Notes and quotes for December 2018

Things seen and overheard around the region last month, compiled by reporter Mike Lewis: Nice ride in Spain FREDERICK, Md. — Carey International Inc., which provides chauffeured service, customer-centric travel technology and ground transportation logistics management, has named a new franchise operation in Madrid, Spain. The Carey Madrid banner was bestowed upon Blai Limousines, which will operate as a Carey-branded, independently owned franchise, Carey announced in a news release. Founded in 1965, Blai Limousines began supplying premium ground transportation solutions in Barcelona, including chauffeured services for Catalan painter Salvador Dali, before expanding into additional service territories throughout Spain. Blai Limousines […]

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‘Coffee gets cold quick around our office’

Lori Barnes and Melinda Cordell, owners of Greencastle Notary Service By Mike Lewis mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Lori Barnes and Melinda Cordell own and operate Greencastle Notary Service in Greencastle, Pa. The little storefront almost closed before it got started. Barnes said they were planning to open more than a decade ago in a building across the street. The landlord had “made everything beautiful,” and had asked the duo to move their items out of the space so the floors could be refinished before they opened. “The place burned down that night,” she recalled. “The next day, we rented this space.” And they’ve […]

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Experts see a merry 2019

But much depends on Congress passing a new infrastructure bill By Mike Lewis mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Some economists and business leaders see a mostly rosy 2019 for the Crossroads Business Journal region. At various presentations in Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, those tasked with peering into economic crystal balls have forecast continued growth for the region, driven largely by commerce along Interstate 81 and I-70 and a strong national economy. A few of them said the picture could be even brighter if Congress passes an infrastructure bill. “It doesn’t appear that the new Congress is going to agree on a lot with […]

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Frederick annexes land for industrial use

FREDERICK, Md. — One of the largest contiguous industrial-zoned properties in the region is on the market. The city of Frederick has annexed 327 acres of former farmland, known as the Renn Farm, and rezoned it M-1 for light industrial use. The property has water and sewer service and access to Interstate 70 and U.S. 15. It is near the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, an Aldi distribution center and the Riverside Corporate Park. “Having available zoned land with appropriate infrastructure is critical to attracting quality employers and investment,” said Richard Griffin, director of the city’s Department of Economic […]

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Curt Spicher: ‘Optimistic about the next decade’

Curt Spicher, president of his family’s appliance, electronics and security store, talks about life in retail By Mike Lewis mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com On his way home from the hospital after a heart attack, Curt Spicher had a stop to make — at Spicher’s Appliances, Electronics and Security. “It’s been my life,” he said of the family business. Spicher’s father and grandfather, Carl and Charles Spicher, started the business in 1955. The original store was across the street from the current location on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown, Md. “They sold every appliance GE made — one refrigerator, one washer, one drier … ,” […]

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Economist to deliver forecast for Eastern Panhandle

By Mike Lewis mlewis@herald-mail.com MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia economic leaders will take part in next week’s Eastern Panhandle Economic Outlook Conference in Martinsburg. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn at 301 Foxcroft Ave. John Deskins, director of the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research, will deliver an economic-performance report and forecast for the Eastern Panhandle region. Deskins, who received a doctorate in economics from the University of Tennessee, is an associate professor of economics at West Virginia University. He leads the bureau’s efforts to serve […]

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Medical marijuana business growing in Maryland

By MIKE LEWIS mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Maryland is proving to be fertile ground for at least some medical marijuana operations. Medical cannabis dispensary sales have risen each of the past 10 months, from $1.8 million in December, when the state launched the program, to $11.6 million in September. Sales totaled $68.8 million for that time period, according to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The number of medical marijuana transactions jumped from 26,504 in December to 265,297 in September, again showing an increase every month. At Kind Therapeutics, a growing and processing operation in Hagerstown, Director of Operations Timothy Shaw said Maryland “did […]

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Sowing different revenue streams

Saving the farm has meant diversifying By MIKE LEWIS mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com These days, farm work can mean anything from milking cows and raising crops to hosting hunters and celebrating weddings. Some of those latter options are also known as diversifying revenue streams. “There are lots of different avenues folks are taking for income generation,” said Jeff Semler, University of Maryland extension educator in Washington County. “… They’re trying to take some of the eggs out of one basket and put them into some other baskets. “The old standby was one person on the farm getting a job off the farm,” he said. That […]

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‘You have to be on their farms to understand their lives’

Leslie Hart, agricultural business specialist, Washington County Department of Business Development By MIKE LEWIS mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com Leslie Hart conducts a lot of business in barns and across kitchen tables. “I try to do everything face-to-face. I don’t like emails. I don’t like phones,” Hart said. As the agricultural business specialist within the Washington County (Md.) Department of Business Development, she works with farmers and farm-related ventures. Those duties, and her temperament, get her out of her Hagerstown office. Doing business in person is “the first part of building a relationship. … I still believe in the power of a handshake,” Hart […]

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‘I’m lucky that I have a really good team’

Weiss Bros. near Hagerstown marks its 80th anniversary. President Michael Weiss talks about the past, present and future. By MIKE LEWIS mlewis@crossroadsbizjournal.com A list labeled “2018 goals” hangs in Michael Weiss’s office, with entries that range from “new website” to “run a marathon.” Weiss smiled when he talked about it, describing himself as a “check-the-box kind of guy.” “If it’s on the list, it’ll get done. It drives me crazy sometimes,” he said. For the past several years, Weiss, 41, has been getting things done for Weiss Bros. near Hagerstown, Md. He’s president of the family business, which is celebrating […]

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