As of July 1, 2020, Alexandria Virginia is in Phase 3 of the commonwealth’s reopening plan. This is big news for small businesses that have been hit hard with COVID-19 closings. Alexandria, Virginia is known for the Shop Small headquarters of the DC Metro — even named by Where Magazine as “one of the best indie boutique scenes on the East Coast.”
Of course, masks are still mandatory inside shops and physical distancing is essential. Before you visit any store, it’s best to reach out ahead of time to learn their restrictions and consider curbside pickup where available.
That said, we would love to highlight a few of our favorite Alexandria businesses in an effort to get them up and running again.
“Really nice clothes” is what they say and that says it all. From the moment you walk through the ivy-walled courtyard off of Cameron Street and into the brick-wall, lantern-lit storefront, you know you are in for a luxury shopping experience. Donna Lewis is the only place you can find select European brands in the DC Metro region. In addition to their hand-crafted men and women’s clothing, they also have a luxury activewear shop next door called YogaSport. Right now, they are offering form-fitting masks made with top-quality fabric overruns. For every mask sold, they are donating another to John Hopkins Hospitals.
Have you heard? Vinyl is back. In fact, for some audiophiles, it never went anywhere. When they’re looking to expand their collection or to find that obscure artist that nobody else has heard of, they head to Crooked Beat in North Old Town. It’s been home to the DC Metro for 20 years, but the shop itself feels like a record store from the 1970’s or 80’s. They sell new, used, and even 7” vinyl. Please note, their store hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, but they are still open for business.
Torpedo Factory Arts Center
For many, museums and art studios have been sorely missed during the last few months. So the Torpedo Factory Arts Center — though operating under reduced business hours — has been a welcome respite for all of Northern Virginia and DC art-lovers. The building used to be an old munitions plant, but now is home to the nation’s largest collection of working-artists’ open studios under one roof. In it, you’ll find anything from painters to sculptors, photographers to jewelry-makers. There are 82 artist studios in all, not to mention seven galleries and two workshops.
Care Package and Creative Kits
For those of you who aren’t ready to physically leave the house, or are looking to cheer somebody up who can’t, the shops in Alexandria have put together a beautiful collection of Care Package and Creative Kits. 529 Kids Consign is offering Birthday Deliveries complete with balloons or cupcakes. AR workshop has come up with DIY-To-Go Kits that come with all supplies and instructions and can be purchased online. And then there’s Elizabeth’s Counter that is serving up the Donut Decorating Kit.