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Business Intel: Panda Express to open restaurant near Valley View Mall

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Panda Express plans to open a restaurant in Roanoke, near Valley View Mall.

Panda Express, which offers American Chinese cuisine, is expected to begin construction on the restaurant in early 2022, according to a spokesperson for the chain.

Panda Express will be located in front of the Walmart Supercenter off Valley View Boulevard; the Roanoke City Council on Monday approved a rezoning request for the property needed for the project.

Plans filed with the city indicate the Walmart property will be subdivided and a 2,500-square-foot restaurant, which can seat upward of 60 and will include a drive-thru, will be built in its parking lot. Panda Express is expected to open there in summer 2022, according to the spokesperson.

Earlier this year it was announced that Panda Express was one of a number of tenants that would be housed in new outparcel buildings at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke County. The restaurant chain also has two locations in the New River Valley.

”We’re excited to open both the Valley View location as well as a second location at Tanglewood Mall. We’re looking forward to being an integral part of the community we serve,” the company said in a statement.

The first Panda Express restaurant opened in California in 1983 and the chain now has more than 2,200 locations, according to its website.


As one Roanoke Valley women’s clothing store prepares to close, another under the same ownership that has been closed during the pandemic will reopen.

Gwenda Kellett is the owner of The Bird Cage Boutique, which has its flagship store at The Forum Shopping Center in Roanoke County and an outlet in Salem. The latter is slated for closure, once inventory has been depleted, she said.

At the same time, Kellett is preparing to reopen Weekend by tbc, also located at The Forum. The store has been shuttered since the early days of the pandemic, when much of its inventory was moved into The Bird Cage, which Kellett said helped the business to weather supply chain disruptions.

The space that previously housed Weekend by tbc has been revamped with new decor and fixtures, Kellett said. It carries casual weekend attire, some loungewear and lower price jeans, along with accessories. The store has also added gift items, like candles and soaps, to its offerings.

With the changes made to Weekend by tbc, Kellett said it will be more like an extension of The Bird Cage, rather than a standalone store.

Ideally, Kellett said, she would have liked to bring The Bird Cage Boutique and Weekend by tbc under one roof at The Forum, but the shopping center doesn’t currently have any large storefronts available that would allow her to do so.

While she still hopes to merge the two stores at some point, Kellett said in the meantime they will operate separately. Kellett is willing to wait for the right space at The Forum, which she said has “a really supportive retail community.”

“We love the shopping center, so we want to be here,” she said.

Weekend by tbc is expected to open in the coming weeks, Kellett said, and no later than Nov. 1.

The Bird Cage outlet in Salem, meanwhile, is offering major discounts on remaining inventory and operating on reduced hours. Kellett said her lease on the space, located on College Avenue, runs through the end of the year but the final day of business has not yet been determined.

Weekend by tbc and The Bird Cage Boutique are located in The Forum Shopping Center, located on Starkey Road in the Cave Spring area.

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Casey Fabris covers business for The Roanoke Times, where she has been a reporter since 2015. Previously, Casey covered Franklin County. She can be reached at (540) 981-3234 or

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