Maryland 3.0: Sprouts Starts to Take Over the Eastern Shore

Just so you know….perhaps one of the most significant “foodie” experiments in the country is taking place on the Mid-Shore.

A young couple, primarily trained in nutritional science and fitness, decide to escape the rat race of the Western Shore and relocate to Trappe to start a food delivery business dedicated to high quality prepared meals with locally sourced produce and meat.

The concept was simple. Rather than send clients the raw materials to make a nutritious meal (think Blue Apron), Sprout owners Ryan and Emily Groll would take it to the next level and actually cook the meals for its customers.

Sprout would do all the work. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack, Ryan and Emily identify local farmers within a 200-mile range that produce some of the most exquisite examples of fruit, vegetables, chicken, pork, or beef in the region to produce meals that could be left at your doorstep twice a week.

Fast-forward one year later Sprouts has become an increasingly important provider on the entire Eastern Shore as well is in Annapolis. With Ryan’s mother in Chestertown, the couple continues to seek a local partner to help as a delivery station, which they call a “Sproutlet,” but they hope to cover the entire Mid-Shore within the next two years.

The Spy spent some quality time with Ryan in his portable kitchen in Trappe to discuss the couple’s courage and conviction it took to start a business of this kind and their aspirations over the next few years.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Sprouts please go here

Journalist Paul Berry Joins Health Integrity Board of Directors

Health Integrity, LLC, announced that Mr. Paul Berry, one of the District of Columbia’s most respected journalists, has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

“I believe in the purpose of Health Integrity as one of the ways to make a meaningful contribution in healthcare and I am pleased to be a part of the effort.” said Mr. Berry.

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 1.46.07 PMWith more than 40 years of media experience, Mr. Berry currently hosts a syndicated weekly radio talk show on Radio America, Home and Family Finance.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Mr. Berry graduated from the Department of Defense Information School (DINFOS) and served with the Armed Forces Radio and

Television Service (AFRTS) assigned to the Tuy Hoa Air Force Base in Vietnam where he worked as Program Director and Sportscaster. While on assignment, he also established the first independent FM radio station in South Vietnam.

Recognized as a “man of the people,” Mr. Berry is highly regarded for establishing two WJLA/community service programs—Crimesolvers and Seven on Your Side. In 1982,

Mr. Berry was named the unanimous winner of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Ted Yates Award.
Mr. Berry received the 1986 Humanitarian Award of the National Martin Luther King, Jr., Student Leadership Conference in recognition of his long record as a role model for Washington-area youth. In 1989, he received the Mid-Atlantic Professional Golfers’ Association Citizens Award and the Olender Foundation Generous Heart Award.

“Paul Berry is an amazing addition to our Board,” said Sandy Love, President of Health Integrity. “His community service and good work establish him as an ideal member of our organization. We look forward to working with him and moving Health Integrity forward in fulfilling our mission.”

www.HealthIntegrity.org is a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality Health Strategies LLC and serves the entire nation in an effort to protect the fiscal and clinical integrity of healthcare systems. The company currently holds a number of federal contracts for detecting and combating health care fraud, waste, and abuse on a national and regional level.

Trump China Trade Policies could Hurt Maryland, Analysts say

If new Trump administration policies trigger a trade war with China, the port of Baltimore and Maryland could see revenue and job losses, according to analysts.

“Obviously China is a key trading partner. We do a lot of business with China and a lot of other Asian countries,” Richard Scher, director of communications for the Maryland Port Administration (MPA), told Capital News Service.

China ranked as the fifth-highest trading partner in exports and third in imports in 2015, according to the Port of Baltimore’s most recent foreign commerce statistical report. The port oversaw approximately $4 billion worth of materials that were exchanged between the U.S. and China that year.

The economic relationship between the U.S. and China has been trying at times, and yet the two nations remain each other’s largest trading partners.

However, the U.S.’s trade deficit with China reached $367 billion in 2015, according to a report last month from Robert E. Scott, senior economist and director of trade and manufacturing policy research at the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank.

“Put another way, since China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has increased annually by $20.3 billion, or 11.2 percent, on average,” Scott wrote.

The deficit and President Donald Trump’s unfavorable stances towards China’s trading practices have caused many to speculate about the possibility of a trade war developing between the world’s two largest economies.

“We’ll see how things progress, but we’ve certainly made a lot of investment over the years to have business come over from the Far East,” Scher said.

However, imports into the Port of Baltimore benefit many states in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Certainly a lot of business is done out of the port,” said Benjamin Orr, executive director of the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, located in Baltimore. “But if there is a trade conflict with China, it’s not necessarily that the impact would land on Maryland’s economy specifically. Lots of goods that come into the port end up out of state.”

Orr said that the biggest impact of a potential trade dispute with China would likely be a loss of jobs at the port or in local industries that rely on China for business, such as container shipping companies.

According to Scott’s report, the trade deficit with China caused Maryland to lose 46,000 jobs between 2001 and 2015, approximately 1.6 percent of the state’s total workforce.

Over the 14-year period, Maryland ranked 37th among states in percentage of workforce displaced by the trade deficit with China. Most mid-Atlantic states were not significantly affected.

“The eastern region isn’t particularly susceptible to a trade war with China,” Orr said. “Some effects would be, specifically, prices on Chinese-made goods go up, which could affect Maryland shopping habits and sales tax, and the stock market could fall.”

The White House released its annual trade agenda Wednesday, which indicated that U.S. trade policy under the Trump administration could break from the standards set forth by the WTO.

According to the Washington Post, the agenda suggests the U.S. could impose unilateral tariffs against countries it feels are employing unfair trade practices, such as China.

Trump has accused China of currency and trade manipulation before and has identified the U.S.’s trade deficit with China as something his administration would like to address in future trade discussions, saying he wants to pursue “better deals” with China.

Any conflict would undoubtedly be affected by the two nations jockeying for economic position in the Asia-Pacific region, says Sara Itagaki, project associate in the trade, economic, and energy affairs group with the National Bureau of Asian Research.

In order to establish a strong U.S. economic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as check China’s rising economic power, the Obama administration helped draft the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-country economic agreement completed in October 2015.

Trump called the deal “catastrophic” for the American economy during his campaign and effectively withdrew the U.S. from the deal on Jan. 23.

“The TPP was the Obama administration’s prime Asian agreement,” Itagaki said in an interview with Capital News Service. “The withdrawal raises questions about (the U.S.’s) commitment in the southeast Asian region and could hurt U.S. businesses.”

Itagaki said the TPP was “contentious politically” and that there were questions about the agreement from many other politicians.

Despite Trump’s TPP withdrawal, U.S. companies are not retreating from the Pacific, according to Itagaki.

“The U.S. needed a greater presence in the region and missed its chance to anchor its economic influence in southeast Asia,” Itagaki said. “But the U.S. is still a large market for these Southeast Asian countries. They can’t ignore the U.S. economy.”

Of course, those countries cannot ignore the local and increasingly powerful economy of China, either.

China has been promoting its own multinational trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which aims to include several countries that would have been a part of the TPP, in hopes of capitalizing on the U.S.’s withdrawal and increasing its own economic presence in the area.

While competitiveness is recognized as a central part of international trade, it remains to be seen how it will affect the way the U.S. and China do business with each other.

However, the economic risk factors are great enough that the chances of a U.S.-China trade war aren’t high, according to Itagaki.

“U.S. consumers gain a lot from trade with China,” Itagaki said. “The government still has issues with China’s economic practices … but there is great benefit in trade with China for the U.S. economy.”

The unpredictability of the Trump administration, along with its proposal to break from traditional WTO trading practices, makes it difficult to foresee how the State Department will approach trade negotiations with China, but Itagaki suggests both sides should hope for a cordial agreement.

“Both governments recognize the value of their trade relationship,” Itagaki said. “Neither economy should want a conflict because both will be hurt in the end.”

By NATE HAROLD

New General Manager of Inn at Perry Cabin Appointed

Reginald Archambault has been appointed General Manager of Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond.

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 1.48.00 PMMr. Archambault brings more than 20 years of diversified management experience in the luxury hospitality sector. Most recently, he was General Manager of the famous Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia. Earlier in his career, he managed the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, both in Los Angeles, and held leadership positions with Four Seasons and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

“We are thrilled to have Reginald join us to take the helm at Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond,” said Belmond Chief Operating Officer Phillippe Cassis. “His long-time experience in all aspects of luxury hotel management will be a tremendous asset to Belmond, and we are confident that under his leadership the resort will shine as the gem of St. Michaels.”

“My wife Michelle, son Thomas, trusty black lab Shea and myself are all very excited to move to St. Michaels and become a part of its vibrant community,” said Archambault. “Wherever we live, we try to immerse ourselves in the community and hope to do the same here. We want to become contributing members of this town.”

Annapolis: Maryland Annual Corporate Filing Fee would be Raised Based on Company Assets

Maryland businesses have come out strongly against a proposed change in the annual corporate filing fee that would go from a flat fee structure to a progressive tax based on a company’s assets.

The annual corporate filing fee is currently a flat fee of $300 in order to maintain the legal entity’s existence in the state; the progressive tax could climb as high as $4,000 based on a company’s fixed assets.

Sponsors of the bill say they’ve received massive support from constituents with small businesses.

“This bill is about fairness,” said the bill’s sponsor, Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, D-Howard County. “And it attempts to put businesses on a graduated scale based on their taxable assets.”

Fees would drop for 250,000 firms

Under the measure, HB691, 233,000 entities in Maryland would see the annual fee drop to $150 and another 19,000 would see a decrease to $200.  Around 11,000 businesses would continue to pay $300, according to the fiscal note.

In 2003, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich raised the fee from $100 to $300.

“Essentially what we would like to do is not make Ben Kramer Save the Puppies LLC to have to pay the same amount as Under Armour,” Atterbeary said, using the name of a committee member.

But once fixed assets pass $50,000, the fee more than doubles to $750 and climbs north to $4,000 for companies with fixed assets above $200,000.

“Why should any small business pay the same exact $300 fee…as a Northrop Grumman,” said one of the bill’s cosponsors, Del. Dan Morhaim, D-Baltimore County, in testimony before the House Economic Matters Committee on Wednesday. He said he had received many complaints in recent years about the regressive nature of the tax.

“This does represent a tax break for entities we often say we want to support,” he said.

Del. Chris Adams, R-Dorchester, said the fee under the bill appears to be more of a tax increase than a fee increase.

“We’re getting away from the idea that there’s a fee that we pay for the privilege of doing business in the state of Maryland and moving [it towards a tax], Adams said. He challenged Morhaim’s testimony referring to the fee as a “tax.” Morhaim quickly apologized for the characterization.

Adams said many CPAs in his district complained more about the proposal than the current sick leave bill moving through legislature.

“I got more phone calls on this bill than I did the sick pay bill,” he said. “I got a lot of opposition from the business community on this one.”

Champe McCulloch of Maryland Associated General Contractors said the progressive tax would punish businesses that investment in Maryland.

“Do you as the General Assembly want to hold business that make substantial capital investments in Maryland in disdain and [assess] a higher fee because they are committed to Maryland and committed to investing in Maryland,” McCulloch asked the committee.

Assets don’t correlate with income

Many who testified against the bill said using fixed assets could raise the fee for companies with higher fixed assets, like trucks and tools, than a small firm with very little fixed assets that makes considerably more from services, like a law firm.

Mike O’Halloran, Maryland director of the National Federation of Independent Business, told the committee that the small businesses the bill aims to help can easily have more than $50,000 in fixed assets.

“You can get up to $50,000 in taxable assets fairly quickly,” O’Halloran said. He said a caterer he knew would see an increase simply because the kitchen equipment easily exceeds $50,000 in value.

Atterbeary said the proposal was revenue neutral.

The initial expenditures to administer the new fee structure comes to $500,000 in fiscal 2018 and $66,000 annually. Revenues are expected to increase by $435,000 annually.

But Maryland Chamber of Commerce in written testimony said the bill was an attempt at a revenue increase.

“The State’s Department of Assessments and Taxation has imposed filing fees to offset the administrative cost to the State of updating corporate documents each year,” the Chamber said.  “To replace the traditional fee with a scaled fee is a veiled attempt to increase State revenue at the expense of small businesses.”

By Dan Menefee

Free Consumer Debt Clinic Dates for February

Do you need legal advice about Bankruptcy or Consumer Debt? If so, contact Mid-Shore Pro Bono’s Debtor Assistance Project.

The Debtor Assistance Project (“DAP”) is a clinic, originally located at the U.S. Courthouses in Maryland, which provides debtors with an opportunity to meet with a bankruptcy attorney for a free half-hour consultation. The DAP is designed to help individuals without an attorney to answer legal questions about bankruptcy and general consumer debt issues. The DAP cannot provide an attorney to complete your paperwork for you or represent you.

Call 410-690-8128 to schedule your appointment.

Locations:
Queen Anne’s County District Courthouse, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2017
Mid-Shore Pro Bono Office, 8 S. West Street, Easton, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017

How to Schedule an Appointment?
Contact the Mid-Shore Pro Bono at info@midshoreprobono.org, or 410-690-8128 to pre-schedule your DAP appointment.

Do I Need to Arrive Early? Yes, please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete the DAP’s intake form.

What do I need to Prepare/Bring with Me? If you have already filed for bankruptcy, please bring your case number and copies of any documents you wish to ask questions about.

The DAP can only provide you with a brief half-hour consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. If you need assistance beyond that period, you should contact an attorney.

The DAP is the result of collaboration between the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Maryland State Bar Association Consumer Bankruptcy Section, the Bankruptcy Bar Association of Maryland, the Standing Chapter 13 Trustees, Civil Justice, Inc., Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, the Montgomery County Pro Bono Program, the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Service, Mid-Shore Pro Bono, and the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland. For more information, visit www.midshoreprobono.org.

Wye Financial & Trust Welcomes Colin Pryor, Client Relationship Manager

ColinPryor_2016_cropWye Financial & Trust, a division of Shore United Bank and a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is pleased to announce that Colin Pryor has joined the company as their Client Relationship Manager.

Colin will be responsible for working with clients to strategize toward the preservation and continued growth of assets and introducing clients to a broad range of investment management opportunities.

Mr. Pryor is a graduate of the University of Delaware and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance.

Prior to joining Wye Financial & Trust, Mr. Pryor worked with Wilmington Trust, in the advisory services industry focusing on personal trusts; and four years with Bank of Oklahoma Financial managing retirement and investment accounts for local businesses.

“Colin is a welcome addition to our Wealth Management team.  He brings personal trust and corporate asset management experience that will benefit our clients,” said Wye Financial & Trust Manager, Talli Oxnam.

“I enjoy helping clients work towards their financial goals and to be working with a company that cares about its clients and communities,” said Mr. Pryor.

Mr. Pryor resides in Eden, Maryland with his wife Meghan. He actively volunteers with Junior Achievement in Salisbury.

Easton Economic Development Corporation Announces New Marketing Director for Chesapeake Harvest

The Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)  has announced that Deena Deese Kilmon, of Easton, MD, has been hired by the Chesapeake Harvest in the position of Sales and Marketing Director. Kilmon, a 20-year resident of the Eastern Shore, has a background in local food sales. Her most recent position involved planning strategic regional marketing and advertising campaigns for local business as well as large corporate entities.

Deena Deese Kilmon

Deena Deese Kilmon

“Kilmon’s experience as a former restaurant owner, brand strategist and community activist combined with her sales acumen make her a natural fit for the Chesapeake Harvest as we formally launch the brand across the region,” remarked Tracy Ward, Executive Director of the Easton Economic Development Corporation. The Chesapeake Harvest is a subsidiary of the EEDC. “The Harvest is now well positioned to achieve its primary goals of opening new markets to our local farmers, providing produce to underserved metro markets of DC and Baltimore, and creating new jobs locally within our agricultural community.”

In addition to opening new market channels and providing sales pathways for small to medium local farmers, the Chesapeake Harvest will provide critical infrastructure and technical assistance. The project focuses on farms in the Delmarva region and encourages the community to reach out in support of their efforts. To find out about classes, local outreach programs or how to purchase Chesapeake Harvest products, please email deena@chesapeakeharvest.com. On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChesapeakeHarvest/.

The Easton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), formed in 2013, was created to drive economic vitality, smart redevelopment, and business formation in order to foster a healthy quality of life for all generations. The EEDC works towards maintaining Easton’s continued growth as a diverse, healthy and smart town, leading innovation where the land and water meet.

Greenaway and Viniar to Speak at Nonprofit Board Chair Roundtable

All nonprofit Board leaders – Chairs & Presidents – are invited to join the conversation on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at the Talbot Hospice offices, 586 Cynwood Drive in Easton when Kristen L. Greenaway, President of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum joins Barbara Viniar, Ed.D, President of Chesapeake College to share their insights and expertise about strategic planning.

This facilitated discussion will begin with a brief networking reception at 5:00 pm and will conclude at 7:00 pm. Diane Rohman, President of Talbot Hospice Board of Directors will host the Roundtable; Teri Bordenave, founder of the Board Chair Roundtable, will facilitate this session. Diane says, “The Roundtable is a wonderful forum to exchange ideas, questions and concerns amongst local nonprofit board leaders regarding the challenges that we all face in trying to better serve our community. A huge thanks to Teri for facilitating this effort which brings together some of the very talented people we have in our area so we can benefit from their knowledge and experience.”

The nonprofit sector has always faced challenges; those challenges have increased in recent years thereby putting more pressure on the governing bodies of these organizations. Effective Board leadership is essential to sustaining successful, viable nonprofit businesses. The Nonprofit Board Chair Roundtable offers an opportunity to strengthen governance leadership skills and knowledge, to develop a peer learning network, and to provide support for these key volunteer leaders.

The Roundtable, which has been meeting since the spring of 2010, was initiated and is facilitated by Teri Bordenave of The Thalia Group LLC. Since that time, Teri has continued to offer her services to this effort pro bono. Teri has more than 25 years experience in the nonprofit sector as a CEO, Trustee, and governance consultant. Topics for these lively sessions are driven by Roundtable participants. The Roundtable meets quarterly around the Mid-Shore region.

There is no cost to participate, participation is limited, and pre-registration is required. To register, contact Teri Bordenave at 443.249.3268 or bordenave.teri@gmail.com.

Easton Business Alliance Awarded Grant from State

The Department of Housing and Community Development recently awarded the Easton Business Alliance a grant of $20,000 through their Main Street Improvement Program. The money has been awarded to help fund the salary of the EBA’s manager, allowing the EBA to reallocate some of its administrative budget toward more marketing for the Town of Easton.

“Winning this grant from the DHCD allows our organization to use more of our funding toward our mission—marketing and community development for the Town of Easton,” Easton Business Alliance manager Ross Benincasa said. “We have made a concerted effort over the past six months to diversify our funding resources, and it’s great to see some of those efforts recognized and awarded by the State of Maryland.”

The Main Street Improvement Program is a grant provided under the broader category of the State’s Operating Assistance Grants. The grant’s purpose is to stimulate the economic development of Maryland’s Main Street districts through a broad range of initiatives aimed at supporting the development and revitalization of these historic districts.

In September 2016, the Town of Easton recertified as a Main Street Maryland community and a Main Street America affiliate. There are only 28 districts across the State of Maryland recognized as Main Street communities, and Easton is the only one in Talbot County.

“We view the Main Street Maryland and Main Street America designations as vital components of Easton’s growth moving forward,” Benincasa said. “Not only do these programs provide support for our community and independent merchants, but the recognition from the State of Maryland and the National Main Street Center opens doors for more funding opportunities to help our town grow.”

About Easton Business Alliance: EBA is a marketing, promotion and events non-profit organization operating as a member of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.  The mission of EBA is to enhance, promote and preserve the vitality of Easton’s independent merchants which benefit business owners, residents and visitors; and to bring awareness to the Town’s historical roots and lifestyles.

For more information regarding Easton Business Alliance, please visit www.discovereaston.com or email welcome@discovereaston.com. Stay connected to the Easton Business Alliance on social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at Discover Easton.