Are Longtime Businesses Leaving Hollin Hall Shopping Center?

Hollin Hall in Mount Vernon is a little shopping center off Fort Hunt Road that not only serves the immediate needs in the way of food, hardware and sundries, but it also acts as a gathering place for residents of this community. Change is coming to the Hollin Hall Shopping Center though and some of the store owners are leaving in search of a more affordable space.

“This is our last week,” said Susie Moss, who has worked at Hair Visions since 2008. 

The rent may be one reason they are closing, but the owner made the decision and set her sites for retirement in Florida. “The rest of the hair stylists and manicurists are going to different places,” Moss said.

The “Top it Off,” clothing store is another long-term resident that recently relocated to a spot on nearby Belle View Boulevard. The reason they moved was not available.

In Guidant's "Small Business Trends” report, price increases are listed as the second top concern for small business owners. Consumers are not the only ones struggling with inflation. Guidant said that rising inflation can be challenging for many small businesses, so cutting expenses can be the most effective way to help offset those challenges, which might mean finding a space or shopping center with lower rent.

Long time Hollin Hall shoppers aren’t happy. “It’s a community mainstay,” said Ann Metcalf, a nearby resident who has lived there for eight years. She gets her hair done at Hair Visions in the center, so she’ll have to find a hairdresser she likes. 

“We should be supporting long time businesses in our community,” Metcalf added. 

Other places in the center the customers are concerned about include the Via Veneto restaurant and River Bend Bistro. “A loss of local eateries,” is another concern for Metcalf. But any plans for restaurants to change locations would have to categorized as rumors.

In April 2021, there was another concern at this shopping center when longtime hardware store owner Larry Gray retired and sold the business. The new owner vowed to keep things the same.

The shopping center is managed by Woodlawn Properties and they were reluctant to answer any questions about businesses leaving, and requested an inquiry be directed to the higher ups, who have yet to respond.

In the Beginning

Hollin Hall got its start in the 1940s and 1950s and the elementary school opened in 1949. The center was built by John McPherson Sr. in three phases. One of the original stores was the Fort Hunt Drugstore which had a lunch counter in the back. The current Variety Store opened in 1958. Hoda Kotb of NBC's Today Show worked at the Scoops ice cream store in the shopping center at one time.

The motto over at the shopping center is “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” a  borrowed a saying from the old sitcom “Cheers.”