Alexandria Mom's Calendar of Events

Monday, December 15, 2014

Del Ray Christmas Trees & First Night Del Ray


Vote for Your Favorite Tree
Twelve trees have been put up and decorated along Mt. Vernon Avenue.  Last year, the Del Ray Business Association started a "Best Tree Competition" and local businesses, cub scouts and student organizations decorated the trees -- all are available for viewing by walking the Avenue.  
Each tree will have a sign with a number on it. 
Pick which one you like the best, click here to cast your vote for your favorite.  Competition is going strong so get your vote in!!!  
Voting will be open until Christmas Day, December 25.

December 31
Mt. Vernon Recreation Center
6-9 PM

First Night will be back in Del Ray!!!  An Old Fashioned Carnival is being planned--there will be carnival games for all ages, line dancing, fortune teller and many other activities.

The price of a badge is $15 until December 18. After the 18th, tickets are $20. To gain admission to all First Night Alexandria venues you need just one badge per adult. Click this link for full info on tickets.

Kids 12 and under and active military get in for FREE!*
And remember -- Volunteers get a free pass for the night.
Purchase online or purchase directly from these Del Ray businesses:
Del Ray Variety 
203 E. Custis Ave.
St. Elmo's Coffee Pub
2300 Mt. Vernon Ave.   
We are looking for volunteers -- if you can help, please let us know. We want this night to be successful but need your help. Help with Games, Selling Tickets, Prizes. Need 20-25 Volunteers. To volunteer contact Pat MIller Volunteers get a free pass to all First Night activities! The Old Fashioned Carnival ends at 9 PM so there is plenty of time to enjoy First Night Alexandria.

Don’t forget to share all your First Night selfies on Instagram with #FNA20th and you could win prizes, including cash.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Alexandria Police Investigate Bank Robbery at Burke & Herbert Bank

This makes 2 in Alexandria this week....  

Police Investigate Robbery at Burke and Herbert Bank on North Paxton Street

The Alexandria Police Department is investigating the robbery of a Burke and Herbert Bank located at 155 North Paxton Street. On
Friday, December 12, at 12:53 p.m., a man entered the bank and displayed a handgun. He demanded money, the teller complied, and the suspect fled with
an undisclosed amount of cash. There were no injuries. 
The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’10”, with a medium build.
He was last seen wearing a dark color knit hat and red, puffy winter
The Federal Bureau of Investigations is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads
to the identification, arrest and conviction of this bank robbery. 

Anyone with additional information about this incident is
asked to call Detective Thomas Buckley at 703.746.6837.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My First Trip to the New Bradlee Safeway

So I waited 5 days before trying the newly renovated Bradlee Safeway.....

I read all the local list-serve posts and reviews, good and bad,  over the last 5 days.
I went in with an open mind and here is my take on the renovated store.

I didn't have any problem with parking.  I went in the middle of the day,  and I was able to easily park in the surface, covered,  parking lot.  Not too close to the entrance but not too far either.

I took the escalator up to the shopping level and there were plenty of carts available.
It was a little confusing as to where I should go from the cart area.   I like to start at the produce section so I headed there first, which was at the other end of the store from where I came in.
I went one way, keeping to the right, and was in the way of folks trying to exit the check out lanes and I would have to go to the right and through the check outs to get to the shopping aisles.   So I had to back track and go to the left of the Starbucks area.

The store seemed adequately lit, but some areas seemed a little darker than others.

Some aisles were not wide enough for two carts to pass.  That was mostly near the produce, and it was specialty type food aisles - Gluten Free and Mexican,  as I recall.  But most aisles seemed tight with two carts trying to pass.

The layout wasn't too hard to figure out but it will take some time to get used to it.
I like that the aisles are long and not chopped up with intersecting aisles.

There seems to be a lot of space given to product placement promotions or for tastings - lots of high, small, tables set up.  Most of which weren't in use or didn't have anything on them.

The produce section was large but seemed to be a bit disorganized.  I saw several items several times in different places.  Grapes in a refrigerator area and just on the shelf.  Apples in several areas.  Some of this may be organic and non organic but it wasn't really clear.  There seemed to be many shoppers just wandering this area looking a bit overwhelmed and not knowing where things were and in which direction they should go.

The baby section and health care goods seemed to have wide aisles in the middle of the store.  Not sure why.  Maybe this will be the seasonal area too.

The Wine area was extensive - large selection of off the shelf and chilled/refrigerated wines.
There was also a large section or selection of yogurts, more than I recall at any other grocery store in the area.

Many items were behind glass doors.  That seems to be the way stores are heading - Harris Teeter in Old Town has this same set up.  So this will just take some adjustment for shoppers.

When I was in the produce area I asked an employee where I might find Clementines.  He said "they were all located near the entrances".  I asked, "there aren't any in the produce section?"  He offered up that they were all over the store.  I said that must be confusing for him.  His reply "Yes".

The prices were just OK.  I didn't find anything at a greater discount or on sale more than what I could find at Giant.  Some items were more expensive than Giant or Harris Teeter, others less expensive.  Overall I spent more than what I have spent for the same "regular" items at Giant.

The selection was OK.  I wasn't able to find some products or the sizes of the products I wanted but in other areas I found more selection.  So I think this will just be personal preferences and will take some getting used to.

Checking out wasn't easy.  (but then again it never was at the old Bradlee Safeway!)
There was only 1 full service lane open.  Really, at lunch time, 1 check out lane.  And that was at one end of the checkout area.  Nothing at the other end.
The self check was open but was full and seemed to be backed up.  I ended up doing the self checkout and had nothing but problems, problems bagging my own, the area getting full, the reader not recognizing coupons, and other issues.  The poor employee was frazzled.
Hopefully with time this will get better.

I did enjoy seeing the many familiar faces of the employees from the old Safeway.  Many of them said they were glad to be back.  They said they had been working in other stores around the Alexandria area.

The biggest issues I had were with the carts.
There was no bottom shelf on the carts.  So I wasn't able to put purchases there - toilet paper, cases of soda or juice, laundry detergent etc.  This meant my cart was very full, and didn't make for an easy check out.
I understand why no under shelf - so that the carts can be used on the special cart escalator down to the parking level, but this makes it really hard for shoppers.

And there was NO cart return place in the parking lot.  Believe me, I looked and looked.  I ended up walking my cart back to the store.  If I were elderly, infirm, or had my kids with me,  this would not have been an easy trip to the store.  Hopefully this gets taken care of quickly or I'm sure cars will be hit by carts that people left out and about.

So, overall, it was an OK experience, nothing great, nothing too terrible that I wouldn't return to shop.  
And we'll see if some of the issues get worked out over time....