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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Walgreens moving to Annandale, on Fuddruckers site


Lawrence Leber with the design for Walgreens
Plans to replace Fuddruckers—one of the only family-centered restaurants in Annandale and the site of many a soccer party—with another, unnecessary drugstore is not sitting well with members of the Annandale revitalization committee.

The new Walgreens would be located on a triangle-shaped property between Little River Turnpike, Backlick Road, and Columbia Pike. Fuddruckers was unable to renew its lease with the owner of the property, Rona Kramer.


Representatives of the Walgreens project, Elizabeth McKeeby, a land use planner with the Walsh Colucci law firm; Robert Brown of Urban Ltd.; and Lawrence Leber of Upshire Realty Advisors, presented their plans to the Annandale Central Business District Planning Committee (ACBDPC) March 13. It would be a “by right” project, which means the property doesn’t need to be rezoned and it doesn’t need to be approved by the Board of Supervisors or the Fairfax County Planning Commission.

The committee chair, Dan McKinnon, expressed disappointment in the project but acknowledged that there is not much the community can do to block it.

“We’re losing the last big family restaurant,” he said. “The community is very much concerned about the lack of variety in restaurants and places for young people.” There are already two CVS stores close by, he noted, and several other stores that have pharmacies and sell the same type of items offered by Walgreens, including Kmart, Giant, and Safeway.

“This is C-level retail,” said committee member Vicki Burman, executive director of the Annandale Chamber of Commerce. Walgreens offers “nothing we need or want. This isn’t going to improve Annandale.” She noted that before Fuddruckers, that spot was occupied by the Three Chefs, and before that it was an Edsall dealership.

Leber told the committee construction could start in six to 10 months, as soon as the county approves the site plan. The façade of the new drugstore will be at the corner of Little River and Backlick. The entrance to the property at Backlick will stay where it is and there will be two other access points, on Little River and Columbia Pike.

Walgreens will be larger than Fuddruckers, 12,000 square feet, compared to 8,000 square feet, Leber said. It will have improved landscaping—13 percent of the property, compared to 5 percent currently. The sidewalk along Little River would be widened and the hedges would be torn down, he added. The existing free-standing Fuddruckers sign would be replaced with a smaller, “monument”-style sign.

Design guidelines approved by the ACBDPC call for new developments within the Annandale central business district to have brick sidewalks along the perimeter and “acorn” street lights. Leber promised to consider those enhancements.

“I do not believe that stakeholders envisioned a pharmacy use for this parcel that permits commercial and mixed-use development,” Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross wrote in a letter to the community, “but in this case, the transfer of private property ownership or use is a private business decision, not subject to public input.”

“Although I am disappointed in this change in use, there are benefits from reinvestment at this location,” Gross said. “The applicant has agreed to implement improved pedestrian facilities in accordance with the Annandale Streetscape Design Guidelines. The number of entrances will be consolidated from the current five down to three, greatly improving site access to this congested area of downtown Annandale,” and there will be more green open space.

62 comments:

  1. Any word on whether or not Fuddruckers will relocate anywhere near here? That will leave a serious lack of family/team sports places to eat out, not to mention a great source of fundraisers for local schools. The closest Fudd's would be over in Alexandria way down 236, and that's a bit of a hike.

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  2. Replies
    1. Till they build the hotel as planned.

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  3. There is a possibility Fuddruckers could relocate elsewhere in Annandale but nothing is determined.

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  4. I am agnostic as far as Fuddruckers or Walgreens (although we really do not need another drugstore), but the improved pedestrian facilities are welcome. The current sidewalks along LRT are about 2 feet wide!

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  5. Trophy Mart across the street from Fuddruckers will be moving out in July as well. Another long-tenured Annandale business going.

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  6. Sounds like a good reason not to go to Walgreens. Too bad about Fudruckers, there were only two places in Annandale to order a hamburger in English. That may sound bad, but it is true, I love Pho, but Korean BBQ isn't my bag.

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  7. Walgreens is totally unnecessary and a disgusting corporation. It will go the way that Blooms/Food Lion went. Done and over in two years. Another vacant property in Annandale.

    There are now: the Blooms site, Petsmart on John Marr, Fairfax Auto Parts (still not Joesphs Coat), Old 7-11 (still not Animal Spa), Max Fitness (still a shell) not to mention the many 1500 sf- spaces up and down the Pikes.

    Such a shame to lose Fuddruckers, so disgusting to see a Walmart, ugh, I'd rather pay more than patronize them.

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  8. Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross wrote in a letter to the community: but in this case, the transfer of private property ownership or use is a private business decision, not subject to public input.

    Nor would she give a damn if it was...Look at the improvements she has promoted and nurtured at Baileys Crossroads, and compare those to what has NOT been promoted or gained in Annandale. She has been the singular cause of decline in the Annandale area due to her abject lack of interest in the Annandale Community. Not surprising since she lives in Alexandria.

    Worst "Supervisor" ever. She does not deserve to touch the hem of Tina Trapnell's clothes and I say this as a Democrat.

    Gross is gross, period.

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  9. This is beyond sad. How can Annandale deteriorate so quickly before our eyes. There is absolutely no place to eat just general American food.

    It really takes someone who is a leader, not Penny Gross, to encourage businesses that are needed, wanted, and will be sucessful. It takes someone who listens to the Annandale revitalization committee and the residents to lobby for better businesses. The giant clawing law firm of Walsch, Calucci, blah, blah knows that Mason District is open to any business that has the money and knows they can get whatever they want through this district. It was nice to read in the article that someone knows a little history of what was on that spot.

    Almost at this point Annandale is totally non-descript and is an area you want to DRIVE (that's all you do) through quickly!

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  10. I love the idea of Magills. It is a great family restaurant and the owner, Mike Magill, is also an Annandale resident.

    I'm not so opposed to a new drug store because I find the CVS over crowded and parking limited. That being said, I don't think this does much for making Annandale more family friendly.

    I would really like to see the K-mart space turned into a town center with some upscale shops and apartments. More like what they are doing in Merrifield.

    Annandale needs to be more walkable. It is impossible to get across Columbia Pike at the corner of Columbia Pile and John Marr Drive. I have seen people basically run for their lives trying to get across the street.

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  11. It is pretty sad. There is no leadership here.

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  12. Anybody know the reasons why Fuddruckers and the propery owner could not agree to renew the lease? Was it a financial decision?

    Were there any other stores/restaurants considered? or was Walgreens the only one?

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  13. Wendy Reinoehl3/14/12, 11:19 AM

    I am saddened to see the loss of Fuddruckers, one of the few places to eat American food. Even with the improvements mentioned, the parking lot is not easily accessible. I bother with the terrible parking lot and entrances and exits because it is a family restaurant. I will not venture into the hard-to-navigate parking lot for a drugstore, especially when there is one across the street. I understand that Fairfax County can not block the plans, but I will be complaining to both the owner of the property and Walgreens.

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  14. Wendy Reinoehl3/14/12, 11:44 AM

    The owner is listed as Rona Kramer. Is this the same person as Rona Kramer, the Maryland State Senator from Montgomery County? If so, her email is info@ronakramer.org.

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  15. Not sure - will try to follow up on this when I have time.

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  16. Fuddruckers was an overpriced rip-off and a zoo. No big loss. Walgreens does its research and will make this dead spot a place people will want to walk to vice Fudds which only had ONE entrance (how Gross gets five I don't know...no wonder our public schools are a failure.) Trophy Mart belongs in a strip mal off Route 1. Seriously - is anyone really going to miss these places a year from now? And let CVS move if it needs to...Walgreens has every right to set up shop there. If I were them I couldn;t care less what a few socialist idiots felt - this is America and that spot is zoned for business!

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  17. is quote Family Restaurant the new code for not latin or korean? I see lots of families going into those restaurants.

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  18. I agree with you. For the first time in my history I actually sat at a poling place last election to support Feld which really was to not support Gross. I am independent and I think Gross need to be voted out.

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  19. There is no doubt Walgreens has every right to move in there, and individuals, at least for now, still have the right to not patronize the establishment.

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  20. Sign this petition to keep Fuddruckers. http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-fuddruckers-in-annandale/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Petition

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  21. Fuddruckers has been in bankruptcy for some time; surprising that they are even considering opening somewhere else.

    Would be nice if there were more American-friendly restaurants in Annandale. Although, what could that be? Not Five Guys, not another chicken ala brasa, nor the same chains (Olive Garden, Silver Diner, etc.) as down the road. What does that leave?

    That's why there are all those independant Korean restaurants. Independant little restaurants are hard to start and usually fail. The Korean joints have the support of a community, and form a nexus for them. That's why they're here.

    Annandale has never been a dining destination, until the Koreans came along. If they all disappeared, you know what would be there tomorrow? NOTHING. Everything except Fritzbees (Silverado) failed.

    Three Chefs is never coming back.

    My perspective from the last 45 years.

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  22. One of the anonymous posts is a Walgreens exec trolling. Anyone who lives in Annandale knows Fuddruckers does not have one entrance.
    Also, anyone who does any sort of volunteer work or works with young people has used Trophy Mart and knows it is very good at what it does.

    If you don't live in Annandale, stop commenting on stuff you don't know about.

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    1. Zac - Get off your Occupy Wall Street conspiracy theory high horse and smell the roses. Unless you work there, you have to go in the ONE main door. It looks like Walgreens will add other entrances.

      And I have 2 kids that play sports at ABGC and have lived here almost my whole life and NEVER been into Trophy Mart. They may well do good things, but they won't be missed at that central location and could be just about anywhere, even the internet.

      The last place a Walgrens exec would be is here - caring about your post. NO business polls the residents to see if they can get permission to set up shop anywhere. They obviously did a market study and concluded the location would get them the business they needed. THats how the real world works - it is market driven, So please don't shop there. They really don't need your business if you've closed your mind before they even opened. I guess you think Bloom should have stayed open at that location even though they were losing money just to "do the right thing" for Annandale Socialist nonsense!

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  23. What kind of businesses would you like to see in Annandale? More to the point, what kind of businesses do you think would be successful here? We already have enough banks, fast food places, and drug stores. We have plenty of successful restaurants, although more variety would be good. Annandale used to have a lot of antique stores but the few that are left are struggling.

    Have you considered opening up a small business here? Yeah, I didn't think so. What do you think we would have here if the Koreans hadn't stepped in? Here's my guess: payday lenders, pawnshops, and a lot more empty storefronts.

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  24. I dont know how they are doing, but I think Beanetics, the coffee shop in the former Bloom strip mall is an example of how small businesses can do well in Annandale. Given that they are still in business with a Starbucks up the street is amazing. Also, the small bakery next door does well. Small businesses can thrive in Annandale, they just have to do their homework.

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  25. Money talks!! At least its not another Korean restaurant.

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  26. Sad, Sad, Sad. Annandale is becoming nothing but gas stations, banks and chain stores.....NO charm or personality left in Annandale!
    Time to get out!

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  27. I do not shop at the Korean stores except H Mart but you have a point. Where would Annandale be without all the retail space they occupy! It might look like Detroit.

    Only the market can decide when we have enough of something. The reason we have so many banks and gas stations is people patronize them. This forum should center around what would be nice to have. Anyone who thinks businesses run on social good - write Ben & Jerry and see if they set up shop here just because you want them to open a store. They'll have their finance guys look at the bottom line, just like most other thriving businesses. They really don't care about much else.

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  28. Ben and Jerrys - good one. Sounds like we have a few folks that never took a business class (or economics class) contributing here. Business moves where business is. Simple as that.

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  29. Tina Trapnell was secretary for Tom Davis secretary and little else. He anointed her as his successor when he successfully ran for County Supervisor, but pretty much still ran things here. Trapnell wisely chose not to run for reelection after Davis was elected to Congress. She clearly didn't have the ability to do the job on her own. Trapnell then guaranteed us four more years of Penny by unwisely trying to get her old job back. So, thanks for nothing, Tina.

    Penny Gross doesn't give a .... about anyone who doesn't support her. She can get away with that because she's only faced one serious challenger. That was when Buzz Hawley ran against her. Her primary support comes from the affluent Lake Barcroft crowd who don't care about taxes and enjoy the perks Penny constantly throws their way. I'm a Republican and I'm really miffed that the GOP has virtually abandoned Mason District to the likes of Penny Gross.

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  30. I have not spoken to one person who agrees with Walgreens replacing Fuddruckers. So if you really do not agree...BOYCOTT Walgreens. It won't save Fuddruckers but it will send a strong message. To Penny Gross...F*** your streetscape. You can't even walk in Annandale. There is too much traffic and people drive way too fast!
    BOYCOTT WALGREENS ANNANDALE!

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  31. We would like to see Fuddruckers stay! Not replaced by of all things a Drugstore!

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  32. The property owner IS Rona Cramer, the democrat senator from MD. She does not know or care about what Annandale needs, because she doesn't need to. I wonder what other businesses besides walgreens made an offer. I will be boycotting Walgreens bc we def don't need it!

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    1. I wonder if she knows Penny Gross.

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  33. Why do we even need another drug store? I do not even go to CVS - I do all that at the Giant. Fudds has always supported the community - I have two fundraisers scheduled there in the next month. What will Wallgreens do?

    So typical of Penny gross to dribble on about the streetscape. I have not voted for her for years and sure won't now! Boycott Wallgreens, and get someone viable to oppose Gross!

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    1. I have always voted against Gross...but am fiercely opposed to putting someone else in there that wants to OVERregulate and play God and decide what goes where (unless it is an incinerator or something hazardous.) Vote Republican - they understand business and are your best chance to have influence over business.

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    2. I think the last part of your sentence should read, "are the most likely to be influenced by business."

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    3. You are correct - and it is a two way street. Business and government meed to work together - not in opposition to each other.

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  34. Robert Schwaninger3/20/12, 10:40 AM

    The amazing amount of vitriol that has been spewed from commenters is quite unfortunate. As an Annandale resident and owner of a local business, I find the comments not entirely useful to a reasoned discussion. So, let us all take a calming breath and consider this carefully.

    First, Fuddruckers is in bankruptcy and no doubt is having financial difficulties that would cause it to consider moving on or out. No amount of community support is going to change that fact.

    Second, the property owner has a right to search for and obtain another tenant. The property owner does not have to put it to a vote whether the next tenant will be Walgreens or WalMart.

    Third, despite the glowing praise of Fuddruckers by some people, the reality is that its community contribution was limited to a location for some team parties. Those same team parties can use Magills (and do) the Juke Box Diner and other venues. The Annandale Chamber of Commerce won't miss Fuddruckers, they weren't a member. We won't miss their participation in the parade or the bed race, they didn't participate. Instead, they were a chain restaurant, period.

    Third, Penny Gross has been a long and strong supporter of revitalization in Annandale. That her constant efforts have not borne the fruit that we would like to see has nothing to do with government and everything to do with private property ownership. The fact is, unlike Bailey's, Annandale is owned in small tracts by numerous people who cannot or have not gotten together to take the necessary actions. We came close a few years ago before the capital markets dried up, but I don't think Penny caused lenders to pull back and the recession to affect revitalization.

    Fourth, I find it disheartening that people seem to believe that Korean owned businesses are somehow illegitimate or unwanted and that only somewhere that serves "American" food is desirable. So patronize the Juke Box Diner, Magills, Silverados, Popeyes, Starbucks, or similar locations. But there is nothing wrong or illegitimate about a Korean, Italian, Greek, Afghan, or Vietnamese establishment. Welcome to the melting pot.

    Fifth, I am pleased to report that Mike Magill was named Lord Fairfax a couple of years ago for his unselfish public service and support of the community in countless ways for over two decades. Dan McKinnon seems to forget this in his comments within the article. I know and like Dan, but Dan should know better than most what the challenges in Annandale are and where the community support has come from. Fuddruckers certainly wasn't the answer to revitalization and was a member of the community by address alone.

    Finally, if you want to criticize Penny Gross it makes sense to do so about issues where she can have an impact. A Republican criticizing her for not getting involved in a private business transaction?! That attitude would get you stoned at a Romney rally. Please, folks, some greater civility is always a good thing. Because if you are civil, you don't have to hide your harsh comments behind an anonymous post.

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    1. Robert, It is true Penny Gross may not have the authority to stop or influence a private business transaction, and I think some people on here are just overall frustrated at the situation, so blaming her is easy. Well what about the things she can influence to revitalize the place? Like cleaning up the streets of day-laborers? It is not an appealing scene to a community trying to revitalize. Their presence also affects the business they stand around. What has Penny done about that?

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  35. I could not care less. But this kind of attitude ticks me off. I will go out of my way to patronize Walgreens just to cancel your inanity. I might even start a boycott of Fuddruckers (which is ok) just to cancel you out there too. All Walgreens (NOT WALMART) did was want to start a business. That's the American Way and Penny Gross is right to stay the heck out of it. Go move to Reston if you like a community to dictate what goes where, what color your front door can be, and how big your flag can be.

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  36. That hotel will be built about the same time that Annandale becomes an enclave for disenfranchised, Austrian, midget farmers, seeking asylum from oppression by tall Serbs espousing clam superiority.

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  37. Actually Trophy Mart will be missed at its present location. Just because you do not shop there does not mean it does not get business. I think we can all agree it was a shame Bloom closed. And it seems like the same thing will happen with an unneeded drug store. But, that will be up to the business to find out eventually. And if you think that businesses do not consider the importance of community support and try to put a positive spin on their products/stores/image, you are mistaken. I could totally see someone from Walgreens trying to influence the people of Annandale, not as a part of a conspiracy, but because they want us to shop there. Already we're hearing about how Walgreens is going to "improve the sidewalks". Great...

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  38. You are correct - and it is a two way street. Business and government meed to work together -not in opposition to each other.

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  39. The only thing I occupy is a squat rack. The troll was referring to the post regarding driving entrances. Your a fool if you think they would do a market study to open a new store and not check the community's blog. Bloom is the perfect example to all of this. I bet you shopped there.

    My only point to all of this is if you don't live here don't comment here. Otherwise, I could care less.

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  40. Mrs Gross can not change the fact of who comes in or who does not come in but she can work for the community of Annandale and try to get what is best for the community. A Walgreens across the street from a CVS and 1/2 block from the Giant is not what we need. She can talk to the owner and let her know what Annandale is about and try to sway her in a new direction that is what she is getting paid for. We need family friendly places to eat. As much as I love Silverado's that is not a place you want to take the kids who are going to make noise. As much as I think Mike Magill is a wonderful man and I strongly support him I think the food is not necessarily what is to my taste. Yes, Fuddruckers is a chain but it is chain that has been part of the community for many years and a place you can take the kids that is not fast food.

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  41. Dan McKinnon is mistaken when he states, We are losing the last big family restaurant. Magills still is here. It is larger than Fuddruckers and is a great place for team and birthday parties. I question how a person on the Annandale revitalization board doesn't remember a business that has existed and served the Annandale community since 1983. We also have Sivlerado's and Juke Box Diner that are long-time family restaurants in Annandale.
    Instead of being so hostile to a new business coming to Annandale maybe we should welcome them to the community. If we treat new businesses unfairly then why would they want to come to Annandale?
    We need to clean up Annandale. What better way than a new building that will be required to abide by the Annandale Streetscape Design Guidelines. Maybe Walgreens will be more active than Fuddruckers in our community, by joining the Annandale Chamber of Commerce or participating in community events (parade, bed race, Fall Festival, etc.).
    Last summer, TD Bank opened at the corner of Backlick and 236. Did Annandale really need another bank? Probably not, but it sure looks a lot better than that old gas station.

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  42. Sadly i agree too!

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  43. Absolutely right. If you would like a vision of what Annandale would be withought the support of our Korean neighbors, just take a drive down RT 1 to Hybla Valley. Ill take k-town over that any day of the week.

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  44. Zac, Let me give you a suggestion - lay off the squat rack as it may be hurting your reading ability. Go back and look at the post I "the troll" made - it does not mention anything about DRIVING entrances. Seriously, if the Bloom people read this blog they'd have seen nothing but rah-rah articles saying how great it was to move in. Seriously, they would have done real market research, but go ahead thinking you will influence them. All I'm trying to do is educate you how the world works. I'd bet 95% of all posts on this microblog are by Annandale residents - but keep thinking "big brother" and execs from Walgreens are out there manipulating things.

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  45. And if I owned that land I would tell her thanks for the comments and build anyway. I want more family places to eat in Annandale too, but does it not seem rather naive to think Walgreens would change their mind? I think they feel Annandale needs a Walgreens. Only how much business Walgreens does will determine if we need another drugstore. If they fail, we'll get something else.

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  46. Common sense rules - nice post.

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  47. No offense to Magills but I found it to be sub-par as far as only offering two types of beer. They have to bus people in there.
    I think this blog is great to offer a chance for locals to discuss things. I think we should keep the civility.

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  48. totally agree! I have been to Magills and the food is not very good. I have not been to the juke Box in years. I'll try it again. I like Silverado's but in the years they have been there, I'm getting tired of their menu.

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  49. You went to business school and thats all you learned? Sounds like someone wasted their money.

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  50. Thank you, calming voice of reason.

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  51. THANK you. I lived in Annandale for 20 some years and recently moved to Florida. I miss the melting pot more than anything. I might miss Fudds a little bit when I come home to visit, but what I really come back for is the Korean food. Thank you Honey Pig.
    Also, I've met Penny a few times at Broyhill Crest, and she seems to be very involved with Annandale and not an absent politician like some seem to think.

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  52. THANK you. I moved out of Annandale a few years ago after being raised there. When I come home to visit, I do nt flock to Fudds, I head straight toward Honey Pig. I dont miss the American food I can get anywhere, I miss the melting pot, and ESPECIALLY the Korean food.
    Also, I've met Penny Gross a few times at Broyhill Crest, and she seems quite involved and like she is doing the best she can. Politicians are not omnipotent.

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  53. Blogmaster - are you posting everything? Seems posts I left this weekend have yet to appear. None had bad language or were uncivil.

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  54. Sorry if something fell through the cracks. Please resend.

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  55. I hope the next tenant will not be allowed to put up those distasteful neon signs like the plumbing place next door to the trophy place..i can't understand how the county would allow all those signs anyway

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