Alexandria Living Magazine - July/August 2020

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Alexandria's Pandemic Recovery Plan Dream Kitchen

Fort Hunt Farmhouse-Style





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Navigating the New Normal in Boutique Shopping BY KRISTEN MOORE Owner of Twist Boutique

Here are some suggestions to make consigning easy and most importantly enjoyable:

Well-Cared-For Items Before you resell any gently worn clothes or accessories, you should wash or dry clean them and check that they are free of stains, rips and other defects. Make sure brand labels remain intact and try to store your footwear and handbags in boxes or dust bags to keep them from getting unnecessarily dusty or dirty. While infrequent washing is better for the environment, be sure to stain stick and launder as needed to keep clothes looking their best. Ideally, keeping items stored in a climate-controlled

environment to protect fabrics. Handbags and leather products should be stuffed for support, not stacked or rubbing against each other to ensure they do not mark or scuff. Most leather products can be easily restored so take them to your local leather cleaner and re-use or consign.

Purchase Quality Clothing Clothing and accessory purchases can be an investment and do not necessarily have to break the bank. A quality piece and luxury brands do not lose value on the market, which means you can resell it after you are done wearing it. Items made from natural fabrics, like cashmere, silk, cotton, and linen, tend to last the longest and can be a bit more in price but worth it. According to ThredUp’s Annual Report brands like Frye and Patagonia, which emphasize the quality construction of their garments, have the best resale value. Dr. Martens, Hunter and Toms also rank at the top of list of labels with good resale value, along with leather backpacks by Kate Spade and crossbody bags from Madewell. And among the site’s small luxury brands Burberry, Versace, and Gucci stand out for their exceptional quality over an extended period. Products that have the best longevity such as Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton based on craftsmanship, quality, and design.

Twist Boutique • 109 North Fairfax Street Alexandria, VA • 703.566.2341 @twiststyl

Items in High-Demand According to data from The RealReal, trench coats are in high demand, with shoppers specifically gravitating towards Burberry’s classic iteration. Summer off-duty staples, like bright maxi dresses, mid-length skirts and jumpsuits, are among other top-selling styles on the resale market. Other than dresses for any occasion, designer handbags have the most profitable resale value. And the top styles to consign in the shoes are sneakers, square-toed shoes, and classic Manolo Blahniks, according to The RealReal. Chanel is also still trending in the fancy footwear department. On the more casual front, sneakers continue to be highly sought-after goods.


The rise of fashion re-commerce has remained steady for several years and predictions indicate there’s monumental growth ahead. For some, shopping resale fashion is a priority due to the benefit to the environment, while others claim to buy consignment clothing and accessories from specific brands, especially high-end labels, at a reduced price. I am often asked what types of products or brands have the best resale value? It is a great question whether you are looking to consign your own items or invest in pieces that you may want to consign down the road.

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS Stay connected to your community this summer.

















Is your schedule changing? How to prepare your pets.

Columnist Stuart Perkins connects everyday details to life lessons.

Julie Jakopic, founder of iLead Strategies, gives us ways to cope with the "new normal."

Missing the gym? How to get a good workout at home.

A Fort Hunt family loves their new farmhouse-style kitchen. You will, too.

Alexandria's thriving restaurant scene came to a screeching halt during the beginning of the pandemic. Here's how they're coping.

Need a change of scenery, but you're not ready for large crowds? We've got some road trips that fit the bill.

Old Town Alexandria resident Sen. Mark Warner reflects on these unusual times in our history.

50 July / August 2020 •





Community How Alexandria's business community plans to move forward during the COVID-19 crisis, how they have helped the community and a photo gallery of street scenes and "front porch" portraits of local families.

ON THE COVER Adris Tabibi head bartender at The Majestic stands outside the restaurant at 911 King St. in Old Town Alexandria.



4 • July / August 2020

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A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Christian Cunnane Lora Jerakis

These are challenging times on many levels for Alexandria and the rest of the world. Cleo Chitester Nicola Tate



Susannah Moore

Alexandria Living Magazine is published six times per year by Alexandria Living, LLC ©2020. 201 N. Union St. Alexandria, VA 22314. For newsstand or distribution locations or to subscribe for home delivery, go to

CONTACT US or call 571-232-1310.


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As we went to press with this issue, our attention started to turn from the global pandemic to the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. From protests to vigils and difficult conversations, Alexandria began to look inward at its own history and the ways our local residents and institutions can work to ensure a death like George Floyd’s never happens again. We encourage you to go to Police to read the open letter from Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown. We also encourage you to take part in this summer’s virtual town halls focused on race, learn about the racial equity capacity-building initiative from ACT for Alexandria, and talk to your family, friends and neighbors about how you can be an ally for racial justice. We remain in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but Alexandria has proven itself to be resilient. Residents and businesses stepped forward in many ways this year, whether it was making masks, contributing to a fundraiser, making meals for those on the frontlines or attending peaceful vigils. This issue of the magazine reflects the positive things Alexandrians have done and looks forward. Our calendar of events on Page 9 is obviously not anywhere near as robust as it was at this time last year, but we've pointed you to activities you can partake in that connect you to our community and make you a better person. Columnist Stuart Perkins finds a silver lining in the pandemic — and signs that life will go on. Be sure to read "The Small Things," on Page 14. Feeling stressed or unconnected? Alexandria's Julie Jakopic, founder of iLead Strategies, gives us a roadmap to help us cope, on Page 16. And if fitness is part of your wellness strategy, take a look at some tips on how to up your workout game at home, on Page 18. At this time of year we would normally be featuring a story on outdoor dining, instead • July / August 2020

Beth Lawton, publisher, and Mary Ann Barton, editor |


we take a look at how the pandemic has hit Alexandria's tight-knit restaurant community and how they're coping, on Page 27. In "Alexandria Rising," starting on Page 31, we spoke with city leaders who discussed the path forward for the business community. Starting on Page 38, we look at some of the local businesses that made a quick pivot to meet the new reality. And beginning on Page 42, we share a sampling of the many businesses that are helping their fellow man. Photographers Hugh Clarke and Mike Leonard share their photos from the pandemic on the streets of Alexandria and in some family portraits taken from a safe social distance, on their front porches, starting on Page 48. In The Last Word, on Page 54, Old Town resident Sen. Mark Warner reflects on these unprecedented times...and that very famous tuna melt. Be sure to continue to check out our website,, where you'll keep up to date on everything happening in Alexandria. Thanks to our loyal readers, we are now seeing more than 300,000 unique visitors per month — and most of them are right here in Northern Virginia. Our next print issue arrives in September. Until then, enjoy your summer and stay safe out there.

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Our Team Meet some of the contributors to this issue.

HUGH CLARKE Photographer


MIKE LEONARD Photographer


Hugh is a freelance photographer covering news and events in the Washington D.C. region. Hugh was previously a photojournalist for the Washington Blade and covered Major League Soccer for Last Word on Sports. He is a Florida native and graduate of the University of Florida. After moving to D.C., Hugh became a lawyer, photographer and avid cyclist of Northern Virginia trails. His favorite spot in Alexandria is The Majestic bar in Old Town.

Lucy lives in Woodstock N.Y., where she’s been drawing since she could hold a crayon. She is self-taught and known to spend hours filling her sketch books with elaborate drawings of eyes and lips. When she isn’t drawing and painting, Lucy spends her free time playing tennis, running track and swimming. She loves playing with her British shorthair cat Genki and her Australian Shepherd Auggie.

Mike has been taking pictures for nearly 20 years. Originally an amateur landscape and wildlife photographer raised in the Garden State, Mike began fixing his lens on wildlife of a different sort with the birth of his children several years ago. Mike and his wife, a native Virginian, reside in Alexandria with their two young boys.

Since late 2015, Sarah has been professionally photographing businesses and individuals of Alexandria. She strives to make each person feel comfortable, beautiful and proud in front of the camera. Her passion expands past photographing her clients outer beauty, focusing on bringing out their confidence and unique personalities through the lens.


BUZ NACHLAS Photographer


NAN RYANT Photographer

Susannah has called Alexandria home for the past four years. After traveling the world as an Army brat, she graduated from the College of Charleston as a double major in Political Science and Jewish Studies. She has worked in the political and legal fields but is excited to rekindle her interest in writing. In her free time, she can be found practicing yoga, singing, running along the Potomac with her husband, and spending as much time as possible with her golden retriever, Rosie.

Buz enjoys photography whether he’s capturing the Red Rocks in the American Southwest or snapping an image of an iconic monument at dusk in the nation’s capital. He often visits Alexandria and most recently snapped the horse and vintage truck outside Hard Times Cafe and Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. When he’s not taking photos, you might find him cycling on one of the Washington area’s bike trails. A native of Wisconsin, Buz makes his home in Northern Virginia.

Stuart is originally from Richmond and has called Alexandria home for nearly 10 years. He enjoys relating observations and the inherent lessons found in everyday situations. Some of these stories have been shared in publications such as Virginia Living and Chicken Soup for the Soul. When not writing about special moments in daily life, Stuart works at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Nan is a retired occupational therapist and longtime Alexandria resident. In her spare time Nan enjoys taking photos of people, nature and in this issue, Teddy, Mary Ann’s cocker spaniel. In addition to photography, she enjoys painting, swimming and travel. She lives in the West End with her husband Ches and their two dogs Gracie and Charlie.

July / August 2020 •


8 • July / August 2020

EVE N T K E Y Arts Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly Historic/Educational Live Music Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor Shopping Theater



Calendar of Events Farmers Markets

Personal Finance Webinars

Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt




Several farmers markets in our region are open for pre-ordered pick-up. In the City of Alexandria, go to alxathome/farmers-market for a frequently updated list of farmers who are offering online or phone ordering. In Fairfax County, visit farmersmarkets. Both websites will have information on when the farmers markets are open for in-person shopping.

Get a handle on your personal finances,

On this fun-filled scavenger hunt of Alexandria, journey around Old Town's historic buildings, great green spaces and cultural institutions. Where does George Washington like to hang out? How do you get invited to a lyceum? Find out on this scavenger hunt of Alexandria! This scavenger hunt is app-led. No tour guide or reservation required.

from how to boost your credit score to understanding loans, investing and more. CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union offers free webinars every month to provide financial education to anyone. Keep an eye on the calendar for July and August webinar opportunities. Scavenger_Hunt

Due to ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, many events have been moved online, postponed or canceled. Whether in-person events are able to resume later this summer depends on guidance from the Virginia Department of Health. Keep an eye on for an updated events calendar. July / August 2020 •



ALX at Home Ongoing Visit Alexandria’s ALX at Home website is Alexandria’s hub of information on local (virtual) events, dining and retail shopping throughout this pandemic. Look for the list of local businesses who have committed to the ALX Promise for health and safety.

test your knowledge on everything from pop culture to history. Please register ahead to receive the link to play and more detailed instructions. Also, please consider making a donation when you register. Half of your donation will support Carlyle House Historic Park and the Lee-Fendall House Museum. The other half will be donated to Alive! - a nonprofit organization that provides food and other essential services to those in need in our Alexandria community. Please limit teams to no more than six players. There will be weekly prizes for the winning team as well as a grand prize for the team that wins the most points over the entire summer!

Old Town Books Virtual Book Clubs Ongoing The popular Old Town Books book clubs have moved online. Join virtual events with the True Story! Book Club, the Bad Romance Book Club, plus book events featuring sci-fi novels, cookbooks and much more.

DC Jazzfest from Home July 4, 11, 18 and 25 | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. The DC JazzFest From Home Series is a free video series occurring on the DCJF YouTube channel that will feature never-before-seen footage of performances from years past as well as live-streamed shows from DCJF artist alums.

Virtual Trivia Night July 17 and 31 | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Aug 14 and 28 | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Join Lee-Fendall House Museum and Carlyle House Historic Park virtually for summer trivia nights. This Alexandria tradition will


beer samples from Caiseal Beer. Purchase any bottles of distilled spirits to take home (store them at concierge station during the event). Food from Peruvian Brothers Food Truck will be available for purchase. Tickets are $20 for one general admission, or $35 for two general admission tickets. Day of/onsite: $30 for one general admission. Designated driver tickets are complimentary. The Garden by Building Momentum, 5380 Eisenhower Ave., Ste. C.,

Active For Autism Virtual 5K July 18 – 26 | Anytime Due to COVID-19 the Organization for Autism Research has decided to make the second annual Active For Autism Virtual 5K a virtual event. This virtual 5K has a goal to raise $40,000 to help spread autism awareness while raising money to fund new research and provide free resources to families and educators to help individuals with autism live better lives today. Whether you are running, walking or just cheering others on, set up your fundraising page today and support autism research. Anyone who raises at least $100 will receive an OAR insulated water bottle and the top three fundraisers will receive additional prizes! Complete the Active for Autism Virtual 5K at your own pace, in your own time, from wherever you are!

Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow Sept. 19 | 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sample artisan spirits as well as craft cocktails from 10 Virginia distilleries. Guests can mix, mingle and engage with Virginia distillers firsthand! Tickets also include • July / August 2020

The George Washington Parkway Classic, Rescheduled Nov 8 (was Aug 16) | 7 a.m. Run 5k or 10 miles along the Potomac River during one of the country’s most scenic running events. The 5k begins at the Belle Haven Marina and the 10 miler begins at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Free shuttles are available. Both races finish up at Oronoco Bay Park in Old Town where there will be tacos and beer provided by Port City Brewing Co. Kids can run the 600-meter Kid’s Dash at Waterfront Park beginning at 10:30 a.m. Spaces for the Kid’s Dash are limited and cannot be purchased on race day. Various locations,


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Back to the Office? Help Your Dog with Separation Anxiety. BY MARY ANN BARTON

Some of the most popular pet memes online during this coronavirus pandemic include jokes about dogs getting 20 walks per day, and cats wondering why their humans are home all the time. But for many people, it’s time to go back to work. If your schedule is changing, there are things you can do to keep your dog from feeling the pain of your absence. If you’re not sure if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety while you’re gone, a dog-training non-profit called Your Dog’s Friend, based in Rockville, Maryland, notes that separation anxiety often results in disturbing behaviors that only happen when the dog’s human is gone. “So, for example, if your dog chews the woodwork when you are gone and never chews the woodwork when you are there, your dog may have separation anxiety,” according to the non-profit. “But if your dog chews woodwork whether you are around or not, perhaps more management or appropriate chew toys are the solution.” Other ways that dogs show their anxiety include howling, trying to escape, going to the bathroom inside the house, running in circles and not eating or drinking. Another way a dog shows separation anxiety is by following their “person” around the house, afraid to lose sight of them for fear that they will leave.

12 • July / August 2020

Teddy keeps an eye out for his human inside his home’s screen door. | PHOTO BY NAN RYANT

Tips from the non-profit for helping your pet with separation anxiety include: • Making sure your dog has had plenty of exercise before you leave. • Not making a big fuss when you leave or when you get home. • Not leaving your dog in a crate unless they enjoy it. • Playing soothing music or a white-noise machine. • Leaving some clothing you’ve slept in (like a t-shirt or pajamas) in the dog’s bed or crate. • Creating an enjoyable bed space for them (leave treats in it), separate from you. • Providing them with an interactive toy they’ll enjoy while you’re gone (talk to the experts at The Dog Park in Old Town or The Dog Store in Del Ray to choose a puzzle toy for your dog). The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria can help out with your questions about animal behavior, too. As a community resource, the AWLA offers a variety of assistance for all pet owners. For animal behavior help, call 703-746-5654 or email Hiring a dog walker can help, too. A dog walker can help break up a pet’s day while you’re stuck at the office or at your jobsite — and your pet will appreciate seeing a friendly face. Pet sitting and dog walking services like Fetch! Pet Care, or a dog running or exercise service such as D.C. Dog Runners, can provide your dog with mental and physical stimulation. A dog daycare can also help give your dog exercise during the day.

The Humane Society also provides information on tactics that will not help your pet. Those include: • Punishment: Punishment isn’t effective for treating separation anxiety and can make the situation worse. • Another dog: Getting your dog a companion usually doesn't help an anxious dog because their anxiety is the result of their separation from you, not just the result of being alone. • Crating: Your dog will still engage in anxiety responses inside a crate, and they may urinate, defecate, howl or even injure themselves in an attempt to escape. Instead, create other kinds of ”safe places.“ • Radio/TV noise: Leaving the radio or television on won't help (unless the radio or TV is used as a safety cue). • Obedience training: While formal training is always a good idea, separation anxiety isn't the result of disobedience or lack of training.

Additional Resources Animal Welfare League of Alexandria: 703-746-5654 or email Soothing music to play for your dog or cat while you’re away. ThunderShirt’s design applies gentle, constant pressure to calm anxiety and fear, similar to how weighted blankets help some humans. DogTV: Cable TV network for dogs. Check with your cable provider or streaming service. Visit for information on webinars and more.

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Can Cats Get Separation Anxiety?

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Cats have a reputation for being “loners” who don’t care if their humans are home or not. But cats can also have separation anxiety, often shown with excessive meowing, going to the bathroom outside the litter box, excessive grooming or not eating. Like with dogs, make sure your cat is getting enough exercise and attention, turn on music, invest in some puzzle toys or get a visitor to come during the day.


loans subject to normal credit approval. July / August 2020 • All


Between the Rings



It takes deep searching to find the silver lining in a cloud of COVID-19, but recently I’ve enjoyed more time outdoors than usual. Those of us fortunate enough to have remained healthy are adapting to changing guidelines on how to go about daily life. With social distancing measures in place we search for alternatives to happy hours, dinners out and gatherings with friends. My go-to has been walking. Sometimes around the block, often to a nearby lake, but usually through Ben Brenman Park just down the street from my house. During a recent walk, heading down my favorite path, I noticed a gaping hole in the tree canopy. Sunlight streamed through the newly opened space and shone on leafy heaps of broken branches, huge limbs and the immense stump of a once massive tree. But for a recent storm, it would still be standing. Fallen across the trail, the hefty trunk had been cut into several pieces to remove the obstruction. I stood over the exposed stump, marveled at its width, and leaned to casually brush away fresh sawdust. That’s when I noticed the growth rings. A lot of them. The more sawdust I cleared, the more rings I revealed. Intrigued by their clarity and number, I put my finger in the center of the radiating circles, and started counting.

14 • July / August 2020

“One,” I actually said out loud. I started and stopped a few times, unsure of my accuracy, but several careful minutes later I neared the outer rings. “97… 98… 99,” I said to myself as I finished. “Wow.” Ninety-nine clear rings. Taking into account questionable layers near the bark and several areas made uncertain by chainsaw damage, this tree was easily a hundred years old. One-hundred years. That means a tiny acorn sprouted and began to form its first ring around the time Warren G. Harding was elected president. Perhaps it emerged just as Prohibition was introduced. Or maybe it struggled toward the light as Congress guaranteed voting rights to all women. A year passed, a ring formed. Repeat. No matter what… years and rings. Years and rings upon years and rings and soon Amelia Earhart was flying solo across the Atlantic, the Empire State Building opened, and one day wind whipped across the growing tree just as it did the flag that flew over the Winter Olympics in 1932. The same year my father was born. Passage of more time, formation of more rings. Growth was never deterred. During the eruption of Mount St. Helens, the

launching of the Hubble Space Telescope, and even the horror of Sept. 11, a ring was still forming. The extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela came to an end, and another ring formed, in 2013.

pressed my finger tightly against that 42nd ring.

The same year my father died.

“It’s making rings,” I actually said out loud.

From the time it gripped earth as a sprouting acorn until the day a heavy storm brought it down, the tree not only survived — it grew. This majestic beast existed during years of peace and years of war. From its first to its last, so much happened between the rings.

Somewhere in that young tree will be rings coinciding with consequential events all over the world. I remembered what caused me to walk this path in the first place. Somewhere in that new tree is a ring marking the pandemic’s beginning. Somewhere in that tree will be a ring marking its end.

As a sapling, it was already on its way to grandeur before my father was born and it continued to grow after he was gone. It formed one ring the year of his birth, another the year of his death. All my father ever did, and was, occurred between the few blurry circles I just counted.

Extraordinary people, amazing achievements and unbelievable accomplishments will all be recorded within that tree. And just like my father, some lives will come and go within the span of a few inches worth of its rings.

I reached down again to touch that first original ring. I dragged my finger toward the outer edge, moving slowly over each of those circular markers of time. I stopped on the 42nd ring. If my calculations were correct, this one formed the year I was born, 1962. Odd feelings flooded my head. Wait. How silly to stand over a tree stump and find myself in the throes of profound thought at the sight of a jagged circle. But I

No. It’s beautiful, I thought. That’s when I noticed a nearby sapling.

I glanced back down at the circle beneath my finger. My first. And somewhere in the sapling will be another. My last. Important to ponder my rings. More importantly, what am I doing between the rings?

Portrait, Event and Wedding Photography Hugh Clarke, Esq. (443)-892-0880 |

July / August 2020 •



Building Resilience


Stick to a schedule. It doesn’t need to look like your old schedule but having one and a routine around it can help you create your new normal. It could be M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. but could also be 6 a.m. – 8 a.m., 10 a.m. - noon, and 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.


Create space. Avoid back-to-back Zoom calls. It’s so hard on your eyes, your brain and your psyche. Before, you would walk to another office or go to another building. Try working 50-minute hours with space between meet-


ings and tasks.

COVID-19 has changed how most of us spend our days. Many of us found ourselves suddenly looking for work, working at home, or even trying to teach school to kids at home while working. There have been a lot of good changes, too — more time with family, no more commute, more flexibility. But it has also been stressful. As the pandemic wears on, it is starting to wear on all of us. For most of us, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to acknowledge the impact of changes on our lives. We have all experienced loss. Loss of our routines, loss of income, loss of people we love. It’s appropriate to be tired, or depressed, or anxious or all of the above. But it’s also hard to live that way for a long time. At the beginning of this, we needed to focus on being safe. Now we need to figure out how to tolerate the ambiguity we face. As we find our way in a new world, there are some things we can do to build our resilience, our capacity to bounce back.

16 • July / August 2020


Set boundaries. Boundaries about when we are and aren’t working. Boundaries about what others can expect of us. Setting clear expectations helps us maintain relationships and protect our time so we aren’t always working.


Remember you are not what you do. Contrary to how we often live in our culture, don’t get confused. What you do is just part of who you are. You are also not your bank account. What you do and your bank account may be changing, but you are essentially the you that you were in February. Your value is inherent.


Limit media consumption. It’s fine to watch the news. Once. But not over and over. Our brains think things are happening over and over, and we get anxious.


Turn off screens. Do this at least an hour before bed and ideally charge your devices somewhere else. The blue light keeps us awake, and games and apps are designed to hook us. How much time have you mysteriously lost on Facebook?


All of us have down days, but if you find yourself down or anxious consistently, or more deeply, get more support, just as you would if you were feeling physically bad. Here are some tools and sources of help. • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)'s “Coping With Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks” page outlines the signs of stress and steps you can take to alleviate stress. • SAMHSA’s “Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health” page provides tips for social distancing, quarantine and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak.

Painted rocks at a home in Del Ray | PHOTO BY BETH LAWTON


Breathe and hydrate. Deep, long belly breaths. When you fill your lungs, you stimulate your vagus nerve which reduces anxiety by activating your relaxation response. Stress and anxiety release adrenaline and cortisol and other hormones that help us in fight-or-flight situations. Most of us are not facing a physical opponent but a mental, spiritual or emotional one. We need to clear all those hormones. Drinking lots of water is how.


You are what you eat. Just about all of us have been tempted to eat a pint of ice cream or have an extra glass of wine since we aren’t going anywhere. And once in a while, it’s fine. But in general, do your best to eat a healthy rainbow and limit substance use.


Get moving. The gym is great, but so is dancing to your fa-


Connect safely. Maybe that is sharing meals over Zoom


Practice gratitude. Every day find something for which you


Give to others. Giving to others helps give meaning to our

• SAMHSA’s “Talking With Children: Tips for Caregivers, Parents, and Teachers During Infectious Disease Outbreaks” page provides parents, caregivers, and teachers with strategies for helping children manage their stress during an infectious disease outbreak. • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a guide for parents and caregivers to help families cope with the pandemic. • Vibrant Emotional Health’s Safe Space provides interactive coping tools to help users when they need it. • CrisisLink, a 24-hour help line: 703-527-4077; Text: “CONNECT” to 85511 • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Veterans Crisis line: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1 • Emergency Services, Alex. Dept. of Community and Human Services: 703-746-3401

vorite playlist, working out with your favorite online yogi, or going for a walk. Sometimes, you don’t need to think it through, you need to move it out.

or playing games with House Party. Or even going for a physically-distanced walk with a friend. We are social creatures and need connection.

are grateful. It doesn’t have to be big or sappy. It can be that the sun was shining, or you didn’t burn dinner, or that you child gave you a dandelion. Focusing on what is good shifts your perspective.

days. Calling a friend who lives alone, contributing funds to a front-line organization, sharing your talent over video all make the world better and keep your focus forward.

Julie Jakopic, founder of iLead Strategies, helps leaders build resilience for themselves and their organizations.

July / August 2020 •


Several local gyms, yoga studios and personal trainers are offering individual and group workouts through online platforms. Pictured: Paul Roberts of Sand and Steel Fitness. | PHOTO COURTESY OF SAND AND STEEL FITNESS

How to Up Your Workout Game — at Home BY MARY ANN BARTON


Were you a regular at your gym before the COVID-19 shutdown? Have you packed on the “quarantine 15”?

Unfortunately, many people wait until they are facing some sort of health crisis before creating a workout routine, said Faragasso, who embraced health and nutrition after suffering from eating disorders that seriously impacted her health.

During this time, “it is more important than ever to keep up with a structured wellness program,” said local fitness and nutrition expert Meaghan Faragasso. Juggling work, children and more while staying at home as much as possible can be overwhelming, she noted, but taking time for fitness will make a tremendous difference in dealing with stress.

“Just like our gut health and our brain health are closely connected, so too is our mental and physical health,” she noted. • July / August 2020

There are options for all fitness levels, including running and walking, yoga, working with a personal trainer online or creating a home gym with some simple equipment.


Some workout centers around town, including Sand and Steel Fitness, are offering online options for their clients including virtual personal training. Virtual group classes are an option, too, which you can sign up for with a friend for added accountability. If you don’t have a lot of space in your home for gym equipment, some essential items that don't take up a lot of room include: • a jump rope

• dumbbells

• resistance bands

• exercise ball

• a mat

• medicine ball

If you want to make your workouts fun and challenging (and you hate ab workouts) you can try a device called Stealth that will turn planking into a game. Users slide their smartphone into a slot on the device and download an app that lets the user play games designed to make the workout more fun. But, don’t feel like you need to go out and buy the latest gizmo. Paul Roberts of Sand and Steel Fitness recommends trying yoga if you're short on space. “You don’t need any equipment for yoga, and yoga works very well in a virtual environment,” he said. “Speaking from personal experience, a combination of Alignment and Vinyasa Yoga is more than sufficient to keep your body strong and it will even help you lose weight.” Working out in front of a TV or computer monitor where you can access recorded or virtual classes might also be helpful. Roberts suggests looking for specialty virtual classes using equipment you have. You can also check for free classes on your cable TV lineup. Making fitness a part of your daily routine is “huge” in making regular workouts stick, Faragasso said. “Choose something that you can manage to keep up with on a daily basis.” “Exercise is like brushing your teeth, it is a habit that must be instilled,” she said. “If you felt you needed to get motivated to brush your teeth every morning and night you would be creating unnecessary stress. Same with working out. Choose a time each day that works best for you whether it is five minutes or 50 minutes and just do it.”

NUTRITION CAN HELP, TOO Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. If you found yourself stress eating or binge eating while watching movie marathons

during the shutdown, exercise alone won’t always combat bad habits. “Exercise can change the shape and look of your body, but fat loss primarily comes from changes in nutrition,” she said. “Nutrition can either be your medicine or your poison,” she noted. “Most health issues can be eliminated with customized nutrition.” “There is no one-size-fits-all nutrition program — that's what makes cookie-cutter diets so confusing and frustrating,” she said. “A lot of health issues come from unidentified food intolerance. It is important to identify first what our health issues are, metabolic disturbances, blood sugar issues, sleep disturbances, skin issues, headaches, bloating, joint pain, brain fog and then identify the foods that make those issues better or worse.” If you are struggling with weight, consistency, health issues or want to take things to the next level, Faragasso suggests hiring a coach who can keep you accountable and create custom programs that are “hyper efficient” at getting you to hit your goals.

Contact Faragasso for more information at Sand and Steel Fitness has more information about virtual training, classes and equipment rental on its website,

July / August 2020 •


Small Kitchen Addition Makes a


Difference Fort Hunt in 20 • July / August 2020


When Lauren and Andreas Kolazas and their two young children moved into their Fort Hunt home almost four years ago, they knew they wanted to renovate the kitchen. Not only was it outdated, but it was cramped, with very little counterspace. It took a few years before they could undertake the project. “I am so glad that we weren’t able to do the kitchen right away because the plan is completely different from what I wanted initially,” Lauren said.


The Kolazas' original kitchen


July / August 2020 •



Originally, they thought they would simply take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and add a peninsula, but a number of factors led them to realize they needed to do much more. First, their kids were getting bigger. They wanted extra space where the kids could do homework or help cook. Also, they like to entertain and they have a lot of out-of-town guests. Finally, the Kolazases developed close connections with their neighbors, which made them realize they wanted to stay in the house longer than the five years they had envisioned. With these factors in mind, the couple decided to add a 128-square-foot addition to the back of the kitchen. It allowed them to put in a large kitchen island, add more counter space and put in a door to the backyard patio and grill area. Lauren said that figuring out how to pay for the extension was the first step. Not everybody has endless amounts of cash to pay for major renovations. The Kolazases ended up taking out a home equity line of credit (HELOC). For them it was important to set a budget. Because they were changing the original footprint of their house, they hired an architect to make drawings of their plans. This gave them the ability to have something to present when interviewing potential contractors. They ended up working with Dave Wilkerson of DMW Enterprises for the contracting work. Suburban Kitchens, in Chantilly, helped with the layout of the kitchen. Lauren chose most of the design and finishes herself.

22 • July / August 2020

“I am so glad that we weren’t able to do the kitchen right away because the plan is completely different from what I wanted initially.”

We love the homes we do - everything from highly traditional to rock star!

TIP When planning your kitchen renovation, think about how your family will use the space. A professional designer can help you design a kitchen that lets multiple people use it at the same time without getting in each others' way.

Call us and let us help you love your home!

SERVING ALEXANDRIA FOR 25 YEARS 703-299-0633 July / August 2020 •


TIP Work with your designer to ensure details like finishes and colors flow throughout the space to create a cohesive look.

Her inspiration for the new kitchen came from pictures of deVOL kitchens, a UK-based company that specializes in classic farmhouse kitchens. deVOL kitchens typically feature shaker cabinets, hardwood or stone floors, farmhouse sinks and wooden or soap stone counters. While Lauren would have loved to order everything directly from deVOL, they had a budget and with young kids, they needed finishes that were both durable and beautiful. Lauren said that every aspect of the renovation project was influenced by her experience as a Realtor (she is an agent for Real Living at Home). While she chose a theme and details that she liked, she also kept in mind how potential buyers would perceive them and what would add the most value to the home. Kitchen renovations offer the biggest return on investment compared to other home renovation projects. Spending every day listening to what buyers

24 • July / August 2020

like influenced her choices of neutral colors, a large island and opening the kitchen up to the adjoining dining room. She knew it was important to consider the style of her home when renovating. While she was drawn to farmhouse style personally, she also knew it fit well in their 1960s Dutch Colonial. When it came to finishes, the couple picked linen-colored Shaker cabinets and off-white quartz countertops with a gray and gold vein. To add contrast, they chose slate blue cabinets and wood counters for the island. They selected slightly antiqued brass hardware and fixtures. Lauren did not want a backsplash, but Andreas did. They compromised by putting up white shiplap instead. They splurged on a 33-inch Kohler Whitehaven sink which Lauren said was by far the best choice for a farmhouse-style, cast iron enameled sink.


Full Service Interior Design Firm & Online Home Decor Boutique Specializing in Designer Furnishings HELOISE MITCHELL | OWNER, LEAD DESIGNER MINTWOODHOME.COM


Living in the house while the kitchen was renovated was a challenge for the Kolazas family. Even though only the kitchen was being renovated, it ended up impacting every other room in the house: Dust was never ending, noise was constant and privacy was difficult. They survived by remembering that it was only temporary and by ordering lots of takeout. Looking back, Lauren said they would have done the renovation in the summer instead of the winter, which would have allowed them to spend more time outside and take a vacation to get away from the construction. Despite the frustration of living through a renovation, the new kitchen became a wonderful space for family and friends while also boosting the value of the home, should they ever decide to sell in the future.

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July / August 2020 •



Stress, Anxiety and CBD During these uncertain times and as we take steps to move forward in our new normal, we know that it’s more important than ever to manage our stress and anxiety, to get quality sleep, and find meaningful ways to create a sense of calm. Calm is what we do at Your CBD Store Alexandria, and right now, I hope it’s a small way I can help my community. Managing stress or unwinding from a hectic day, is one of the reasons so many people are turning to high-quality organic CBD. Many of our customers are seeking alternatives to pharmaceuticals with harsh side effects, and CBD is more in synch with our bodies’ natural processes. Let me take a moment to explain exactly what CBD is and how it works with in our bodies. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the hemp plant. CBD products do not get you high. CBD interacts in our body through our endocannabinoid system (ECS). Researchers know that this system plays a role in major bodily functions like mood, sleep, memory, appetite and digestion. The ECS has 3 parts: receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids, all of which exist and function whether an individual consumes CBD or not. Taking CBD is like adding a catalyst to the system, it helps the process function more effectively. So what does all this mean? When someone takes CBD, it enters the body and is absorbed by the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Those enzymes metabolize the CBD and then the broken-down CBD activates the receptors. The activated receptors produce symptom relief. So how exactly does CBD help with anxiety? While more research still needs to be conducted about the mechanisms behind CBD’s anxiolytic effect, we do know it has a lot to do with our serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is found in the brain. CBD stimulates our serotonin receptors and helps to retain serotonin levels to regulate our mood. Another great benefit many CBD users report is better quality of sleep. According to Harvard Medical School, more than 50 percent of adult patients with generalized anxiety disorder struggle to get quality sleep. Since our endocannabinoid system regulates things like sleep and mood, adding additional cannabinoids into our body can aid in a better night’s sleep and decreased anxiety.

CBD can fit into any lifestyle, making it a great addition to your daily routine. Here are some of my favorite self-care tips and special picks for recharging and creating calm in your daily space. Our daytime SunMed CBG citrus tincture has uplifting and invigorating effects. It is made with an extract dominant in Cannabigerol (CBG) with CBD as a secondary component. The addition of lime and orange essential oils helps promote alertness and focus, also acting as natural flavoring. You can enhance your self-care routine by setting aside 30 minutes to soak in a soothing bath with a good book and a SunMed CBD bath bomb. It can boost your spirits and also provide a rewarding experience to look forward to, which can be a major motivator when powering through a tough day. Add a moisturizing face mask and finish pampering your skin with our 150mg CBD collagen cream. It’s a treat! Before bed, include SunMed CBDplus — our specially formulated CBD nighttime tincture to fall asleep quicker and feel more refreshed when you wake up. It’s an extract that is rich in minor cannabinoid Cannabinol (CBN). Being oil-based allows for the delivery of this brilliant blend of extracts and essential oils in a sustained manner. Come see me and our amazing staff at Your CBD Store Alexandria to ask questions and explore many more of our SunMed CBD products. CBD is a great tool for easing stress and anxiety, however it’s important to remember that it is not an all-encompassing fix. It is best used in conjunction with other measures to maintain overall health, including nutrition and exercise, among other things that can benefit our wellbeing.

- Shells Karle Owner, Your CBD Store Alexandria

The above is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor for more information. Your CBD Store is at 301 S Washington St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Call 571-312-4705 or go to


Alexandria’s Restaurants Reinvent Themselves BY MARY ANN BARTON

When the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down businesses left and right in early March, Chelsea Anderson, marketing manager for Alexandria’s Homegrown Restaurant Group, began to put her thoughts down in a diary. “I call it ‘The COVID Diaries,’” she said. “Everything was happening so fast. It's pretty crazy to wrap your head around when you look back at it.” On March 17, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam mandated that restaurants reduce capacity to no more than 10 patrons or close. Alexandria's robust and award-winning dining scene came to a screeching halt thanks to the order, which was meant to help stop the spread of the virus. The National Restaurant Association estimated at the time that the industry nationwide could lose $225 billion in sales by July 1 and shed 5 to 7 million employees. Anderson said Homegrown Restaurant Group, among other things, raised more than $10,000 for employees in a GoFundMe effort. “A lot of our regulars donated huge amounts of money. One family was so sweet — the kids ran around the house and gathered their

The Majestic’s Dave Nicholas outside the restaurant at 911 King St., wearing a mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19. | PHOTO BY SARAH MARCELLA CREATIVE

change from all their piggy banks and put it in a bag and dropped it off for us.” Her dad, longtime Alexandria restaurateur Mike Anderson, told her, “9/11 was really, really bad — it hurt restaurants immensely. We opened Pork Barrel in the middle of the 2008 recession, which was still way better than right now. He's had some doozies, but this is unlike anything he's ever had to deal with.” In addition to Pork Barrel BBQ, the group's restaurants include Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, Whiskey & Oyster, The Sushi Bar and Holy Cow. Dave Nicholas, a partner at Alexandria Restaurant Partners, who makes his home in Old Town and Florida, said he and his team huddled on a call “every

single morning at 9 a.m. from early March on,” wrestling with “‘What do we do?’ and ‘How do we move forward?’” ARP's restaurants include Vola's Dockside Grill, Mia’s, Joe Theismann’s, The Majestic and more. “The biggest thing was to be able to pivot,” he said. “We pivot 10 times a day some days. We’ve never lived through anything like this in our life, and I hope for all of our sake we never do again or anything like it again. It’s a crisis for sure.” “It wasn’t about how much business we could do,” he said, “but it was ‘Can we still employ people?’ Which is important — we have 700 employees, so it’s important to try to employ people.” One of the ways ARP helped

July / August 2020 •


Like many restaurants across Alexandria, Whiskey & Oyster restaurant, located in Alexandria's Carlyle neighborhood, pitched a tent outside its doors to hand out pickup orders, including alcohol sales. | PHOTO BY BETH LAWTON

employees was giving them family meals for four three times per week. Joseph Conrad, executive chef of Oak Steakhouse in Alexandria, said the first order of business was communicating with employees. He “drove to each restaurant under The Indigo Road Hospitality umbrella for team meetings, explaining why we had to close and explaining the process of unemployment. We wanted to make sure they felt secure that we are in this together and our goal was to re-open and do everything we could to retain everyone.” “After we had our layoffs, the true work kicked in,” Conrad said. “We immediately created a Facebook group page to keep everyone together and informed.” Management was accessible and HR helped with questions about unemployment and COBRA. The company created a gift card relief fund, where 100 percent of funds went back to those in need. Meanwhile, many restaurants across Alexandria, including Oak Steakhouse, reinvented their businesses by offering delivery and pickup, taking orders and

28 • July / August 2020

bringing meals out to customers or setting up sidewalk tents where they took orders — including, eventually, for to-go alcoholic drinks.

Being able to sell mixed drinks has been a mixed blessing, she said, with some people popping open beers and wanting to hang out.

“We’ve had great success with to-go business, success we never thought we would have,” Nicholas said.

Mayor Justin Wilson, who had pushed for curbside alcohol sales in a letter to the governor, was the first to buy a mixed drink to go, purchasing the Wilson's Rum Runner April 10 at 12:01 a.m. at Pork Barrel BBQ from co-owner Bill Blackburn.

Anderson said their restaurants quickly moved to pick-up service even before the restaurants shut down, popping up a sidewalk tent in Del Ray even while Pork Barrel remained open for dining. “From March 15 to the end of the month, every morning, it was like waking up and re-strategizing your entire business model,” she said. In Del Ray, “we ended up running three full-size restaurants out of a 10 by 10 tent on a sidewalk overnight. That first week we were overloaded with orders and people weren’t respecting social distancing. At the same time, we're trying to keep our staff safe and keep everything clean and make sure everyone has the right PPE (personal protective equipment) on. It was really, really crazy.”

“Justin has been really awesome in trying to do anything he can to help out small businesses, especially the restaurants in Alexandria. Getting any off-premise liquor license has been huge and something that I know that I never thought I’d ever see,” Anderson said. “I know that my dad, who has been in the industry for a million years... I never thought he'd be doing to-go margaritas. Getting to-go margaritas has literally saved Tequila & Taco from some serious trouble.” On Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican restaurant had to stop taking orders for several hours because they were so slammed, Anderson said, noting that other


Support Local A mask adorns the iconic horse which sits in a vintage pickup truck outside Hard Times Cafe restaurant, 1404 King St. in Alexandria. | PHOTO BY BUZ NACHLAS

Mexican restaurants around town were just as busy, with many “stir-crazy” residents looking for a reason to celebrate and “feel some sense of normalcy.” Meanwhile, restaurant owners, managers and employees are looking ahead, uncertain but hopeful. In late May, the region entered the first phase of Gov. Ralph Northam’s “Forward Virginia” plan to start reopening businesses. As part of that plan, restaurants were allowed to open for limited outdoor dining. The City of Alexandria quickly put together regulations allowing restaurants to use parking spaces for tables.

others. Restaurants need help so that we can continue to be there for our communities, friends and neighbors,” he said. Alexandria is a tight-knit community, and so is its restaurant industry. “We spend a lot of time venting to each other,” Anderson said, “because we find that they're the only people that can really fully relate to us, but the community has been amazing.”

The biggest takeaway for Conrad, he said, was that “restaurants are important.”

“Especially in Del Ray here,” she said. “Because the production and distribution chain is not up to par like it usually is, we’ll go over to talk to Jeff [Wallingford] at Taqueria el Poblano. I can’t tell you how many times we've had to steal some jalapenos and limes from him and Nicole [Jones] over at Stomping Ground. He needs things every once in a while, and we'll give them to her and vice versa.”

“They are more than a place to get food and drinks. Restaurants are places where experiences are made and emotional connections happen. Restaurants are about community and the powerful connections that can happen when breaking bread with

“We've always been that way,” Anderson said. “All the local restaurants were always trying to help each other out. But especially right now, I think that we everyone's really showing their true colors. It's been really fantastic actually.”

“I don’t know how fast it’ll come back,” Nicholas said. “When it comes back we’ll be ready, but safety is first."

In the past few months, restauranteurs across the country have taken to social media to show how services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub negatively affect their bottom line, taking significant percentages of sales and charging fees for service. While these apps are easy for hungry diners who want to order food for take-out or delivery, it’s much better for the local business to order directly. Here are some tips: • Go to the restaurant’s website directly instead of looking them up on a thirdparty service like Uber Eats. • If your favorite restaurant does not have online ordering through their own website, call the restaurant instead. (Use the phone number listed on the restaurant’s own website. If you call a phone number you found through Uber Eats, Grubhub or DoorDash, the restaurant may be charged a hefty “finders’ fee” for your call.) • Be sure to tip as if you were eating in the restaurant!

July / August 2020 •



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The Old Town Shop team member Diane Bird | PHOTO BY SARAH MARCELLA CREATIVE

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When the global coronavirus pandemic arrived in Alexandria, local residents and business owners responded with compassion, innovation and strength. Here's how we'll move forward, together. July / August 2020 •



32 • July / August 2020

A Recipe for


Ingenuity, determination, flexibility, imagination and maybe a dash of patience. Those are the qualities that Alexandrians — from business owners to residents — are going to need in the coming months as they transition from stability to recovery from the local effects of the global pandemic. This summer will be a critical period for Alexandria’s economy. If Alexandria residents and businesses can get through this initial difficult period, the long-term economic fallout may not be as bad as some initially feared. “If all of us approach this recovery with flexibility in mind, that’s going to be the path forward for the area,” said Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) CEO Stephanie Landrum. Alexandrians also need to balance optimism with being realistic, she said. “It’s going to take time to fully recover and I think we should be realistic about what the recovery looks like.” The economic pain experienced by businesses forced to suspend operations or make big changes was sharp and swift. Companies that reported some of

their best months ever in January and February reported their worst months ever in April and May. While a handful of businesses have closed and will not return, most plan to reopen, according to Alexandria Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber ALX) CEO Joe Haggerty. “People know it’s going to be difficult, but they are going to try to reopen,” Haggerty said. “They’re all willing to fight. We know not every one of them will make it, but we hope as many as possible make it, and we’ll all work together to help them.” One of the most visible signs will be new stickers on businesses’ doors and websites indicating that business owners have taken a pledge to prioritize combating coronavirus by following certain safety and cleaning procedures for both employees and customers. The program, an initiative of the Alexandria Health Department with support from Visit Alexandria, is called ALX Promise. “We know from research that if businesses such as hotels, attractions and restaurants, follow health and safety protocols, consumers are more likely to be interested in visiting,” said Patricia

Washington, CEO of Visit Alexandria. “Fifty percent of consumers said they’d be more interested in visiting if they could see that hospitality businesses are following health and safety measures.” Alexandria's local recovery will take a lot of effort in areas that may not be as visible, too, from changes to business models to technology upgrades. The Chamber ALX, along with Visit Alexandria, the Alexandria Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership (AEDP) and other groups and associations, are all facilitating conversations among business owners to share best practices for welcoming consumers back. Already, the way businesses have quickly adjusted their operations and executed new ideas is a positive sign for the region’s recovery, said Megan Podolsky, president of the Old Town Boutique District. “I was really impressed with the way people instantly became innovative and shifted their business,” said Podolsky, who owns 529 Kids Consign and co-owns Mint Condition. “We have such amazing business owners — and they were just able to shift gears.” Most of the OTBD

July / August 2020 •


go toward stability for residents through programs like emergency rent assistance, food distribution and childcare for essential workers. Fairfax County will receive more than $500 million, and has similar plans for that funding.

Curbside pickup at Old Town Books | PHOTO BY STEPHANIE DOUGHER

members — 30 small businesses in and around Old Town — immediately started curbside pickup or delivery services and used Instagram and Facebook to help their customers shop. “I’m hoping that the summer will give us an opportunity for businesses to figure out what they’re doing that isn’t working and they’ll be able to make those adjustments,” said Bill Reagan, executive director of the Alexandria Small Business Development Center.

SAFETY FIRST While some businesses have started reopening and more will do so this summer, health officials locally and nationally are concerned that COVID-19 cases could increase again this fall. While almost everybody hopes there is no resurgence, concerns about one could be a major factor in the Alexandria area’s economic recovery — and it could hold some residents back from visiting the businesses that have reopened. “You can declare everything reopened, but if the people don’t show up, then it’s not reopened,” Mayor Justin Wilson

34 • July / August 2020

told Alexandria Living. “If people don’t feel safe, then they’re not going to go back to spending money, and they’re not going to go back to those businesses. That is one of the trickier parts of this. The platform upon which any recovery is built has to be restoring public health and confidence in public health.” “If residents do not feel like they’re safe, and residents do not feel like they can safely do the normal things they would do, then they’re not going to do it. We have to get to a place, first and foremost, where people feel safe,” Wilson continued. To make people feel safe, local officials will be making significant investments in testing. Alexandria’s estimated $20 million to $27 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which set aside money for state and local governments, will help with that. In addition to funding going toward increased testing capacity, officials have hired more contact tracers to inform residents quickly when they have been exposed. In addition, some funding will

Fortunately, Alexandria has some natural advantages: Alexandria is known as a place that has great outdoor spaces, plenty of parks and walkable neighborhoods, Washington said. “I think people are looking for that – places with a little more room to explore beautiful outdoor parks and architecture, as well as heading into shops and getting take-out meals. … I think Alexandria will resonate with consumers.”

ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESSES Both Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria are stepping up for local businesses with millions of dollars in grants to help them reopen and return to being profitable. Fairfax County established a grant program for small businesses in May. Funded with $25 million in CARES Act funds from the federal government, the grant program called Fairfax RISE is designed to provide immediate assistance to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. At least 30 percent of the program’s total funding will go to minority, veteran and women-owned businesses. “Our hope is that these grants will help small businesses and nonprofits emerge from these difficult times, retain employees and be prepared to grow in the future,” said Fairfax County Chairman Jeff McKay. In addition, Fairfax County started business support initiatives such as the Small Business COVID Recovery Microloan program and a $25 million Safety Net Non-Profit Grant Program. The City of Alexandria has also launched

“I was really impressed a large grant fund to help businesses re-establish operations. Through AEDP, the City is using funding from the CARES act and other funds to help businesses come back stronger through the new Alexandria B2B (Back to Business) program. “We are trying to aim it at, ‘How do we help businesses recover, how do we help them transition and evolve their businesses for a very new environment?’ so that we aren’t just helping people pay bills — which is important — but we’re actually helping them come back,” Wilson said. Unfortunately, in both Alexandria and in Fairfax County, there may be a lot of businesses that are not going to come back for a variety of reasons — some were on shaky financial footing before the coronavirus crisis, and some have owners approaching retirement age who aren’t interested in rebuilding their business. “To the extent that we have businesses out there that have taken a body blow because of this but very much want to get back out there, we want to help them. That’s going to require all sorts of new investments for these businesses, and we want to help them do that,” Wilson said. “That’s what we’re focusing that money on.” For business owners, coming back won’t be as easy as walking into the store and flipping the light switch back on, Reagan cautioned. “Business owners will need to rethink how people will use their physical space, and all of them are gearing up to do more online,” he said. “That’s going to be one of the keys.” To help, Reagan worked with other small business leaders to develop the Virginia SBDC’s Recovery Resource Center ( recoveryresourcecenter). The Recovery

Resource Center provides a variety of how-to guides and best practices on how to reopen safely, from cleaning to supply chains, staffing and customer service. For businesses that did not have robust online sales systems already, changing or upgrading their point of sale and inventory systems may take a significant investment of both time and money, Reagan said. The Alexandria SBDC has also spent countless hours trying to help business owners navigate the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to provide forgivable loans to small businesses, but ran into a laundry list of problems. Now, the SBDC is trying to provide guidance on how to properly spend and track the funds for the businesses that got through the application process. Reagan said he’s had years of experience helping small businesses navigate U.S. Small Business Administration programs with few problems. “This has been an entirely different experience,” he said. Alexandria’s Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber ALX) in March decided to focus on providing actionable information to local businesses about loans and grants, sharing best practices and more. The organization launched a series of webinars designed to help businesses navigate through this difficult period in addition to web-based resources and virtual meet-ups. While many people think of restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and personal care businesses being hit hardest from the pandemic, many of The Chamber ALX members are in other industries that need support, too — many of whom could continue business operations with some adjustments, such as letting staff continue to work from home for the foreseeable future.

with the way people instantly became innovative and shifted their business.” MEGAN PODOLSKY

President of the Old Town Boutique District

Resources for Businesses and Employees The following local websites and resources are designed to help businesses large and small as they recover and reconfigure their operations: The Virginia Small Business Development Center’s Recovery Resource Center The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 information Alexandria Economic Development Partnership COVID-19 Resources: Fairfax County Information for Coronavirus-Affected Businesses Fairfax County Small Business Commission small-business-commission Northern Virginia Economic Development Authority

Flexible and Remote Work Guide from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) Remote-Work.aspx

July / August 2020 •


“Business owners will need to rethink how people will use their physical space, and all of them are gearing up to do more online.” M AY O R J U S T I N W I L S O N

In the midst of it all, The Chamber ALX was re-evaluating its own major events, which often focus on bringing people together. “It would be great to get back to bigger meetings and people having a great time, where people can talk and communicate and share a drink and meet somebody new,” Haggerty said, but there’s a very real possibility that 2020’s events will be smaller, virtual or both.


Resources for Residents Sadly, unemployment rates locally and nationwide set new, unwelcome records this year. If you need assistance with food, rent or other living expenses, there are many resources available.

Businesses may need to make changes in the future that may not even be on their radar right now, Haggerty said, referring back to significant changes in the way businesses operate that happened after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. “We will have different behaviors, and businesses will have different behaviors. Some of those changes will stay with us and some will go away, but look at how different things are now,” Haggerty said.

The City of Alexandria and Fairfax County can help you stay housed during this period of crisis. In Alexandria, go to and search for “COVID-19 Emergency Rent Relief Assistance Program.”

In addition to the way small businesses have pivoted, there’s another positive sign: Major projects are continuing, including the new Potomac Yard Metro station construction and large building projects. New restaurants have plans to open. “Hopefully we get back to some economic growth for everybody,” Haggerty said.

For food assistance in the City of Alexandria, text the word FOOD (or COMIDA) to 877-877 to find the nearest emergency food distribution sites.

Mayor Wilson noted that this region capitalized on the investments that occurred in this area after those terrorist attacks.

In Fairfax County, go to Fairfax County’s Human Services Resources Guide online at This page also has information about food assistance, medical help and much more. Most banks, utility companies and mortgage companies are offering flexible terms and assistance. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, be sure to ask for help from these businesses — you may be surprised at what’s available.

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“We did a good job of making sure that we were the area for counterterrorism investments and cybersecurity,” Wilson said. “We have to do the same thing with this crisis. To the extent that there’s going to be big money thrown at public health, pandemic resiliency and public health, we have to be ready to capitalize on that.” “From an economic development

perspective, we have some opportunities as a city and as a region and I’m hopeful,” Wilson said. “Some of the work we’ve done in the past couple of years to be more regionally focused about economic development will help us capitalize on that.” In September 2019, the AEDP worked with other Northern Virginia economic groups to form the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance. The new organization will work together to promote Northern Virginia as a business and economic development destination. It was formed after Northern Virginia localities banded together to market the region as the perfect choice for Amazon’s second headquarters, which is now under construction. Attracting HQ2 required a lot of collaboration between Arlington, Alexandria and even Prince William County. “We learned out of Amazon that it doesn’t have to be every man and woman for themselves and that the sum of our parts is worth more than individual jurisdictions. If we go together and sell the region, and the assets of the region, we can be really successful,” Wilson said. Alexandria is stronger when it works with its partners across Northern Virginia, Landrum noted. “We can’t just make decisions here in Alexandria about, say, contact tracing and testing and distancing, without recognizing that we’re part of a much larger metropolitan area. When we’re at our best economically, it means lots of movement between Alexandria and everywhere around us.” If the region works on stabilizing and recovering from this global pandemic at the same pace, “I think that will help deliver the best outcome for all of us.”

LOOKING AHEAD As of now, there’s enough capacity at Alexandria hospitals to handle the current load of coronavirus patients.


“Assuming we can stay there, you want to see some of the commerce that’s occurring in Alexandria get back to normal, or normalish. We’ll still see a lot of restrictions on congregations of people,” Wilson predicted. One thing Landrum wants to hang onto even after the pandemic passes is the appreciation most residents have felt for not only front-line workers, but for grocery store workers, delivery drivers, restaurant employees and everyone else who helped keep residents going through the spring. Even as restrictions relax, until there’s a vaccine or enough testing to be able to identify and isolate infected residents, there will still be hurdles to a full economic recovery, Wilson said. There may be restrictions and physical distancing requirements in public places for a long time to come. That may mean more innovation coming from local business owners in the coming months. This summer, Visit Alexandria is rolling

out a flexible getaway hotel package. Usable through the end of 2020 with generous cancelation terms, the package is designed for regional travelers who want to start taking vacations again. Visit Alexandria’s summer and fall marketing campaigns will focus on things that can only be experienced in Alexandria, Washington said. In addition, the ALX at Home online resource will remain accessible for residents and visitors to explore safe dining, retail and other experiences. “Ideally what I would love to see is a flourishing holiday season, but we need to be smart and anticipate the worst and plan for it — and hope it doesn’t happen,” Podolsky said. “Businesses will need to work together and continue doing innovative shopping and selling.” The SBDC’s Reagan said so far, he’s been impressed with many local, small retailer owners. “They are savvy, they are figuring this out, they’ve had some pretty good online sales when that was never a big part of

the way they did business, and they’re adjusting to it. The savvier our business owners are, and the more they can roll with the punches, the more it will lead to a successful fall and holiday season.” Landrum said she hopes that by the time the holidays roll around, most residents and businesses are on a more stable economic footing — at least enough so that Alexandrians can enjoy the holidays this year. “I think if we can do that, it’ll be successful. It doesn’t mean that we will have fully recovered, but if we all feel healthy and safe and we’re on a path toward economic recovery,” she said, “I think that would be an amazing goal to strive for. I’m hopeful that’s the situation. After all the work we’re all doing, it certainly will be deserved.”

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issues and make sure everyone was comfortable with the rapid changes. The store shared updates with customers on Facebook, Instagram and through email newsletters. Although there was some initial difficulty getting people used to Zoom, attendance for the virtual events doubled in size to 60 people compared to 20-30 people for previous in-person events. The bookstore experienced a lot of support for their online sales. Readers were able to order books for local pickup or delivery. Sanchez said they received orders from around the country, not only Alexandria. Inside, the shop went from cozy bookstore to book-packing assembly line, and the team was grateful to be able to keep working. Virtual Story Time | PHOTO BY STEPHANIE DOUGHER

Bookshop Binds Together Community During Crisis Local bookshop Old Town Books flipped to a new chapter in light of coronavirus restrictions. BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Nestled in the middle of Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront area in a 1790s stone warehouse building, Old Town Books gets the majority of its sales from foot traffic. The store also hosts events, classes and meetings for Alexandria’s tight-knit literary community. In fact, the store had just expanded to a second floor, which provided more room for events — and barely used the new space before calls for physical distancing upended business as usual.

Despite the loyal support, there were times of uncertainty for Old Town Books, just like there were for many other small businesses and individuals during the crisis. Kirkpatrick started a GoFundMe for the shop to be able to cover payroll and rent before loans and grant funding arrived. The GoFundMe was able to raise almost $12,000. In the face of the unknown, the store still found a way to give back by launching their “Book Love” campaign, which raised money for reading care packages for local children in need and children of essential workers. When Kirkpatrick opened Old Town Books almost two years ago, she dreamed of creating a community for readers and writers and someday becoming an Old Town institution. With a strong holiday sales season and a bright future ahead of her, Kirkpatrick was surprised by the unique challenges the global pandemic brought to her business. Even so, the shop found ways to gather people together virtually and share the love of the written word. Bringing a little humor to the situation, Sanchez and Kirkpatrick joked that they were “too small to fail” – but maybe they were just too loved.

Shop online at

“We luckily had a really loyal following on Instagram already so we were able to spread the news pretty quickly that we were moving all our events to a virtual space,” explained Old Town Books team member Angie Sanchez. The bookshop pivoted to online sales, as well, including doorstep contact-free delivery. The small team of employees kept in touch with shop owner Ally Kirkpatrick, and each other, with weekly staff check-ins where they would talk through Prepping Book Orders | PHOTO BY STEPHANIE DOUGHER

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Storytelling from a Distance Manumission Tours, a local historic tour company, found new ways to share stories from the past — one computer, phone or tablet screen at a time. BY SUSANNAH MOORE

In more normal times in Alexandria, it’s common to see groups of up to 30 people crowding local sidewalks as a tour guide points out one of our many historic sites. Despite all of Alexandria’s historic tours, ghost tours and architectural tours, a central part of Alexandria’s story has been overlooked for too long — the African American experience. African Americans have made up 20 to 25 percent of Alexandria’s population and were essential to the early development of the city, yet their stories have often gone untold. To fill this gap, fourth-generation Alexandria native and city Councilmember John Chapman founded Manumission Tour Company in 2016. Manumission (which means the state of being freed from slavery) provides curated walking and bus tours, giving a voice to the stories of Africans and African Americans living in Alexandria from the days of slavery through the civil rights movement. The company has also hosted events around the release of movies related to African American history, like the 2019 film “Harriett.” For most tour companies — including Manumission Tours — spring is a very busy time. Tourists, local history buffs and students fill Manumission Tours. School groups from as far away as Milwaukee make the trek to Alexandria every year to take tours with Chapman’s company. Then, coronavirus happened. How does a tour company tell stories when they’re no longer allowed to host tours? Chapman had to get creative. Manumission Tours began developing new virtual ways to educate and keep people engaged while they were stuck at home. Chapman’s company posted black history quizzes on social media and shared links to e-books and storytime videos. They encouraged people to take a black history scavenger hunt


featuring important African American history locations around Alexandria. All sites and clues are located outside and allow for safe social distancing. The company also put together a reading list on African American history in Alexandria. Most significantly, Manumission Tours began offering virtual tours. In addition, Chapman is researching and developing content for future tours as well as a new marketing campaign for when they come through this crisis. The tour company already has an eye on the future as businesses slowly are allowed to reopen and resume operations. “For tourism, it is going to be a much longer runway to get back to normal just because it’s about people’s comfort,” Chapman explained. “You can force somebody to go back to work, you can force somebody to go back to school, but you can’t force somebody to take a tour.” Manumission Tours is preparing for the “new normal.” They will limit the number of people on tours and are looking into providing hand sanitizer and branded masks for tour guides. Depending on the success of virtual tours, they may continue to offer them for schools, which Chapman believes will likely be some of the last places to fully reopen. For Manumission Tours, the priority will be on providing as safe an experience as possible for their customers and tour guides, until this coronavirus pandemic is relegated to the history books. Learn more about Manumission Tour Co. at

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to find online, but there was the problem posed by packaging and shipping. The couple decided to create their own local source for people to purchase zero-waste products and bulk foods. They leased 913 King St., conveniently located only two blocks away from their house, and named the store Mason & Greens. Mason refers to the popular mason jar, commonly used to preserve food. Greens refers to the fresh organic produce they planned to sell in the store. They were selective about the brands they carry, only choosing companies that align with their zero-waste mission. They sourced most of their products, all of which are plant-based, as locally as possible. When news about the coronavirus began to spread, the Marinos knew they would have to cancel their big grand opening event.

The Marinos in the bulk food area of their shop. | PHOTO BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Mason & Greens Opens During Shutdown Zero-waste and bulk grocer opened during the shutdown, offering healthy products for earth and body. SUSANNAH MOORE

When Justin and Anna Marino were making business plans for their zero-waste and bulk food store in Old Town, factoring in a global pandemic wasn’t a part those plans. The story behind the store began long before their virtual opening on March 27: With two young kids, the Marinos noticed how much trash they were making and thought of ways they could cut back. They started by getting rid of paper towels. “It sort of becomes this addictive thing. Once you start eliminating one thing, you’re like, ‘What else can I get rid of?’” Justin said. They searched for durable, biodegradable or compostable products to use in place of the single-use plastics and papers that end up filling landfills. Zero-waste products were easy

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“It shifted everything to online. I was putting the online store on the back burner but as soon as we realized that people weren’t going to be coming into the store, it was a mad dash to get everything on the website,” Anna said. With the help of an intern from The Field School in the District, they were able to take pictures and put 300 products onto the website in two weeks. The coronavirus also affected their ability to get fresh produce for their store as the demand for food went up. Even so, they were able to offer a lot of other products to grateful customers including metal food containers, reusable produce bags, shampoo and conditioner bars, bath bombs, beauty products, bulk personal products and cleaners. The coronavirus affected which products sold the most. Reusable Swedish sponge cloths were popular items as paper goods became scarce and people were cleaning more. In the bulk food section of the store, they stocked organic beans, pastas, flours, nuts, matcha and cacao. They work with a local baker who makes vegan and gluten free cookies and other baked goods, as well. At the end of April, the store began offering shopping by appointment, and they were overwhelmed by the positive support they received from the community. At a time when most businesses were struggling, Mason & Greens was able to pay rent and hire a full staff. The Marinos continue to plan for life after quarantine with ideas for future store offerings like kombucha making, frozen produce and a play area for kids. They’ve even talked about the possibility of a second store in the region. The second floor of the building was lovingly converted into Alexandria’s first eco-conscience Airbnb, ready for future guests. Although opening during a global pandemic was far from their first choice, the Marinos recognized it added an urgency to their message of healthy and earth-friendly living. Learn more about Mason & Greens at

Kidcreate Studio Crafts New Approach This children’s art studio transformed its business model just a few days after its grand opening. BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Kidcreate Studio hosted its grand opening March 14 — the day after Alexandria and Fairfax County closed schools to slow the spread of coronavirus. Within a few days, gatherings of more than 10 people were banned. Soon after, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all non-essential businesses to close. Kidcreate Studio owner Diane Greenbaum and her staff never had the chance to welcome children to their brand-new studio. Knowing that 90 percent of her business model was based on in-person parties, camps and classes and only 10 percent on retail sales, Greenbaum had to shift her business model in a big way if she wanted to survive. Retail expanded to more than 30 percent of the business in a very short time. The store carried basic art and craft essentials like window crayons, dry erase markers and washable kids paint for children’s classes and parties. Greenbaum drove to Manassas to her chalk supplier to make sure she would have plenty of chalk for parents to purchase for outdoor activities. Her staff stocked supplies for older kids, including watercolor sets, sketch pads, paint-your-own porcelain bowls and kits to create your own stepping stone. The studio launched Do-at-Home Art Kits that parents could pick up or have delivered to their homes. The kits included a video lesson and helped kids incorporate art into at-home education. The studio’s Mother’s Day kits containing a child-parent activity were popular, too. Greenbaum was most excited to launch virtual classes. “That’s just bringing a whole new element back — that interaction that they need, that they are craving to engage with other people. [Kids] get to show off their work [and] they get to talk about it,” Greenbaum explained. The studio also launched virtual birthday parties. Birthday kids were able to choose from 17 different themed kits that Kidcreate Studio delivered to each friend invited to the birthday party and directed by a live virtual teacher. It was important to

Daine Greenbaum, owner of Kidcreate Studio | PHOTO COURTESY OF KIDCREATE STUDIO

Greenbaum to give her instructors the opportunity to teach. “They didn’t come here to stock supplies on a shelf or retail, they came to interact with kids,” she said. Reactions from the community have been overwhelmingly supportive. The lone negative phone call Greenbaum received her first week was from a caller demanding she shut down. It completely stung, she said. Yet, the understanding and thanks she received from parents and many repeat customers sustained her through the low times. Like many other local businesses, Kidcreate Studio found a way to give back to the community. Customers had the option to donate towards “essentials junior kits” containing scissors, glue, construction paper and other supplies. Kidcreate Studio matched every donation. Greenbaum was touched by the outpouring of generosity from donors, some of whom did not even have kids of their own. They were able to create more than 100 kits for distribution by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Greenbaum paid close attention to Gov. Northam’s COVID-19 requirements for businesses as Virginia slowly reopened. She talked to her landlord about renting additional space to allow for social distancing. She made sure that customers understood that safety was the priority and that facemasks and following studio policy would be required. Throughout the process, Greenbaum remained confident of the unique benefits Kidcreate Studio offers to the community, particularly for its littlest members. Learn more about Kidcreate Studio at

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Helen Keller is credited with saying, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” In the past few months, there has been no shortage of suffering here in Alexandria. But we’ve also seen dozens of ways that individuals and businesses have given back that have helped the community overcome the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Alexandria businesses have rallied around our neighbors in need, and below is a sampling of some of them and their actions.

ALEXANDRIA RESTAURANT PARTNERS Many restaurant workers were among the first and most severely hit by the coronavirus crisis. Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP), which owns multiple Alexandria restaurants, ensured that their employees were provided with meals in addition to fresh produce, milk and toilet paper. 50 percent of the revenue from gift card purchases were donated directly to an employee relief fund. In addition, 15 percent of gift card sales were donated to the Alexandria Seaport Foundation and Carpenter’s Shelter. ARP also set up a separate GoFundMe for Carpenter’s Shelter; with every $10 donation, ARP prepared a meal for the shelter’s clients.

RUNNING BROOKE With schools across Virginia closed and teaching and learning moved online, home became the new classroom for students. Since being stuck inside can be hard, Running Brooke created an online version of its Move2Learn program, offering it free for all students. The series of videos featured quick and fun ways to get active. Studies have shown periodic activity helps students learn and retain information.

ASLIN BEER COMPANY The local brewery released four barrel-aged beers, and 100 percent of the proceeds went to purchase meals from small local restaurants for healthcare workers at five Inova hospitals. Aslin Beer Co. partnered with Neighborhood Provisions, Don Tito, Weird Brothers Coffee and Reverie Restaurant to provide 300 meals each week for three weeks. Aslin also let customers earn “Liquid Bread” by showing take-out or delivery receipts from local restaurants or $25 gift card receipts from local businesses. Customers will be able to redeem their earnings for a draft pint when the taproom reopens.

SOUTH BLOCK In late 2019, South Block Juice Co., which has two locations in Alexandria, launched the nonprofit organization “Fruitful Planet.” During the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit provided fresh fruit and vegetables to those in need. In addition to accepting monetary donations, South Block also opened a Fruitful Planet Market and Café next to its original Clarendon location. All of the proceeds from the market went toward the nonprofit. South Block donated more than 20,000 pounds of produce with the help of local partners, including ACT for Alexandria.

BUILDING MOMENTUM Building Momentum, a company located in Alexandria’s West End, began working on several technology solutions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Their primary innovation was a UV-C Disinfecting Robot that uses simple sensors to navigate around a room hitting every vertical space with UV-C (germicidal ultraviolet light). Building Momentum also developed a UV-C disinfecting box as well as a process for making reusable face masks. These products would be beneficial to places like hospitals, medical centers, restaurants and schools.

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria this spring started offering virtual adoptions, letting pet-parents-to-be meet pets online through video and picking up their new pet through curbside pick-up by appointment. Pictured: Sadie Kay going home with her new family. Photos courtesy of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria

July / August 2020 •


CRAB & CLEEK The Alexandria-based fashion company Crab & Cleek partnered with Jack Rogers fabrics to create and donate hundreds of masks for frontline medical workers at John Hopkins Medicine, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In addition, since founder Shea Mullen grew up in a golfing family and many PGA Tour events have been canceled, the company is repurposing fabric from golf pin flags, banners and more into new products to sell. A percentage of proceeds will go back to the affected communities. Crab & Cleek is also working to support scholarships for golf caddies who are out of work.

INQ TATTOOS Alexandria tattoo spa inq came up with a way to give back to people struggling to afford food curing the coronavirus pandemic. When inq customers booked an appointment online for any service, their appointment deposit was donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center or the Capital Area Food Bank. The donation was made in the customer's name, and the customer received a confirmation letter. The campaign lasted for more than three months.

MINDFUL JUNKIE OUTREACH Gina White is a mindfulness expert and founder of Mindful Junkie, a non-profit that works with first responders and others in high-stress or traumatic situations. During the coronavirus crisis, White partnered with Nancy Belmont, CEO of Vessence GINA WHITE | PHOTO BY Corp., and breathr (a mindfulness SARAH MARCELLA CREATIVE app) to offer free daily 10-minute mindful moments via Zoom for the general public. She also hosted her own weekly micro mindful moments with Inova employees and with Special Olympics Virginia athletes as they came to terms with cancelled games. She supported Alexandria City Public Schools by preparing five mindfulness videos for K-5 students, and she produced a video series, Mindfulness for Law Enforcement, through the International Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice.

KW METRO CENTER, MCLEAN MORTGAGE, MBH SETTLEMENT GROUP AND UNIVERSAL TITLE Keller Williams Realty here in Alexandria partnered with the non-profit New Hope Housing to organize the “Front Yards 2 Front Lines” campaign. Through a GoFundMe page, supporters made donations to purchase food from local restaurants and supplies for first responders and healthcare workers. The campaign was also able to provide face coverings and surgical masks to front-line workers who needed them. Donors who gave more than $20 received “Front Yards 2 Front Lines” lawn signs to help spread the word. The campaign raised more than $20,000.

PROJECT SECOND CHANCE Del Ray restaurant Hops N Shine regularly hosted “yappy hours” to support animal rescues like Alexandria-based Project Second Chance. When Hops N Shine was facing tough times because of coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, Project Second Chance found a unique way to give back and show their thanks. The group, which rescues dogs from Puerto Rico and places them in loving homes, featured two adorable pups appropriately named “Hops” and “Shine” on their website. Potential adopters, who go through a rigorous screening process, had to submit a receipt for take-out or for gift cards over $25 from Hops N Shine to be considered as new pet parents. The rescue group continued paying it forward in a similar way with Brut Wine Bar and other businesses.

THE GOODHART GROUP The Alexandria real estate team The Goodhart Group (Compass) set up a GoFundMe with the mission to provide 100 restaurant-prepared meals per week to healthcare workers at Inova Alexandria. Each week, the Goodhart Group partnered with a different local restaurant to deliver these meals. Partnering restaurants included Mason Social, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Osteria Marzano. The Goodhart Group raised more than $20,000 for meals.

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"Hops" and "Shine" visit their namesake. | PHOTO COURTESY OF PROJECT SECOND CHANCE

STEVE JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY Deeply moved by the suffering and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, local photographer Steve Johnson launched the Keep Calm and Smile On Campaign. All the proceeds from the sale of T-shirts designed by his young daughter were donated to World Central Kitchen. At the same time, he hoped the T-shirts would spread hope and smiles during a difficult time. The campaign raised thousands of dollars to serve meals to those in need.

OLD TOWN BOOKS Old Town Books found a way to give back to children in need and essential workers while keeping their team members employed by launching the “Book Love” campaign. Donors could donate to a fund to create reading care packages that included a new book selected, a coloring sheet, a worksheet and stickers for tracking reading goals and a small book-related toy or gift. Old Town Books provided a 20 percent match for all donations, and distributed 90 care packages to Campagna Center’s Write to Read program.

PACERS RUNNING One of Pacers’s biggest races, the Parkway Classic, was originally slated for April 26. After postponing the race, Pacers worked to keep runners engaged and support local businesses by launching the Alexandria Running Collective Mile Challenge. For four weeks this spring, runners who signed up for a Pacers 1-mile virtual run received a gift card to a local business of their choice in exchange for the $25 registration fee. The businesses included inq Tattoos, Port City Brewery, Elizabeth’s Counter, Eat. YOGA. Drink, Hooray for Books!, Hops N Shine and Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen. Additionally, in early May, Pacers partnered with Potomac River Running to distribute 5,000 pairs of running shoes to front line and essential workers as well as the unemployed and underserved in our community.

THE DOG PARK Old Town pet store The Dog Park opened “Chester’s Pantry” to help pet owners in need of assistance with pet food and supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. The Dog Park’s owners realized the comfort that pets can provide in difficult times and wanted to make sure that pets and owners could stay together. Chester’s Pantry started with the generosity of a fellow Alexandria pet owner, and also received donations from dozens of individuals and pet-related businesses.

YATES DRY CLEANING Multiple businesses made and donated masks to various nonprofit organizations and for individuals in need to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Yates Dry Cleaning made and donated cloth masks to Neighborhood Health, which has several locations — including one in the hard hit Arlandria neighborhood. The masks were distributed to patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 and their family members.


KH GIVING Jewelry company KatherineHelena founded KH Giving and the program Mission Masks this spring. Mission Masks by KH Giving offered designer fabric cotton masks available for purchase and local contact-free delivery on their website, A portion of the proceeds benefited United Community’s food pantry, which also provided cleaning supplies, cloth masks and other essentials to those most in need in our community. Proceeds were also used to employ and pay fair wages to Mission Masks makers and delivery staff. The remainder of the proceeds were used to purchased gift cards and merchandise from local small businesses and restaurants, which were given away in multiple raffles. Entry into the raffle was automatic with a purchase of a mask. Alexandria Living Magazine was one of several local Mission Masks partners, along with Sonoma Cellar, Torpedo Factory artists and other local businesses and restaurants.

PIZZERIA PARADISO The local chain Pizzeria Paradiso partnered with Art Works Now to donate 10,000 pizzas and coloring pages over the course of 10 weeks to those in need in the metro area. They donated food to families facing food insecurity, churches, child development centers, senior living facilities, health care workers and unemployed hospitality workers. Recipients also included school cafeteria workers from Alexandria. Pizzeria Paradiso also set up a family relief fund where 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of various merchandise and donations to a GoFundMe campaign went to support Pizzeria Paradiso employees and their families financially affected by restaurant closures.

GUARANTEED RATE Guaranteed Rate employees nationwide, including those at local branches here in Alexandria, raised more than $600,000 for food pantries and homeless shelters. Guaranteed Rate matched employee contributions dollar for dollar. The money provided more than 4.2 million meals to those struggling with food insecurity across the United States.

July / August 2020 •




Washington, D.C. freelance photographer Hugh Clarke covers news and events in the metro region. Clarke, who was previously a photojournalist for the Washington Blade and covered Major League Soccer for Last Word on Sports, spent a chilly weekend in Del Ray and Old Town Alexandria in May capturing scenes of the city during the pandemic. As he walked the streets, he captured images of residents picking up food and drinks from their favorite restaurants. Everywhere you looked, eateries had set up tables out in front of their establishments, forced to close their dining rooms to sitdown customers, to help stop the spread of COVID-19. On street corners, friends were gathered, wearing masks, catching up on news and getting a breath of fresh air. In Old Town, a shoe store displayed their merchandise on the sidewalk, customers were lined up six feet apart outside of Whole Foods and masked fishermen tried their luck under the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Near the waterfront, a masked couple hurried past a neon sign flashing “Don’t Spread COVID-19.”

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Alexandria photographer Mike Leonard, who has taken photos across the country for nearly 20 years, channeled his talents during these challenging times toward providing hundreds of local families with social distance-friendly porch portraits. He decided to donate his services, free of charge, in an effort to provide local residents with a fun activity and special memory. He encouraged his subjects who are able to "pay it forward" and make a donation to local organizations in need, including ALIVE!, the Arlington Food Assistance Center, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Casa Chirilagua and more.

Soleil and Soraiya Peguero

Leonard offers an array of photography services (engagement, family, sports, special events, and more) to help memorialize life's best moments. Originally an amateur landscape and wildlife photographer raised in the Garden State, Mike began fixing his lens on wildlife of a different sort with the birth of his children several years ago — and along the way, Mike Leonard Photo was born. Mike and his wife — a native Virginian — reside in Alexandria with their two young boys, and he provides photography services to families and small businesses across the region. His work has been featured by national and local non-profits and can be found on the walls (and screens) of countless homes around the country. You can follow him on Facebook and on Instagram @mikeleonardphoto. Julian, Suzanne and Ashton Ackert

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Sara and her mother Amy Porter

Cole Leonard

Ameer El'Alaily, wife Jamie Davenport, and children Camille, Zane, Nora

Mike Leonard, wife Jen Leonard and their children Owen and Cole

Deena and Sean Kennedy and their children Alton and Brody

The Pearson Family

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Change of Scenery BY MARY ANN BARTON


Estate at Kingsmill LOCATION


If you need a change after being cooped up at home, we've found a few vacation spots where you can get away from it all this summer — and avoid being shoulder-to-shoulder with large crowds. These options are within a day's drive of Alexandria, and will make you feel like you're worlds away. Here's a look.



An over-the-top luxe option among vacation homes available at Kingsmill Resort is the 7,000-square foot Estate at Kingsmill. It was built as a private home for the Busch family, who founded Anheuser-Busch and founded nearby Busch Gardens. It offers spectacular floor-to-ceiling views of the James River and lots of room to spread out with four spacious master bedroom suites. Just outside, you can relax in the infinity pool or hot tub, throw some steaks on the grill or roast marshmallows around the fire pit. The resort offers two golf courses, tennis courts, jet skis, a marina and four restaurants. Be sure to try the James Landing Grille, located just a short walk away, offering a menu of fresh seafood. The use of two golf carts and luxury SUVs come with the property. For more information visit the-estate/ or call (757) 253-8233.

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Estate at Kingsmill | PHOTO BY BUZ NACHLAS


Barn on the Creeper LOCATION




Hiking and cycling enthusiasts, take note: Damascus, located in southwestern Virginia, is known as “Trail Town USA,” where seven trails intersect, including the Appalachian and Virginia Creeper trails. Cyclists will want to book a stay at Barn on the Creeper, an Airbnb located less than 1,000 feet from the 34-mile long Virginia Creeper cycling path that is also good for hiking. The one-bedroom, one-bath accommodations include a full bath and kitchen and are located in a renovated barn on 4 acres surrounded by mountain views. Guests will enjoy unlimited coffee and snacks. Reviewers note that a porch off the bedroom is perfect for star-gazing. Find all the details on Airbnb or


Houseboat at Parrot Cove Marina





Parrot Cove Marina on 20,000-acre Smith Mountain Lake offers three different houseboats you can rent and sleep in overnight. Cookware, dinnerware, linens and towels are provided. Activities include cruising the lake, exploring 500 miles of shoreline, swimming, fishing for striped bass (be sure to get a license) and renting jet skis. Of three available houseboats, a 39-foot boat sleeps six; two 53-foot houseboats sleep 10. You can dock overnight by dropping anchor in a secluded cove or back at the marina. Departures are at 10 a.m. and returns are at 5 p.m. You can also tie up at the marina anytime if you want to head out for golf, shopping or dining. Parrot Cove Marina offers houseboats for rent through Oct. 31. For more information visit Houseboat | PHOTO COURTESY OF PARROT COVE MARINA

July / August 2020 •



LeFay Cottage at Little Washington LOCATION




Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this luxury shabby-chic three-bedroom, two-bath cottage on 5 acres is great for families, couples or a girlfriends’ getaway and is just a five-minute drive from the famed Inn at Little Washington (which is practicing social distancing by placing mannequins at some of its tables). Look for special touches when you arrive at the cottage, such as fresh flowers picked from the garden, local roasters’ coffee and vouchers for wine from a local vineyard. There's no shortage of luxe details you'll enjoy. Also within a 30-minute drive from the cottage are Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, Rappahannock River and Luray Caverns. Of course, you can always stay put and enjoy the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from your hammock or fire up the grill on the deck while you take in the mountain scenery.

52 • July / August 2020

If you're engaged and looking for a quiet spot for a small wedding ceremony, be sure to ask about LeFay Cottage's wedding and elopement packages. (Read more about elopements in the March/April issue of Alexandria Living.)


Cair Paravel Farm and Lodging LOCATION




Located on a secluded farm in Stanardsville (just north of Charlottesville) with a saltwater pool, hot tub and fire pit, there are several accommodations to choose from at the farm, including a vintage Airstream trailer. The Airstream comes fully stocked with dinnerware and cookware and there’s a grill on the deck. You can order fresh eggs, ice cream, bread and sausage ahead of time to enjoy. In between hikes, you can visit nearby breweries, vineyards and restaurants. Kids and the young at heart will love visiting with the sheep, goats, ducks and chickens on the property (although check ahead to be sure that farm tours are being conducted; they were temporarily suspended earlier this year). Other attractions nearby include Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello and James Madison's Montpelier. For more information, visit


Prepare for a Clean Getaway Health experts are divided about whether renting an Airbnb or relocating to a vacation home is safe for you or for the people who live in that area year-round. Remember that coronavirus is everywhere — even in small beach towns, resort communities and other getaway spots. No matter where you go, you need to be vigilant about staying physically distant from other people, washing your hands multiple times per day for at least 20 seconds, wearing a mask and more. Don’t let your guard down! Here are a few tips: • Bring your own hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and face masks with you. • Bring your own groceries and supplies on your summer vacation. Try to avoid going to local stores unless you absolutely have to go. • Ask about cleaning routines: Is the property owner leaving extra time between house guests and paying for full disinfecting cleanings? You may want to pay extra for additional cleaning before you arrive. • Bring your own disinfecting household cleaners. It’s a good idea to spray down commonly touched items like all doorknobs and locks, light switches, counters, appliances and more — even after you’ve been assured that your vacation spot has been disinfected. You may want to bring your own towels and bedsheets, as well, just to be extra cautious. • Ask ahead of time about contactless check-ins.


• Look up local rules and regulations before you go so you know what’s open, what’s closed and what safety measures are in place.

July / August 2020 •



Sen. Mark Warner Virginia's senior U.S. senator, Mark Warner, has made Old Town Alexandria his home since marrying wife Lisa in 1989. He graciously answered our questions, including one about a very famous sandwich. You brought some much-needed humor to a lot of folks during the coronavirus shutdown. Why do you think making a tuna melt sandwich captured so much attention? These are really serious times: People are sick, and people are losing their jobs. I think people were eager to have something to laugh at — and my attempts to cook something even my kids won’t eat anymore definitely fit the bill.

As a member of the national advisory panel to help reopen the economy, is there a blueprint or formula in your mind of what needs to take place? My top priority on this task force is making sure that the federal government’s efforts to reopen our economy are bipartisan, data-driven and based on the expertise of public health professionals. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their livelihoods – and a rushed, haphazard reopening risks not only further lives lost, but also further damage to our economy. Experts agree that, at a minimum, a robust testing regime must be in place before we are able to lift most of the difficult, but effective, social distancing measures intended to “flatten the curve.”

As you know, there are a lot of Mom and Pop businesses located in Alexandria and there have been some glitches getting money to them from the relief bills passed by Congress. What would you tell those business owners? I’ve heard from a ton of small businesses in Virginia about this. I think in the first round of funding, there were some big problems in how the money went out the door from the Treasury Department – to big, publicly-traded companies, and to businesses that didn’t necessarily show that they were hurting because of the coronavirus. A lot of small businesses didn’t have the banking relationships to get in the front of the line for the first batch of PPP. In the second round of funding, Congress put some additional restrictions on how this money needs to assist truly small businesses, and underserved communities – and anecdotally, it seems like this round of funding is now doing a better job reaching those Mom and Pop businesses that really need the help. Still, I think it’s clear that additional assistance is going to be needed when PPP runs out, which is why I’m pushing for a paycheck security proposal that would help pay workers’ salaries and benefits for at least the next six months.

Like many local governments, Alexandria is now facing a shortfall due to a loss in fees and tax revenue due to businesses being closed. Will local governments see help from the federal government? There is bipartisan support in Congress for providing more aid to state and local governments facing revenue shortfalls due to coronavirus. We’re working on two fronts to get some aid to local governments: one, we’re pushing the Treasury to relax some of the restrictions on funding that was already included in the CARES Act. Currently, governments can only use that money for certain health costs, and not to replace lost revenue. That’s crazy – because if local governments can’t replace that lost revenue, they’re going to have to lay off teachers and first responders, all of whom have jobs that are essential to dealing with this public health crisis as we ask millions of people to continue working and learning from home. Second, I think there’s widespread support on both sides of the aisle for including more aid to local governments in Congress’ next relief package, and I’m optimistic we’re going to see that happen.

54 • July / August 2020

Y O U 'D B E S U R P R I S E D T O L E A R N :

I learned Spanish after I did a year abroad in Buenos Aires in high school. PET PEEVE:

Running out of mayo. W H AT I 'M M O S T P R O U D O F :

Ending my term as governor of Virginia ranked as the best managed state, best state for business and the best state to get an education. FAV O R I T E M E A L :

Does a milkshake count as a meal? FAV O R I T E M O V I E :


Napoleon, Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson M Y FAV O R I T E U. S . P R E S I D E N T I S :

Abraham Lincoln M Y FAV O R I T E WAY T O R E L A X I S :

Cycling. I love riding around the neighborhood on my bike – or pedaling away at home on my stationary bike, catching up on the news on my iPad. W H AT I L I K E M O S T A B O U T L I V I N G IN ALEXANDRIA IS:

The small-town feel and big-town dining and entertainment scene.


% 2.49


Home Equity Line of Credit

• Add a new office space • Renovate your kitchen or bath • Finish a basement • Consolidate debt

Apply today at! 4875 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304 (800) 424-3334

Monday - Thursday: 8:30am - 5:30pm Friday: 8:30am - 6:30pm Saturday: 9:00am - 2:00pm

*Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is a variable rate APR based on the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate, currently 3.25%. Maximum APR is 18%. Rate shown assumes a maximum combined LTV (loan-to-value) ratio of 90%. Loan and terms are subject to credit approval. Rates subject to change without notice. Property insurance required. Flood insurance may be required. Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit are available on primary residences located in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. Other terms and conditions may apply. Membership eligibility requirements to apply. †Consult with your tax advisor regarding loan interest deductibility. Federally Insured by NCUA. Equal Opportunity Lender.


201 N. Union St., Suite 110 Alexandria, VA 22314


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Alexandria, Old Town Office 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 main 703 549 9292 | Equal Housing Opportunity

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