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Morning Notes

McLean Central Park gazebo (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Recent Gun Violence Leaves D.C. Area on Edge — “In the D.C. area in recent days, two shootings in crowded public spaces — at the festival on U Street and at a Fairfax County mall — reinforced that no one is immune from violence. As a result, some area residents have begun to pull back. People have started to think twice before going to concerts and the mall.” [The Washington Post]

Tysons Software Company Lays Off 54 Workers — “ID.me Inc. has laid off dozens of employees following a period of rapid growth and just months after the Internal Revenue Service halted use of ID.me’s facial recognition technology…The company had expanded rapidly during the pandemic to keep up with growing demand at the time” [Washington Business Journal]

Man Charged in Fairfax City Assault — “A Maryland man was charged in connection with an assault that took place Saturday afternoon on Main Street, Fairfax City police said in a news release. Ronaldo Thomas, 41, of Capital Heights, Maryland, was charged with one count each of strangulation and assault and battery in connection with the choking of a woman outside the Main Street Marketplace, police said.” [Patch]

Annandale Dollar Tree to Reopen — Construction appears to be underway to repair the entrance to the Dollar Tree in the Bradlick Shopping Center. The store has been closed since a car crashed through the glass doors in October, but signs posted on the new doors indicate the shop will reopen “soon” and is now hiring. [Annandale Today]

Still Crickets on Downtown Herndon Project — “It appears unlikely, virtually impossible, that Comstock could break ground on the Herndon Redevelopment Project before summer starts. A groundbreaking date was first anticipated in late 2019 with project completion possibly in 2021.” [The Connection]

Fairfax City Welcomes New Nail Salon — “Sure, it’s easy to find a nail salon in nearly every city. But one look inside Raizun Nail Spa in Fairfax City lets customers know this spacious and upscale business is different from the rest. ‘Their salon is absolutely gorgeous,’ said Danette Nguyen, the City’s assistant economic development director.” [The Connection]

Tropical Storm Ida Relief Still Available — “The Washington Metropolitan Area District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reminds eligible business owners in Fairfax…to apply for working capital loans before the July 18 deadline. This disaster loan program is available to small businesses…and most private nonprofit organizations that were affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida that occurred from Aug. 31 through Sept 4, 2021.” [Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Benches Dedicated to Former County Leaders — “Former Board Chairman and Braddock District Supervisor Sharon Bulova and former Braddock District Supervisor John Cook had benches dedicated in their honor at the Braddock District Office, which is also home to the Kings Park Library.” [Patch]

It’s Thursday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 75 and low of 63. Sunrise at 5:46 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Chico’s in Reston Town Center has closed (staff photo by Fatimah Waseem)

Chico’s, a women’s clothing store, has officially shuttered its doors at Reston Town Center.

The business, which was located at 11910 Market Street, closed up shop last month.

It started off in 1983 as a small gallery and has since expanded across the country. There are several local locations, including McLean, Fairfax, and Leesburg.

There is no word yet on what will replace the store. The company did not return multiple requests for comment on why the store closed and when the last day of business was.

The closure comes amidst a flurry of recent changes in the town center, including the departure of Bow Ties Cinema and the addition of a new athletic facility from The St. James.

The center’s public spaces are slated for a facelift starting this spring, and tenants like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Fogo de Chao — among others — are slated to open up their doors this year.

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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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A Malibu Barbie truck will visit Tysons this weekend (courtesy Malibu Barbie Tour)

Perhaps lured by yesterday’s 80-degree temperatures, a truck hawking Malibu-themed Barbie swag will swing by Tysons Corner Center on Saturday (April 16), kicking off a four-stop tour through the D.C. area.

The Malibu Barbie Truck Tour will be parked in the mall’s Events Plaza (1961 Chain Bridge Road) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., bringing an array of merchandise paying tribute to the oft-criticized yet still-popular plastic doll from Mattel.

Coming on the heels of a similar visit by the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, the pop-up Barbie truck will sell beach apparel and accessories designed to evoke the 1970s, though no actual dolls appear to be offered.

According to a press release, available products will include:

  • Barbie-logo embroidered denim jacket
  • Pink Barbie-logo hoodie
  • Tie Dye bucket hat
  • Ringer T-shirt
  • Embroidered patch set
  • Enamel pin set
  • Burlap Shopper Tote
  • Stainless thermal bottle
  • Beach Towel
  • Malibu Barbie Necklace
  • Malibu Barbie Logo Mug

The “2022 Barbie Truck Totally Throwback Malibu Tour” kicked off on the West Coast last year to mark the 50th anniversary of Malibu Barbie’s introduction in 1971.

After hitting up Tysons, the truck will also visit Bethesda on April 30, Pentagon City in Arlington on May 7, and Columbia on May 14.

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Furniture Max in Herndon anticipated supply chain issues and ordered stock well in advance (staff photo by David Taube)

People looking to get items from furniture stores in Fairfax County say employees have told them they may have to wait weeks or months before the stock arrives.

The delays are another symptom of the supply chain disruptions that the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced across the country, affecting industries from vehicles and food to homebuilding materials.

Brian Katz bought thousands dollars worth of furniture for a Labor Day sale in Bailey’s Crossroads, but three months later, he has yet to see the purchased bed frame, sofa with chaise, and other items.

“I am still waiting to receive any piece of furniture in my order,” Katz said in a Nextdoor post to neighbors.

Katz and his wife had been getting by with a makeshift sofa made out of blankets and a bedroll, but when he heard there would still be a delay a few weeks ago, he ordered a cheap futon from Amazon. It’s serving as a stopgap measure.

Delivery delays have been an issue for furniture stores nationwide throughout the past year. The Institute for Supply Management, a nonprofit organization, found furniture and related products had the biggest increase in backlogged orders in June compared to 17 other manufacturing industries.

The biggest uptick in backlogged orders has shifted to apparel, with the furniture sector having the second-most delays of that sort from July through September before scaling back and then no longer experiencing those kinds of extreme upticks as of November, according to stats from the institute.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, an industry trade association, has attributed the challenges to increased demand for furniture, with more people continuing to work from home, as well as the lag time needed for manufacturers to restart operations after shutting down in March 2020.

In Herndon, Furniture Max higher-ups anticipated issues early in the pandemic, ordering around a year’s worth of furniture in the summer of 2020, said store manager Ali Baderzada. Many of the orders arrived six months later.

“Instead of ordering it monthly, we ordered it all at once,” he said. “We are still…getting those.”

That preparation means the store is now in the position to offer same-day and next-day delivery. Staff say they expanded that service to most in-store items this fall.

With the delays, many people have reported complaints to the Better Business Bureau, which can assist with getting refunds and resolutions. Customers have also shared their experiences on Google reviews.

Baderzada’s store has one BBB complaint, which is marked as resolved, and a Google review rating of 4.9 out of five stars. BBB’s database contains numerous complaints against different furniture chains amid the pandemic, where people say they paid upfront and still waited months after they expected items.

For Furniture Max’s Herndon location, many customer reviews say that, while other places across the region have had limited stock, they’ve been surprised and satisfied with their experiences there.

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