Ha ha - more on that title in a moment...
This morning, I started early. It was time to attack the to-do list that had been WAITING for Zoe's lease to be signed. First, I contacted my buildout manager and my architect to share a copy of the lease as well as the drawing for some work that the landlord will be performing as part of the buildout. I also followed up with my landlord to provide him with the additional contact information he requested on Tuesday.
Then, I went to Virginia's Business OneStop website to print out a copy of the Certificate of Assumed or Fictitious Name form. This form is required because I am doing business as Zoe Boutique but my LLC is under a different name. The form is filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria and then the certified copy is sent to the State Corporation Commission in Richmond.
By shortly after 9, I was heading through the metal detector at the Courthouse and off to the Clerk's office. With the Thanksgiving holiday almost upon us, there were not many people requiring services and I was seen immediately. The young woman was very helpful and I had my certified form and was on the way to Alexandria City Hall!
The City of Alexandria has a Permit Center in City Hall where much of the rest of the registration process takes place. I filled out a Zoning Approval form along with a Business License Application and a Federal W-9 form. Before I go any further, I want to note that everyone I dealt with was pleasant and helpful. It made what I thought was going to be a stressful process very easy!
During the discussion with the Urban Planner on the Zoning Approval, she told me that the address of One Prince Street - Retail was not acceptable from a 911/Fire/Safety standpoint. Since my space is at the corner of Prince and Union, she has now assigned Zoe a new home address of 130 South Union Street! This information will be updated in their citywide database system tonight and notification will be sent to the various agencies and people who need to know. So, a little surprise but certainly not a problem. The Zoning Approval process is complete.
Zoe has also been assigned a Business License number and should receive the papers for it within the next two weeks. The Permit Center then sent me to the Signage Office (two floors down in City Hall) where the Urban Planner reviewed documentation on the Criteria & Standards for Administrative Approval of Signs within the Historic Districts. She had some great GIS software that showed multiple views of the site and we discussed the options and the requirements. She believes that Zoe's signage will only require administrative approval rather than have to go through a public hearing process. Once again, she was another kind and professional person!
When I finished up at City Hall, I walked the few blocks to Zoe's Home! Knowing that there had been some discussion about the alarm system for the space as well as knowing that the GC for the landlord was in the process of building out the office space, I went into the office building and introduced myself to the Superintendent for the GC. He confirmed that it was "safe" to go into my space and no alarms would be triggered. So, for the first time, I turned the keys in the locks and opened the door to Zoe's Home. What a wonderful feeling!
I was delighted to find that the work that I had requested the landlord perform on the space had already begun - the carpet had been pulled up, a non-load bearing wall had been taken down, and the dehumidifier required by the previous museum occupant had been removed and was waiting to be transported out the door. After walking around a bit inside, I locked the doors and headed home.
After arriving home, I immediately contacted my landlord to let him know about the space address change (he will be notified by the City but I wanted him to know in advance) as well as thank him for the work already started in the space. I also updated my buildout manager and architect with the new information as well as contacted my accountant to let him know the lease had been signed.
A very busy, productive and fulfilling day with Zoe!