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Charles business briefs | Spotlight

Black homeownership rate up

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers is cautiously encouraged about the U.S. Census Bureau’s third quarter 2019 black homeownership rate of 42.7% up from 40.6% in the previous quarter. While all of the homeownership rates increased during this latest reporting period, a black homeownership increase of 2.1% represented the largest uptick. In the bigger picture, NAREB is mindful that black homeownership currently and continues to lag more than 30 percentage points behind the non-Hispanic white homeownership rate of 73.4%, higher than the recorded gap at the time of the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Robust seasonal home purchase activity during the summer months generally accounts for the overall increases in all ethnic and general market categories. NAREB’s boots-on-the-ground approach and other homeownership advocates will continue to support an upward trend of black homeownership rates into the fourth quarter and beyond.

Giant Food makes turkey donation to food bank

Rhonda Jackson (Asbury Church Assistance Network), Linnise Jackson (Asbury Church Assistance Network), Carmen Del Guercio (MFB President & CEO), Joe Urban (Giant Food’s Vice President of Distribution Operations and MFB Board Member), Michele Armstead (Asbury Church Assistance Network), Giant associates and Janet Pack (Asbury Church Assistance Network Executive Director) joined together to celebrate Giant’s donation of 1,000 turkeys to the Capital Area Food Bank for the holiday season. The donation was part of Giant’s contributions to five area Feeding America food banks for a total of 6,000 turkeys to help alleviate hunger across the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Capital Area Food Bank, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank and Food Bank of Delaware also each received at least 1,000 turkeys. This annual donation is part of Giant’s overall commitment to supporting local food banks and pantries.

The turkey donation is in connection to the Giant Food’s Hunger Box Drive which runs from October 11th to Thanksgiving Day. During the Hunger Box Drive, Giant customers can buy a Hunger Box at checkout for $10 and it will be donated to the local Feeding America food bank.

Grocery chain gives to paralyzed vets

Weis Markets presented recently a $175,000 check on behalf of its Mission: ABLE campaign to benefit Paralyzed Veterans of America, according to a Weis press release.

This donation was generated through customer contributions during a three-week, in-store fundraising campaign. Weis Markets’ stores raised $125,000 and a corporate contribution rounded up the donation to $175,000.

“We thank Weis Markets, their store associates, and their customers for supporting veterans with paralysis and other disabilities,” Marcus Murray, national secretary for PVA, said in the release. “The funds raised from this campaign each year helps our organization provide services and programs to ensure veterans receive the benefits, accessibility, and jobs that they deserve.”

With around 42,000 American veterans living with spinal cord injuries, PVA’s mission is to ensure that these men and women remain unstoppable in their life now and in the future, according to the release.

The Community Financial Corporation announces new board member

The Community Financial Corporation, the holding company for Community Bank of the Chesapeake, announced that on Sept. 25, the board of directors appointed Kimberly Briscoe-Tonic to the company’s board of directors.

She is filling the vacancy created by the Sept. 19 resignation of John K. Parlett Jr. Briscoe-Tonic has been appointed to the Enterprise Risk Committee. She will continue to serve on the bank’s Credit Risk Committee.

Briscoe-Tonic has been a member of the bank’s board of directors since 2016. She owns and operates the Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Home P.A. with locations in Waldorf and Mechanicsville. She founded the company with her husband, Anthony Tonic, in 2008. She earned an associate of arts degree in mortuary science and has served families throughout the Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas as a licensed mortician for over 30 years.

Cancer center adds doctors, technology

Chesapeake Potomac Regional Cancer Center, with its two locations in Charlotte Hall and Waldorf, has been delivering radiation therapy for the residents of Southern Maryland since its foundation in 2006.

In July, the Charlotte Hall facility received a brand new Varian TrueBeam linear accelerator, which enables complex treatments such as stereotactic radio-surgery and stereotactic body radiation therapy. These techniques allow high-precision, ablative treatment for a variety of cancer conditions, minimizing side effects and shortening treatment visits to as few as a single treatment. Both facilities also received new CT-simulation scanners and Vision RT surface guidance systems for continuous surface tracking during treatment.

Along with Dr. Boris Naydich and Dr. Kathleen Settle, CPRCC introduces two new physicians to the Southern Maryland offices: Dr. Beant Gill and Dr. Aileen Kim.

Tire shop moves from Hughesville to Waldorf

McCarthy Tire Service, a family-owned company, announced that the store operations from its location at 6530 Hughesville Industrial Park Road in Hughesville relocated 10 miles away to 7 Henry Ford Circle in Waldorf on Aug. 26. The store’s new site is a modern building in an industrial park adjacent to Waldorf’s commercial center. It is five minutes from U.S. 301, providing easy access to the rural areas of Southern Maryland and to the metro area of Washington and Alexandria, Va.

The store handles tire sales and service for commercial trucks, fleets, off-the-road and industrial equipment and agricultural machines. It also covers Southern Maryland as part of McCarthy Tire’s roadside assistance program. The phone number, 301-870-3405, and fax number, 301-870-0660, remain the same.

Dash In, Tyson Foods unite to fight hunger

On Monday, Oct. 28, Dash In, a Wills Group company headquartered in La Plata, partnered with its supplier, Tyson Foods, to donate 36,000 pounds of chicken to the Food Bank of Delaware, a statewide nonprofit working to ensure a community free of hunger. With more than 50 locations in the Mid-Atlantic region, Dash In’s mission is to fuel the everyday journey of people and their communities with good food and warm smiles — transforming daily errands into rewarding and engaging experiences.

This event marks the first partnership between Dash In, Tyson Foods and the Food Bank of Delaware, demonstrating Dash In’s commitment to the communities it serves by partnering with local organizations to fight hunger across the Mid-Atlantic region.

The donated food will be disbursed through the Food Bank of Delaware’s network of 509 hunger relief partners and their Healthy Pantry Center, a mini grocery store that opened at the Newark headquarters this July, providing individuals and families the opportunity to pick out food and household products that best suit their needs.

Ratner Companies collaborates with Stand Up To Cancer

Ratner Companies, parent company of Hair Cuttery, Bubbles and Salon Cielo, recently announced its new collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer. As part of the largest philanthropic campaign in the company’s 45-year history, all Ratner Companies salons will hold their “My Strands” campaign through Nov. 30.

Throughout the campaign, guests are encouraged to stop by their local salon, make a donation, purchase a color service and take a photo to post on social media with the hashtags #ChangeItUp and #StandUpToCancer, stating who their strands stand for. Each salon will be collecting donations, with Ratner Companies matching those donations dollar for dollar, up to $50,000. Additionally, Pulp Riot has agreed to donate $1 to SU2C for each Pulp Riot color service purchased at participating locations, up to $5,000.

Department of Housing issues $347 million in bonds

Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Kenneth C. Holt announced that the department conducted the largest mortgage revenue bond issuance in the history of the agency.

The department’s bond-issuing entity, the Community Development Administration, issued more than $347 million under the Residential Revenue Bond program, according to an agency press release. Proceeds of the bond sales through that program are primarily used to finance mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers through the state’s Maryland Mortgage Program.

“The majority of the Maryland Mortgage Program’s resources come from the sale of these types of bonds, not the state’s budget, so this highly successful program is funded and managed with virtually no cost to Maryland’s taxpayers,” Holt said in the release.

The issuance received over $1.2 billion in investor orders, with more than 27% of filled orders coming from Maryland and national retail investors. The tax-exempt interest rates achieved through this bond sale will enable the department to continue to offer Maryland Mortgage Program loans at below market interest rates.

For more information about the Maryland Mortgage Program, go to

Real Estate manager earns designation

Stephanie Erhueh, a manager with Long & Foster Real Estate’s Waldorf and Lexington Park offices, has earned the Graduate, Realtors Institute designation.

Awarded by the National Association of Realtors, the GRI designation recognizes that Erhueh successfully completed a course of study that provided a solid base of information designed to further their expertise within the real estate industry. She joins other top producers in the residential real estate industry who hold the designation across the nation.

Erhueh was named branch manager in March 2019. In the early stages of her real estate career, she earned the distinction of being named Rookie of the Year and Rookie Top Producer for the company’s Southern Maryland region in 2016. Her successes and knowledge of real estate led to a new role with Long & Foster as a trainer in 2017, and she began teaching new agents how to propel their real estate careers into the highest levels of success.

Active in the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, Erhueh served for two consecutive years as a member of the Young Professional Network Committee. She was recently named by GCAAR as a 2019 award winner, an honor recognizing high-achieving Realtors who are considered to be among the best in the industry. Erhueh holds licenses in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

Nearby hospital earns echocardiography re-accreditation

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission has re-accredited MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center’s Department of Cardiology for an additional term of three years.

To earn reaccreditation, MSMHC had to undergo an extensive application and review process wherein the hospital had to have demonstrated compliance with published standards and a commitment to quality patient care in echocardiography. IAC accreditation includes meeting both critical operational and technical components, as well as demonstrating competence on case studies and final reports.

This news comes on the heels of MSMHC recently earning a five-year designation from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System, which allows the hospital to receive critically ill heart attack patients transported by EMS providers.

ALDI opens first Waldorf store

ALDI, a leader in the grocery industry, will open its first store in Waldorf as part of a $3.4 billion investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022.

The new Waldorf ALDI store layout features expansive refrigeration space to accommodate the fresh, healthy and convenient products people want most. ALDI recently expanded its product offerings, making 20% of its total selection new. ALDI stores also feature open ceilings, natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials. The Waldorf store will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

eMaryland Marketplace Advantage launches

The Maryland Department of General Services announced the Office of State Procurement launched the state’s new e-procurement system eMaryland Marketplace Advantage. This initiative is a direct result of Governor Larry Hogan’s 2016 Commission to Modernize State Procurement, led by Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford.

General Services has partnered with Nitor, a procurement services firm focused on spend management, to oversee implementation efforts of the new system. eMMA is state-of-the-art procurement technology powered by the Ivalua Platform, a global leader in procurement technology. eMMA will allow buyers to collaborate with vendors from the bidding and contracting process all the way through the purchasing process.

Over 12,000 vendors have pre-registered in eMMA and have positioned themselves to do business with Maryland and its local governments. Vendors not yet registered are encouraged to do so. Vendors can access the system to conduct business or register by going to

While the user experience is intuitive, help and training will be provided during the transition by the eMMA help desk. The state is currently in the process of training over 825 procurement professionals. Quick reference guides and other training aides are available at Questions can be sent to [email protected].

Local business owner named to NSBA Leadership Council

Bathsheba Smithen, CEO & Founder of Cage Free Voices in Waldorf, was recently named to the National Small Business Association Leadership Council. NSBA is the nation’s oldest small-business advocacy organization, and operates on a staunchly nonpartisan basis. Smithen joins the NSBA Leadership Council alongside other small-business advocates from across the country as they work to promote the interests of small business to policymakers in Washington, D.C.

Smithen is an educational consultant, motivational speaker, radio personality, performing artist, author, playwright and the CEO and founder of Cage Free Voices. Smithen provides training and curriculum development to school districts, church leaders and educational publishing companies such that they may infuse youth culture in educational materials. As a curriculum developer and consultant, Smithen has made contributions to PEARSON, US, Urban Learning and Leadership Center, GEAR UP, REAL Women, Kids & Culture Camp and others.

Smithen joined the NSBA Leadership Council as part of her efforts to tackle the many critical issues facing small business, including tax reform, regulatory restraint, health care costs and how the Affordable Care Act will impact small business. The NSBA Leadership Council is focused on providing valuable networking between small-business advocates from across the country while ensuring small business a seat at the table as Congress and regulators take up key small-business proposals.

For more on the NSBA Leadership Council, visit

University offers food-business workshop

The University of Maryland Extension offers a launch-pad business training workshop, Food for Profit, for budding food entrepreneurs. Scaling a specialty food business into a sustainable, profitable business requires advanced training and technical mentoring in the areas of: regulations, hazard analysis and critical control points, record keeping, recall procedures, preventive controls, product development and testing, packaging and labeling and marketing.

In an effort to supply resources and training materials for established food business, a new section, Food for Profit 2, has been added to the Specialty Businesses modules of the Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center, The site now offers lists of both private and public food processing videos, articles, contacts for industry support agencies and facilities and published training materials that support scaling up entrepreneurial food businesses.

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