Tractor Supply Co. to Replace Roses at Kent Plaza

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There’s a new kid on the block at Kent Plaza. Tractor Supply Co. is planning to open a new store in the building previously occupied for 26 years by Roses Discount Store.

TSC, A Tennessee based company, is the nation’s leading retailer in the “rural lifestyle” market.

Although you can’t buy tractors, its website states that customers can find “clothing, equine and pet supplies, tractor/trailer parts and accessories, lawn and garden supplies, sprinkler/irrigation parts, power tools, fencing, welding and pump supplies, riding mowers and more” at their stores.

Founded in 1939, TSC started as a mail order tractor parts business. A year later it became a retail store in Minot, North Dakota, and now boasts 1,300 stores in 48 states.

TSC trades on NASDAQ at a healthy $88.71 (today).

The Chestertown location will be in addition to TSC stores in Easton, Pocomoke City, Salisbury, Elkton, and in Middletown and Seaford Delaware on the Eastern Shore.

“Filling the vacant space is Rose’s will be a great addition to both Kent Plaza and the Town of Chestertown.  With the expansion of ACME, the improvements made throughout the parking lot, and now a new tenant in the Rose’s parcel, Kent Plaza has really sprung back to life following the economic recession.  I look forward to another ribbon cutting in the very near future,” said Mayor Chris Cerino.

Representatives of the company are currently in discussions with the Chestertown Zoning Board.

Open For Business In Chestertown

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The Greater Chestertown Initiative (GCI) announced the formation of a new program – Open for Business in Chestertown – at their May 4th meeting. Open for Business is designed to provide “kickstarter” funding for new or expanding businesses with the goal of filling empty storefronts in the downtown.

Open for Business will invite entrepreneurs to submit requests for funding and through a juried process select those deemed most promising. Awards will be made in the form of matching funds and virtually interest free loans. The first cycle of funding is planned for Fall 2015 although applications will be considered as they are received.

Carla Massoni, who made the announcement at the May GCI meeting, said that she had been contacted by a couple who loved Chestertown and wanted to give back to the community but wished to remain anonymous.

The SFW Foundation (501c3) was created through their efforts to fund these business incentives. The Foundation has asked the Greater Chestertown Initiative to monitor the process of soliciting and reviewing applicants for the program. A review committee will evaluate applications and refer to the Foundation for final consideration the business proposals they recommend for funding.

The GCI, currently chaired by Lani Seikaly is an informal and independent coalition of leaders of organizations both non-profit and for-profit, community associations and government agencies, Washington College and other interested groups and individuals. The major work of GCI this year was to advocate for and support the town’s application for an Arts & Entertainment District designation from the Maryland State Arts Council. Other initiatives this past year included creating additional tourist events and additional Saturday and Sunday activities for First Friday weekends.

The Foundation has already pledged $25,000 in matching funds for the economic development director’s position in Chestertown’s budget for FY2015. The matching funds would move the position from part time to full time. GCI will work closely with the new economic development director to develop more tourist and community events and will serve as the major advisory committee for the proposed Arts & Entertainment District.

Easton’s Henker Group Wins Platinum Award for Work with Baltimore Metropolitan Council

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Easton-based Henker Group was recently honored as a Platinum winner in the 2014 Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award competition for their broadcast advertising work with Baltimore Metropolitan Council’sTeleworkbaltimore.com program.

The Summit Marketing Effectiveness Award (Summit MEA) responds to a common need in the advertising sector, which is to acknowledge the contribution of advertising and the achievement of the advertiser’s business goals. The Summit MEA is unique because it reinforces that the goal of marketing communications is to change, influence or reinforce a target audience’s knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs. Using this premise as a basis for its judging criteria, the competition has become a true arbiter of marketing communication effectiveness. Judges analyzed submissions and selected only eight percent to receive the top spots. A truly international competition, the Summit MEA received almost 900 submissions from the following twelve countries: Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

“Distinguishing between creativity and effectiveness is a difficult task so winning a Summit MEA is a significant achievement,” said Jocelyn Luciano, executive director for the Summit International Awards. “The combination of experienced judges and our tough criteria ensures that only deserving submissions receive Summit MEA recognition.” Additional information about the Summit International Awards and its programs is available at www.summitawards.com.

Founded in 2005 by Mary Ann Henker, The Henker Group LLC is an award-winning, full-service integrated marketing communications (IMC) firm specializing in marketing, public relations, business development and event planning. Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Easton, The Henker Group serves local, national, and international markets and provides a unique and proven approach to support businesses growing to the next level or maintaining a premier position in the marketplace.

“It is such an honor to have won such a prestigious award. We are so proud of the work we have done in partnership with the BMC and the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to create an effective campaign targeted to both employers and employees in the Greater Baltimore region. BMC’s staff is highly committed to the purpose of the program,” said Mary Ann Henker, president of The Henker Group.

The BMC is a private nonprofit organization committed to identifying regional interests and developing collaborative strategies through plans and programs to improve the quality of life and economic vitality throughout the region. Teleworkbaltimore.com is a partnership between the BMC and the MDOT with a goal of reducing traffic congestion and air pollution in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties by helping employers realize the benefits of a formal telework program.

“Formal telework programs can be so beneficial to businesses and they help improve air quality due to the reduced vehicle traffic. It was necessary to generate awareness about the Teleworkbaltimore.com program through a professional and effective marketing campaign. By working with The Henker Group, we have done just that.” Russ Ulrich, outreach coordinator for Air Quality & Traffic Safety Programs said.

Small-Business Initiatives Advance in Maryland Senate

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In his first State of the State address nearly two months ago, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan repeatedly referred to small businesses as a barometer for Maryland’s health, advocating for a focus on business-friendly policies to boost the state’s economy.

The state Senate agreed Tuesday, passing a bill that would create a small-business advisory panel in the Department of Business and Economic Development and advancing a tax-relief measure Hogan has said will benefit more than 70,000 small-business owners.

The advisory panel echoes Hogan’s promise to consider how each decision he makes will affect small businesses. The six-member council, which would include small-business owners, would review bills and help inform lawmakers about the legislation’s potential consequences for businesses.

“It gives the small-business community a voice in the regulatory process that they haven’t had before,” said Senator Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, the chair of the Finance Committee.

Meanwhile, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Friday approved Hogan’s Small Business Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 2015. The bill would excuse a business from paying a tax on $10,000 or less in personal property, which includes work-related property such as office equipment.

The bill should save eligible businesses an average of $72 in taxes per year, according to the bill’s fiscal note.

The two measures advanced with strong support in the Senate chamber, though a few senators were concerned the advisory panel was a “feel-good bill” that would not make state regulations more business-friendly.

The proposed panel “makes the regulatory process in the state so bureaucratic as to slow down any effort to help improve working conditions,” said Senator Richard Madaleno Jr., D-Montgomery, vice-chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

But Madaleno described himself as the “floor leader” in the discussion of Hogan’s tax-relief bill.

“It’s more of a headache elimination for the smallest businesses,” he said. “To me, that had a real impact on reducing a burden on small businesses.”

Cambridge’s 1880 Bank to Merge with Easton Bank & Trust

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The Baltimore Sun is reporting today that the parent of Cambridge-based 1880 Bank has announced a plan to buy the Easton Bank & Trust Company for $8 million cash.

Parent Delmarva Bancshares expects to close on the deal later this year, after the approval of banking regulators and the shareholders of Easton Bank. 1880 Bank, which was known as National Bank of Cambridge until it was renamed in October, serves the Eastern Shore and has about $192 million in assets and $166 million in deposits.

Read the full story here

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Make Address at Washington College

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Over the past month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has been making almost daily headlines with his agency’s groundbreaking policy on net neutrality. Wheeler, who stands at the center of a stormy dialogue on the issue, recently announced a set of strong, sustainable rules to protect the open Internet as a platform for innovation, free expression and economic growth. In the face of opposition from Republican lawmakers and some business leaders, Wheeler argued that the open Internet was at risk without federal regulations to ensure that America’s broadband networks will remain open, fast, and fair.

Wheeler will appear at Washington College on Thursday, April 2, for the Spring 2015 Richard Harwood Lecture in American Journalism, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. His talk, “On the Front Lines of the Digital Revolution,” will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall. Cosponsored by the Department of Business Management and the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, the program is free and open to the general public.

“We’re exceptionally honored to welcome Tom Wheeler as a lecturer in the Harwood Series at such a historic moment,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director, who will lead an onstage conversation with Wheeler following the speaker’s formal remarks. “It’s a rare opportunity to hear from a leading policymaker right in the midst of the most critical chapter of his public life. Moreover, Wheeler is a distinguished historian who will also offer the ‘long view’ of how the ongoing digital revolution relates to past moments of epochal change in how human beings communicate.”

After the FCC’s vote on February 25, the Los Angeles Times called it “a landmark decision for the future of the Internet,” while the New York Times hailed “the longest, most sustained campaign of Internet activism in history, one that the little guys appear to have won.” Meanwhile, telecommunications giant Verizon issued a statement – in Morse code, no less – accusing Wheeler of trying to roll back telecommunications to the 1930s.

Appointed FCC chairman in 2013 by President Barack Obama, Wheeler brings to his position vast experience in the fast-paced and ever-evolving communications field. For more than three decades he has been one of the nation’s leading communications policy experts, advocates and entrepreneurs in both the public and private sector, and has been hailed as a top ten innovator in the history of wireless communications.

In addition his role in Washington at the helm of the agency tasked with communications law, regulation and technological innovation, Wheeler is also a historian of technology. His books, Take Command: Leadership Lessons of the Civil War (Doubleday, 2000) and Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War (HarperCollins, 2006), connect the current Digital Revolution to past eras of technological upheaval. Wheeler’s commentaries have been published in the Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and other publications. Wheeler has also served as a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Foundation for the National Archives, and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Washington College’s Harwood Lecture Series in American Journalism was established to honor the distinguished career of the late Washington Post columnist and ombudsman Richard Harwood, who served as a trustee of the College, as well as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate journalists. Speakers in the series have included many leading figures in politics and the press. The journalistic tradition has also continued in Harwood’s own family; his son, John Harwood, has had a distinguished career as a political correspondent and columnist for CNBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship and public outreach, and a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.

CNB Continues to Grow in Delaware

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CNB, headquartered in Centreville, MD and a member of the Shore Bancshares community of companies, was joined by the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce on March 12th in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of their new branch location at 800 S. Governors Avenue, Dover DE. Employees, customers, friends and local dignitaries and supporters came out to celebrate with the CNB staff.

“We are very excited to now have a branch location in Dover“, says Teresa Swartz, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager. “We look forward to serving the Dover community and surrounding areas for many years to come. CNB is truly a community bank and we can offer the products and personal service that will make an impact on both your personal and business goals. We plan to be actively engaged in this community and will continually look for opportunities to support our customers and to help improve their lives.”

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Established in 1876, with 12 convenient locations in Maryland and Delaware, CNB serves the local needs of our customers and our community through personalized banking services and products, convenient operations and secure and reliable banking solutions. Stop in to see how banking with CNB can benefit you. You may also visit cnb-bank.com or call 410-758-1600 for the main Centreville branch and 302-734-2860 for the new Dover branch.

A Spy Introduction: New Chesapeake Bank CEO Glenn Wilson

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Glenn Wilson and his family never really debated where they wanted to live in retirement. The former Citizens National of Laurel executive and then CEO of AmeriServ Financial in Pennsylvania and his wife invested early in Chester River Landing to stake out a place for weekend visits and long -term retirement over ten years ago. In the meantime, he assumed his work life would continue until that golden age of sixty-six

But that was before a bank executive recruiter called him one day last year to suggest Glenn consider becoming heading up a small community bank called the Chesapeake Bank and Trust on the Eastern Shore in a town called Chestertown. Had he heard of the town, inquired the clueless headhunter? The rest, as they say, is history.

In his Spy interview, the new CEO of Chesapeake, who now facing a 75 second commute from his home to work every morning, talks about his background, the local banking climate, his confidence in the Eastern Shore’s economy.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

I’ve Got a Real Estate Question: How to Buy a Home in Rural Kent County from the Big City?

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The Spy recently inaugurated a Q and A series with Cross Street Realtors. In this first one, our customer asked Cross Street’s Stacey Kendall about retiring on the Eastern Shore.

Q: I’m retiring to the Eastern Shore from the city and have no experience with buying a home in a rural area. I’m worried that the condition of the house I’m interested in has not been fully disclosed. Is a home inspection a mortgage requirement, or optional, and do you offer this service to help me determine the real value?

A: There are a lot of questions within your one question – Let me try to answer as best I can….

The first step with buying anything is to determine your financial limits.  You should know what you can comfortably afford per month.  We then speak with lenders for qualification and back into the purchase price range determined by that monthly amount…for example, if you don’t want to exceed a payment of $1,050/month with taxes & insurance then you are looking at a loan amount of no more than $155,000.

Now that you know what you can afford, you need to decide on location.  Are you looking to live the “salt life” in or near Ocean City or a “country” life in a water oriented town……if so then Talbot and Kent Counties would be a better match.  If you want Target within 5 minutes Talbot Co is your best bet.  If you are looking for a sophisticated quaint small town where the big box stores aren’t in your back yard then Kent County is it.  Or do you want the convenience of being close to the city at an affordable price?  If so lower QA’s Co will be a fit.  Which area meets your needs?  In order to really determine this you should be working with a Realtor local to those specific areas.  They will not only be able to educate you in an effort for you to make an informed decision, but a good local Realtor will help you beyond the purchase of your home.

Once a buyer can commit to an area, finding the house is easy.  As for value – real estate is an equation.  Property condition doesn’t determine value, the condition of the market does.  A Buyer’s Agent can help determine value by finding sold comparable properties in like-kind condition.  All you need now is to come to a meeting of the minds with regard to price and terms with the Seller and you can schedule inspections to determine the real condition of the property.  Regardless of whether or not a Seller has disclosed or disclaimed – a Buyer should have a home inspection…not because the Seller is withholding information but because maybe a leak has sprung since they disclosed or simply missed disclosing a material defect by accident.

For more information, please go to Cross Street Realtors