Featured News

Featured News

Gravitate Solutions Wins 5th Straight Inc. Award

August 17, 2016

August 17, 2016 – Gravitate Solutions (formerly Old Town IT), has been honored with a fifth consecutive ranking on Inc. magazine’s annual Inc. 5000 listing, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at this important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, GoPro, Timberland, Clif Bar, Patagonia, Oracle, and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 500|5000. Inc. magazine ranked Gravitate Solutions #4033 on its annual listing in 2016.

“We are honored to be recognized by Inc. for a fifth straight year. Our hard-working team has helped put us on the map time and again through their dedication to delivering high quality technology solutions for our clients. We look forward to continuing to grow and expand our services, particularly around our analytics offerings and products, such as Nucleus, as it continues to help associations and nonprofits achieve greater insights into their data, and further their missions” said Tim Ward, founder and CEO of Gravitate Solutions (formerly Old Town IT).

Deep subject-matter expertise and a combined 200+ years of association experience has allowed the firm to stay ahead of industry trends and deliver the highest quality products and services to its clients. We are very proud of the value we have brought to our clients, and look forward to delivering much more to help them advance their important work.

For further information about this partnership, contact Lindsey Swanson at (571) 357-6279 or lswanson@gravitatesolutions.com.

About Gravitate Solutions
Gravitate Solutions (formerly Old Town IT), is a leading provider of technology solutions to associations, member-based organizations, and nonprofits. Since 2007, Gravitate Solutions has created innovative solutions that address the business challenges unique to its clients. The company is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia and has offices in Springfield, MO and Chicago, IL. For more information, please visit www.gravitatesolutions.com.

Press Release: A ‘Foolish’ Place To Work Keeps Its Roots in Alexandria, VA - The Motley Fool

July 25, 2016


The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company, is expanding its headquarters in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood. Governor Terry McAuliffe’s announcement, which follows, details the significance of this expansion and reflects the City of Alexandria's strategic goal to support businesses and to foster a strong, diverse and growing local economy. The City and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership worked with the Office of the Governor to retain this growing business in order to increase private investment and job creation in Alexandria.

Alexandria Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Stephanie Landrum is available for comment regarding the announcement, and provides the following quote:

"The Motley Fool is a company committed to creating the best workplace for their employees and attracting the best and brightest fools, as they call them, in a highly competitive market", said Stephanie Landrum, President and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. "Alexandria is focused on attracting the best and brightest companies to our unique, transit-oriented neighborhoods and our work to make sure The Motley Fool expands in Carlyle is evidence of that commitment.  Companies who share The Motley Fool’s corporate values should take a look at what Alexandria has to offer."

Commonwealth of Virginia

Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe


July 25, 2016

Office of the Governor

Contact: Christina Nuckols

Email: christina.nuckols@governor.virginia.gov  

Virginia Economic Development Partnership

Contact: Vince Barnett

Phone: (804) 545-5815

Email: vbarnett@yesvirginia.org

The Motley Fool

Contact: Alison Southwick

Phone: (703) 254-1475

Email: asouthwick@fool.com

Governor McAuliffe Announces 60 new jobs in City of Alexandria

~ The Motley Fool to invest $5 million to upgrade facility and expand recruitment efforts ~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company, will invest $5 million to upgrade its facility and expand recruitment efforts in the City of Alexandria. Virginia successfully competed against Washington, D.C., for the project, which will retain 282 jobs and create 60 new jobs.

“The Motley Fool has been at the forefront of innovative financial solutions for more than 20 years, and I congratulate this global financial company on its expansion in the City of Alexandria,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It is critical that we provide world-class business resources and workforce training in order to attract and retain high-quality companies in the Commonwealth. We will work with businesses to ensure that they have the tools to grow and prosper here in the Commonwealth as we continue to build a new Virginia economy.”

“Congratulations to the Motley Fool on the expansion of its operation in Alexandria,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Virginia and the northern Virginia region offer a best-in-class infrastructure and business experience that are ideal for business growth. The Motley Fool has had impressive success both domestically and internationally, and we are excited to continue our partnership.”

The Motley Fool is dedicated to helping the world invest better by providing financial solutions for investors through various stock, investing and personal finance services. Founded in 1993, the company advocates for individual investors worldwide through the use of its website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, mutual funds and premium investing services. The Motley Fool has offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

“Since our humble beginnings in a backyard shed on South Fairfax Street, The Motley Fool has called Alexandria home,” said Tom Gardner, Co-Founder and CEO of The Motley Fool. “Even as we continue to expand globally, we remain true to our local roots and are proud to be a part of the Alexandria community.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Alexandria to secure this project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $350,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City with the project. The company is also eligible for up to $60,000 in funding and services to support employee training activities, which are provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Here in Alexandria, we love The Motley Fool.  It is truly an Alexandria business success story, and we are very proud that it was founded here and that it has flourished here in our beloved, historic city,” said Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg. “As a company nationally recognized for its friendly corporate culture and investment in people, The Motley Fool’s decision to stay and grow in Carlyle supports Alexandria’s vision of unique, amenity-filled neighborhoods where residents and businesses live, work, and play.”

“The Motley Fool's upgrade and expansion in Alexandria exemplifies what I've always known to be true, that we have an especially talented, educated, and diverse workforce here that's perfect for these kinds of innovative, forward-thinking companies,” said Delegate Mark Levine. “I’m proud to support the General Assembly’s efforts to fund programs that spur this kind of economic development. Congratulations are in order both for Governor McAuliffe and the City of Alexandria.”

“It is always good news when new jobs are created in Virginia,” said Senator Adam Ebbin. “It is great news when those jobs are high-quality, high-tech positions with forward-thinking and high-energy companies like The Motley Fool. The Governor and the City of Alexandria deserve credit for successfully helping to grow an innovative workplace that has received top accolades as one of the 'best places to work' from the Washington Post, Washingtonian, Washington Business Journal, and Glassdoor.”



Maurisa Turner Potts
Founder/CEO, Spotted MP (Marketing + Public Relations)
(703) 501-6289, maurisa@spottedmp.com

Cynthia E. Chin
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Alexandria Economic Development Partnership
(703) 652-5375, chin@alexecon.org

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine Relocates to Alexandria

July 6, 2016

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine Relocates to Alexandria

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM), whose mission it is to “advance the science, education and professional practice of medical physics”, recently relocated their headquarters from College Park, Maryland to Alexandria, Virginia. The staff enthusiastically embraced the move; according to the association’s controller Robert McKoy, they are “very excited about the retail shopping opportunities”. But the leadership of this national association thought carefully about this transition, and chose Alexandria for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, Robert McKoy said that having nearby amenities was “Number 1 on the [list of determining factors]”. AAPM frequently holds meetings at their headquarters for the association’s national leadership, and Alexandria’s chef-driven restaurants and exceptional hotels in an amenity-rich neighborhood will allow them to stay and dine all within just a few blocks. For those meetings, Mr. McKoy also said “Having an office that’s 5 miles from a major airport is crucial for our members”. In that regard, Alexandria is undeniably one of the most convenient locations.

For this respected association, staffing is also crucial for their growth as an organization. Mr. McKoy mentioned that throughout their search for a new headquarters, “We were seeking a location to draw [new employees], but we were also seeking a marketplace that had a strong pool of candidates.” He continues: “We felt that [Alexandria] would only enhance our recruiting efforts moving forward”.

Mr. McKoy also emphasized that “Old Town was significantly safer than our current area and other areas we were exploring”.

AAPM found that the amazing amenities of Old Town, along with Alexandria’s demographics, relative safety, and location were a perfect fit for its staff and leadership. We are looking forward to having them in the Alexandria community.

To hear Robert McKoy's full presentation to the Alexandria City Council about their move to Alexandria, see this page for the 3/10/2015 City Council Legislative Meeting. This presentation is Item 26.

Swings Coffee: Celebrating 100 Years of Business (and exceptional caffeine buzz)

June 24, 2016

AEDP checked in with Mark Warmuth, owner of Swings Coffee in Del Ray to celebrate 100 years! (with soy latte in hand)...

Mark, thanks so much for chatting with us about Swings and congrats on the centennial! We're really excited for you -- it's such an impressive milestone. As you look back on your history, what stands out to you as being Swings' crowning achievements?

As a company, it starts with the fact that the original "Mesco Building" is an historic landmark in DC and that we are on the cusp of celebrating 100 years in operation. Unfortunately, we no longer occupy the building, but when 8 in 10 businesses fail in today's economy, Swing's identity being permanently imprinted on the DC landscape is significant.

We think so too, and it's just another example of why Alexandria remains an integral part of the DC area. That said, why did Swings choose Alexandria as a place to do business? What about the City drew your company in?

Our Del Ray Roastery and coffeebar was designed and built with the original Mesco Building concept in mind - a place where local folks can gather, enjoy the smell of coffee roasting and learn a thing or two about our business. We wanted to be an integral part of a local community, and Del Ray provides an ideal mix of neighborhood and business growth to accommodate our current and future business needs.

We definitely agree that Del Ray provides that community-oriented landscape for businesses. And your space is really fantastic -- it's urban and industrial but yet inviting and comfortable. So, as you were building your Alexandria presence, did you take advantage, or have you recently taken advantage of, business development services offered by AEDP, the City of Alexandria, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Visit Alexandria, etc.?

The City of Alexandria has been very supportive of our getting started, beginning with the permit process of opening a new business followed by an official ribbon cutting by Mayor Euille in 2013. Haven't had an opportunity to work with AEDP or the SBDC yet.

Great, we're thrilled the City has been so supportive. To be honest, Mark, many businesses don't get to see 100 years, and most don't have the opportunity to celebrate multigenerational success like you have. What advice can you give to Alexandria small business owners on creating lasting success?

Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint, put the right pieces in place early even if you have to invest a little more time, capital, or work a bit harder.

Wise words. Any fun coffee news you can share?

We look forward to introducing a "Centennial Blend" coffee in July; it will be an interesting twist on our Mesco blend, with some exceptional coffees that just arrived from origin.

Sounds great to us! Thanks so much, Mark, and if you ever need anything, please feel free to reach out to our team. We wish Swings Coffee another 100 years of success!














Above Left: Rationing during WWII didn't stop coffee drinkers from lining up for an exceptional cuppa from Swings. Above Right: Swings in Del Ray today offers their on-site roasted goodness to the City -- and a place to gather and connect. Vintage images courtesy Swings Coffee and used with permission.



Interview with Don Taco: Where Every Day in Alexandria Can Be #TacoTuesday

June 22, 2016

Jonathan Rennich of Don Taco sat down with AEDP to chat about how his new business strives to be known as "Alexandria’s new standard for tacos & tequila" -- and how settling in Old Town was the perfect fit.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for sitting down with us to chat about Don Taco. Let's first start with why you decided to open your business in Alexandria.

My partners and I thought the people of Old Town might like the convenience of fast, fresh and exotic tacos made to order. We really thought that people of all ages would not only enjoy the concept but the colorful design and fun energy inside. It was a perfect fit with the visitors from out of town as well as the local regulars we've come to know.

That's awesome! What do you feel sets Alexandria apart from other regions you might have looked into?

NO BRAINER! The locals and other business and retail owners on King Street make you feel like a small family. Everyone welcomes one another with open arms and will always help when asked.  

We absolutely love that you feel that way, Jonathan. Did you use any business resources offered by the City of Alexandria, AEDP, or SBDC (the Alexandria Small Business Development Center) as you opened Don Taco?

We worked with the Visitor's Center of Alexandria for local advertising in promoting all the local businesses on King Street. We're still new to the neighborhood but look forward to seeing what else we can get involved with.

And there are so many organizations right here in the City that can help you be successful. Are you or Don Taco a member of any business associations or similar organizations... such as, Visit Alexandria, Chamber of Commerce...?

Only Visit Alexandria! They really helped us early on establish our presence being new. It seems they really care and want to push as much business around for all the retail and small businesses in Old Town. They all mentioned the Chamber of Commerce. I would love to get more information to see what else we could learn!

Absolutely, there are some great Chamber of Commerce resources, Jonathan, and the staff here at AEDP are always ready and willing to help out as well. Thanks so much for your time and we wish you all the best with your business! Oh, and your portabello tacos are INSANE.

Don Taco's colorful interior aims to make every bite a party. All images courtesy Don Taco.

So What Exactly IS Going on in the West End? Part I

June 17, 2016

So What Exactly is Going on in the West End? Part I

News so exciting a sequel to this post has already been promised...

If you live in Cameron Station, or anywhere in the West End for that matter, you’ve observed the giant dirt hole gaping right behind the Home Depot on S. Pickett. For those of us West Enders, whether City residents, business owners, or prospective business owners who haven’t heard what’s going on, here’s a brief update on this and other development plans in the West End.

The aforementioned 7-acre construction site right outside Cameron Station has been zoned for a mixed-use space. Named Cameron Park, this area will boast a blend of townhomes and apartments, and nearly 36,000 sq. ft. of inspiring retail space. In keeping with these updates, the Home Depot shopping center will receive a refreshed façade as well.

Also on the home improvement front, Floor & Decor, headquartered in Atlanta,  has plans to expand their flooring and tile operation to an Alexandria warehouse,  moving in as an interim big box retail use, encouraged in the West Eisenhower Small Area Plan.

Near the Harris Teeter on Duke Street, Cava Grill opened last month, offering a bevy of Mediterranean quick eats. This health-focused (and veggie-savvy) restaurant adds a creative and fitting flair to the recent updates, which will include another exciting addition: Portner Brewhouse. Boasting an historical Alexandria peerage, Portner Brewhouse, owned and operated by the descendants of the original brewery founded in 1869, will prove a lively addition to the West End, situated near the sleek new apartment complex Modera Tempo on the corner of S. Pickett and S. Van Dorn. Portner is slated to open fall 2016.

It’s no surprise that the West End currently enjoys hot-spot status in the City of Alexandria. The conceptually-driven Eisenhower West Small Area Plan’s presentation of warehouse and flexible space was designed to maintain community service-oriented businesses in our City. Its impressive, conservation-driven strategy was awarded the American Planning Association’s Excellence in Sustainable Urban Design and Preservation Award in 2015.

We’re thrilled to share more West End news soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions about development in the City of Alexandria, please drop the AEDP team a line!


Why Curated in Old Town Chose Walkable Alexandria

June 9, 2016


Page Castrodale of Talks to AEDP about Doing Business in Alexandria

We took a moment to ask Page Castrodale of Curated in Old Town why she chose Alexandria as a place to start her tucked-upstairs gem of a boutique on 107 N. Fairfax that started, as Page reminisces, "as a daydream"...

So Page, why did you decide to open your business in Alexandria?

Old Town residents and visitors seem to really appreciate small and local businesses, so it seemed like an obvious choice.

As you were looking, did you consider any other locations?

We really narrowed our focus to Alexandria the entire time.

Great to hear! What do you feel sets Alexandria apart as a location to own and operate your business?

The walkability and charm is a huge benefit to being here, but there is also a thriving network of small business that already exists and they all support each other, which really encourages success for the entire community.

When you started your business, did you utilize any programs or assistance offered by the City of Alexandria, AEDP, or SBDC (Small Business Development Center)?

I worked closely with Jack Parker of the SBDC when I was writing my business plan and working towards opening the store and it was a very positive experience. I couldn’t have done it without him.

Is Curated a member of any business associations or similar organizations, such as Visit Alexandria, Chamber of Commerce...?

We’re a member of Visit Alexandria and have been very happy so far. It’s a great resource.

Thanks, Page! The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership wishes you all the best with Curated.

As you consider Alexandria as the next location of your business, be sure to make your way to Curated and experience the creative offerings for home and gifts right here in fabulously walkable, accessible Alexandria!


The fresh, textured interior of Curated in Old Town is the perfect canvas for Page's carefully selected artisanal home and gift offerings. Photos courtesy Page Castrodale and Curated, 2016.

Alexandria Resources for Business

March 23, 2015

Over the past year, one of our goals has been to improve collaboration among those organizations and to make sure that businesses know who to go to for different issues and challenges.Here’s our quick list of the resources of which you should be aware.

The Alexandria Small Business Development Center provides a broad range of expertise and issues on the daily challenges that plague business owners. We encourage owners to contact the center through their website to pose questions or problems. They also have access to a vast network of business consultants that can provide insight on more specific needs and help businesses at any stage and can make referrals and connections as needed.

Alexandria businesses should also be familiar with City government staff. They provide assistance on many business aspects from permits to transit matters to taxes to public health issues. They are approachable and glad to help owners comprehend requirements, even at the earliest stages of planning. If you’re not sure who to contact at the City, our center will gladly make those connections, but a great place to start is the Multi-Agency Permit Center (301 King St, Suite 4200).

The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and Visit Alexandria (formerly Alexandria Convention and Visitor’s Association) – also have extensive expertise and information for businesses. We can do such things as help you find a business location or provide information on the latest trends in tourism. We also partner with the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, which serves as an advocate for Alexandria businesses and offers owners excellent opportunities to connect and network with other professionals and business owners.

Alexandria’s neighborhood business associations offer tremendous opportunities to meet key players in your part of town, solutions to common problems, opportunities for collaborative marketing, and a means to avoid the isolation that is characteristic of small business ownership. These groups are very active and easy to engage. Most meet regularly and are always excited to have new members.

Small business organizations, service providers, and City staff work to stay current with one another so that we can all accurately refer to one another’s resources. Our office facilitates regular discussions among the key small business players in Alexandria to foster understanding of other programs, to harmonize our messages, and to validate that links and referral processes are current. Wherever businesses make their initial contact, our aim is to ensure their issue is addressed quickly and that they are seamlessly referred to the most effective resource for their needs.

Business owners not already familiar with the Alexandria Small Business Development Center are encouraged to connect to the center via its website, www.alexandriasbdc.org.

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