The Movies Are Back!

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Ribbon cutting at the Grand Opening of Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown – Linda Kuiper, Billy Short, Bill Ingersoll, Rebecca Murphy, Ira Miller, Chris Cerino, Ron Fithian, Mike Klein, Marty Stetson, Ellsworth Tolliver, Kay MacIntosh – Photo by Jane Jewell

The Chesapeake 5 movie theater held its grand opening Friday, Oct. 12, and a good crowd was on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the lobby.

On hand to wield the scissors was Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino, accompanied by council members Linda Kuiper, Marty Stetson, and Ellsworth Tolliver, along with county commissioners Ron Fithian and Billy Short. The economic development directors for the town and county, Kay MacIntosh and Jamie Williams, were also present; both took significant roles in helping bring the theater back to town.

Movies playing the first weekend at Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown through Thursday, Oct 18.  Starting Friday, Oct. 19, will be “A Star is Born” and “Halloween 2018”- Photo by Jane Jewell

Mike Klein, Ira Miller, and Bob Weinholdt, principals of Chesapeake Movies, were also on hand for the opening – as well as a good crowd of interested locals.

Cerino, in opening remarks, described the process of returning the theater to town as“a long haul,” and he thanked the owners for sticking it out. He also thanked the county commissioners for their part in extending a $75,000 loan to the theater to allow them to complete renovations. The loan will be repaid from proceeds of the town’s entertainment tax.

Trying out the new recliners at the Grand Opening. – In front are Rebecca Murphy, Community Liaison for Chesapeake Theaters, and Chris Cerino, mayor of Chestertown. – Photo by Jane Jewell

Weinholdt, who performed much of the renovation needed before the reopening, described the local people he met while working at the theater, as some of “the nicest people I’ve ever met.” He said the theater had used as many local contractors as possible, as well as hiring locally.

Mike Klein and Ira Miller, the other two principals of Chesapeake Movies along with Weinholdt, spoke eloquently about how much movies had meant to them growing up and how they hoped to bring back that small town movie theater experience where families go to movies together and young people go on their first dates.  You make memories as well as seeing movies, they said.

The theater was open for tours, with visitors invited to check out the new recliner seats and the other amenities, including snacks and drinks.

Erin Jedlanek, Mike Klein, co-owner of Chesapeake Movies, and Elise Davis. Jedlanek and Davis have both worked with Klein at his other movie locations and are now helping get Chestertown’s theater up and running. – Photo by Jane Jewell

Your Spy reporters returned Friday evening to check on attendance to the first night’s shows. Not surprisingly, plenty of movie-goers made it to the opening night. The biggest draws were “Venom” and “First Man,” according to box office personnel.  “The House with a Clock” and “Night School” will be shown through Thursday, Oct 18.  The other three movies, “Venom”, “First Man”, and “Venom” will continue for at least another week with “A Star is Born” and “Halloween 2018” opening on Friday, Oct. 19.

Almost all the recliners, which patrons can reserve by phone or online, were sold out.  Patrons can reserve recliners days or even weeks in advance and pay for them online at the theater’s website.  General admission tickets after 4:00 pm are $9.00 for adults with $7.00 for children 12 or under and seniors 62 or over. Recliners are $2 more in each category.  Matinees before 4:00 pm are a dollar off for adults.  See seating chart below or online.

The rocker chairs up front in general admission have cup holders while the recliners do not. But there are new eating areas just outside each theater door where patrons can sit at small tables with their food and beverages while waiting for their movie to start.  In addition to popcorn ($4.50 small, $6 medium, $7 large), the theater has cheese pizza for $7 ($7.50 with pepperoni) and chicken tenders with french fries for $7.50.  Hot dogs are $3.50.  Sodas run $3 for small, $4 medium, and $5 for large.  But refills are free!

Employees at Grand Opening on Oct 12 at Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown – Front row – Rachel Kruger, Jordan Payne, Alan Yang, Jillian Thomas, Back row – Becca Darwin, Emily Kruger (sister of Rachel), Justin Gunter, Eric Ireland – Photo by Jane Jewell

Two or three experienced employees from one of the owners’ other theaters were on hand during each shift to help the new employees learn the ropes.  Almost all of the new employees are local hires from Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties.  Quite a few are Kent County High School grads. Two– Jillian Thomas and Alan Yang– are current students at Queen Anne’s High School.

The ticket office and concessions stand workers – about a dozen, all told — were almost as excited as the patrons, who were pleased to see movies returning to town after a nearly 18-month hiatus. With Saturday and Sunday matinees, discounted prices on Tuesdays, free drink refills, and a points system in which regular customers can get rewards for their ticket and concession purchases, their patience appears to be amply rewarded.

You can see current and upcoming movies and sign up for the theater’s weekly email and rewards program at the website, www.ChesapeakeMovies5.com.   If you sign up online before your first movie, your ticket price will go toward reward points.  Just be sure to give your email to the box office or at the concession stand.

Welcome to Chestertown, Chesapeake Movies!

Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck

Seating plan for Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown. Blue indicates three rows of recliners in back. Orange is general admission rocker chairs in front three rows. – Photo by Peter Heck

Anne Charles relaxes in recliner B3 Friday afternoon just after the noon ribbon cutting at the Chesapeake Movies Grand Opening. Just four more hours till the first movie! – Photo by Jane Jewell

Jamie Williams, Kent County Economic Development Director, enjoys a coke at the grand opening. Refills are free!

 

A new eating area outside theater door. Note sign giving the title, time and rating of the currently playing movie in that theater. Jana Carter, Gay Slagle, & Kate Houbowicz

Joyce Luff, on left, and Linda Kuiper, on right, town council for 2nd district in Chestertown,  in the new recliners at Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown 

Concession stand at new Chesapeake Movies 5 in Chestertown – Photo by Jane Jewell

 

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Mimi’s Closet Celebrates 10 Years in Chestertown

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Mimi’s Closet at 304 High Street, Chestertown, MD – Photo by Peter Heck

Mimi’s Closet celebrates its 10th anniversary from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 10, with an open reception at the High Street store. Owner Marjorie Adams said the event will also be a benefit for Breast Cancer month, with pink wine, pink ice cream, and a pink bath bomb with a surprise inside. And there will be music and oysters. “This will be a thank-you to all our friends and customers for patronizing our store and supporting my business through ten long, arduous years at three locations,” she said with a laugh. “This one’s the charm, though.”

Margery Adams, better known as Mimi to the granddaughter who gave her the nickname and to her loyal customers at Mimi’s Closet.

Admas grew up in New York and Connecticut.  She graduated with a specialty in fabric design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, the premier college in the field.  One of her early–and most fun–jobs, she said, was decorating the windows at Macy’s Department Store in New York City.  Over her career, she has also been the marketing director for a Baltimore firm and the American representative for Ehrman’s Tapestry as well as owning a retail store in Easton for several years.

She is married to Walter Adams and they have two sons and four grandchildren. They fell in love with Chestertown after visiting for an anniversary.  They bought a second home locally in 1998 and moved here full-time in 2001.

Adams said, “I started my business in the worst year possible – 2008 – as a popup store which maybe should have been in existence only six weeks, and now has turned out to be ten years.”

But our store has changed considerably – not only the location but what we carry, because we’re a small town and we try to address every price point and every type of customer – every age group, every body type. We specialize in women’s clothing and accessories – we don’t do children or men. We have a small area where we sell shoes. It’s just sort of an all-around boutique – jewelry, handbags and shoes, dresses – and we try to change things up so often that you’re seeing something new every time you come in here.”

We try to be sensitive to everybody’s budget,” she said. “We encourage our customers to come in, even with something they own and have it updated or made to look better.” She added that this isn’t a question of alterations, but of finding ways to accessorize or complement it to give it a more contemporary look. She said she likes to offer things from small boutique designers that you might not find in online venues or department stores. And she offers a lot from American designers. Also, she tries not to duplicate lines available in other stores in town. “We try to be very sensitive to that – it’s a small universe here for shoppers.”

Smart fall outfits with a wealth of hats and other accessories are displayed against a colorful wall hanging on the brick wall in Mimi’s Closet, 304 High St., Chestertown, MD  –  Photo by Jane Jewell

She also buys small quantities, she said – “We try to buy one size run, so you don’t see yourself coming and going. If you’re going to a special event, you want to have something that’s unique and different.” She said she regularly goes to Fashion Week in New York and other industry shows to find new lines and distinctive items for the shore.

Adams’ first store in Chestertown was in a small space adjacent to the Imperial Hotel. She said in an email forwarded to the Spy by Kay MacIntosh of Main Street Chestertown, that she stayed there “until the building repairs and food odors from the hotel prep kitchen made me crazy! I moved to a very nice space on Cannon Street and thought that customers would follow. I was wrong! The building was the former home of the Chester River Knitting Company and was a great space but did not have display windows to showcase my inventory, and too many people thought that the shopping area ended on Cross Street and they did not venture further.” She added, “It did not help that we were in a recession.”

When the High Street space formerly occupied by Scottie’s Shoe Store became available, she recognized it as the opportunity she had been looking for – a prime space on the town’s main shopping street. She said, “Renovation to this space—the old Scottie’s space — was critical; nothing had been done to improve it for many years. The building owner, Bob Ramsey, was committed to a full renovation and hired my husband to do the work. We moved into the new space and it was as if I had just started a brand new business.” Its success allowed her to close a store in Easton and concentrate on Chestertown.

Debbie Yoder, an assistant at Mimi’s Closet, displays a beautiful brown suede jacket just in for the fall season. – Photo by Jane Jewell

As you can see, this was quite a journey over the past ten years,” she said. “I have had to adjust to the fact that we are not a major metropolitan shopping area but are a small and very special destination. The key was to have both a local and visitor customer base that would show up more often looking for a unique experience. I focus on lots of personal interaction that makes the customer know that their business is valued.”

The name of the store comes from Adams’ granddaughter, now 18 years old, who, as a small child, nicknamed her “Mimi.”  Now everyone knows her as Mimi!

Adams, whose background is in textiles, said she is very aware of the quality of the fabric used in the merchandise she sells, as well as the quality of construction and the fit. “I don’t think it’s necessary always to go to the top price point, but you’ve got to find the quality in the fabric and the way a garment is made and the way it fits.”

Colorful, classic kimonos are available as well as sporty, outdoors styles. — Photo by Jane Jewell

MacIntosh said of Adams, “She gets involved in community causes and events.  She has held fashion show fundraisers for the College’s Women’s League, the Soroptimists, and breast cancer research. She organizes and runs the wildly popular teas during the HP Fest and has helped in other areas such as sponsorships. She organizes and runs the High Tea for the Dickens Weekend. She is active in the Downtown Chestertown Association, which she now serves as VP.”

Whether you’re a regular customer or visiting the store for the first time, come by Mimi’s Closet at 307 High St. Wednesday, Oct 10, from 6-8 pm and help celebrate a successful downtown Chestertown business.

And be sure to check out her webpage and FaceBook.   Send an email to mimiscloset@atlanticbb.net to join the Mimi’s Closet mailing list or just to ask a question.  The phone number is 443-282-0225.

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Maryland 3.0: Sprout Moves to the City

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The Spy has been watching, documenting, and eating Sprout food almost for two years now. Almost from the moment Emily and Ryan Groll started cooking in their trailer kitchen just outside of Trappe and home delivering local food freshly prepared to Talbot County, we knew this was one of the startups on the Eastern Shore worth watching.

And they have not disappointed. Since those early days,  the Grolls have taken seriously their mission to give their customers a convenient way to buy and eat healthy, locally-sourced meals. After locking in almost 400 clients on the Mid-Shore for home delivery, Sprout quickly invented the concept of Spoutletts; small, self-contained pickup stations at wine stores, office buildings, and gyms where those not able to use home delivery can pick up their meals using the honor system when it fits their schedule.

Now, Sprout has moved into a new flagship store and kitchen on Aurora Street in Easton for an entirely new phase of their business plan. Open every day, with new offerings like homemade bread, a creative partnership with Night Kitchen Coffee from Denton, and simple “grab and go” floor plan, Sprout is now taking another innovative step in this remarkable home-grown business.

The Spy chatted with Ryan last week about Sprout’s new home.

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

Easton’s Qlarant Named a Top Predictive Analytics Solution Provider

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Easton’s Qlarant, a nationally recognized program integrity and quality company, has been named a Top Ten predictive analytics solution provider for 2018.  CIO Applications Magazine interviewed 3 executives from Qlarant:  Dr. Ron Forsythe, Jr. CEO; Sandy Love, President; and Holly Pu, VP of Product Development.   The article provides insight into the culture of Qlarant, and highlights the predictive modeling capabilities the company provides to some of the nation’s most important organizations.

“Receiving this award is so gratifying,” said Holly Pu, VP of Product Development for Qlarant. “Predictive Analytics provide an important role in fighting fraud and saves the nation millions of dollars each year. Being recognized as one of the best in the industry means we did what we set out to do. “

CIO Applications magazine provides a network for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solutions.  It also enables IT Vendors to learn about trending technologies, news and solutions that can help to grow their business.  Qlarant’s PLATO™ program is a powerful self-learning analytics engine that is able to sift through billions of pieces of data to detect aberrant trends.   Qlarant also offers RIViR, which provides risk identification, risk visualization and risk resolution services.

“We’ve known that we have the best people and solutions to provide the best results for our customers and this award demonstrates those facets of our business,” said Ron Forsythe, Qlarant CEO.

Maryland 3.0: The Long View from Main Street Cambridge

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From a variety of perspectives, the growing awareness on the Mid-Shore that Cambridge has become a hot foodie destination should make anyone involved in improving town’s economic development pretty happy.

From the urban sophistication of Poplar Bistro to chef Patrick Fleming’s growing collection of eateries, Cambridge’s downtown is slowly but surely working its way out of the dark days of economic recession.

That change of events has undoubtedly made many in that town feel a sense of optimism that a robust and thriving downtown is just around the corner for a community that has taken some pretty hard knocks for many years.

But as Katie Clendaniel, director of Downtown Cambridge noted in her interview with the Spy at Bullitt House a few weeks ago, the road back to full recovery is a long and complex one.

While the hospitality sector is a critical factor in making that happen, the less noticeable work of improving walkability, adding traffic calming infrastructure and the expansion of high-quality residential housing all are part of a much larger plan that may take many more years to achieve the maximum impact of the economic life of downtown Cambridge.

For Clendaniel, who was part of the original team of Easton’s successful Main Street program several years ago, this kind of incremental change is the reality of almost any serious revitalization program. While frustrating for those seeking easy and quick answers, this slow process requires equal amounts of long-range strategic planning and the collective patience of the community.

This video is approximately seven minutes in length. For more information about Downtown Cambridge please go here

 

Qlarant Foundation Grants $385,000 to Area Health Projects

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Qlarant Foundation, the mission arm of Qlarant, recently awarded grants totaling $385,000 to 14 organizations in Maryland and Washington, DC supporting local healthcare-related quality improvement efforts.


Girls in the Game is committed to promoting the health and wellness of girls, educating them about alternatives to violence and strengthening underserved communities.

Of the 76 applications, 14 organizations received grants. “Again this year the Board was challenged with our grant selection,” said Dr. Molly Burgoyne-Brian, Qlarant Foundation Board of Directors chair. “The Board received many deserving applications, covering a variety of medical and social issues. It’s reassuring to know there are so many programs designed to improve the health of our most vulnerable populations. Ultimately, we chose a stellar group of programs covering a wide geographic area with diverse health and social concerns.”  Dr. Catherine Smoot-Haselnus, Qlarant Board chair, added “The work these organizations do is outstanding and often goes unnoticed.  We are proud to provide both funding and encouragement to the many volunteers and staff members who serve the community so well.”

Qlarant Foundation funded the following programs for 2018-19:

Access Carroll, Inc. – The Integrated Pharmaceutical Program helps low-income and at-risk residents of Carroll County achieve good health through access to free-of-charge medications and management of their chronic diseases and acute illnesses.

Breast Care for Washington, DC – Increasing Access to High Quality Breast Imaging for Medically Underserved Womenprovides mammograms, diagnostics and treatment to uninsured women at no cost to them.

Channel Marker, Inc. – Through the Health Home Program support is provided for clients in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties who suffer with pre-existing severe and persistent mental illness who also have other medical diagnoses.

Community Ministries of Rockville, Inc. – The Mansfield Kaseman Health Clinic provides quality healthcare and healthcare education to Montgomery County’s low-income uninsured and underinsured residents.

Eastern Shore Wellness Solutions, Inc. – The Health Outreach Workers Program provides care coordination for program participants and their primary care provider. It also is resource for the the social determinants of health, including housing, food and transportation.

Girls in the Game – The Baltimore After School Program addresses girls’ physical, mental and emotional health by exposing girls to a variety of sports and fitness activities in combination with nutrition, health education and leadership development.

Help and Outreach Point of Entry, Inc. – Homeless and poor clients on the Lower Eastern Shore receive medical assessments, health education and screening and referrals for treatment, with a focus on dental health, through the Tri-County Dental Health Outreach Program.

La Clinica del Pueblo, Inc. – Mi Refugio Community Mental Health and Support Program provides behavioral health services for unaccompanied and recently arrived immigrant youth at the Northwestern High School in Prince Georges County.

Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, Inc. – The Donated Dental Program recruits dentists and dental laboratories to provide services free of charge to low-income adults who are also disabled.

Miriam’s Kitchen, Inc. –The Social Services Program reduces barriers to medical and behavioral healthcare for District of Columbia residents who are experiencing prolonged homelessness and related complex health issues.

Mission of Mercy, Inc. – Expansion of the Shared Patient/Hospital Partner Program reduces hospital readmissions and improves health outcomes for uninsured or underinsured patients in Baltimore and Carroll counties as well as Baltimore City.

Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center, Inc. – The Holistic Opportunities for Prevention and Education Program addresses the gap in services offered to high-risk pregnant women on the Lower Eastern Shore.

University Legal Services, Inc. – The Jail and Prison Advocacy Program advocates for access to health care, mental health care, and comprehensive reentry support for currently incarcerated District of Columbia adults with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders.

University of Maryland Medical System Foundation – The University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Breathmobile Program provides free treatment and preventive care to Baltimore City underserved children with asthma.For more information on the recipients and their grants, go to  http://www.qlarant.com/about/qlarant-foundation/  Link

 

Maryland 3.0: Checking in with KRM’s Bryan Matthews

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Just a few years ago, the Dixon Valve & Coupling Company made a corporate decision that would have a significant impact on Kent County’s economy and yet very little was said about at the time. The company, faced with growing pains and stiff competition for their range of piping and fitting products, had to make a difficult choice to either expand their business locally in Chestertown or take advantage of lower production costs, larger workforce populations, and reduced taxes by moving operations to another state or perhaps even another country.

This kind of significant call is not an uncommon one for American manufacturing companies. And in most cases, these businesses very quickly conclude that their bottom line profits will improve dramatically by migrating to a more business-friendly location. But in the case of Dixon, which would impact close to 375 employees in Kent County, their final decision went against that popular trend. Dixon quickly made up their mind that they would stay put in Chestertown.

While most communities in America would have held parades or honored local politicians for saving a town’s anchor manufacturing business, the Dixon decision, like so much of the rest of the family-owned business culture, was a low-key affair. Once they concluded that Kent County would remain their home for the foreseeable future, Dixon leadership assigned the task of building facilities for that future growth to the company’s subsidiary, KRM Development, and thus began a complicated multi-year plan to move warehouse, production and administrative functions to new locations.

A good part of that job is now in the work portfolio of Bryan Matthews, who retired as Washington College’ athletic director and facilities manager after thirty years of service to his alma mater to join the KRM team two years ago. In his Spy interview, Matthews talks in detail about the intricate planning required for this kind of major undertaking as well as some of the vision behind Dixon’s plans for their North Chestertown campus.

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

Delmarva Power Expands Incentives for Electric Vehicle Shoppers

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Nissan and BMW are offering Delmarva Power customers special incentives that can save them thousands of dollars on the cost of certain all-electric vehicle (EV) models. In addition to the manufacturer incentives, customers could also qualify for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits, as well of thousands of dollars in state rebates and tax incentives.

These offerings are part of Delmarva Power’s broader efforts to provide new and innovative services and options for customers across the company’s service area.

“We are seeing a growing interest from our customers in electric vehicles, clean technology and innovative transportation solutions,” said Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president. “As the electric company responsible for managing the energy grid across most of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, we play a critical role in supporting the growth of these new technologies to meet our customers’ evolving needs. These rebates and incentives are another step forward as we work with partners across the region to expand needed charging infrastructure, provide affordable energy services for electric vehicles, and position Delaware and Maryland as leaders in this rapidly growing market.”

Nissan is offering Delmarva Power customers a $3,000 rebate off the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on the 2018 LEAF. This offer is available from Nissan North America Inc., through June 30, 2018, or while supplies last. To qualify for the savings, customers must bring a copy of this flyer and show their Delmarva Power bill to participating Nissan dealerships.

BMW is offering Delmarva Power customers $10,000 off the best negotiated purchase price of a new all-electric BMW i3 or BMW i3s through July 31, 2018. To redeem the offer, customers should bring their Delmarva Power bill and a completed Delmarva Power customer information form to their local dealership.

Delmarva Power is actively working to advance EV technology across Delaware and Maryland. In Delaware, the energy company has proposed an innovative program to the Delaware Public Service Commission that will help prepare Delaware for the growth of EVs and provide customers with reduced electric rates, credits, rebates, and other incentives to buy and own EVs.

In Maryland, Delmarva Power partnered with its Exelon sister companies Baltimore Gas and Electric and Pepco, as well as other energy companies and stakeholders, to file a proposal that would create the second largest EV charging network in the U.S. If approved, it would help energy companies meet customers’ needs in the state, where, according to a recent survey released this week by the Edison Electric Institute, an overwhelming majority of residents support expanding EV charging infrastructure.

Customers can learn more about EVs, available incentives, and the company’s ongoing efforts to support the growing interest in EVs here.

The Greater Chestertown Initiative: Open for Business Loan Program Begins

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Chestertown is a great place to open a new business or expand an existing one. The Greater Chestertown Initiative is pleased to announce the newest recipient of an Open for Business Loan – Samantha Niva, owner of Walnut & Wool.

Samantha is excited about her new venture. “Walnut & Wool will be the hottest little clothing shop in Historic Chestertown. We will offer women a unique mix of new on trend styles and vintage accessories.” The shop will share space with She She on High located at 321 High Street.

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 Greater Chestertown Initiative (GCI) Open for Business Loan Program was established by the GCI and the SFW Foundation to aid economic development in Chestertown by providing financial assistance through loans to eligible businesses.  Kay MacIntosh, Economic Development and Marketing Coordinator for Chestertown, is actively engaged in supporting Chestertown entrepreneurs through the Arts & Entertainment District and the Main Street programs.

Carla Massoni, chairman of the Open for Business application and review process, invites entrepreneurs to apply for loans to offset the costs of starting a new business, to expand an existing business or to relocate operations to Chestertown. While the businesses must be physically located in Chestertown, business owners are not required to live in Kent County to apply.

For more about information about Open for Business loans and an online application, visit here