Economic Development Update for Worcester County – news, updates & information – July 2016Posted on by d3admin
Two VOLT Business Loans Awarded
Worcester County Economic Development (WCED) made two check presentations on July 28th for recently closed VOLT business loans.
Backshore Brewing Company has tapped into the VOLT loan funds to expand their ever popular product line, Hoop Tea. Located on 10th Street in Ocean City, owner Danny Robinson will now be able to produce and meet the demands for his “Hoop Tea” malted beverage. From left to right at the check presentation was Senator Jim Mathias, owner Danny Robinson, Director of Economic Development for Worcester County Merry Mears and Steve Primosh, Vice President of Financial Services at Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation. Visit www.backshorebrew.com to find out more about Backshore Brewing’s entire product assortment.
Lorissa McAllister, owner of The Daily Brew Coffee Shop located on Washington Street in Snow Hill, received VOLT funds necessary to renovate the first floor of a vacant downtown building. Lorissa anticipates an official opening in July. Pictured from left to right are: Snow Hill Mayor Charlie Dorman,
Steve Primosh, Vice President of Financial Services at Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, Lorissa McAllister, Director of Worcester County Economic Development Merry Mears and Snow Hill Councilman Michael Pruitt. In addition to fresh brewed and specialty coffees, the Daily Brew will feature a selection of bagels, muffins and croissants along with an array of cookies and cakes.
VOLT funding is a loan program managed by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) for the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Governor Hogan Visits Hardwire
Hardwire, LLC, welcomed Governor Hogan and provided a tour of their manufacturing facilities in Pocomoke City. Hardwire is expanding its operations and adding 20 new jobs over the next three years. George Tunis, Hardwire CEO, was quoted as saying: “by working with Hardwire, not only through financing, but through pilot programs, Governor Hogan is really facilitating market growth and taking a leadership role in our state and country.” To support Hardwires expansion, the State of Maryland’s Department of Commerce has provided $85,000 loan through the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF). Worcester County Economic Development (WCED) has also worked in partnership with the City of Pocomoke to provide financial assistance for power upgrades at Hardwire facilities. Director Merry Mears states: “Hardwire is not only a local business; it is an integral part of our community. This business is a high tech, high wage employer that provides many returns for the residents of Worcester County.”
The Small Business Development Center opens satellite office
The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) at Salisbury University has officially landed an office within Worcester County Economic Development. Pictured from left to right is John Hickman, Regional Director of the Eastern Region Maryland SBDC; Timothy Sherman, Business Consultant and Merry Mears, Director of Worcester County Economic Development. The office has been established to assist individuals in Worcester County with the intricacies of starting a small business. The SBDC can help to formulate business plans, cash flow projections and applications for loan requests.
John Azzolini at Berlin Intermediate SchoolPosted on by d3admin
It was Junior Achievement week at Berlin Intermediate School. John Azzolini took the opportunity to teach the 4th grade students in Mrs. Parker’s class about entrepreneurship. The students were instructed on the differences between an innovator and an inventor. The class did a workshop on owning a business and the necessary elements of supply, inventory, advertising, and prices for the goods being sold.
“I strongly believe in what Junior Achievement stands for” Azzolini states, “it is a lasting impression on students regardless of grade.” JA broadens students thinking that local businesses work together to create a region’s economy but regional businesses work together to create the United States’ economy.”
Annual MEDA Conference held in Cambridge, May 1-3, 2016Posted on by d3admin
Meredith (Merry) Mears
Director, Worcester County Economic Development
Explain Your Background in Economic Development
For 15 years, I have worked alongside our local Senators, Delegates and County Commissioners & Councils on the Lower Eastern Shore promoting workforce and economic development initiatives. For the last 3.5 years, I have served as the Deputy Director, and most recently, as of October 2015, the Director of Worcester County Economic Development. I have worked continuously on the establishment, success and recognition of the first formally recognized Lower Shore Business and Technology Incubator. I’ve also facilitated the placement of almost a million dollars of low interest VOLT loan funds with start-ups or expansions. My latest projects include a very promising train excursion venture and a feasibility study that will investigate the viability of a large sports complex in our County.
What are your key priorities within your current position?
- Continued success and expansion of our Business and Technology Incubator
- Connection of last mile broadband on our County
- Facilitation and establishment of a high profile excursion train between the towns of Berlin and Snow Hill
- Completion of Worcester County Sports Arena feasibility studies
- Commercial development on Rt. 50 in West Ocean City
- Supporting our towns and cities in their goals for economic development
Does one particular project spark your excitement? If so, describe it below.
We have the opportunity to bring a sports arena, with an adjacent practice facility and an outdoor sports complex to Worcester County. Our proximity to the beach, and our regional proximity to major markets, such as DC, Philadelphia and others make our location prime for travel leagues and visitors who want to participate in a sporting event and then visit the beach along with many other venues our area has to offer.
What professional pressures keep you up at night?
We have a very high volume office, and produce a lot of outcomes for those we work with. Ensuring that everyone gets the same, top-notch level of service with the number of staff members we have can be a challenge, but it’s also what excites me. We build close relationships with business owners and community members here, and we get to be a part of their world, learning about their businesses and objectives. Our goal is to propel local businesses forward so that their goals become reality.
What are your locality’s top three “selling points” for future growth?
- We want heavy commercial development on the Rt. 50 corridor. Over 8 million people drive through this corridor on their way to Ocean City every year and there is tremendous opportunity awaiting businesses that choose to locate there.
- We are located (in the southern end of our County) only 15 minutes away from NASA Wallops Island, and enjoy close relationships with leadership there to assist contractors interested in partnerships with the organization. We also have low-cost rent opportunities in our business Incubator for them, and multiple blue ribbon schools in our County for families working with NASA, but living in Worcester.
- Worcester County offers a competitive tax structure for businesses, along with a variety of other tax incentives aimed at attracting business.
- We have 3 Enterprise Zones in our County, and our entire County is a HUBZone.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want to work with MEDA on to move Maryland forward?
We would love to work with MEDA to bring natural gas connectivity and broadband access for all areas on lower shore.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with MEDA and your fellow members?
I love what I do, and love to inspire others to get into this field. There is always something new to learn!