News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer of Mauve: Reston Entrepreneurs Seek to Swap Smoothies for Startup Costs, Barter Their Way to a New Tortilla Factory

peace.jpegSo that whole "exchanging money for goods and services" thing may just be a passing fad. Which is why Restonians trying to start a new business at Lake Anne -- and revitalize an old favorite out yon Herndon way -- are trying fancy variations on fundraising and the age-old approach of bartering. Grab your shiny beads and handmade artisanal leather wallets and keep reading!

First up is New Family Naturals, a Reston Farmers Market regular that has now leased permanent space at Lake Anne Plaza and is hoping to open a "community health food market and juice bar" by August. To cover about half of its estimated $12,000 in opening expenses, the owners are using a website called Indiegogo to help raise startup costs. For $1,000, you can get a juice or smoothie named after you. For $5,000, you get a free juice or smoothie every week for a year. Smaller contributions get you donations, tote bags, and other goodies.

So far, New Family Naturals have raised $1,175 towards their $6,000 goal, which isn't bad. Maybe there's something to this goodwill-and-free-grub thing after all.

Meanwhile, out Herndon way, Reston resident Wally Spencer is trying to revitalize the Tortilla Factory, which closed earlier this year. So far, he has secured the name and recipes from one of the original owners, and is now trying to barter for air conditioning repair. "Anyone who may know a vendor that has loved the Tortilla Factory and would like to see it re-open - please support us," he wrote in a fancy "web log" post. "Bartering is the way to go!!"

Good for both of them -- for small, much-loved businesses like the Tortilla Factory and unique locations like Lake Anne, creative approaches like these make sense in a way that they wouldn't for, say, the 99th franchisee of the Cheesecake Factory or whatever. In the interest of being fair and balanced, however, we'll point out that the long-vacant One Dulles Corridor office building near the intersection of Hunter Mill Road and the Toll Road was just sold for a cool $41.7 million. Details are sketchy, but it appears no smoothies changed hands in the transaction, so maybe this capitalism thing isn't completely washed up, after all.


  1. "artisanal leather wallets" -- for shame, Restonian! Leather is made from animals and as such is cruel and unusual and simply not to be endured, used or enjoyed!

    Of course the substitutes you might want to use are made from horrible chemicals that ruin our environment, so those are out of the scheme too.

    Cloth? Well, not if it's produced using sweatshop labor in China ... or New York City.

    Hmm...perhaps we can use bollards as money -- kind of like the giant Yap coin that used to grace the Encyclopedia Brittanica (RIP) article about money!

  2. Makes you wonder what other Reston-based businesses are bartering for to stay in business:

    I heard that Northrup Grumman is offering to name its famed RQ-4 Global Hawk - an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) - after the first Restonian that will donate $10,000,000,000 to charge up its corporate Starbucks Rewards Gold Card.

    Sprint is offering to drop its monthly 4g service charge, you know, the 4g service charge for the 4g service that doesn't even work here, in exchange for translations service provided by a illegal immigrant Restonian originally from Atlanta, Georgia that speaks High Income Redneck, which is the native language of Loudoun County, so as to explain to Sprint customers of Loudoun County why their service puttered out last week.

  3. Well, it's not exactly a "free" juice/smoothie once a week for a year. If my calculations are correct, the "donation" amounts to $96.15 a smoothie -- if they can last a year. It's mighty cold and lonely on Lake Anne in the Winter -- I'm just saying.

  4. Assuming none of the purchase price was for the vacant land, Chris Walker's building went for only $193/sq. ft. That's very low and translates into rents at only $20/sq.ft. If some of the purchase price is ascribed to the vacant land, the rents are even lower.

    This does not portend well for the impact of Metro on values for real estate in Reston.

    Any one know if this was a short sale?

  5. Crowdsourcing for smoothies? Wonder if the Securities and Exchange Commission is on top of this?


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