Quarterly News & Updates from Baltimore’s Market Center Merchants Association
In this update:
- Merchant Spotlight: Juniper Culinary Apothecary
- Updates from the President and Executive Director of MCMA
- News & Updates
- MCMA Committee Updates
- Resources for Market Center Merchants
- Development Activity
- About the Market Center Merchants Association
- About Market Center
- Welcome New Businesses!
Spices, Teas & Superfoods
Merchant Spotlight: Juniper Culinary Apothecary, Mount Vernon Marketplace
As temperatures drop and leaves fall, our attention turns to food and beverages that keep us warm, cozy, and healthy, as well as finding thoughtful holiday gifts for loved ones. Juniper Culinary Apothecary, purveyor of a carefully selected mix of house tea blends, superfood tonics and spice blends, and small batch specialty foods, will help you power through winter. Owner Sarah Acconcia creates her own blends, including the Superfood Baking Spice, perfect for apple pies and gingerbread, and Rosella Tonic, which boosts your immune system. Juniper’s own Mama Tea Blends for expectant and nursing mothers, popcorn spice set, and superfood hot cocoa also make unique gifts.
Updates from the President & Executive Director of MCMA
From MCMA President, Steve Samuelson
Do you want to attract new customers? One way to do this is to improve the exterior of your business (the facade), because it tells potential customers a lot about the character and quality of the business.
As pedestrians walk past our shops, they look at our signs and our facades, and in our windows. They make note of fresh paint, flowers, attractive signs, and interesting window displays. When they glance in the windows, they notice things like lighting, organization, cleanliness, and the presence of other customers, in addition to the merchandise itself. If they like what they see, they open the door and step inside, becoming more likely to make a purchase.
If your storefront does not inspire people to enter (or return later), you lose the opportunity to turn them into a customer. Moreover, a poorly maintained facade, characterized by things like broken windows, ripped awnings, missing light bulbs, and sloppy signage, actively drives customers away.
In short, your facade tells people a story about the business inside — is it a carryout that takes pride in its freshly prepared food, the friendliest barber shop in town, or a jewelry store specializing in diamonds? No matter the type of business you own, you can use your storefront and show windows to convert passersby into customers.
If you want to improve your business facade, both the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the Baltimore Development Corporation offer grants to do so (for more information, visit our website. Keep in mind, though, that even small, low-cost improvements, such as new front door hardware or a charming window display, can make a big difference!
From MCMA Executive Director, Kristen Mitchell
When I had lunch with architect Klaus Philipsen in August, I did not expect our conversation to turn into a post on his Community Architect Daily blog. It was a happy surprise!
As business and property owners, residents, and others with a stake in Market Center, we may not always realize how much community support we have. The title of Philipsen’s post, “Rooting for Market Center,” reminded me that many people are, indeed, rooting for Market Center to thrive again, not necessarily as it did in the past, as the Baltimore region’s premier shopping destination, but as a functional, mixed-use, mixed-income community.
My social and professional worlds include a lot of individuals who care deeply about Baltimore and its people, environment, economy, history, and future. They are small business owners, main street managers, nonprofit employees, artists, developers, city planners, and community activists, and those who simply want Baltimore to live up to its full potential for everyone. Though they may not necessarily hold traditional positions of power, they and others like them often fuel incremental, sustainable change.
They all see potential in Market Center’s transit access and superior walkability, excellent anchor institutions and cultural venues, hundreds of small businesses, growing residential population, and central location. It is my job to work with Market Center stakeholders to realize this potential. One small step I can take is to remind you that many people are rooting for you, and that I’m here to work with you. I welcome your thoughts, which you can share at meetings, or by calling (443–478–3014) or emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
News & Updates in the Market Center
City of Baltimore Trash Cans Delivered to Interested, Eligible Businesses
Businesses eligible for municipal trash collection can request a City of Baltimore trash can to use for weekly trash pickup. To date, MCMA has helped 80 Market Center businesses get these sturdy cans, which come with an attached lid and serial number for tracking. The City of Baltimore owns the cans and assigns them to a specific location. Businesses may get one free replacement if the can is stolen, lost, or damaged beyond repair, and two free minor repairs. To request a repair or replacement, or to request a can if you have not received one and think you are eligible, call 311.
Procurement Opportunities with Large Institutions and Businesses
Many large Baltimore City businesses and institutions, including the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and BGE, want to make it easier for small businesses to do business with them, through purchasing products or services, or entering into design or construction contracts.
Twenty-five businesses, nonprofits, and institutions are participating in BLocal, meaning they committed to do more to “build, hire, invest, and buy locally.” Each entity made its own commitment and has its own processes, but the BLocal website is a good website from which to get information.
In addition, the University of Maryland, Wells Fargo, and PNC Bank have supplier diversity initiatives. For more information:
Welcome New Board Members
MCMA welcomes Sam McNeill, Branch Manager, M & T Bank; Martinez Davenport, Interim Chief, University of Maryland, Baltimore, police; and N. Scott Phillips, Esq., N. Scott Phillips Legal & Business Consulting Services, to the board.
On-Line Market Center Business Directory
MCMA has an on-line business directory, and we encourage businesses to check their listing here. If the listing is incorrect or you want to add a contact name, phone number, email address, social media accounts, or a brief description of the business (fewer than 20 words), send an email to executivedirector@marketcenter baltimore.org.
Volunteers Beautify Market Center
In September and October, volunteers weeded and mulched tree wells on Baltimore St., weeded and swept on Franklin St., and weeded, swept, removed illegal posters, and scooped trash from behind security grates on Howard St. Special thanks to: Jane (a resident); Tiffany (Parking Authority of Baltimore City); Patrick and Matt (Berman Enterprises); Jason, Helen, Bridget, and Laura (Catholic Relief Services); Doug (Re/Max Commercial Logic), Ann (The Place Lounge); and Casey (Forever Wireless).
Small Business Saturday
Celebrate the small businesses that make Market Center special on #SmallBizSat by shopping locally. Twenty businesses and Lexington Market are offering specials all day (check our website for details), and the Market Center Merchants Association will be giving away Market Center swag at Lexington Market in the afternoon.
Who needs Holiday Cash? Enter MCMA’s Small Business Saturday raffle to win $500 by posting selfies from Market Center businesses participating in #SmallBizSat, using hashtags #MarketCenterBaltimore & #ShopSmall. For a list of participating businesses, visit our website.
MCMA Committee Updates
Clean & Safe Committee
Chair: P.C. Price, Legal Services, Associates, Inc.
Co-Chair: Ann Winder, The Place Lounge
New Schedule: Meets the second Monday of the month at 10:00 a.m.
- In its continued quest to reduce litter in Market Center, MCMA worked with the Department of Public Works to deliver City of Baltimore trash cans to eligible, interested merchants. To date, 80 businesses received the cans.
- At MCMA’s request, MTA removed unused bus shelters on Howard Street to reduce loitering.
- The committee hosts bi-monthly Safe and Clean Task Force meetings with entities responsible for and interested in Market Center’s security and cleanliness, including local, state, and federal law enforcement, institutions, nonprofits, and resident groups. The meetings encourage coordination and provide an opportunity to get answers to tough questions.
- In response to a request from UMB Police, MCMA facilitated replacement of faded “no parking” signs on the 500 block of W. Lexington and 200 blocks of Greene of Paca to limit hacking.
Community Development Committee
Chair: Wendy Blair, Re/Max Commercial Logic
Meets the first Thursday of every month at 8:30 a.m.
- The committee is working on a proposal to form a 501(C)3 Community Development Corporation (CDC).
- The second Customer Service Training course took place in August, attracting 15 participants from nine businesses: Big Bean Theory, Connie’s Chicken & Waffles, Forever Wireless, Garden Produce, Harbor Fish, Lexington Business Center, Mane Attraction Salon, Stephen Wise Baltimore, and Subway (Baltimore Street). Humanim’s Wini Alexander taught and the Downtown Partnership sponsored the class.
- In November, MCMA hosted two courses taught by Christopher Lyon, principal with the law firm Astrachan Gunst Thomas, P.C.: Choosing and Creating the Right Business Entity: Clarifying the Options and Requirements and Employer Responsibilities: Owning a Business is One Thing, Having Employees is Another!
Chair: Scott Garfield, Lexington Market
Co-Chair: Dave Wren, Lexington Business Services
Meets the second Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m.
- The committee is orchestrating MCMA’s involvement in Small Business Saturday (Nov. 25), promoting the 20 participating businesses through social media and printed materials.
- The second Market Center Mingle took place in September at Mem Sahib Indian Restaurant, attracting 45 people. Guests enjoyed Indian food, beer, and wine, and received free henna tattoos, thanks to staff from Mohammed Body Oil. At Market Center, we are proud of our diversity, and we love learning about different cultures, so we invited guests to place pins on a world map to show where they are from, which sparked many interesting conversations.
- The committee is working with The Atrium Apartments on the third Market Center Mingle, scheduled for December 13.
- The committee agreed to cosponsor Everyman Theatres event Threading History and Place: Bromo District Walking Tour, which focuses on Baltimore’s garment district history and connection to today’s revitalization efforts. The November 12 tour corresponded with the play Intimate Apparel.
Resources for Market Center Merchants
This website is a one-stop shop for small business information, including counseling, financial resources, and required permits.
Facade Improvement Grants
The Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) offers matching grants up to $7,500 for upgrades to the front exterior of your building. For information, contact Sean Johnson at 410-837-9305 or visit http://baltimoredevelopment.com/incentives/facade-grant/.
The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore (DPOB) offers matching grants up to $10,000 for upgrades to the front exterior of your building. For information, contact Luis Cardona at 410-605-0453 or email@example.com, or visit http://godowntownbaltimore.com/work/construction/index.aspx.
BDC offers micro loans for small businesses for working capital, furniture, machinery, fixtures, and equipment. For information, call 410–837–9305 or visit info@BaltimoreDevelopment.com.
The Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) offers $5,000-$50,000 loans. They may be used as a bridge loan for matching funds for government grants, including facade grants. Contact Omar Velasco at 443-708-7035 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MD Department of Housing & Community Development offers flexible financing to small businesses and nonprofits through its Neighborhood Business Works program. For information: dhcd.maryland.gov/business/pages/nbw.aspx, or contact Michael Haloskey at 301-429-7523 or email@example.com.
Small Business Counseling
The following organizations provide free or low-cost small business counseling and training:
Greater Baltimore Urban League Center for Entrepreneurship gbul.org
William Honablew, 410-523-8150
Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
Omar Velasco, 443-708-7035, firstname.lastname@example.org
Small Business Administration (SBA)
Tonia McCoy, 410-962-6195, email@example.com
Small Business Resource Center (SBRC)
DPOB offers financial incentives to tech companies that lease commercial space within the Downtown Management Authority boundaries, which includes most of Market Center. For information, contact Claudia Freeland-Jolin at 410-244-1030 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit godowntownbaltimore.com/work/ techconnect/index.aspx.
Development Activity in Market Center
For a current map of development activity in and adjacent to Market Center, visit this page.
About the Market Center Merchants Association
The Market Center Merchants Association (MCMA) represents businesses within Market Center. MCMA uses RBDL fees to support a variety of work, much of which is outlined in this newsletter. MCMA promotes commerce, retains and attracts business, and enhances the customer and residential experience.
About Market Center
Market Center is comprised of 27 blocks near Lexington Market, roughly bounded by Baltimore, Greene, Cathedral/Liberty, and Madison Streets. The exact boundaries are best shown on a map.
Established in 1983, Market Center is one of ten Retail Business District License (RBDL) areas in Baltimore City. Each RBDL was established by a separate City Council ordinance, and the businesses within the RBDL boundaries must pay an annual fee, which the city collects and distributes back to the business association for use in the district.
Welcome New Businesses!
- Kreative Stylez Hair Studio, 302 Park Avenue
- Kora Lee’s Gourmet Dessert Cafe, 602 N. Howard
- Mr. Souvlaki, Mount Vernon Marketplace
- Presentable Cutz, 117 W. Saratoga
- Shyo Clothing, 401 N. Eutaw
- Sultan’s Clothing & Body Oil, 324 N. Eutaw
- U.S. Storage, 602 N. Howard