Archives For Maryland Living

As part of our #BuyLocalMD series this holiday season, MDBIZ News hopes to inspire you to explore the small businesses in your own community.

When you buy from a Maryland winery or brewery, you support a local business while getting a full taste of what the State has to offer. From the western mountains to the Atlantic seashore, each local product is seasoned with Maryland flavor.

Hear from some of Maryland’s finest beverage connoisseurs on how they give back to the community.

  • Blue grapes primary logoDeep Creek Cellars
  • Garrett County
  • Owned by husband and wife team Paul Roberts and Nadine Grabania, this Friendsville winery focuses on “natural wine-making” by using sustainable farming practices. Additionally, Deep Creek Cellars is known as one of the few Pinot Noir specialists among Mid-Atlantic wineries.

“Local wine, like locally-produced food, is one of the most personal gifts one can give. Wine reflects its season and, like a favorite song, helps us remember an important moment or event,” said Paul Roberts. “When customers select Deep Creek Cellars’ Pinot Noir at a neighborhood wine retailer in Maryland, they’re not only getting a wine from the world’s most sought-after grape variety, but also a little piece of the winemaker’s personality—plus, an imprint of the exact place and time those grapes ripened.”


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As part of our #BuyLocalMD series this holiday season, MDBIZ News hopes to inspire you to explore the small businesses in your own community.

Maryland’s unique sellers and small shops have plenty to offer for holiday gifts and goodies. From Main Street stores to craft market vendors, buying local products benefits not only the seller, but also the community and local economy.

Meet some of Maryland’s craftsmen who are ramping up production for this holiday season.

  • knot by tiffa holidayknot by TIFFA
  • Montgomery County
  • Based out of Silver Spring, knot by TIFFA offers men a new twist on traditional attire by providing hand-sewn neck ties and bow ties. Each item is inspired by a song, with its pattern and color specifically chosen to highlight the music’s message and emotion.

“People who buy our products are more than just customers—they are supporters of our dream,” said Tiffany Rogers, owner of knot by TIFFA. “We are not a business that will receive millions in startup investment; we rely on customers buying our products. We can’t change Maryland’s economy overnight, but we are contributing to the community by partnering with retail stores and markets. We are growing together.”


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As part of our #BuyLocalMD series this holiday season, MDBIZ News hopes to inspire you to explore the small businesses in your own community.

Maryland farm goods—from Christmas trees to goat cheese—not only make meaningful gifts and family experiences, but also help ensure the future of Maryland’s agriculture industry.

Meet some of Maryland’s producers and sellers of farm goods who are working overtime this season.

  • Tree Farmers buy localBlue Heron Tree Farm
  • Queen Anne’s County
  • This choose-and-cut Christmas tree operation is family owned and operated by Harriet and Ed Caporin. The scenic farm also provides complimentary spiced apple cider, coloring books and candy canes. All proceeds from wreath sales are donated to local charities.

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Buy Local Maryland You have a lot of options to support Maryland small businesses this holiday season. You can choose to buy a handmade gift from an artisan in your neighborhood. You can choose to buy a turkey raised on a local farm. You can choose to buy a Christmas tree grown right here in Maryland.

“Every time you choose to support a local business, you are boosting Maryland’s economy and helping to create jobs—and you’re giving a gift with a real lasting impact,” said Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Dominick Murray. “Invest in the hardworking members of your community by treating your family and friends to Maryland-made quality goods.”

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Ever wonder which states are considered the richest or poorest? According to a new report, Maryland is considered one of the top.

A new study by – a social media company aimed at encouraging customers to make smarter financial decisions – has ranked Maryland as the third wealthiest state. Overall, Washington, DC and New Jersey tied for first place, while Connecticut tied for third.

WalletHub ranks 2014's richest and poorest states. Photo courtesy of WalletHub.

WalletHub ranks 2014′s richest and poorest states. Photo courtesy of WalletHub.

WalletHub researched three key statistics, taken from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service to determine the rankings. In addition to ranking third wealthiest overall, Maryland placed first in “income,” 11th in “GDP per capita,” and 14th in “federal taxes paid per capita.”

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Cidalia Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis, sisters and co-owners of Rockville-based M. Luis, announce their plans to scale Mount Kilimanjaro to benefit Children's National Medical Center.

Cidalia Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis, sisters and co-owners of Rockville-based M. Luis, announce their plans to scale Mount Kilimanjaro to benefit Children’s National Medical Center.

The past 12 years have thrown a series of challenges in the path of Cidalia Luis-Akbar and Natalia Luis, sisters and co-owners of Rockville-based M. Luis, a regionally recognized asphalt manufacturer and construction services company.

In 2002, after five failed in-utero surgeries, Cidalia lost her first son. The family also found themselves steeped in hospital bills after they were unable to find appropriate care within their insurance network from a local facility. Cidalia would later battle and survive cancer before successfully giving birth to a daughter in 2009. While the family celebrated her birth, the financial crash brought a drastic decrease in demand for the company’s construction services. Against the odds, the company has survived and even thrived, though it continues to confront a lagging market.

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For more than 100 years, fruit and vegetable growers have turned to Pete Pappas & Sons for their repackaging and wholesaling needs. But when the company recently decided to move from Washington, D.C. to Maryland, it turned to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).

With DBED’s assistance, Pete Pappas & Sons found a new headquarters in Jessup, Maryland. To support the company’s move to Howard County, the State approved a $15,000 grant through the Partnership for Workforce Quality Program (PWQ). The grant will be used to train employees in food safety and equipment handling. Pete Pappas & Sons also plans to create 70 new jobs, DBED Secretary Dominick Murray announced Thursday.

“With DBED’s help, we have made a seamless transition from Washington, D.C. to Jessup,” said Gus Pappas, President of Pete Pappas & Sons. “Howard County will be a great location for our business—most of our customers are in the area and this will save time and gas on deliveries. The county has been a huge help to those of us new to the area.”

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The Maryland House Travel Plaza serves Interstate 95 travelers in Harford County.

The Maryland House Travel Plaza serves Interstate 95 travelers in Harford County.

Good news for the State’s tourism industry: More Marylanders are expected to hit the roads this weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic announced Tuesday.

Nearly 728,000 Marylanders will travel at least 50 miles away from home this Labor Day holiday, AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates. That is a 1.2 percent increase from 2013 and the third-highest travel volume on record for the Labor Day holiday.

According to Ragina Cooper-Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic, the projected traffic increase reflects “Marylanders’ enthusiasm for travel.”

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The Maryland State Arts Council has awarded nearly $13.4 million in grant awards to 287 local arts organizations and arts councils.

The Maryland State Arts Council has awarded nearly $13.4 million in grant awards to 287 local arts organizations and arts councils.

Nonprofit arts organizations and programs bring creativity, color and character to dozens of Maryland communities. Governor Martin O’Malley, this week, demonstrated the State’s commitment to these resources, announcing nearly $13.4 million in Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) grant awards.

“The arts are at the very center of community life for so many Marylanders, whether it be in our schools, museums, churches, or at festivals, concerts and exhibits,” Governor O’Malley said. “The livelihood of our arts organizations is critical to the quality of life we enjoy, and an economy strengthened by 12,700 jobs and an impact of $1 billion annually.”

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As you plan your summer bucket list, be sure to reserve some time in September for celebrating our nation’s history.

The Star-Spangled Spectacular—including dozens of events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the national anthem and the conclusion of the War of 1812—will culminate Sept. 10-16.

“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime patriotic event. Start planning now because you won’t want to miss this,” said Bill Pencek, executive director of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, a cultural tourism and educational initiative created by Governor Martin O’Malley in 2007.

According to Pencek, hundreds of thousands of visitors will flock to Baltimore City and elsewhere throughout the State. At the height of the celebration, visitors will find continuous entertainment from Fort McHenry to the Inner Harbor to Fells Point to Canton, with biking and walking accommodations connecting the festivities.

Among the must-see events are the daytime Star-Spangled Air Shows, Sept. 13-14, performed by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. The shows will be free and open to the public. Tall ships and U.S. Navy gray hulls will dock at the Inner Harbor and provide tours Sept. 10-16. On Sept. 13, a star-studded patriotic concert, produced by Dick Clark Productions and nationally televised as part of PBS’s Great Performances series, will proceed the largest fireworks and light show in Baltimore’s history.

The fireworks and light show will be produced by Fireworks by Grucci, which has presented some of the world’s largest fireworks displays, from multiple Olympic ceremonies to seven consecutive presidential inaugurations. Pencek said he expects the show to be, “a record-setting jaw-dropping spectacle.”

A full schedule of events is available online here.

Aside from celebrating Baltimore’s national heritage, the events will create a significant economic impact for the State.

The Star-Spangled Sailabration in 2012, which focused primarily on the arrival of tall ships to the Inner Harbor and commemorated the first year of the War of 1812, brought 1.54 million visitors to Baltimore City with an economic impact of $166.1 million. With higher profile festival elements than the Star-Spangled Sailabration, the Star-Spangled Spectacular is expected to bring an even larger economic impact, Pencek said.

Pencek urges the public to follow the Star-Spangled Spectacular’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for event details as they become available throughout the summer.

The 139th Preakness will return this weekend.

The 139th Preakness will return this weekend.

Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome may steal the show this Preakness, but hundreds of Maryland businesses also have a stake in the race.

Researchers at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development found that the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes in 2013 generated significant economic impact for the State.

According to the Maryland DBED report:

  • A crowd of 117,203 enjoyed the 138th running of the Preakness at historic Pimlico Race Course.
  • Preakness day wagering reached $82,195,812 on the entire racing card, with $6,519,636 bet in-state.
  • Raceday operations generated direct expenditures of $7.8 million and 112 full-time equivalent jobs. (Table 1).
  • Visitors to the Preakness and Preakness Celebration spent an estimated $9.8 million which supports 149 full-time equivalent jobs (Table 2).
  • Including indirect impacts (multiplier effect), total Preakness-related expenditures totaled $29.7 million. 
  • In all, Preakness visitors and operations generated 351 full-time equivalent jobs and $10.6 million in salaries. 
  • The total expenditures and employment from Preakness race day operations and visitor spending generated approximately $2.1. 

The report emphasizes that beyond ticket sales, hotel stays and meals, Preakness sheds a positive light on the State’s overall economy, attracting not only tourists, but potentially new businesses.

With a sunny weather forecast, a Kentucky Derby winner in the race and Grammy Award-winning Lorde headlining the InfieldFest, Preakness attendance could reach a record high. The Baltimore Sun reports that ticket sales for Saturday’s race, concert and other festivities, are already running ahead of last year’s race.

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Gov. Martin O’Malley presented on Tuesday $765,000 in matching grants to fourteen Maryland nonprofit and government entities in support of fifteen War of 1812 bicentennial projects.

“The War of 1812 in the Chesapeake and the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner are important chapters in our history as a state and as a nation,” said Gov. O’Malley. “I want to thank the grant recipient organizations for their commitment to telling this story and using these funds to invest in community revitalization, tourism development and job growth in Maryland.”

Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

Governor O’Malley and Star-Spangled 200 grantees celebrate Maryland Day at the State House.

The grants, supplemented by more than $2.5 million in matching funds, will support capital improvement, visitor experience, programming and education projects that expand economic development and tourism-related job creation throughout the State.

“From the kick off to this year’s Chesapeake Campaign in St. Mary’s County to the Bicentennial Living American Flag with 6,700 school children at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, these grants will bring the bicentennial to life in 2014,” said Bill Pencek, executive director, Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.

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