)

(Updated on 5/4/2022) Hold your cicada sundaes, Vienna. Despite the rumors that have been flying around town, Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream has not opened its new shop yet — at least not officially.

As reported yesterday (Thursday) by Patch, the Arlington-based ice cream eatery hopes to officially open its location in the Cedar Park Shopping Center (280 Cedar Lane SE) this May, with no exact date determined yet.

If you pass by at the right time, however, you might get a scoop, as some visitors discovered this past weekend (April 23-24).

“We hope to open with regular hours about mid-May,” Toby’s co-owner Toby Bantug told FFXnow. “Right now we are soft opening on the weekends, and during the weekdays we’re making ice cream, working out the menu and procedures and training staff, in addition to running the Arlington shop.”

Operating hours for each day are being posted on the business’ Instagram page.

Best known for the viral cicada sundaes it concocted during last year’s Brood X emergence, Toby’s Ice Cream launched in 2008 in Westover.

Bantug previously told FFXnow that he and his wife Monina, who co-owns and helps run the store, had been hoping to expand for years but didn’t commit until they started delivering around their home in Mantua during the early days of the pandemic, giving them a new customer base in Fairfax County.

Bantug says he has gotten “more than a few” people asking about the impending opening of the Vienna shop.

“We just want to let you know we’re very excited and looking forward to serving all the fellow ice cream junkies in the Vienna area!” Bantug said by email. “We’ll get there, we’re asking for your patience, it’ll be worth it!”

Toby’s will join several recent additions to Cedar Park’s food options, including the Japanese restaurant Sushi Koji, the Mexican restaurant and bar El Sabor Grill, and the Mediterranean newcomer Lezzet.

The fast-food chain America’s Best Wings also hopes to open its first Fairfax County location at the shopping center this spring.

Franchise owner Mohammed Karim told FFXnow in late March that the restaurant was “getting close” to an opening. He said the opening day will include free chicken wings tastings, where customers will be able to try all of the different flavors.

Photo courtesy Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream/Facebook

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New Japanese-inspired store at Fair Oaks Mall offers lifestyle items (courtesy MINISO)

A new store with all items $10 or less has opened at Fair Oaks Mall.

MINISO, a lifestyle product retailer from China, opened a $10 N’ Under store in the mall on April 21. The 3,568-square-foot space sells household goods, cosmetics, food and toys. It’s the second location in Fairfax County and the third in the state overall.

The company opened its first location in the county at Tysons Corner Center in October. It also has a store at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge.

“We are thrilled to open our new store at Fair Oaks Mall, after witnessing Miniso’s enormous popularity among the consumers of Fairfax and Woodbridge, and we want to bring our products, which marry high quality with incredible value, to more consumers,” said Bella Tu, General Manager of Overseas Division at Miniso. “As one of the few variety chain stores at Fair Oaks Mall, MINISO hopes to bring a fun-filled experience of discovery and delight to its shoppers.”

The Japanese-inspired company has more than 5,000 stores around the world. It launched in 2013 under the leadership of Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu.

Here’s more from the company’s website on their mission and vision:

“Affordable high quality”, “Joy” and “Lighthearted” are the values at the very heart of the brand. “Affordable high quality” is its permanent goal in terms of product development, as it strives to offer consumers inexpensive and well-designed goods. “Joy” describes customers’ natural response to the open, comfortable shopping experience and fun vibes at MINISO, while “Lighthearted” defines their relaxed and cheerful mood when choosing from the wide range of affordable goods in store.

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Wawa will open a store in Fairfax City this summer (via Fairfax City Council)

Wawa is officially opening its 100th location in Virginia, and Fairfax City will be the beneficiary.

The gas station and grocery store plans to open up shop at 9700 Fairfax Boulevard.

A company representative tells FFXnow that details are scant right now, but the business seems to be on track for a summer opening.

“We’re tracking towards a late summer opening and excited to share that this location will mark out 100th store in the state of Virginia,” Alyson Mucha, a spokesperson for the company, wrote in an email.

The Fairfax City Council approved the project in January 2020. Plans include six fuel stations with 12 pumps on the west side of Spring Street and north of Fairfax Boulevard.

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Lidl is coming to McLean, with Big Buns and Matchbox Pizza in tow (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Construction crews are putting the finishing touches on McLean’s upcoming Lidl.

The grocery store is on track to open this summer, the company says, putting the project slightly behind previous projections of a spring opening.

“Opening a beautiful, brand new store has many components,” a Lidl spokesperson told FFXnow. “…The D.C. area is our home and we can’t wait to introduce customers to the high quality experience we offer.”

Located at 1330 Chain Bridge Road, the McLean Lidl will be smaller than the Safeway that it’s replacing, which closed in April 2021. The additional space has been subdivided to make room for three other tenants.

Two of the spaces have been leased by Big Buns Damn Good Burgers and Matchbox Pizza, which were expected to arrive in the second quarter of 2022 — between April 1 and June 30. Thompson Hospitality, the group that owns both restaurants, didn’t return FFXnow’s inquiry by press time on whether that timeline is still likely.

Fairfax County issued commercial interior alteration permits for Matchbox and Big Buns on March 30.

The third space — a 2,357-square-foot suite that could be expanded by another 2,112 square feet — remains available for lease, according to a brochure from real estate broker H&R Retail.

Originally started in Germany in 1973, Lidl now operates over 11,200 stores around the world, according to its website. That includes four stores in Fairfax County, with the most recent one opening in Merrifield last summer.

While the McLean location appears to be the next one up, construction began in December on a 30,000-square-foot store in Lorton (9001 White Spruce Way). When contacted by FFXnow, Lidl indicated that it has not set a timeline for opening yet.

Lidl also has plans for a store in Chantilly, specifically at the Chantilly Crossing Shopping Center, according to county permits issued for a wall sign on Dec. 8. Marketing materials suggest the store will take over a currently vacant lot adjacent to Lee Road.

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(Updated at 5 p.m.) Fairfax City’s latest grocery store is giving a new meaning to the term five-finger discount.

Amazon Fresh opened in Point 50, previously known as the Fairfax Shopping Center, today (Thursday), boasting new technology that lets shoppers buy items without having to get them individually scanned.

All they need to do is swipe an app or a credit card when they enter and exit the store.

“The goal is to make the smoothest transition,” Amazon Fresh District Manager Jim Gillespie said.

Shoppers inundated the approximately 30,000-square-foot store at 10360 Fairfax Blvd. when it opened at 7 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting and the potential for prizes and discounts.

Fairfax resident Nile Milton grabbed a pineapple and wondered how the store would know who and what to charge.

“We’re going to see how this works out,” said Milton, an Aldi regular who also frequents Giant and Walmart.

When Milton asked how purchasing worked, a worker explained that the store’s overhead cameras detect what items customers take and link them to people when they enter the store. Weight sensors also assist.

Traditional checkout lines with clerks who scan items are also available.

The new technology is a first in the region for Amazon and involves some 1,600 cameras for the store, according to a tech worker. A public relations representative later challenged that figure, saying that the number of cameras in stores are in the hundreds.

“Anything they take off the shelf is automatically added to their virtual cart, and anything they put back on the shelf comes out of their virtual cart,” Laura Hayes, a public relations representative for Amazon, said in an email regarding customers who choose to pick the Just Walk Out technology option.

People can use the Amazon app to link their bank account. And those with the app can use their palm to swipe in and out of the store, somewhat like a touchless digital fingerprint.

It’s one of the ways the company is looking to transform the industry. The store also touts competitive prices, such as 15-cent bananas and 89-cent loaves of fresh bread, and it plans to offer two-hour delivery of groceries, a standard for the brand, within coming weeks.

Fairfax resident Tom Castro arrived at the store at 3:55 a.m. and waited with others in the rain. As part of a prize for being first, he received flowers, which he promptly gave to his wife.

Castro said he visited the store about a half dozen times before it opened, wondering what the company’s timeline was. He said the pandemic led him to become a believer in having groceries delivered.

“We’re thrilled Amazon has decided to bring this technology to Fairfax — a city that embraces innovation and technology — for the benefit of our residents, office workers, and visitors,” Mayor David Meyer said in a statement. “Amazon has been a great partner in the development of this Fresh store, and we are looking forward to welcoming them into our community.”

Other stores in the region are planned for Arlington, Lorton and Manassas. The company is hiring hundreds of workers for those stores. Hayes said the Lorton store could open this year.

Amazon has also targeted Bailey’s Crossroads for a grocery store, but staff were unable to identify whether it will be an Amazon Fresh. The company also operates Whole Foods.

The Fairfax store’s hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The company first brought Amazon Fresh to Fairfax County last summer, with a store opening in Franconia (7005 Manchester Blvd.).

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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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Venchi Fine Italian Chocolates will open a store at Tysons Corner Center this summer (courtesy Venchi Fine Italian Chocolates)

A 140-year-old Italian chocolate manufacturer is setting up shop in Tysons — and no, a golden ticket won’t be required for entry.

Venchi Fine Italian Chocolates will open a boutique store in Tysons Corner Center, its first outside of the New York tri-state area, the company announced yesterday (Tuesday).

Expected to open late this summer, the store — or ChocoGelateria, to use the company’s term — will occupy approximately 470 square feet on the second floor near Macy’s. A spokesperson confirmed the shop will take over the Blue Nile showroom, as Fairfax County permit records indicate that the jeweler is relocating within the mall.

“As Venchi continues to expand its footprint outside the NYC area, we selected Tysons Corner Center because of its proximity to Washington D.C. and the complementary mix of brands within the Center,” Venchi CEO Davide Cravero said in an emailed statement. “We look forward to becoming the go-to fine Italian chocolate and gelato choice in the area.”

According to its website, Venchi can trace its origins back to 1878, when 20-year-old founder Silviano Venchi started experimenting with making chocolate in two bronze cauldrons in his Turin, Italy, apartment.

The company now boasts 150 retail boutiques in 70 countries and sells 50 chocolate recipes, along with 90 Gelato flavors. The Union Square store in New York City includes a 45-foot-long, 10-foot-high chocolate waterfall, which it claims is the largest in North America.

Venchi says it uses entirely raw ingredients, a reduced amount of sugar, and no artificial ingredients, citing its values as verissimo (authentic), allegrissimo (fun), and buonissimo (delicious).

Recent arrivals at Tysons Corner Center include the toy store Egg-cellent and the Canadian fashion boutique Aritzia. Other upcoming tenants include the fast-casual Chopathi Indian Kitchen, which was first announced last summer, and a stall called Soricha Tea & Theater.

The mass COVID-19 vaccination center in the mall’s former Lord & Taylor store delivered its last shots on Friday (March 25).

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Pressed is opening a juice bar in the Mosaic District this spring (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

(Updated at 5:15 p.m. on 3/30/2022) Health fanatics will have a new reason to visit the Mosaic District later this spring.

Pressed, a California company whose plant-based juices can be found in many grocers and coffee shops, will open a new store in the Merrifield development. This will be its first retail site in Virginia, though there are two stores in D.C.

An opening date has not been confirmed yet, but it’s expected to come in May, according to Pressed CMO Michelle Peterson.

“We’re opening our first storefronts in key markets, such as Fairfax, to be able to reach new audiences with our innovative juice store concept and making real, healthy food accessible to everyone,” Peterson told FFXnow, citing the variety of dining and shopping options in the Mosaic District as a draw for Pressed.

The store will occupy 700 square feet in Suite 140 at 2905 District Avenue, adjacent to the recently opened clothing store LooLous. The space was previously occupied by a similar business: Puree Juice Bar, which closed in August last year.

The store’s modest size is consistent with Pressed’s other locations, including its original 25-square-foot “juice closet” in Los Angeles, California. The inaugural store launched in 2010 when the company was called Pressed Juicery, according to its website.

“Our store model is efficiently built so that we don’t take up more space than we need,” Peterson said.

It now has more than 100 retail stores and supplies wholesale partners in nearly 3,000 locations, Pressed said by email.

With a focus on nutrition, Pressed produces cold-pressed juice with flavors like kale spinach and beet apple ginger. It also serves plant-based milk, smoothies, and plant-based snacks, including smoothie bowls and soft-serve ice cream.

Levesque says the Mosaic District store is the only one currently planned in Fairfax County, but Pressed will open a few more locations in D.C. later this year.

The coming months will also see the Mosaic District add Shake Shack, Sunglass Hut, the fast-casual Indian eatery RASA, and the Middle Eastern restaurant Tawle, which will fill the space vacated by Jinya when the ramen bar relocates just down the block.

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Morning Notes

American flag blows in wind at Wolf Trap National Park (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

FCPD Officer Found Not Guilty in Taser Incident — “A jury found a Fairfax County, Virginia, police officer not guilty of using excessive force against a man in a June 2020 incident caught on body camera. The officer, Tyler Timberlake, who is white, had faced three misdemeanor assault and battery charges for tasering Lamonta Gladney, who is Black.” [NBC4]

Community Members Rally in Support of FCPS Librarians — “Nearly 70 people participated in a rally to support school librarians March 24 before a school board meeting at Luther Jackson Middle School. At the meeting, several people attacked librarians for supporting LGBTQ students’ rights.” [Annandale Today]

Fairfax County Plea Deal for Shootings Suspect Scrutinized — Recently arrested for allegedly shooting five homeless people, Gerald Brevard III previously faced charges in Fairfax County for assaulting a hotel worker and breaking into an apartment. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares argues that county prosecutors’ plea deal was too lenient, while Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano says weaknesses in the case meant it was the ‘best outcome’ his office could’ve gotten. [The Washington Post]

Armed Carjacking Reported in Mount Vernon — “Detectives on scene of armed carjacking in 3700 blk of Rolling Hills Ave. 4 suspects described as black men 18-20 yo in dark clothing driving bro Nissan Altima. Suspects displayed firearm, assaulted the victim & took a 2017 gray Toyota Corolla. Call 911 w/info.” [FCPD/Twitter]

Capitals Star Relocates Within McLean — “Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie…and his wife Lauren paid $7.5 million earlier this month for a newly constructed 9,890-square-foot home on Dogue Hill Lane, according to public records. The five-bedroom, eight-bath home is within the exclusive Langley Farms community.” [Washington Business Journal]

Crumbl Cookies to Open Reston Store Friday — “To celebrate the April 1 grand opening of [its] new location in Reston, Crumbl Cookies will be giving away a year’s worth of free cookies to one lucky person.” [Patch]

Tysons Corner Center Announces Spring Events — “Easter festivities have begun as April approaches. Families can get the traditional Easter Bunny photos, and there’s even an adults-only egg hunt…From May to September, shoppers can find events like monthly outdoor movies, game night tournaments, live music and more.” [Patch]

Fire and Rescue Department Wins Charity Hockey Game — “A hard fought 6-2 victory for #FCFRD @FairfaxCountyPD Chief Davis will look good in an FCFRD hockey jersey! Great game for great causes! Fantastic crowd! In the end, #FCPD and FCFRD remain one public safety team!” [FCFRD/Twitter]

It’s Monday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 32 and low of 23. Sunrise at 7:01 a.m. and sunset at 7:30 p.m. [Weather.gov]

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