Leesburg Vintner withstands competition

Owner Mike Carroll in his shop, Leesburg Vintner

Although Leesburg Vintner was closed Monday, owner Mike Carroll was working in his shop while a ribbon-cutting for Delirium Cafe was taking place across the street.

“I think it’s going to be a game-changer,” Carroll said as he peered through the blinds at the growing crowd outside the cafe, a franchisee of a popular Belgian beer company. “It’s created a buzz unlike anything I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

Carroll has been selling bottled wines at the northwest corner of King and Loudoun streets in Leesburg for almost three decades. During that time, he has withstood increasing competition from big box stores and local wineries.

Read more

The Washington Post, May 21, 2017

B. Doughnut is drawing crowds

Pin and Brian Chanthapanya, co-owners of B. Doughnut in downtown Leesburg 

The line outside B. Doughnut is already starting to form at eight o’clock Saturday morning, even though it won’t open for another hour. Some of the customers sit in chairs outside the shop on Loudoun Street in downtown Leesburg, reading a book or swiping at their phones to pass the time.

By 9 a.m., when the door opens, the line has grown to more than 40 people. Greeted by the mingled aromas of roasted coffee and fried dough, the customers begin placing orders for doughnuts with their favorite fillings and toppings — vanilla bean, lemon curd, cinnamon sugar.

Full story

The Washington Post, March 5, 2017

Dancing for fun

Adam King demonstrates the tango

As the holidays were winding down, about a dozen people showed up at Dance King Studios in downtown Leesburg on Monday evening to socialize and learn some new moves.

They stood along the mango-colored walls as owner Adam King demonstrated the Argentine tango. Then they moved hesitantly onto the dance floor, some staring at their feet as they practiced the steps.

As the evening wore on, the dancers grew more relaxed, buoyed by King’s infectious smile and words of encouragement. Before long, they were laughing and moving more confidently to the music’s rhythms.

Full story

The Washington Post, Jan. 8, 2017

Piano Company is thriving downtown

Transporting more than 100 pianos across town last spring, from Battlefield Shopping Center to Market Street in downtown Leesburg, was no easy task. In fact, Robert Purdon, general manager of the Piano Company, described the move as “a logistical nightmare.”

But after 16 years at the store’s previous site, Purdon is happy with the shift to the current location, near the Loudoun County Government Center.

Full story

Washington Post, Jan. 1, 2017

Autographs of Herbie Hancock, Randy Weston, and others can be seen inside the $250,000 Fazioli concert grand on display at the store.

Exit Plan: Leesburg’s Escape Room

The intrigue plays out several days a week in a studio apartment in downtown Leesburg, accessible only through a small parking lot and up a steep flight of stairs. It is a “safe house” for a spy — a Russian agent now cooperating with the U.S. government.

Across the hall, several wayward students are hatching a plot to escape detention from a classroom with furnishings straight from the 1980s.

The safe house and the classroom — in a suite of rooms above MacDowell Brew Kitchen — are not real. Nor are the scenes that unfold there. They are the “escape rooms” run by Exit Plan, a locally owned business that creates puzzle-filled adventure games for groups of people to solve.

Read more…

Washington Post, August 28, 2016

Museum gets one more chance

The Loudoun Museum has been given one last chance to get its financial house in order.

The Board of Supervisors on July 21 approved an agreement with the museum that will provide $156,000 in funding to keep it operating through June, by a 7-1-1 vote. Ron A. Meyer (R-Broad Run) opposed the plan, and Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) was absent.

The agreement spells out quarterly milestones the museum must meet to receive the funds, and requires each member of the museum’s board of trustees to contribute or raise at least $3,000 annually.

Read more…

Washington Post, July 31, 2016

New mural for Leesburg garage

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Leesburg artist Kevin Dunn

With the help of some local high school students, Leesburg artist Kevin Dunn is adding a splash of color to one of the drab gray walls of Leesburg’s downtown parking garage.

Last weekend, several art students from Tuscarora and Heritage high schools joined Dunn in painting a bicycle-themed mural he designed to serve as a backdrop to some bike racks inside the garage. Dunn and other proponents of bringing art to public places hope the project will revive interest in creating a larger mural on an exterior wall of the garage.

Full story…

Washington Post, June 19, 2016

Preserving historic documents

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
From left: Judy Hall, R. J. Hall, John Burcham and Diane Burcham, all of Leesburg, look at a restored book of records that had been laminated.

During downtown Leesburg’s First Friday event this month, scores of people got a glimpse of a war being quietly waged every day in the Loudoun County Circuit Court archives: the battle against the ravages of time, including mold, bookworms, rust and acid-laden cellophane tape.

About 160 people stepped through the doors of Leesburg’s 122-year-old courthouse — away from the sounds of al fresco diners and street musicians — to learn how the county’s historic records are being preserved and restored.

Read More…

Washington Post, June 12, 2016

Leesburg Halloween art contest

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the next week, the store windows of downtown Leesburg will be filled with ghosts, witches, bats and an assortment of other scary creatures, courtesy of local teens engaged in a friendly competition.

Teams of art students from three Leesburg high schools — Heritage, Loudoun County and Tuscarora — are competing in a Halloween art contest sponsored by the Leesburg Downtown Business Association.

More…

Washington Post, October 25, 2015

Support for memorial to slaves

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted last week to support a proposal to build a memorial on the county courthouse grounds in Leesburg to commemorate the slaves who were sold on the building’s steps and the soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War.

The board voted Wednesday to contribute $50,000 toward the memorial, which the local chapter of the NAACP has proposed as a way to present a more complete history of Loudoun’s involvement in the Civil War. The only commemoration of the war at the site is a statue of a Confederate soldier.

Read more…

Washington Post, September 6, 2015