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Prince William

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Door to opportunity


Community Thrift gives jobs to those who are


By Bennie Scarton Jr.

Manassas Journal Messenger

Thanks to the opening of a thrift store in Manassas, 35

employees with major disabilities have a place to work.

Community Thrift at 8906 Centreville Road is owned and

operated by ServiceSource, a non-profit organization founded to provide

quality employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The store, which gathers its merchandise from donations

made by local residents and businesses, is open seven days a week and employs

38 people–35 of which are handicapped.

Many of the employees, who are paid at least a minimum

wage, are suffering from mental retardation; autism; an emotional or mental

health problem; are physically disabled or are unable to speak.

The workers have experienced repeated failures in previous

work places, and, because of their extensive training needs, are still faced

with significant barriers to employment.

However, all are becoming successful employees because

each one has a job coach. Some of the employees have the support of just

one job coach while no job coach has more than four employees to train and

supervise at any give time.

Each employee has a work schedule at the Thrift, which

meets his or her needs. A few work up to 30 hours per week, but most are

scheduled between four and eight hours per week.

All of the employees are given job diversity. In addition

to learning the many tasks in the store, they also experience many other

community employment options such as delivering magazines/fliers door to

door, cleaning and work from a sheltered workshop.

The employees’ duties at the store include washing glassware

and appliances, sorting donations, hanging clothes on racks, dusting furniture,

vacuuming rugs and sweeping parking lot, organizing the toy area, cleaning

purses and polishing shoes and sizing shirts, dresses and suits.

“They also do many volunteer activities out in the

community and are given opportunities to spend their money by ordering meals

in restaurants or purchasing personal items in stores and enjoy recreational

activities in the community such as swimming and bowling. We are striving

to teach our employees to give back to their community,” said Smart

Eissen, manager.

Eissen said that in addition to giving employment opportunities

to the disabled, the store also is providing a service to the community.

“People with a low income can come in and find bargain

prices on clothing, furniture, housewares, toys and books. Also, special

consideration is given to families who may have been involved in a fire

or flood and lost everything,” Eissen said.

Donations are accepted on site or picked up from a home

or business upon request. Store hours are Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. to

6 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.

to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

The store has been open since October. ServiceSource, formerly

Fairfax Opportunities Unlimited, has another shop, Yesterday’s Rose in Fairfax,

but that facility is staffed primarily by volunteers and not disabled employees.

Community Thrift’s disability employees, all adults, come

from throughout Northern Virginia.

Contact Bennie Scarton Jr. at [email protected]

Ecological efforts honored by county

By Bennie Scarton Jr.

Manassas Journal Messenger

After six years at its present quarters on Center Street,

the Center for the Arts is moving to a new location at the end of September.

The center with its five employees will now be in an office

in the same building that houses Drs. Charles H. Nelson Jr. and and his

son Charles Nelson III, dentists, on Centreville Road, next to the VFW Hall.

The present home of the center at 9001 Center St. has been

purchased and will become the new quarters for the Inspection Training Association,

a firm that trains home inspectors. Michael Casey is one of the owners.

“We have really enjoyed our stay in the building.

It’s a beautiful, charming place and will be put to a great use with the

coming of the training group,” said Sally Lay, the center’s executive


The structure on Center Street is a replica of the old

Tudor Hall 19th century mansion that was demolished in the early 1960s.

It was built by John Cannon, a Manassas builder.

The Center for the Arts is a multi-faceted art center with

classes in different art forms as well as overseeing the Piped Piper Children’s

Theatre, summer theater camp, SummerSounds concerts, arts exhibits and a

theatrical outreach program.

Lay said the center expects to stay in its new location

until the former Candy Factory in Old Town is remodeled and will become

the center’s permanent home – hopefully in the fall of 2001.

Contact Bennie Scarton Jr. at [email protected]

Vulcan acquires aggregates production

By Bennie Scarton Jr.

Manassas Journal Messenger

Vulcan Materials Company announced this week that it has

agreed with Titan Cement Company to buy the aggregates production and distribution

assets currently being operated by Tarmac America.

Titan previously revealed its purchase of all of the United

States assets of Tarmac.

Vulcan said that its acquisition from Titan is a part of

Titan’s planned restructuring of Tarmac America to put Titan’s focus on

the cement and ready-mixed concrete businesses in Virginia and Florida.

Vulcan will pay $277 million plus related working capital

to acquire 11 aggregates production facilities (eight quarries and three

sand and gravel facilities) and related transportation and distribution


Vulcan’s chairman and chief executive officer, Donald M.

James said: “We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to add the

former Tarmac America operations to those of Vulcan. The acquisition of

these assets will enhance our construction materials business by significantly

extending the geographic scope of our operations in the eastern United States.

The new operations will be integrated into our Mideast and Southeast divisions

and we expect to achieve substantial boosts through operation and administration

efficiencies. We look forward to working with Titan as a major aggregate

supplier to its newly acquired ready-mixed concrete businesses in Virginia.”

Manassas is headquarters for the Northern Virginia Regional

Office of Vulcan’s Mideast Division, which is part of Vulcan’s Construction

Materials Group. The main headquarters is located in Birmingham, Ala.

Contact Bennie Scarton Jr. at [email protected]

Manassas’ best kept secret

Chef takes French cooking school talents behind

the deli

By Bennie Scarton Jr.

Manassas Journal Messenger

Although it has been open for nearly two and a half years

and has an avid following, Old Town Caterers and Deli is still one of Manassas’

best kept secrets.

Offering international cuisine, the deli is owned and operated

by Chef George Richa, who was professionally trained at the L’Ecole de Cuisine

in France and brought a touch of elegance to the former Hayloft Dinner Theatre

where he was the chef for 10 years.

The deli is located in a simple, nondescript brick structure

at 9405 Peabody St., across from the Prince William County Courthouse.

The food offered inside by Richa, however, is anything

but ordinary.

Like the elaborate buffets that included ice sculptures

and special food carved creations he did at Hayloft, Richa daily cooks up

his many favorite fine dishes for the customers coming into the deli who

include many of the lawyers and employees from the courthouse.

At least four special hot entrees are offered each day,

ranging in price from $4.95 to $6.95. They include an entree of chicken,

beef, Italian pork, lamb or seafood, which includes a choice of potato,

rice pilaf or fresh vegetables and bread.

A particular favorite among his steady customers is Richa’s

New Orleans Jambalaya,who many claim is the best in the area with its perfect

blend of spices and other ingredients. Another is his chicken in maderia


International side orders include chimichangas, quisadilla,

empanadas, tabouleh, fresh salsa and chips, cheese mousse and crackers and


“Everything, except the rolls, is made fresh on the

premises,” Richa said.

That includes soups, 15 unique salads and sandwiches and

desserts such as baklava, chocolate mousse and rice pudding.

“Anyone with a special request, can ask us to cook

it up for them,” Richa said.

“We are more than a sandwich and kosher pickle deli.

We are a gourmet deli,” he said. Often, however, he offers simple meatloaf,

fried chicken with mashed potatoes meals. “I like to cook up different

meals every day so my customers don’t get tired of the same ones,”

he said.

In addition to his work at the Hayloft, people still talk

about his international cuisine at the Cedar Inn in Calverton and the Chateau

Restaurant in Manassas.

Born and raised in Lebanon, Richa, 52, who always seems

to have a wide smile on his face, said he was “worn out” out after

his years in the restaurant business and decided to open the deli.

“It gives me the flexibility of being open only five

days a week for a limited number of hours while still doing my catering

business,” he said. The deli is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

He also likes the deli concept because it gives him an

opportunity to meet and chat face-to-face with his clients, something he

couldn’t do when confined to the kitchen at his previous restaurant.

“There is no limit to what I can cook up at the deli,

and the beauty of it is that the customers get elegant food at a small price.

I’m here to serve and please my customers. The only complaint I get is that

many of my customers say I give them too much food on their plate,”

Richa said with a chuckle. He gladly gives samples of his soups and entrees

if a customer is undecided.

He is booked nearly every weekend catering weddings, banquets,

reunions, birthdays, corporate parties and special events. On the premises,

dinner parties also are available.

“Between the deli and the catering, I love what I’m

doing more now than ever,” Richa said with his typically huge grin.

Contact Bennie Scarton Jr. at [email protected]

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