Coming soon to Suffolk

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, April 29, 2010

Suffolk officials are sharpening their big set of scissors in preparation for a spate of springtime ribbon-cuttings that began in North Suffolk on Thursday and will continue for the next couple of weeks there and downtown.

Bon Secours Virginia Health System got the ball rolling on Thursday, when officials opened the new Harbour View Medical Arts Building. During the coming week, however, the city’s big ribbon-cutting scissors will be brought out again for a manufacturing facility, a retail re-opening, restaurants and an automotive and travel services center.

“Yeah, we’re real excited about this,” Suffolk Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes said Thursday. “Everyone likes to cut their ribbons in the spring.”

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All but one of the openings will take place in North Suffolk. The sole downtown event on the schedule for the next couple of weeks is the re-opening celebration tonight for Red Thread Studio, which closed after smoke and water from a fire next door destroyed merchandise and severely damaged the building.

But the cluster of openings during the next couple of weeks in North Suffolk, especially, has officials excited about the city’s prospects.

“We continue to be a good destination for business,” Hughes said.

Officials with those businesses planning to open their doors during the next week or two seem to agree with that assessment.

“We were very excited about having the opportunity to reach out into the Suffolk area,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public relations for AAA of Tidewater, which will hold a soft opening of its new Bridge Road Suffolk Center on Monday, followed by a grand-opening celebration May 10.

“That area of Suffolk, especially, is such an ever-growing area,” she added, noting it was a perfect location for the association’s second combination travel agency, membership and insurance service center and full-service car maintenance and repair facility.

Mike Touhey, the owner of the Broken Egg Bistro, a restaurant that plans a May 10 ribbon-cutting in the Harbour View Station West shopping center, had similar thoughts about the city as he spent the past six months considering the space where he finally decided to open the second location of his restaurant.

North Suffolk, he said, “has nothing like what we do. We’re fun, upbeat, not your typical diner — a high-energy place.”

Nearby, over in the Harbour View Station shopping center off of College Drive, the Panera Bread bakery-café plans a Thursday opening, with an official ribbon-cutting to follow.

“Panera offers fresh and wholesome food choices, paired with the convenient service our customers’ schedules demand,” Smith Trent, joint venture partner, said in a press release. “Our concept has been embraced by many, and we look forward to sharing our signature Panera warmth with the surrounding Suffolk community.”

Officials are happy about all of those openings, but it’s likely they are most excited about one that takes place on Monday, when the ribbon will be cut at the Cobham Defense Systems composite manufacturing facility in Harbour View.

The company has invested more than $5 million during the past four months to acquire and build the infrastructure for the facility, which will manufacture composites to support the F-35 Join Strike Fighter, the CH-53K Super Stallion helicopter and other advanced weapon systems.

The 73,500-square-foot facility is expected to create 200 new jobs by 2014, company officials say.