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Store Reporter raffle items


Kicking off the holidays with our biggest raffle ever

This week we’re kicking off gift-giving season with a bounty of fabulous raffle items from vendors at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Sisterhood Holiday Boutique & Silent Auction, opening Sunday Dec. 4 and continuing through Tuesday Dec. 6 at the Julia Bindeman Suburban Center in Potomac. Here are some of the gifts you can win:

There are three ways to put your name in our hat: 1) Click here to enter online. 2) Click here to enter via the Store Reporter Facebook page. 3) Visit the boutique show, stop by the Store Reporter table and fill out an entry form. We’ll announce the winners next week.



WHC Sisterhood Holiday Boutique:




Wine glasses and holiday decorations


Cocktail party at Nordstrom

Tonight (Dec. 1) is the night for Westfield Montgomery‘s holiday kickoff party at Nordstrom Court. What’s on the menu? Cocktail bites from various Westfield Montgomery restaurants, whimsical entertainment… and from what we hear, some surprises that will be worth your while. The party is happening from 6 to 8 p.m.; there’s a $10 suggested donation to benefit Care for Kids at Children’s National Medical Center. Complimentary valet provided (please park by Tara Thai). Purchase tickets at the door or click here to RSVP.





JT Interiors Ladies Day:




Apple Store at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Apple’s back… and we’re a little disappointed

The newly renovated Apple store reopened just before Thanksgiving at Westfield Montgomery Mall. If you haven’t seen it yet, there’s no need to rush: Frankly, we think the new design is a bit of a snooze. It’s bigger, of course, and just as white and minimalist as you’d imagine. But it seems we missed out on the some of the cooler features that Apple has been adding to its stores in other other cities. There’s no Genius Grove with live trees. No boardroom for private meetings. No designated area for the creative sessions and live concerts that Apple has been planning at other locations. Of course we’re happy to have Apple back. But this new store just doesn’t have the “wow” we were hoping for.



The Bottle Shop Annual Customer Holiday Show:




Orangetheory Fitness


Orangetheory opens next week

Orangetheory Fitness makes its debut at Park Potomac next week, just across the street from MoCo’s Founding Farmers. This is the second Montgomery County location for the Florida-based fitness chain, which offers heart rate-monitored group workouts with intervals of cardio and strength training. Grand opening party is Dec. 8th from 6 to 8 p.m — with orange crushes to drink, of course. Click here for more.



R. Riveter




Store Reporter Holiday Gift Pick


Alex and Ani bracelet at Silver Moon


Free Alex & Ani bracelet at Congressional’s Silver Moon

Alex and Ani is a name you’ll see on plenty of teens’ wish lists this year. The stackable bangle charm bracelets, priced from just $28, are made in the U.S. from recycled materials with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. This weekend (Friday Dec. 2 through Sunday Dec. 4), Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories is giving away a Peace & Love bangle with every $75 Alex and Ani purchase. Stop in to see the collection at Silver Moon, 1659 Rockville Pike in Congressional Plaza. For details, call 301-468-1122 or click here.





Store Reporter Holiday Gift Pick


O'Donnell's Market gift cards


For your foodie friends: O’Donnell’s Market gift cards

If you’re already a fan of O’Donnell’s Market — or if you haven’t checked it out yet — December is a great time to treat yourself and your friends. Through the end of this month, purchase $100 worth of O’Donnell’s gift cards and get a $20 card of your own. What to try? For first-timers, owner Bill Edelblut recommends the cocktail shrimp, organic salmon, sushi-grade tuna, grass-fed beef tenderloin and signature crab cakes. The holiday tarts and rum buns also make great hostess gifts. Click here, call 301-251-6355 or visit O’Donnell’s Market, 1073 Seven Locks Road next Walgreens at Potomac Woods Plaza.





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Mission BBQ


BBQ replaces Benjarong

Moving into the former Benjarong space at Rockville’s Wintergreen Plaza: Mission BBQ, the Maryland-based chain specializing in brisket, pulled pork and patriotism. The five-year-old company has ties to the military and is known for its generous donations to the USO, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation among others. Oh, and we hear the food’s good too (click here to check out the menu). Mission BBQ plans a spring opening at Wintergreen, part of a new restaurant lineup that includes The Habit Burger Grill and Jersey Mike’s Subs. Also on the way: Wingstop, opening next week.



JT Interiors at Potomac House:



Apple products


Teavana’s, Apple’s open for the holidays

Teavana opened its new store at Westfield Montgomery Mall this week, and Apple wasn’t far behind: The company moved up its grand opening from Black Friday to Saturday, Nov. 19th. We’ll have photos in an upcoming issue.



Toy Castle Potomac Black Friday sale




Pizzas from Pieology


Congrats to the winners of our Pieology gift cards

This week four Store Reporter readers won gift cards to Pieology, the new make-your-own pizza restaurant next to Nordstrom Rack in Gaithersburg. The winners of our raffle — Scott Goff, Mark Hamrick, Marilyn Grafman and Amy Wollins — will each get $50 to treat family, friends or coworkers to fresh customized salads and personalized pies. You’ll be seeing more of Pieology in 2017 as the company expands in Montgomery County. In the meantime, check out the Gaithersburg location at 15780 Shady Grove Road — or click here for a quick video tour.




Washington Hebrew Congregation Holiday Boutique Silent Auction:





Gift shop exits Rockville, moves to the mall

The As Kindred Spirits gift shop made a quick switcheroo this week, closing its doors at Congressional Plaza and opening three days later at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Owner Wendy Rukmini Walker, who had run pop-up stores at the mall but was looking for a long-term lease, snagged a space right next to Nordstrom after GameStop relocated across from Old Navy. The move happened so quickly that there wasn’t time for renovations, but Walker says the store will close briefly for a facelift after the holidays. Walker also shuttered her store at Reagan National Airport last month — so for now, the mall is the only place to find As Kindred Spirits. To see what’s in stock, click here.



Wills Decorating ad:






Italian fashions for mothers and daughters

Patrizia Luca Milano, a women’s clothing store carrying Italian-inspired fashions, is now open at Westfield Montgomery Mall next to Apple. This is the first Maryland venture for owner Mike Nassaj, who previously ran similar boutiques in D.C. “Our clothes are chic for work but also can transition into evening,” Nassaj says. “We specialize in mother-daughter looks, where the mom will buy it for herself but the daughter will want to wear it as well.” Aside from the fur and outerwear, most items are priced below $100. Click here for a look.



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iPhones and Nespresso machine


Nespresso, Teavana and Apple will be here for the holidays

The Macy’s wing at Westfield Montgomery Mall is nearing the end of its six-month-long renovation, with Teavana and Apple almost ready to open and the nearby Nespresso store not far behind. Teavana, which closed its original store last spring to make way for Apple’s expansion, is set to return Nov. 15th in its new space across the hall. Apple will be back ten days later, on Black Friday. And just around the corner, Nespresso is hoping to open Dec. 1.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Pieology pizza


Win $50 for pizza at Pieology

Have you checked out Pieology on Shady Grove Road? The make-your-own pizza chain, which opened this summer a few doors down from Nordstrom Rack, is planning a major expansion into Montgomery County. What’s on the menu? Forty choices of unlimited fresh toppings over three types of crusts (including gluten-free) plus customizable salads, all at a price point below $10. Click here for a quick video to see what Pieology’s all about. And click here to enter your name for a chance to win one of four $50 Pieology gift cards. That’s enough to treat your family — or your favorite coworkers — to some great personalized pies. Update: Congratulations to our four winners: Scott Goff, Mark Hamrick, Marilyn Grafman and Amy Wollins.









Have a seat at Congressional Plaza

Congressional Plaza in Rockville is putting the final touches on its new outdoor seating area, offering comfy chairs and couches at the corner of Chopt and Starbucks. The project is part of a general spruce-up as the shopping center adds new stores and restaurants, including last month’s debut of Saks Off 5th. Next up: Modern Market, a Colorado-based restaurant chain that caters to both paleo and vegetarian diners. Click here for more in our June 9th edition.






Turkey and sides from O'Donnell's Market


Turkey with all the trimmings at O’Donnell’s Market

If you thought O’Donnell’s was all about seafood, think again: The gourmet market, which celebrates its first anniversary next month, is rolling out a complete Thanksgiving menu. Along with the traditional turkey and sides, you’ll find specialty items like lobster mashed potatoes, cornbread sausage stuffing, seafood bisque and mini versions of the market’s famous crab cakes — not to mention those classic O’Donnell’s rum buns. Click here to check out the menu, and be sure to place your order by Saturday, Nov. 19. For details, call 301-251-6355 or stop by O’Donnell’s, 1073 Seven Locks Road next to Walgreens at Potomac Woods Plaza.



Dental office of Taff & Levine:




Latte from Coffee Republic


New coffee spot in Rockville

Now open at Rockville’s King Farm Village Center: Coffee Republic, a locally owned shop in the former Mayorga space at 801 Pleasant Drive. Besides the usual lattes, mochas and espressos, you’ll also find a selection of baked goods and specialty drinks like cortados and Nutella chais. Coffee Republic is the second venture for a group of friends who also operate the BeanGood coffee shop in Arlington. To see what’s pouring, click here.



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Lord & Taylor fall mannequins


Inside Lord & Taylor: It’s not what you think

This week we made a long-overdue visit to Lord & Taylor on Rockville Pike, the sole survivor of last year’s teardown of the White Flint Mall. Half expecting a sad scene with barren shelves, peeling paint and bored salespeople, we instead found a bustling store filled with customers and fully stocked with great-looking fall merchandise. Also: zero parking hassles. Shoppers told us they still love Lord & Taylor and don’t much care about the missing mall. Which is a good thing, since there’s no telling when the rest of that property will be redeveloped. White Flint’s owners, Lerner Enterprises and the Tower Cos., are still in the process of appealing last year’s U.S. District Court verdict that they owe Lord & Taylor $31 million in damages and lost profits.



JT Interiors Holiday Open House ad:






Goodbye Benjarong

This week we say goodbye to the Thai restaurant Benjarong, which closed its doors on Halloween after two decades at Wintergreen Plaza. The restaurant’s owners, who took over several years ago, left a note on the door thanking customers for their patronage. So what will become of the Benjarong space? Stay tuned to Store Reporter; we’ll have the answer in an upcoming issue.



Jenny Camps Personal Training ad:






New boutique moves into Flora’s

Flora’s Feathered Nest didn’t stay empty for long. Sonoran Rose, a boutique offering clothing, accessories and home decor, opens next Thursday (Nov. 10th) inside the quaint little farmhouse at 12211 River Road. Owner Isabel Chiotti, a retail industry veteran, says she jumped at the chance to take over the space after Flora’s closed last summer. Her specialty: international goods with a “boho-chic” vibe. “We carry espadrilles from the south of France, gorgeous cards and writing papers from England, guest towels from South Africa, candles from northern Ireland, leather bags from Argentina,” says Chiotti, a Brazilian native who will run the boutique with her daughters. “Competition is fierce. We look for different.” The Sonoran Rose website is still a work in progress; click here for a peek at what the store will carry.



Fall Back to Bethesda:






Aéropostale store may not close after all

Aéropostale fans can take heart from this week’s news that the teen retailer is doing better than expected after its recent Chapter 11 filing. About 500 of Aéropostale’s 700 stores are making money, the company says, and those will likely remain open despite the “going-out-of-business” signs plastered across their windows. That’s good news for the Aéropostale store at Westfield Montgomery Mall, which is said to be one of the solid performers.



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Closed Apple Store at Westfield Montgomery Mall


Apple store’s back next month

The Apple store at Westfield Montgomery Mall is set to reopen on Black Friday, revealing the results of a months-long renovation that has both annoyed and intrigued local Apple fans. What we know for sure: The new store will be about twice its previous size, encompassing the neighboring spaces that formerly belonged to BCBG, Teavana and Sephora. What we’re expecting, based on Apple’s new direction: A “town square” vibe with generous seating, free Wi-Fi and occasional concerts; a “Genius Grove” lined with live indoor trees; a giant video wall showcasing the latest and greatest; and a business boardroom for private meetings with Apple experts. To see what the new Apple stores look like in other markets, click here.



Wintergreen Plaza:




Outdoor furniture from Offenbachers


Goodbye Offenbachers

Offenbachers, the outdoor furniture and fireplace chain, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week after 44 years in the D.C. area. Going-out-of-business sales began today (Oct. 27th) at the company’s eight locations in Virginia and Maryland, including the one on Randolph Road in Rockville. Some $9 million worth of inventory will be priced to move, including Hanamint and OW Lee patio furniture, Coyote and Legacy billiards tables, Kozy Heat fireplaces, and grills from Traeger and Big Green Egg. To see what else is up for grabs at Offenbachers, click here.



Orangetheory Fitness Potomac:




Food from ShopHouse Asian Kitchen


The end of ShopHouse?

This week Chipotle said it will discontinue expansion of its ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen chain, which opened at Pike & Rose just last year. The D.C. area was one of three test markets for ShopHouse, but Chipotle says sales weren’t impressive enough to continue the experiment. Now the company is turning its attention to two newer concepts: Pizzeria Locale, which currently has a handful of locations in four states, and Tasty Made, a Shake Shack-style burger chain that launches this week in Ohio. As for ShopHouse, the existing locations will remain open for now while Chipotle tries to sell them off.



JT Interiors Holiday Open House:




Chocolate Moonshine


New sweet treats at the mall

In case you don’t have enough Halloween candy around the house this week, Westfield Montgomery Mall has a new place to satisfy your sweet tooth. Chocolate Moonshine, now open in the former Chloe’s Deli space next to Chick-fil-A, offers handmade fudge and giftable decorative truffle bars that are gluten-free and relatively low in sugar. “We get everything fresh from our factory in Pennsylvania,” says local distributor Edward Heller, a former executive with Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. “It’s all natural and organic, but it’s the attention to detail and beautiful craftsmanship that really makes our product special.” To check it out for yourself, click here.



Capital Area Food Bank fundraiser:






New outlet mall opens this weekend

This weekend marks the grand opening of Clarksburg Premium Outlets, less than 30 minutes from the Rockville/Potomac area off I-270 at Exit 18. The 90-store tenant list has something for everyone, from Adidas, Ann Taylor and Armani Exchange to Theory, Tommy Hilfiger, Ugg and Under Armour. Grand opening festivities will be happening all weekend with live music, DJs, kids’ activities, giveaways and Halloween events. To view the full list of new places to shop, click here.



Fall Back to Bethesda:




As Kindred Spirits at Westfield Montgomery Mall


As Kindred Spirits departs from Reagan Airport

As Kindred Spirits, which exited Westfield Montgomery Mall last summer, is also closing its D.C. store at Reagan National Airport. The Congressional Plaza location in Rockville will remain open, says owner Wendy “Rukmini” Walker, who’s still working on plans to return to Montgomery Mall. As Kindred Spirits is one of seven gift shops that made our list of Store Reporter Favorites for 2016. To see who else got our vote, click here for our Oct. 13th edition.






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