Greater Chestertown Initiative Revolving Loan Application Open for Business in Chestertown


The Greater Chestertown Initiative (GCI) Revolving Loan Fund was established by the Greater Chestertown Initiative and SFW Foundation to aid economic development in Chestertown by providing financial assistance through loans to eligible businesses.

The loan is offered to individuals/businesses looking to start a new business, expand or relocate operations to Chestertown. Residency in the town is not required of the business owner(s); however, the business must be physically located in Chestertown.

Download application material here. The application is in pdf form and must be printed to complete.

Application Packet



A Call for Chestertown Economic Development and Marketing Coordinator


Chestertown is looking for the right candidate for the newly created position of Economic Development and Marketing Coordinator. This position was developed in tandem with the application for a Maryland Arts and Entertainment District designation, which was awarded to the town and “will serve as the Town’s point person for economic development and marketing initiatives, primarily fordowntown businesses (existing and those wishing to locate here) in the Chestertown Arts and Entertainment District (“AED”).

Attached, please find the pdf of the job description and information about how to apply.




Mary Clark Joins Chesapeake Bank and Trust


Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company is pleased to announce that Mary Clark has joined its staff as the Bank’s Senior Branch Manager. In this position, Mrs. Clark oversees the Bank’s branches and deposit services.

“We are delighted to have Mary on our team. She brings a wealth of local banking experience, along with a warm and caring personality.” remarked Glenn Wilson, Chesapeake’s President and CEO.

Spending the majority of her career in community banking, Mrs. Clark began her profession with Chestertown Bank in 1995 serving in various branches in Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. She continued her position after it was acquired by PNC Bank.

“I am very excited to be joining the Chesapeake Bank and Trust family” remarked Clark. “Having lived most of my adult life in Kent County, I look forward to being able to work with an organization whose focus is on helping the residents of Kent and Queen Anne’s counties reach their financial goals. I am glad to be back in community banking!”

Clark and her husband have been local to the Eastern Shore all of their lives. Growing up in Ocean City, MD, she moved to Chestertown where she and her husband, a Kent County native, raised their children. Mary enjoys being with and spoiling her grandchildren, going to the beach and reading a good mystery.

Chesapeake Bank and Trust is a full-service community bank founded in 1986, locally-owned and directed by area business and community leaders. The Bank is committed to providing area residents and business owners a full suite of financial products and an unparalleled level of individual service.

CNB: Promotion of Cassandra Guy to Vice President


CNB, a member of Shore Bancshares community of companies, is pleased to announce that Cassandra “Cassie” A. Guy has been promoted to Vice President, Compliance Officer.

Cassie will be responsible for managing, administering and coordinating the compliance program for all areas of the bank. She also supervises and manages the credit administration department to ensure accurate and timely processing of loan documents.

Ms. Guy earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Mary Washington in 1986 and graduated from the Maryland Banking School with honors in 2010.

Prior to joining CNB, Ms. Guy worked for Maryland National Bank as a Teller and then New Account Representative/Personal Banker. She joined CNB in 1995 as a Consumer Loan Officer. She was promoted to Branch Manager of the Rt 213 branch in 1998 until 2013 when she took on the role of Compliance Officer.

“Cassie has shown exceptional leadership qualities and has a proven track record in the banking industry”, says Ed Allen, President and CEO of CNB. “We are excited to have Cassie lead our team at CNB.”

Ms. Guy resides in Cordova, MD with her husband, Robert, and their three children. She is active in her community as a board member of the Queen Anne’s County Mentoring Partnership, a secretary for the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Fair and member of the fundraising committee for Claws for a Cause.

Centreville Revitalization Recommendations To Be Announced at June 18 Public Meeting


In late winter area residents and businesses were asked to take an online consumer preference survey as part of a comprehensive market study grant project for Centreville Main Street. At final tally 976 people responded. Results of the survey as well as recommendations for sustainable business and downtown revitalization will be announced during a Centreville Town Council meeting on Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. The meeting will take place at the Liberty Building, 107 N. Liberty Street, Second Floor, Commissioners Meeting Room.

This Town Council meeting will feature a presentation by JGSC Group, the planning firm who worked on the market study and economic development implementation plan for Main Street. Attendees will learn about the full project and the recommendations, have an opportunity to ask questions and learn how they can participate in Main Street moving forward.

The $12,730 Centreville Main Street grant project was funded by a $7,500 grant by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development with an equal match of $2,615 by the Town of Centreville and the treasury of the former Centreville Alive! organization.

In addition to the survey, the project included stakeholder and merchant interviews, a business inventory, an analysis of commercial property and an examination economic data and demographics.

Mark S. Lohbauer, principal at JGSC Group, LLC, Merchantville, N.J., is shown posting lawn signs during the consumer preference survey phase of the Centreville Main Street market study grant project.

Mark S. Lohbauer, principal at JGSC Group, LLC, Merchantville, N.J., is shown posting lawn signs during the consumer preference survey phase of the Centreville Main Street market study grant project.

The purpose of the Centreville Main Street is to revitalize, promote, and preserve, Centreville’s designated Main Street and its business community. Centreville Main Street is the only designated and accredited Main Street program in Queen Anne’s County and one of 28 Main Street programs in Maryland. Main Street is a national network of more than 2,000 community programs that includes nearly 40 statewide, citywide, and regional programs. The Town of Centreville was awarded the Main Street designation in February 2012.

Main Street programs are cost effective and create tremendous impact. According to the National Trust Main Street Center, cumulatively the commercial districts taking part in the Main Street program have generated more than $48.8 billion in new investment, with 206,600 in building rehabilitations and a net gain of more than 391,050 new jobs and 87,850 new businesses. Every dollar a community uses to support its local Main Street program leverages an average of $25 in new investment, making the Main Street program one of the most successful economic development strategies in the United States.

To learn more about the upcoming presentation or Centreville Main Street, contact Carol D’Agostino, Main Street Manager, at (410) 758-1180, ext. 17 or

Chesapeake Bank’s Kristen Owen New Investment Adviser


Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company is pleased to announce that Kristen Owen is now an Investment Adviser Representative with Chesapeake Investment Services.

Kristen Owen

Kristen Owen

“Kristen’s proven track record of friendly, responsive and caring service makes her an ideal Financial Services Adviser for those that desire to work with a partner that they can trust.” remarked Glenn Wilson, Chesapeake’s President and CEO.

Owen passed the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Series 7 and North American Securities Administrators Association Series 66 qualification exams at the beginning of the year. After completing her Adviser Orientation in St. Cloud, MN in April, she is registered to assist in financial planning needs.

“I look forward to the opportunity to build lasting relationships with clients in a new capacity,” remarked Owen. “One of the things I love most about working at Chesapeake is my frequent interaction with our clients and members of our community, and I am committed to continuing our firm’s tradition of providing the highest level of service.”

Owen began working at Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company in 2005, shortly after graduating from McDaniel College with a B.A. in History. She grew up in Kingstown and now lives in Fairlee with her husband, Chris. Owen is President of Downtown Chestertown Association and also serves on committees for Greater Chestertown Initiative and Garfield Center for the Arts.

The office of Chesapeake Investment Services is in Chesapeake’s main branch located at 245 High Street, Chestertown, Maryland. Owen can be reached at 410-778-1600 or

Benchworks President Melissa Johnston Receives Leader Award


Benchworks President Melissa Johnston has been presented the Transformational Leader Award in the PM360 ELITE (Exceptional Leaders, Innovators, Transformers and Entrepreneurs) competition. PM360 ELITE recognizes individuals who are the most influential in the healthcare industry and instrumental in achieving results.

PM360 is a trade publication that focuses on marketing in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries. It covers branding, marketing, advertising, patient and professional education, strategies, leadership, trends, and medical device technology.

Benchworks CEO Thad Bench commented on the award, saying “Melissa has created a dynamic work environment that supports risk taking, continuous learning, and career growth opportunities. This has resulted in greater efficiencies, faster turnaround time, and cost savings for our clients. She is truly deserving of this distinction.”

Melissa Johnston said that she is thrilled to be selected as a Transformational Leader. “I am honored that Thad and Renee Bench nominated me for this award. Benchworks is an amazing company with the most dedicated and hardworking team that I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Transforming Benchworks into a leading creative marketing agency has taken a great deal of time and effort from everyone in the company and I am truly grateful to my colleagues who have been on this journey with us.”


Tractor Supply Co. to Replace Roses at Kent Plaza


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


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.