Competition on the Front Lines in Mount Vernon?

Competition on the Front Lines in Mount Vernon?

Family bakery not worried about big-name eatery coming next door.

At Postres Victoria, Karla, Janet and Daisy keep the baked items and tea flowing.

At Postres Victoria, Karla, Janet and Daisy keep the baked items and tea flowing.

With a new Dunkin’ Donuts opening in the Engleside area of Mount Vernon, this national chain may make the owners of nearby Mom and Pop shops nervous but not the family members at Postres Victoria Bakery right next door.

In fact, it’s just the opposite, said Karla Santos, one of the bakers behind the counter. “It will bring in more customers for us,” she said. The handcrafted variety of pastries they serve and the custom “Boba Milk Tea,” are popular with their customers.

Boba Milk Tea is a specialty tea with origins from Taiwan that is also known as "bubble tea." The secret is the tapioca balls called "pearls," that are added after brewing for a unique taste. Postres is one of the only places in Mount Vernon that serves this tea.

Dunkin’ Donuts are popping up all around the area and it’s a familiar site to many, but Santos is confident, pointing at a wall of tissue-paper flowers she and some of the others made. If the customers are looking for variety with an El Salvador flavor, Postres has it.

The specialty bakery items and drinks are their key, said Sheina Waddell at the Community Business Partnership located in Springfield. “She sells items they (Dunkin’) won’t sell,” said Waddell, who recommended a few business strategies to help this small business survive. That included increasing their visibility, running promotions in their marketing efforts and working with the shopping center’s leasing management company to see what they can do to help.

Positive Changes Coming

Future plans are expected to benefit many of the businesses in this area in the coming years. Nearby Fort Belvoir is growing, said the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, and their master plan allows for up to 56,000 workers by 2030. The area is also expected to benefit from the Embark Richmond Highway plan which could bring more donut and pastry eaters, plus Boba Milk Tea drinkers to the area, benefiting both the new Dunkin' Donuts and the bakery. Project wise, they are both in the Woodlawn Community Business Center section which will be close to a new bus rapid transit stop when the project comes to fruition.