Chesapeake Blooms Blossoms in Downtown Easton

If you have attended a wedding, fundraising event or other special occasion recently, chances are the distinctive and artistic floral arrangements were the work of Samantha Moore McCall.  I first became acquainted with this creative visionary when she set up a Pop-Up at Piazza Italian Market for Valentine’s Day last year. I was captivated how her use of unusual containers, the combination of flowers juxtaposed with vegetable plants, accents of twigs and other foliage and the mix of large and small blooms became a work of art in this gifted artisan’s hands. I also learned Samantha is committed to ecological practices and enjoys using seasonal blooms and branches in her creations.

Samantha’s award-winning first career was journalism but she always made time for her passion for gardening and plants. She became seriously interested in floral design and quickly realized this was a calling, not a career. She combined her love of the French language with a play on words and founded her first company, “Fleurish.”

Samantha recently created a partnership with Dede Hoopes of HoopsyDaisy Farm in Oxford. Like Samantha, Dede started her flower farm following her passion for horticulture and floral design after a long and successful career at JPMorgan Chase. Her micro-farm is a special place that is in tune with the season’s offerings and the environment. As Dede says goodbye to a bountiful peony harvest this spring, she is looking forward to the brightly colored flowers of summer, including old-fashioned annuals like zinnias, cosmos, and lisianthus. Each bloom is sustainably grown and the farm is a certified bay-wise garden.

Samantha had been a client of Dede’s for the last few years, purchasing fresh, locally grown stems for her designs and discovered Dede was also interested in floral design.  It was their shared passion for horticulture and floral design that fostered the partnership between the two and soon their new company blossomed to become Chesapeake Blooms.  They have set up shop at 22-B North Harrison St., in downtown Easton.

Both women share a common vision for the new business to honor eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This vision carries through from the aesthetics of the store to the daily practices in the studio. They are very committed to an ethos of “seed to vase.”  The benefits of using local flowers include reducing and/or eliminating toxic chemicals, supporting local businesses, creating a product that has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than flowers purchased from around the world.  If harvested correctly, the result is some of the best quality and freshest stems that tend to last longer than their imported cousins.

Both Samantha and Dede are Master Gardeners, have studied at Longwood Gardens and are both active throughout the community including being members of local garden clubs. Samantha is a Member of the Independent Floral Designers Association and Dede is a member of the Association of Cut Flower Growers. Like other industry professionals, both regularly attend workshops and classes to stay inspired and to stay current with the latest trends.

Samantha and Dede are generous in sharing their passion for floral design and horticulture. When you stop in to visit, conversations and advice may ensue on topics such as flowers, floral design, horticulture and gardening issues. Stop by to pick up a “bouquet to go” or one of their planted creations that are perfect for centerpieces or host/hostess gifts. Consult with them about a special arrangement or event, or just browse through the shop’s growing collection of hand crafted containers, pots, accessories that frequently change. In addition to garden items, Chesapeake Blooms offers ongoing displays of art, jewelry, paintings, sculpture and other media by artists and artisans who share their design excellence and love of nature.

Chesapeake Blooms’ also offers Floral Subscriptions where hand-picked stems are delivered to your home or business. Many of the flowers are locally grown at HoopsyDaisy Farm in Oxford.  Subscription increments are flexible and are typically available in lengths of 3, 6, and 12 months with weekly, biweekly or monthly deliveries starting at a cost of $50 plus delivery and tax.

This talented duo also offers classes both in the learning studio and out in the flower fields. Students at all skill levels are welcome to deepen their understanding of flowers and floral design in an immersive environment. The goal is to spark each student’s imagination and increase their self-confidence to create beautiful arrangements to enhance their home or business.

Plan a visit soon to Chesapeake Blooms to see how Samantha and Dede’s shared passion for flowers has blossomed into Historic Downtown Easton’s new florist shop.

Chesapeake Blooms is located at 22-B N. Harrison Street in Easton. For more information, call 410-690-4812, email to info@chesapeakeblooms.com or visit their website www.chesapeakeblooms.com. Chesapeake Blooms is open Wednesday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 1:00 pm or by appointment.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

 

 

Mid-Shore Commerce: Ten Years of Crow Farms

Judy Crow, from Crow Vineyard and Winery, remembers 10 years ago when The Spy came for lunch on the patio of the newly renovated Farmstay B&B. She remembers mentioning during the interview that the questions on the minds of the locals were, how were they going to get people there and why would they come? “For us,” says Judy, “it felt like people are going to want to come to be a part of the farm and stay at the farm. It just seemed like that wasn’t a challenge. And with the Internet the way it was back then, you’ve put yourself up on a few platforms, and people find you. We had no problems filling rooms.”

This innovation, foresight, and daring is the reason why The Spy is here 10 years later, talking about the expansion of Crow Vineyards and their influence on local development.  Judy perceives it this way: “I think when we see opportunities, we are fluid enough that we can change. And I think it’s also about the diversity of the management team: My husband Roy, myself and our son, Brandon. All three of us have a little different approach. But we have seen that each new idea can be proven to be successful. It doesn’t matter whose idea it is because we all work together at it.”

The B&B was just the beginning of their plans. Next, they learned how to grow grapes and used three and a half of their 365 acres to plant some vines. Then, Brandon thought they should be involved in wine-making. “So, we started to think about renovating an equipment shed and making some wine, says Judy.” While they were doing that, they also became intentional about growing their 10-15 Angus cattle herd and raising them as beef. Today, the 100-head herd, the 12½ acres of wine, the 5,000-case wine production, and a store at Queenstown Outlet are just some of the changes affecting the farm.

Clearly, Crow Vineyard’s success has also been an enormous boost for the entire area. Led by Judy, a collaborative and marketing relationship formed known as the Rivers to Canal wine trail. It encompasses three wineries located within 15 minutes of each other: Crow, Broken Spoke, and Chateau Bu-De and encourages visitors, tourists, and residents to tour all three locations during their trip. “When you have this Upper Eastern Shore region becoming a destination for people coming for the day or the weekend from areas such as New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, or Baltimore, it just makes sense.”

The collaboration does not end there. Crow Vineyards is also committed to supporting the growth of the Eastern Shore wine industry by renting out their wine-making production to other new startup wineries. “Some people we make wine for would like to satisfy the sweeter pallets of a wine drinker,” says Judy. “So, there they have sweeter wine. Or they just want to make a few wines and have a good tasting room. Then we work with them to do that. As we’re growing, we’re bringing others along with us to really map this out as a tourist destination.” The effort to expand Maryland’s diverse wine growing regions is one Judy can speak about with authority. For the past two years, she’s served as the President of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Wineries Association.

When asked to reflect on how she measures their success, Judy responds: “I think it’s two things. One is we’ve been able to make really good wines, and I think that speaks to our commitment to, have something pleasing for everyone. The other thing is our focus on teamwork and good customer service.” The type of customer service that Judy talks about means that visitors who want to hear how the farm got started will get to hear it directly from the owners. It means visitors who express interest in helping to harvest the grapes get to do so by signing up and joining them in the fall. It means that anyone who wants to stomp grapes can do so at the Crow Fest on September 8th.

Speaking of the Crow Fest, Judy sees the annual event as an opportunity to expand their enthusiastic customer base and support those who have supported them throughout the years. The festival will feature live music, wine seminars, cooking demonstrations, exhibits from local vendors, and yes, grape stomping. “The grandchildren are the first to stomp the grapes, and then the public is welcome to join them. Monies raised are donated to the FFA (Future Farmers of America).”

As for what may be forthcoming, Judy knows they will continue to be open to new possibilities and will involve their other children if they are interested. “When I first met Roy (and even though he owns the farm), he said his philosophy has always been, that he’s the caretaker of the farm. There will be somebody else for the next round, whatever the next round is. When I married him, I bought into that concept that I’m a supporter and caretaker here. Everything I think we’ve done so far has invigorated, not only the farm but the local economy and it’s pretty exciting when you can do that.”

Whatever that future might bring, today a visitor can come to stay overnight, be part of a working farm, taste the wines, enjoy the breathtaking farm views, chat with the owners about how it all was different years ago, before the vineyards, before the festivals. Today they’ll leave with some great memories, some fresh beef and their favorite wines. Not bad for 10 years!

Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.

Trade Whims: “Whatever the Wind Blows In” by Jenn Martella

I love the specialty shops and galleries along Goldsborough and Harrison Streets in Easton so I was greatly relieved when Alice Ryan and Susan Wilford bought Trade Whims after the previous owner retired. As ardent community supporters, Alice and Susan couldn’t imagine Easton without this unique store. Neither could I-Trade Whims has been my source for special occasion or host/hostess gifts. They have expanded the gift, linen and clothing boutique to offer selections for newborns through 4T sizes. They also have a Baby and Wedding Registry.

 

On the day I visited, new merchandise from recent trade shows were a visual delight throughout the store. The line “Le Cadeaux-Art for the Table” is aptly named for they are beautiful gift sets consisting of an oval platter encircled with painted vegetables, overlaid with a dishtowel and a spoon rest that were hard to resist. One platter had an orange theme with a ring of “maple glazed carrots” as a border with orange cursive writing on the spoon rest. The other set had a green theme with its ring of “smoky asparagus”. I love fish plates so I was delighted to find two designs with a fish motif from elegant to whimsical.

A new line of beautiful china with nautical, hunting and watermen motifs is perfect for the Eastern Shore. The elegant designs include an oval platter, plates, bowls, mugs and coasters. The compass rose is the recurring motif and is on the center of each item. The line is designed by Kent County artist Kate Ballantine.

The sought after “Scout” line of bags, totes, wallets, purses, etc. has a colorful and prominent display in the store. I was also enchanted by a line of “Beer Gear“-small bags of heavy duty plastic and wooden double beaded handles. The colorful designs ranged from a sunflower, crab, shell, etc. that would be the perfect gift for ladies of all ages.

I firmly believe a touch of whimsy is good for the soul and I couldn’t help smiling when I saw the grouping of voluptuous bathing beauties in various poses-sitting on a beach ball, poised for diving, snoozing on an Adirondack chair. Smaller ladies rested on the ledges of the shelves. These delightful designs were the work of Dr. Livingston and Co.

Above the entrance to the children’s area was a string of miniature felted mice dressed in clothes with different accessories. Alice noted the staff add them to their gift wrapped packages for a whimsical touch. I remarked they were also the perfect size for Christmas decorations. Above the mice was a row of colorful clocks waiting for a new home in a newborn’s nursery. These artisan clocks are the creations of an artist in Massachusetts and the colorful designs including a barn, train engine, fox and llama would delight children of all ages.

Another delightful find in the Children’s section were the “Bunnies by the Bay”. Books, rugs and toys would complete any nursery or playroom.

There is so much to see at Trade Whims and with art from local artists, stationery, candles, ceramics, clothing, jewelry, and so much more if you can’t find the perfect gift here it doesn’t exist-see you there!

Trade Whims is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sundays 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The Trade Whims Too store in St. Michaels is located at 207 S. Talbot Street. For more information, please call 410-822-9610 or visit www.tradewhims.com.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

Lamotte Company Honored By World Trade Center Institute

At its 23rd Maryland International Business Leadership Awards reception, the World Trade Center Institute (WTCI), Governor Larry Hogan, and the Maryland Department of Commerce joined hundreds of business leaders from around the state to acknowledge and celebrate the international reach and community involvement of Maryland’s top global companies. https://www.wtci.org/leadershipawards/

At this year’s reception, LaMotte Company was recognized by WTCI and the Maryland Dept. of Commerce with a 2019 Maryland International Business Award.

“It was a very special evening and such an honor to be selected as one of the 7 Maryland companies, out of 70 nominated this year. To be standing on stage accepting the award from Governor Larry Hogan—with other winning companies like Under Armour and Dap—elevated my sense of pride for all that everyone at LaMotte Company does every day to make our company a success in so many ways.” —David LaMotte, President, LaMotte Company

Each year, the Maryland International Business Leadership Awards celebrate the state’s global success through the recognition of a handful of recipients who exemplify international business growth, growth in the State of Maryland through workforce development and/or revenue growth, and support efforts to give back to the local community.

The evening began with a chance to meet, network and learn from inspirational Maryland business leaders, followed by opening remarks from the World Trade Center Institute CEO and a seated dinner during which guests learned more about LaMotte Company and the other award winners that have led their firms to success, as well as show support for Maryland’s increasing global footprint. During the event, Gov. Hogan presented the 2019 Governor’s Award to Arne Sorenson, president & CEO of Marriott International, Inc.

“This year’s award recipients represent the state on a global level, and we couldn’t be prouder,” said WTCI CEO Deborah Kielty.

This year’s event took place on April 11, 2019 at the American Visionary Art Museum. The featured speaker was Samuel Hoi, president of the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Sponsors of the event included T. Rowe Price, CallisonRTKL, Jhpiego, and Maryland Institute College of Art.

Pretty Cool: Mid-Shore’s David LaMotte to Receive Maryland International Business Leadership Award

LaMotte Chemical’s CEO, David LaMotte, has received the prestigious Maryland International Business Leadership Award for 2019 in Baltimore next week. The award is sponsored by World Trade Center Institute.

In receiving the award, which was presented by Governor Larry Hogan, LaMotte was acknowledged for LaMotte Chemical’s  mission, international reach, and community involvement as one of Maryland’s top global companies.

For more information on the awards and the awards program please go here.

After the First Decade: Piazza’s Emily Chandler Looks Back and Forward

As the Spy celebrates its own tenth year of operation, it dawned on us that there were quite a number of businesses on the Mid-Shore that started at the same time the Spy began publishing.  Ranging from bakeries to contractors, dozens of small businesses opened their doors amid a significant economic recession, relying on instinct and self-confidence that their services would be sought after, no matter the current business climate.

With that in mind, the Spy has decided to interview many of these brave entrepreneurs over the next year for them to reflect on their experiences.

We start with Emily Chandler, the owner of the now extremely popular Piazza Italian Market, in Easton.

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

 

Commerce: Rise Partners Purchase Easton Marketplace

Rise Partners, an investment group focused on shopping center acquisitions, redevelopments and ground-up development, today announced its purchase of Easton Marketplace, a 126,650 square foot shopping center located in Easton, Maryland. This is Rise Partners second acquisition and is a solid fit to its strategy of buying premium location redevelopment opportunities.

“Easton Marketplace provided us with an excellent chance to enter a market with high barriers to entry, that has the added benefit of serving a large second home market, with additional drive-through traffic from the Washington D.C. metro en route to the Atlantic beaches,” said Greg Wilson, a Rise partner. “We are excited about working with retailers and the city of Easton to take this center to the next level.”

A redevelopment beginning this fall will subdivide a now-vacant 33,000 square foot former JCPenney building to create two new tenant spaces, which will be occupied by well-known national retailers. The project will complement the existing tenants, which include Weis Markets and shadow anchors Lowes and Kohls.

“Easton is such a beautiful and historic community with easy access to Washington DC and Baltimore. We are all excited to spend time there working to enhance Easton Marketplaces’ longstanding position within the market,” said Rise partner Geoff Smith. “

Andy Stape and Vito Lupo, of KLNB Retail Investment Sales Group, represented the seller.

The Power of Being Agile: Qlarant Embraces the Agile Manifesto

There’s a good chance that most people, even those running major businesses on the Mid-Shore, have never heard of the Agile Manifesto nor its twelve principles of project management but there is an equally good chance they will soon.

This project planning strategy, which was created in 1983 by software developers in a remote ski lodge over a long weekend, has been the go-to system for complex product development but rarely used beyond its intended silo. In most cases, upper management was pleased to get their products to market but didn’t pay too much attention to what system was used to create those products.

But in the last decade, all of that has changed dramatically. Hundreds of companies have now adopted this unique methodology and applied it to other functions like marketing, business administration, human resources, employee education, and countless other areas of a business.

The Agile approach has become so effective that companies are not only using it but in some cases will not even be able to bid on projects unless they are officially certified as an Agile-based business.

Easton-based Qlarant had been one of those companies who adopted the Agile principles early on in the development of their sophisticated software to uncover health insurance fraud and waste. So impressed with those results, management took the Agile model and has now used it in almost every part of the company’s mission. But more recently, the company took it to another level; they applied for and received approval to train and implement these techniques with their clients.

The reason is quite simple; the Agile method works exceptionally well. While a few large corporations have had some trouble in developing the cultural shift needed to successfully deploy the twelve principles, the vast majority of companies using Agile have shown remarkable success.

In fact, the enthusiasm for this simple approach has been so great that advocates demand that nonprofit organizations and schools to integrate its use while others have promoted its use to manage their family life

Needless to say, the Spy was intrigued by this new development and what it may mean for Qlarant  to be one of the first in the country to offer this as an important part of their tool chest. We sat down with Qlarant’s Ellen Evans and Andrew Welsh a few weeks ago to learn more. 

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Qlarant please go here.

Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye Joins Fleetwood Insurance

Pictured from left to right: Scott Bramble, Bill Griffin, Josh Johnson and Creg Fleetwood

Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye, one of Talbot County’s oldest and best-established insurance agencies, has joined forces with Fleetwood Insurance Group, another prominent Eastern Shore agency based in Chestertown.

Effective January 2, 2019, the two Mid-Shore insurance agencies are uniting their resources to offer expanded services along with added convenience. According to Creg Fleetwood, president of Fleetwood Insurance Group, customers of both agencies will benefit from this in several important ways.

“This partnership of equals will allow us to offer our customers expanded services from more insurance carriers, along with accessibility to industry leaders,” Fleetwood states. “We’re also planning to introduce improved technology, including mobile apps and online account access.”

By acquiring BG&V, Fleetwood Insurance gains a desired presence in the Talbot market. Established in 1967, over the past half-century Bartlett Griffin & Vermilye has built a strong reputation for outstanding customer service and support. Fleetwood Insurance Group (formerly known as FAM&M), has a heritage of providing insurance services to the Eastern Shore region since 1946, going back more than 70 years. According to Fleetwood, those well-established relationships will continue, with services being provided by the same friendly and professional team members at both entities many of whom have 25 years or more of insurance industry experience in supporting their local customers.

Bill Griffin of Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye commented, “Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye will continue to provide the level of service our clients are accustomed to and remain locally owned and operated”.

In addition, as part of the new partnership, Spencer McAllister, Fleetwood’s agent in Easton, will join the staff at the Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye office.

For more information about the new partnership and the expanded services being offered by Bartlett, Griffin & Vermilye, please call 410-822-2400.

Hopkins Original Art opens Vinyl Record and CD store in St Michaels

Hopkins Original Art combines music and art in St Michaels by opening a record store of 3000+ vinyl records and CDs as a welcomed addition to their art gallery.It is a handpicked collection ranging in genres of rock, alternative, new wave, jazz and more.

Visitors enjoy the listening station with headphones and also turntables with speakers to listen and add to the experience. Singing and dancing is a regular
occurance.

This opportunity will be available while the supply lasts. No additions will be added to the collection. The hours are Thursday thru Sunday 10am to 5pm all
year. 310 S. Talbot 410-610-5785

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