• February 12, 2021 1:44 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

       The Del Ray Business Association presented Dolce & Bean with the 2021 "Heart of Del Award" on Feb. 12.  The annual award, given to the business that represents the heart and soul of Del Ray, is determined by a public vote of neighbors and customers.

        "It's overwhelming -- I'm so humbled by this award," said Petros Ghebre-Egziabher, who opened Dolce & Bean on Mount Vernon Avenue in 2017. "I'd like to express my love to this community that has welcomed me and supported me."

         "The things that people said about Dolce & Bean are exactly what this award was made for -- where do you go, when you walk in, that warms your heart. That's exactly what people said about Petros.  Over and over, people said how welcoming he is, how he knows the kids' names, and that's really what makes a community," said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter.  "Petros’ caring and welcome nature makes you feel like you are his favorite customer each time you visit," said Del Ray Business Association President Lauren Fisher.  

         Patrons cited Ghebre-Egziabher's warm and welcoming spirit.  "Petros is the nicest, most welcoming business owner -- he always greets guests with a smile!  His spirit, even throughout COVID, has put a smile on my face, as well as lightened up the community atmosphere," wrote one nomination.  "He takes the time to get to know all of his customers and has fostered a culture in his store of exactly what I think of when I think of the word 'community,'" wrote another.

          Over 1,400 neighbors, friends and customers participated in online voting. Past winners of the award include A Show of Hands, Jen Walker of McEnearney Associates, Bobi Bomar Homes of Alexandria, The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray, Greener Cleaner of Del Ray, Del Ray Pizzeria, Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga, Caboose Cafe, Del Ray Cafe, Pork Barrel BBQ/Holy Cow/the sushi bar, and Taqueria Poblano, and Ms. Preeti's 7-11.  A business cannot win the award multiple years.

  • February 03, 2021 1:39 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

       Voting is now open for the 2021 Heart of Del Ray award, sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association!       

       Every February, the Del Ray Business Association presents the Heart of Del Ray Award to the business that represents the heart and soul of Del Ray, as determined by a public vote of neighbors and customers. Selection is based on which business best demonstrates their warm and welcoming attitude to the community and customers; their commitment and generosity to the community; and to their overall contribution to the Del Ray community.

         The nominees for the 2021 Heart of Del Ray -- plus comments from the customers who nominated them -- are:

    • DEL RAY PSYCH & WELLNESS:  Their bright blue building is a hub of community activity -- including donation drives for local non-profits, free outdoor yoga, pop-up markets, and more.  "This business has become a neighborhood bright spot and part of its foundation. From how festive the building looks now, to its outside free classes and all the workshops offered to help keep Del Ray happy and healthy, especially now!" wrote one nomination. "The virtual resources that Del Ray Psych has provided during the pandemic have been so, so helpful and accessible.  Community is at the core of everything they do," wrote another.

    • DOLCE & BEAN: Dolce & Bean features delicious desserts -- and one of Del Ray's favorite neighbors, owner Petros Ghebre-Egziabher. "Petros is the nicest, most welcoming business owner -- he always greets guests with a smile! His spirit, even throughout COVID, has put a smile on my face, as well as lightened up the community atmosphere," wrote one nomination. "He takes the time to get to know all of his customers and has fostered a culture in his store of exactly what I think of when I think of the word 'community,'" wrote another.

    • ROCK OF AGES MUSIC (ROAM): Founded by Alexandria native John Patrick, ROAM is an all-inclusive music center that discovers and cultivates artistic talents. “They are building a safe community for our kids, all while embracing the arts. The end results are amazing and fill the kids with such a sense of accomplishment and self esteem," wrote one nomination. "JP and the gang always have the kids best interests at heart, and keeping them occupied and creative through this pandemic," wrote another.

    • ROSEMONT LANDSCAPING & LAWNCARE: While this Del Ray business has seen tremendous growth, they've remained committed to their hometown, volunteering with community projects and cutting lawns at no cost for those who are terminally ill. "This is a home-grown business that is always ready to donate a helping hand to the local community through school donations, playground installations, Rebuilding Together and many more," wrote one nomination. "They are compassionate and passionate about building the best community, yard by yard, playground by playground," wrote another.

    • ST. ELMO'S COFFEE PUB: Known as "Del Ray's Living Room," St. Elmo's Coffee Pub has been a community gathering place for over 20 years; after COVID, they moved from hosting poetry readings and jazz nights to being a collection center for Grace Food Pantry. "When I think of a heart, I think of a beating hub of activity. I think that perfectly describes the role St. Elmo's plays in Del Ray," wrote one nomination. "This neighborhood has been built around St. Elmo's. It’s time to recognize the place that started it all!" wrote another.

    • STOMPING GROUND: Three words are used most often to describe chef/owner Nicole Jones’ Stomping Ground -- friendly, welcoming, and delicious. “Nicole epitomizes the life and love in Del Ray. She’s inclusive, supports diversity, brings southern hospitality, and provides a certain spice that is so rare anywhere else,” read one nomination. "In addition to making amazing food, Nicole is such a champion of other small businesses in Del Ray! She's also so good to her staff and works really hard to make sure they earn a living wage. Through COVID she's put them first and made changes to ensure their safety stays key while keeping her business open."
         Voting is now open at; voting closes at 12 p.m. on Th., Feb. 11.  A large heart-shaped award will be displayed on the winning business on Fri., Feb 12 to greet them for the Valentine’s Day weekend.

           A business can only win the award once.  Past winners of the award include A Show of Hands, Jen Walker of McEnearney Associates, Bobi Bomar Homes of Alexandria, The Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray, Greener Cleaner of Del Ray, Del Ray Pizzeria, Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga, Caboose Cafe, Del Ray Cafe, Pork Barrel BBQ/Holy Cow/The Sushi Bar, Taqueria Poblano, and Ms. Preeti's 7-11.

  • February 02, 2021 4:09 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        The Del Ray Business Association board elected Dr. Lauren Fisher president of the business group representing small, independent, and locally-owned businesses in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.  Mara Benner, the founder of Four Directions Wellness, was elected vice president.

       "I am honored to be representing an amazing group of resilient, supportive, and community-oriented business owners," said Dr. Fisher. "I look forward to helping our local businesses and community members adapt, evolve, and strengthen over this next year. In the words of Helen Keller, 'Alone we do so little, together we can do so much.'"

       Dr. Fisher is the co-owner and founder of Del Ray Psych & Wellness, an integrative wellness center in the heart of Del Ray. In addition to running the business, Dr. Fisher is a clinical psychologist; her specialities include mindfulness-based psychotherapy, positive psychology, trauma-informed approaches, and wellness coaching.

       Dr. Fisher has served on the Del Ray Business Association board since 2017; most recently as vice president. She also co-chairs the Wellness District, a collaborative group of wellness providers within the association; and has been an active member of the events committee, chairing the popular Spring Bar Crawl and Candy Cane Bar Crawls, which have brought the community together to benefit local non-profits.  She received the Business Star Award from the Del Ray Business Association in 2017 for her community involvement and service; was named to the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce's 40 Under 40 list in 2019; and her practice, Del Ray Psych & Wellness, received the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce's 2020 Rising Star Business Award.

       "Together, we have accomplished so much to get Del Ray on the map," said outgoing Del Ray Business Association President Sue Kovalsky of The Jen Walker Team.  "We have great momentum, which will only continue under Lauren's leadership."

        The Del Ray Business Association represents the independently-owned restaurants, retailers, and businesses in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. For more information, visit  

  • January 19, 2021 1:59 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        The Del Ray Business Association presented its annual Star Awards on Jan. 19, recognizing key individuals who have gone above and beyond in their service to the Del Ray community.

        Jason and Loren Yates, owners of Yates Automotive, Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap, Yates Dry Cleaners, and Yates 7-Eleven were presented with a Business Award.   "Jason & Loren Yates’ generosity to countless nonprofits, their support and participation of all the events that Del Ray Business Association sponsors, and their dedication to providing the best services to the community is unequaled," said Del Ray Business Association board member Gayle Reuter. "Even in the mist of the country’s worst pandemic and the worst possible time for businesses to survive, they have never wavered in supporting their employees and donating critical services and funds to nonprofits that are helping those most in need."

       Mara Benner, owner of Four Directions Wellness, also received a Business Award.  "Mara is one of our most dedicated volunteers and a tireless advocate for small business," said Del Ray Business Association President Sue Kovalsky "As chair of our membership committee and a key member of our wellness committee, Mara has led tremendous efforts to promote our small businesses and help them survive this pandemic -- safely."

       The Del Ray Business Association presented its Star award for public service to retiring Alexandria City Councilwoman Del Pepper, in recognition of her 35 years of service to the City of Alexandria.  "Del has been a long-time supporter of the Del Ray Business Association, an advocate for small businesses, and one of the biggest cheerleaders of our community events," said Del Ray Business Association board member Pat Miller.   "From promoting the Alexandria Turkey Trot from the City Council dias, to judging decorating contests at the Del Ray Halloween Parade, to showing up to show her support for new businesses at their ribbon cuttings, you could always count on Del Pepper to be there with her smile and positive words of encouragement."

        The Del Ray Business Association presented a special award to the Alexandria Curbside Dining Group, a Facebook group with over 11,000 members focused exclusively on supporting our restraurants during the pandemic, founded by and moderated by The Zebra Press' Mary Wadland and Lucelle O'Flaherty.  "This is a great example of someone asking, 'How can I help businesses directly?' -- and making a huge difference," said Reuter.  

         The Del Ray Business Association represents the independently-owned restaurants, retailers, and businesses in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.  For more information, visit

  • January 10, 2021 11:17 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        The Del Ray Business Association kicked off the new year by launching the I LOVE DEL RAY campaign,  which highlights ways the Alexandria community can safely support locally-owned small businesses during these challenging times.

        "Now through April, you're going to see a lot of marketing and promotion out there about all of our wonderful small businesses -- both in-home and brick-and-mortar -- and how we can support them through these really tough upcoming winter months," said Del Ray Business Association Marketing Chair Amy Eggers, of FLORA Living + Design.

       Visit Del Ray's social media channels, @visitdelray on Facebook and Instagram, will spotlight individual businesses with special promotions, workshops, profiles, and more. The themes:

    • NEW YEAR, NEW YOU: January 11-24 -- spotlighting health, wellness, and beauty

    • GET IT TOGETHER!: January 25-February 7 -- spotlighting professional services

    • SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP: February 8-21 -- spotlighting retail and at-home entrepreneurs

    • EAT YOUR HEART OUT: February 22-March 7 -- spotlighting restaurants

    • SPRING CLEANING, March 8-21 -- spotlighting professional services

    • EXPLORE DEL RAY, March 22-April 4 -- walking tours highlighting the history, murals, and more in our Del Ray community

       "Del Ray is truly a one-stop-shop to eat, shop, and live your best life," said Del Ray Business Association President Sue Kovalsky.  "While Main Street is best known for our restaurants, retailers, and wellness providers, we also have experts on everything you need to take care of yourself, your home, car, finances, and more.  Now more than ever, we need to support our neighbors and keep our dollars local." 

        Shop small, shop local, and support your community! Follow @visitdelray on Facebook and Instagram, and learn more at

  • November 21, 2020 1:17 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        Del Ray's month-long holiday celebration on Main Street kicks off on Small Business Saturday.  The socially-distant holiday activities, which include shopping events, the community's virtual tree lighting, Twelve Days of Wellness, a holiday scavenger hunt, and more, reflect the Del Ray neighborhood's reputation as a dining, retail, wellness, and arts destination in the region, along with its commitment to supporting Alexandria non-profits year-round.

    Shop Small in Del Ray Week 

       The traditional Shops of Del Ray’s Ladies’ Night Out is expanding to a full week, kicking off on Small Business Saturday!  From Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, pick up a Shopping Passport at your favorite Del Ray retailer and support our local businesses, enjoy special promotions, and enter for the chance to win prizes! 

    Del Ray Holiday Market
        Find the perfect gift at this pop-up market featuring local artisans, at-home entrepreneurs, and wellness providers.  The Del Ray Holiday Pop-Up Market takes place on Saturday, Nov. 28 and Sunday, Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at the intersection of Mount Vernon & Bellefonte Avenues.

    Virtual Holiday Season Kick-Off 

       The annual Del Ray Christmas tree lighting will move to a virtual format, taking place on Sun. Dec 6 at 6 p.m.  Click here to register.  In addition to the traditional countdown, the virtual event will feature an appearance by Santa, plus carols with the Alexandria Singers.  The Del Ray community will also light the Menorah at at 6:30 p.m. each night of Hanukkah, from Dec. 10 to Dec. 18.

    Donation Drive for Carpenter's Shelter

        In the spirit of the season, the Del Ray Business Association will collect toiletries for Carpenter's Shelter, a local nonprofit that helps the homeless achieve sustainable independence through shelter, guidance, education, and advocacy. Needed supplies include unscented lotion, deodorant, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. 

    Donations will be collected from Dec. 6 through Christmas at designated bins outside The Dog Store (2301 Mount Vernon Ave.), Waxing the City (2727 Mount Vernon Ave.), Del Ray Psych & Wellness (1900 Mount Vernon Avenue), Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap (401 E Braddock Road), and the front porch of 110 E. Del Ray Ave. Donation bins will also be outside the The Del Ray Farmers’ Market (Dec. 12 & 19 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.).

    Twelve Days of Wellness in Del Ray 
         From Dec. 5-16, the Wellness District of Del Ray will offer twelve days of self-care during the holidays. Follow @thewellnessdistrictdelray on Facebook and Instagram for short videos on Wellness Wisdom during this unique holiday season.

    Holiday Scavenger Hunt 

         Local artists have been commissioned to complete hand-painted holiday windows at businesses along Mount Vernon Avenue.  Starting Dec. 5, visit the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square to pick up a scavenger hunt, or download one at  and complete the holiday hunt for a chance to win gift cards to local businesses.

         All events are presented by the Del Ray Business Association, which represents the independently-owned shops, retailers, and businesses in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. 

  • November 01, 2020 10:14 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

         The region's favorite Thanksgiving morning tradition, the 45th Annual Alexandria Turkey Trot, is moving to a virtual format due to COVID-19.  

         While the in-person race was cancelled after consultations with local health officials, the community is encouraged to participate in this 45-year tradition during Thanksgiving week.   Participants can complete a five-mile run or walk at the place of their choice any time between Nov. 21 and 29 and log their race times online.  Registration is open at; while participants can register at any time until Nov. 28, the deadline to order a commemorative t-shirt is Nov. 13.   Registration for the race is $10 for children 12 and under; $20 for 13-21; and $25 for 22 and up.

         "For 45 years, the Alexandria Turkey Trot has drawn a diverse crowd -- including elite runners, families, and dogs," said Turkey Trot Race Director Brian Danza. "We hope that those who participate every year decide to run or walk the race to keep this tradition going."  In addition to logging their times, all runners will receive a commemorative 2020 bib.

         The event is a major fundraiser and food drive for ALIVE, a nonprofit organization that serves those most in need in the City of Alexandria.  In 2019, the event raised over $6,000 for ALIVE!, with runners donating over 2,000 pounds of food.  The Alexandria Turkey Trot is also the primary fundraiser for the Del Ray Business Association, which hosts a wide range of community events year-round and represents the independently-owned restaurants, retailers, and businesses in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria. 

         "The Alexandria community is known for its tremendous community spirit and deep generosity.  With so many of our small businesses and so many of our neighbors struggling, this year's Trot is more important than ever," said Del Ray Business Association president Sue Kovalsky.  " We look forward to seeing neighbors, dogs, and generations of families running together throughout Thanksgiving week."

         In the spirit of the holiday, runners are encouraged to donate nonperishable food items for ALIVE!  Needed items include one-pound bags of rice; one-pound bags of dried beans; macaroni and cheese boxes; canned vegetable, soup and fruit (14-15 oz.); canned tuna; canned chicken; and baking mixes (such as Bisquick, 5-7 oz.).  Information on drop-off locations is available at

         The Alexandria Turkey Trot traditionally takes place on Thanksgiving morning with a fast and flat course through the streets of Del Ray.  The event, sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association and DC Road Runners, draws nearly 6,000 runners, including some of the fastest elite runners on the east coast.  For complete information on the virtual race, and to register and reserve your commemorative 2020 t-shirt, visit

  • October 11, 2020 10:15 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        At a time when businesses face the threat of closing, Foundation Fitness has expanded to a new, larger studio on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray.  

       "The Avenue has become the place for fitness and wellness and we're happy to have you expanding," said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson.   "Having businesses here on the Avenue that are surviving -- and not only surviving, but thriving! -- in the pandemic -- is something we need to support as a City," added Councilman John Chapman.  

        Foundation Fitness owner C.J. Westby said the support of the clients made the move possible in a challenging business climate.   "What we have tried to create here is not just a good training environment, but a good experience for our clients," said Westby.  "Our clients are literally the reason why we are able to be here -- to go through this expansion -- because they stuck with us through some really tough times, when we had to shut down. They are the reason we are here."

         Foundation Fitness is located at 1901 Mount Vernon Avenue, and offers personal training, group training, boot camp classes, fitness consultations, and more.  For more information, visit

  • October 05, 2020 11:00 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

        Del Ray's favorite Halloween traditions are moving online, with contests for Best Decorated House, Business, and Block; plus Best Group Costume and Best Pet Costume; plus a Halloween Scavenger Hunt on the Avenue, taking place Halloween week.  

         "Our primary concern is always the health and safety of our community," said Del Ray Halloween Parade organizer Gayle Reuter. "While we are heartbroken that we can't bring 7,500 ghosts, goblins, superheroes, and princesses to the Avenue for a parade, we're excited about hosting some of our favorite Halloween traditions in a safe, socially-distant format."

         In addition to the Best Decorated House and Business Contests, this year marks the debut of the Best Decorated Block contest, inspired by the creativity of the community during Del Ray's socially-distant First Thursday porch parties that brought neighbors together during the summer.  "During the pandemic, we have constantly been in awe of how our community has figured out new ways to connect with our neighbors, safely,"  said Del Ray Business Association President Sue Kovalsky.  "We're excited to see the creativity of  neighbors coming together in the group costume contests and block decorating contests."

          Among the events:

    • Best Group Costume & Best Pet Costume Contests:  The annual best group costume and best pet costume contests will move online, with entries due by 12 p.m. on November 1.  For complete details and to enter, visit

    • Best Decorated House, Best Decorated Block, and Best Decorated Business:  The deadline for nominations for Best Decorated House, Best Decorated Business, and Best Decorated Block is Sunday, October 25 at 12 p.m.  To nominate a house, business, or block, visit   The Del Ray Business Association will release a map of the top ten nominees by Wednesday, October 28. 

    • Costumes for Children In Need: Traditionally, the Del Ray Business Association collects gently used Halloween costumes and hosts a free costume shop for children.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DRBA is partnering directly with organizations serving Alexandria children in need, giving community members the opportunity to purchase a costume for a specific child via an Amazon Wish List.  For more information, visit  

    • Halloween Scavenger Hunt: Walk the Avenue (in costume or not!) and find Halloween-themed items in Del Ray's murals and decorated businesses.  The hunt launches on Friday, October 23!   Four winners (randomly selected from all entries) will receive a $50 gift card to spend at their favorite Del Ray business.  Details at  

       Held each year on the Sunday before Halloween, the Del Ray Halloween Parade is sponsored by the Del Ray Business Association, which represents the independently-owned shops, retailers, and businesses in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.  For more information, visit

  • September 01, 2020 1:02 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

          The 25th Annual Art on the Avenue festival will move to a virtual format for 2020, launching on Saturday, October 3 and running through the holidays.  The event will feature over 150 artists, virtual experiences, and a wide range of opportunities to support local artists and connect as a creative community while social distancing. 

          "Throughout the pandemic, art has brought us together while apart -- providing much peace and enjoyment during uncertain times," said Art on the Avenue founder Pat Miller.  "Our primary concern will always be the safety of our artists and our attendees, which makes an in-person event impossible this year.  But cancelling Art on the Avenue entirely was never an option for us -- our artists depend on the community's support to keep creating."

          Over 150 artists will be featured, offering handmade items in a wide range of mediums, including wheel-thrown vases and bowls, tiles, sculpture, tote bags and purses, drawings and pastels, knitted and crocheted hats and gloves, woven scarves and shawls, gourmet food, fused and blown glass, jewelry, paintings, photography, and much more.  

          "We're excited about continuing this vibrant, 25-year tradition with a virtual show," said 2020 Art on the Avenue chair Amy Eggers. "Throughout the fall and winter, our constant goal will be to connect our artists with the Alexandria community and beyond with the Del Ray creativity and spirit that has made this a beloved community event."

          Traditionally held each fall on Mount Vernon Avenue, Art on the Avenue is a multicultural arts festival that strives to reflect the vibrant mix of the Del Ray community through the artists and their work, and draws an estimated 75,000 visitors each year.   Virginia Living readers named Art on the Avenue the top arts event in the Northern Virginia region in 2020.  For more information, visit

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