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Tess Rollins

Michelle Smith


September 28, 2023


New Retail Incubator Store – “Wander In” – Coming to the Historic Old Town Fairfax

Partnership between Fairfax City Economic Development and Old Town Fairfax Business Association Looks to Create Retail Incubation Opportunities and Leverage Old Town Fairfax as a Prime Destination in Northern Virginia


FAIRFAX CITY, VA – The Old Town Fairfax Business Association (OTFBA) and Fairfax City Economic Development (FCED) are excited to announce a new retail incubator partnership – known as Wander In, a curated retail incubator store featuring local makers and entrepreneurs with a variety of products and art. Wander In is scheduled to open in Winter 2023.

Through a partnership with Kimco Realty, Wander In will provide vendors with the opportunity for establishing a prime retail space with low startup costs. By removing the high costs of entry in the retail market, together the OTFBA and FCED hope to support the development of small business skills through training and mentorship with the goal of growing the business. Mason Small Business Development Center is a key partner to this project as well, providing valuable resources and retail business development training to vendors at Wander In, with the goal of these retailers growing and occupying previously vacant retail space in Fairfax City. The project is also being developed to leverage Old Town Fairfax’s geographic location as a small business and entrepreneurship center in Northern Virginia.

It is anticipated that Wander In will become a welcomed addition to the Old Town Fairfax neighborhood. This collaboration will contribute to the retail environment in Old Town, promote walkable shopping for residents and visitors, and increase the visibility of small businesses within the district. Wander In will also offer “Meet the Maker” events, as well as hands-on classes to provide memorable and creative activities to supplement the shopping experience. OTFBA’s office will also be relocating to the Wander In space, creating a more accessible location for Old Town businesses.

“Establishing Wander In as a business incubator in our historic downtown plaza is an important step in building Fairfax City’s small business retail. It’s a path for our local artisans from online sales and festival participation to a brick and mortar presence. Located in close proximity to a free parking garage and three very busy restaurants with outdoor dining, this multi-vendor retail offers residents and visitors a reason to wander in,” said Mayor Catherine Read.

“Old Town Fairfax is comprised of a neighborhood of small business owners who provide a diverse of products and services for the City of Fairfax and surrounding areas. The OTFBA looks forward to providing opportunities to educate and foster a retail space for makers, artists, and creatives to help them grow and make their dreams a reality,” said Joshua Alexander, President of the Old Town Fairfax Business Association.

“Kimco is thrilled to collaborate with Old Town Fairfax Business Association in this exciting venture,” said Kim Wheeler, Director-Specialty Leasing, North “By fostering a dynamic space for local businesses and artisans, we can amplify the unique character of Old Town while also strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit that forms the backbone of our communities. We’re proud to be part of an initiative that fosters deeper connections within our community, promotes growth, and ensures a lasting local impact.”

“We look forward to supporting the activation of prime retail space in the heart of our city,” said Christopher Bruno, Director and President of Fairfax City Economic Development “We are glad to continue supporting the Old Town Fairfax Business Association in their work promoting Old Town as a destination for visitors and shoppers. I would also like to thank our partners at Kimco Realty for supporting this initiative and acknowledging the benefits of a growing small business economy.”

Businesses who want to learn more about becoming a vendor at Wander In or to complete an application should visit or follow @wanderinfairfax on Instagram and Facebook.



The Old Town Fairfax Business Association’s (OTFBA) mission is to serve as a central voice for businesses, commercial property owners, and the community for which it serves in the Historic Old Town Fairfax and the Transition District to create a thriving economy that enhances the city’s quality of life and strengthens member businesses. The OTFBA works to reaffirm and promote Old Town as the city’s social, cultural, and economic center by emphasizing community organization, promotion, design, and development.

Fairfax City Economic Development is a collaboration between the Fairfax City Economic Development Office and the Fairfax City Economic Development Authority, an independent agency administered by a commission appointed by the City Council to promote economic development activity within Fairfax. Fairfax City Economic Development helps attract businesses to the city, encourages and develops programs that foster connections between businesses, residents, and visitors of Fairfax, and spearheads innovative programs and strategies devoted to positioning Fairfax City as an ideal location to start, grow, and scale a business. It is a founding member of the Northern Virginia Economic Development Alliance.

Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers no-cost business counseling and training services to small businesses in Fairfax City, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Arlington County, and the City of Manassas.

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