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Finding Right Gifts Just Around the Corner

Some treasures in Belle View Shopping Center.

The Virginia Florist offers a multitude of gift possibilities.

The Virginia Florist offers a multitude of gift possibilities.

— Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Avoid the crowded malls. Find the perfect gift at local stores in Belle View Shopping Center that offer one-of-a-kind pieces. Shoppers can swing by on their way from work or spend an afternoon enjoying a talk with the owner.

Red and green, silver and gold, the Virginia Florist looks festive with all its holiday items.

“We have wonderful gifts for all ages,” said Kevin Green, owner of the store. The Virginia Florist has been serving the Alexandria/Mount Vernon area since 1957, featuring historical items, fine arts, ornaments, unique jewelry, candles, china, baby’s clothes and beautiful flowers.

Green is proud of original historical items in his store, from campaign buttons back to 1896, guidebook to Mount Vernon, to blueprints.

Anne Allen, buyer for the store, goes to New York and Atlanta twice a year to find unique art works. “The store is an eclectic mix of gifts and flowers,” Allen said. She recommends a variety of gift choices, ranging from several dollars to a couple hundred.

  • Glasses with different geographic locations,

  • Original campaign buttons,

  • French perfume line,

  • Decorative plates collection,

  • Mabel Chong’s jewelry collection,

  • Pillows handmade in India,

  • Handmade birds collection,

  • Fine jewelry collection.

The Virginia Florist has two locations, one is at 1632 Belle View Blvd., another is at 7908 Fort Hunt Road. The store opens from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Visit 703-765-3355 or 703-765-0701, or visit http://www.thevirginiaflorist.com/

AT EAGLE & Empire Game & Hobby Store, the whole family can find a game to play together in a chilly night. The store features historical games, miniature games, comic books, role-play games, model trains, card games, jigsaw puzzles and hobby supplies for both children and adults. This year is its 25th anniversary.

“So far the store has been very well received,” said owner Doug Ray. “We get a lot of families and a lot of kids. I’m extremely pleased over the fact that my business is still here for 25 years. I try really hard to make sure I have the newest, the most popular games for them.

“This time of the year, what’s really popular is Thomas the Tank Engine,” Ray said. “Kids love it. It’s complete set, ready to go. You can have it circle around either underneath or over the Christmas tree.”

Two other games will also make great holiday gifts. One is Flames of Wars, a World War II game, Ray suggested. It allows starters to get into the game, and it comes with a wide selection of plastic miniatures, and rulebooks, train and dice. “You pick up one box, it’s enough for two people to play. If they really like it, there are other products to add into it like guns, artillery.”

The other popular game is War Hammer 40,000, a science-fiction game based in the far future.

In-person orders are accepted. Ray usually can have it for the customer within a week.

Eagle & Empire Game & Hobby Store is located at 1520 Belle View Blvd. and opens from 2 to 7 p.m. on Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Closed on Tuesday. Visit http://eagle-and-empire.com/ or call 703-768-9777.

RICHARD CARROLL sells ties, lamps, chess sets, clothes, toys, pens, canes and a 2-carat diamond. “Starting next month, we’re selling Lexus automobiles,” laughs Richard Carroll, owner of the store. He opened the store in Crystal City 35 years ago then moved to Belle View Shopping Center two years ago. “I don’t think anyone is as diverse as we are. And also we’re very personal, we greet everybody with much enthusiasm,” Carroll said. “And we offer complimentary wine and coffee to customers.”

Carroll suggests a list of gift choices, including economical, practical items and fancy ones:

  • Politically neutral ties of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower,

  • Wood-crafted pens,

  • Leather handbags,

  • Necklaces,

  • Fine jewelry.

Richard Carroll is located at 1600 Belle View Blvd. and open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Call 703-412-6066