Frederick Business Quarterly - Winter 2024

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Mind Your Business

Looking Toward the Future

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BUSINESS BRIEF Dear Readers, As we embark on another exciting year, I am thrilled to reflect on the incredible journey we’ve had in 2023 and to set our sights on the promising opportunities that lie ahead in 2024. Our community has witnessed remarkable leadership throughout the past year. From individuals stepping up to address local challenges to organizations spearheading initiatives that bring positive change, the spirit of leadership has been truly inspiring. In this issue, we celebrate the unsung heroes who have dedicated their time and efforts to make a lasting impact on our community. Businesses that serve and give back are a testament to the strength that arises when we come together for a common cause. Looking back, we see that Frederick County has made substantial progress. From collaborative projects that have enriched our neighborhoods to the countless acts of kindness that have woven tighter bonds among us, each achievement is a marker of our shared commitment to growth and betterment.

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Gabby Mongeau BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Ron Cramer MARKETING DIRECTOR Susan O’Connor COPY EDITOR Molly Fellin Spence GRAPHIC DESIGNER Ana Lazo Eastep CONTRIBUTORS­­­­ Jodie Bollinger Shuan Butcher Katie Hanna Mayor Michael O’Connor Chris Slattery DISTRIBUTION

As we turn the page to 2024, the possibilities are vast. The coming year holds the promise of new opportunities, fresh collaborations, and the chance to build on the foundation we’ve laid together. Let us maintain the forward momentum and accept the obstacles as necessary steps on the path to a better, more connected future. Here’s to a wonderful year ahead. 12 S. Market Street, Suite 101 Frederick, MD 21701 p. 301-662-6050 | f. 301-662-5102

Donna Elbert Frederick Business is a bimonthly publication of Pulse Publishing, LLC. Customer inquiries should be directed to Pulse Publishing, LLC. Manuscripts, drawings, photography, and other submissions must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The Frederick County Guide is not responsible for unsolicited material. All contents of this publication are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part for any reason without prior consent of the publisher. Frederick Business makes every effort to ensure accuracy of its resource listings, but does not hold responsibility for incorrect or missing information. We wish to thank our advertisers for their continued support! Many thanks to the countless Frederick County residents and employees who offered their time and insight to add to the content of this issue.

On the cover: Stunning panoramic photo of Frederick County by Michael DeMattia.

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thiS wintEr...







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38 F E AT U R E S



A look back on 2023 with an eye toward the future


LEADERS WHO LEARN Top picks in print and podcasts




Frederick businesses give back to the community all year long


LEADERSHIP FREDERICK focuses on community, leadership, connections



A small business owner’s guide to prepping for tax season

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Generosity is ‘in the bag’

Winter 2024

What was once a colonial rest stop on the National Road is now a great place to live and do business.

The Town of New Market keeps its historical charm as new relaxed, friendly dining venues, unique boutiques and a dynamic set of businesses take root alongside established antique shops. Stroll along our Main Street and see for yourself.

w w w. t o w n o f n e w m a r ke t . o r g Winter 2024

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LEADERS WHO LEARN... Where do executives and small business owners alike turn to stay tuned into the latest trends and cultivate inspiration? We asked a few of our contributors for their top picks in print and podcasts.

PRO READS From Strength to Strength:

A person I greatly respect suggested this book for my to-beread pile after some deep conversations and an understanding of my current place in life – newly 57, a lifelong self-directed, overachieving creative who just wasn’t feeling it anymore. What this person didn’t know was that more than a decade ago I pledged to never read another self-help, success-driven, you-can-do-it book again. But my drive had slammed into park and I thought I was OK with that … until I wasn’t. Despite Brooks holding the No. 1 slot on the New York Times Best-Seller List and Oprah apparently cooing over the book on her podcast, I had never heard of it. But, because I’m a sucker for a good homework assignment, I got myself a copy and read it in two days. Much to my surprise, this 58-year-old social scientist and Harvard professor’s personal story paralleled some of my own life and professional journeys and his words tapped into my mini-existential crisis to reframe things in a way that I’d not even considered. Brooks talks about concepts such as the Striver’s Curse and Success Curves (fluid intelligence, crystallized intelligence) and how it’s necessary to move successfully from one to the next in order to strongly transition to the next stage of our lives and careers. He masterfully weaves stories of his own journey with others going through the experience of being an over-achieving, success addict struggling to find an updated map for their second half of life.

This book had me feeling seen and oddly understood. I also found inspiration, hope and a new sense of joy to help me work through managing the combination of a meaningful work, family, and spiritual life while setting strong intentions for the future. Let’s just say “Strength to Strength” was the unexpected guide I needed to make adjustments and to get my internal transmission back into a new-and-improved version of DRIVE! – by Melissa Howes-Vitek

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Winter 2024 / Jacob Wackerhausen

Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks


PRO podcasts The Motivated Mind

by Scott Lynch

If you are looking for a podcast to improve your mindset, this is an amazing listen. Host Scott Lynch does a great job at keeping episodes relevant with actionable content. He has a good rapport with his guests, giving the podcast a down-to-earth feel. Topics covered include: happiness and fulfillment, decreasing anxiety, life-changing habits, improving thinking, and overcoming the fear of failure. In one of my favorite episodes, “My Simple Productivity System,” Lynch shares the system he uses to keep himself organized, prioritize tasks, track ideas, and schedule events. When you reach the end of each episode, you will feel equipped to follow through on what you have learned. With more than 300 episodes, it’s easy to find many beneficial topics. Most episodes are 30 minutes or less, so even the busiest person can find time to listen. – by Valerie Turner


Winter 2024 EM:

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Photo by Michael DeMattia

REFLEC 12 Frederick Business Quarterly

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CTIONS: A look back on 2023, with an eye toward the future Winter 2024

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Reflections: A Look Back on 2023

From the desk of Mayor Michael O’Connor... Photo courtesy of Office of the Mayor, City of Frederick

Reflecting on Frederick’s resilience and prosperity: A perspective on 2023 and beyond

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Reflections: A Look Back on 2023 Editor’s Note: The following piece was submitted by the office of Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor and is being presented unedited.


s we embrace the beginning of a new year, I take great satisfaction in reflecting on the remarkable achievements that have defined the City of Frederick in 2023. The past year has been marked by resilience, innovation, and collaborative efforts, setting the stage

for a promising future for our city and its residents.

Leadership in Economic Development: A Stellar Team First and foremost, I am so proud our City is represented by such an outstanding team and our business community should be to. Our small but dynamic economic development team is not just well-known locally but is also leading the charge at the state and regional level. Richard Griffin, our City Economic Development Director and current President of the Maryland Economic Development Association, along with Mary Ford Naill, our Manager of Economic Development who recently graduated from the prestigious Leadership Maryland program, are the driving forces behind our economic initiatives. Their leadership has played a crucial role in pushing our city’s economic development to new heights.

Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center: A Catalyst for Economic Growth One of the crowning achievements of 2023 was the substantial progress made on the Downtown Frederick Hotel and Conference Center, which included a visit to the future site by Gov. Wes Moore and members of his cabinet. The City just recently learned the project received a $7.5 million investment from the governor’s proposed budget, which is a testament to the state’s belief in our economic potential. This project is poised to become a cornerstone for Frederick’s economic prosperity and a driving force for the entire state. We are fully committed to safeguarding this investment during the state budget process and ensuring its transformative impact.

Small Businesses: The Heartbeat of Frederick’s Economy At the heart of Frederick’s economy lies our small business community, a dynamic force that shapes the character of our city. Engaging with individual businesses, attending more than 50 grand openings, celebrating anniversaries, and listening to their stories have been among the most rewarding aspects of my role. Whether it’s the local breweries crafting unique flavors, the cozy restaurants and bars creating memorable experiences, or the vibrant retail establishments contributing to our community’s Winter 2024

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Photos courtesy of Office of the Mayor, City of Frederick

Reflections: A Look Back on 2023

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Reflections: A Look Back on 2023 diverse tapestry, these small businesses are the lifeblood of

my deep appreciation for the business community’s willingness

Frederick. Witnessing the resilience and vibrancy of our business

to adapt. This initiative marks a significant transformation, and

community, especially in the brewing, culinary, and retail scenes,

I am grateful for the proactive approach our businesses took

is a source of great pride. Your contributions make Frederick the

to support efforts against environmental challenges. Diverting

special place it is.

plastic waste from our waterways is a collective endeavor, and the adaptability of our businesses in implementing sustainable

Fostering Tomorrow’s Workforce: Good Jobs Great Cities Initiative This year, The City of Frederick was accepted into the inaugural cohort of the National League of Cities’ Good Jobs Great Cities

practices continues to impress me. This small change holds the potential to make a big difference, and I am confident that together, we can contribute to a healthier and more environmentally conscious Frederick.

Academy—a distinction that brings not only recognition but a significant opportunity to shape the future. This initiative

Where Innovation Meets Historic Preservation

holds paramount importance as it is designed to aid the City

Frederick’s commitment to adaptive reuse, showcasing both

in developing a robust workforce pipeline for emerging adults

innovation and historic preservation, is evident in projects like

aged 14-24. The City plays a crucial role in crafting a strong

the Union Knitting Mills. This remarkable initiative exemplifies

foundation for our young people, ensuring they are equipped with

the adaptability and creativity of our businesses, earning the

the skills and opportunities needed to thrive in the workforce. As

Maryland Economic Development Association award for Project

we continue journey into 2024, our partnership with the business

of the Year. Not only does this achievement underscore our

community becomes even more pivotal, laying the groundwork

community’s forward-thinking nature, but it has also garnered

for collaborative efforts that will benefit both our youth and the

regional attention through the practice of adaptive reuse. As

businesses that shape our city’s economy. We are eager to work

we continue to breathe new life into historic spaces, we stand

hand-in-hand with our business partners to bring the programs

as a beacon of innovation, preserving our rich heritage while

included in Good Jobs Great Cities to fruition, fostering a thriving

embracing modern possibilities.

and dynamic workforce for the years to come.

The Year Ahead A Place People Want to Be

As exciting as 2023 was, what’s more exciting is the journey

Frederick continues to be an attractive tourism destination,

ahead. In 2024, we anticipate more economic vitality with

with over $500 million in tourism-related spending in 2023. The

initiatives such as the opening of FITCI’s new facility, renovations

spending not only contributes to our economic vitality but also

at Nymeo Field, and the arrival of professional basketball with

plays a pivotal role in creating a community where everyone is

the Flying Cows in The Basketball League, bringing professional

welcome and affirms that Frederick is a place where people want

basketball to Maryland for the first time in more than 20 years.

to be.

Our commitment to the development and operation of Data

Our consistent inclusion in lists such as “Top 100 Places

Driven Frederick remains steadfast, playing a crucial role in

to Live” and “Top 15 Happiest Towns in America” reflects its

data collection for various agencies in the City and County.

appeal, showcasing the welcoming and inclusive atmosphere

Additionally, unprecedented investment in the west side

that defines Frederick. These recognitions highlight Frederick’s

continues with plans for the Golden Mile Alliance’s first full-time

unique charm and affirm its status as a place that embraces

executive director—an effort we believe can eventually lead to

diversity and hospitality

the mirroring of the success of our Main Street organization, the Downtown Frederick Partnership.

Embracing Change: The Reusable Bag Initiative

As we step into 2024, I am confident that our city will

The only constant in life is change, and for our business

continue to thrive economically, fostering innovation and seizing

community, one notable shift has been the introduction of the

opportunities. I extend my sincere gratitude to the Frederick

reusable bag initiative, passed by the Board of Aldermen. While

community for your unwavering support, making Frederick an

we understand that change can be challenging, I want to express

exceptional place to live and do business.

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Reflections: A Look Back on 2023

Thoughts from the Frederick County Department of Economic Development...


ith a $14.3B economy, over 6,800 businesses and a growing population of over 287,000 people Frederick County continues to be a great place to live, work and thrive. The Frederick County Office of Economic Development (FCOED) had an

exceptional year helping businesses start, locate and expand. To name a few, Frederick County welcomed Rowan Digital and Power Solutions to the County. Companies such as Qiagen, FITCI and Precision for Medicine expanded adding square footage and jobs to the region. FCOED launched a series of industry profiles to showcase the area’s strengths and provide immediate analysis to prospective businesses. The first industry to be featured, was the Life Sciences industry, which continues to be one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the region. Frederick County boasts over 130 life science companies including industry leaders such as Kite, a Gilead Company, AstraZeneca, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Lonza. Frederick County earned 3 AAA bond ratings from all highest possible ratings based on the county’s very strong fiscal governance policies. Additionally, Frederick County was accepted into the Mobility Action Learning Network. The Urban Institute selected Frederick County, Data Driven Frederick, and other community leaders to participate. Lara Fritts, Director

survey revealed that 45% of businesses indicated plans to

of the Division of Economic Opportunity, will lead the Mobility

expand in Frederick County. “These positive results attest to

Action Team with a goal to lift people out of poverty through

the thriving culture we’ve created here in Frederick County,” said

programs, policies, and actions.

County Executive Jessica Fitzwater. “I am proud that businesses

To better support the businesses already located

not only feel a sense of belonging, but also see a future in

in Frederick County, FCOED in partnership with BEACON at

our community as they set goals and consider expansion of

Salisbury University conducted a business sentiment survey.

operations. Thank you to the over 380 respondents—we are

FCOED launched the survey during Business Appreciation Week,

committed to using their feedback as we continue to innovate

an annual event to thank organizations for doing business in

in economic and workforce development.”

Frederick County. In 2023 the focus for BAW was on major employers. FCOED staff visited nearly 50 businesses in one

– by Jodie Bollinger, Acting Executive Director

week that represented over 20,000 jobs, 11,700,00+ square

Frederick County Office of Economic Development and

feet, and over 300 acres of agricultural land. The business

Workforce Development

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Top photo courtresy of; bottom photo courtesy of

three major bond agencies, reaffirming the county at the

Photo by David Spence, Spence Photographics

Reflections: A Look Back on 2023

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Frederick Business Quarterly 19


FREDERICK focuses on community, leadership, connections by Shuan Butcher

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ach year for the last 35 years several dozen people with connections to local businesses or community organizations are selected to participate in Leadership Frederick County. The program is for professionals who live or work in

the county and are interested in learning more about it. If selected, participants pay about $3,000 in tuition and take leadership master classes, participate in workshops, and focus on personal growth and professional development. Participants come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds and expertise, and represent a variety of industries, such as healthcare, government, finance, education, nonprofits and commercial industries. Each participant has a different reason to be part of the program, but there are three primary benefits that every individual who embarks on this journey gains: community, leadership and connections.

Community Steve Heine, president and chief executive officer of Woodsboro Bank, was a member of Leadership Frederick in 20012002. He participated in a similar program in Albany, New York, so he had a sense of the program before starting. “These community leadership programs are similar in title and scope, but all are a little different,” he said. Joining the program aligned with his personal mission of being involved in the community, he said. “I have always been a community-focused person. And each of us has a responsibility to make Frederick better,” Heine said. Heine said Leadership Frederick introduces participants to the various facets of the county in a very efficient way. Typically one day each month, participants spend a day focusing on a particular theme or topic important to the community. Themes include local history, education, health and human services, government, Photo courtesy of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce

agriculture, quality of life and economic development. Each session resonates with class members differently. Agriculture was Heine’s favorite session. “I enjoyed learning about the business operating model of the farm we went to,” he said. “The scale, the history, the science of it — I didn’t have that knowledge [before].” Tamika Thrasher was running her own business and serving as the interim chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Frederick when she applied for Leadership Frederick. (She has since removed the interim from her title and been named the CEO by the board).

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Leadership Frederick

“I had been encouraged to go through the program for a while,” she said. “As I’ve been more involved in the community, it made sense and the encouragement from others helped.” Government Day was a favorite for Thrasher: “I thought I knew everything, but I got to see a different side.” Frederick during the pandemic, which made it difficult to connect with people in her new community. She had heard a lot about Leadership Frederick and saw it as an opportunity to quickly immerse herself in Frederick County. “I put equal weight between the business component and personal development opportunity,” she said. She enjoyed a number of the content days, including History Day: “You know when you come into town that this is a unique place, but I was able to get all the rich history that day.” As vice president of operations for Goodwill Industries of the Monocacy Valley, she also appreciated Health and

“Leadership is a complex topic, but through the shared experience, you observe other people’s approach to leadership as well as their own awareness of who they are.” - Steve Heine, Leadership Frederick Class of 2002

Human Services Day, she said.

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Photo courtesy of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce

Holly Schor, a member of the Class of 2023, moved to

Leadership Frederick

Leadership Leadership Frederick is a program of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has partnered with Hood College in order to enhance the leadership component. “The program is a wonderful laboratory for learning about leadership,” Heine said. “Leadership is a complex topic, but through the shared experience, you observe other people’s approach to leadership as well as their own awareness of who they are. That allowed me to reflect on who I am.” Thrasher also saw the program as a great leadership opportunity. “I learned about how leaders lead and how leaders evolve,” she said. “There are a lot of different ways to become a leader.” Photos courtesy of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce

She said the program can make participants more intuitive leaders. “There were a number of ‘Aha moments’ for me,” she said. Sometimes you don’t know you need something until you are in it, according to Schor. She appreciated the opportunity Leadership Frederick provides to take a look at herself and to reflect on her skill sets.

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Leadership Frederick

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Leadership Frederick

Connections The cohort model of Leadership Frederick means that each class spends several hours per month together, developing closeknit relationships with each other. “As an adult, trying to make friends is sometimes difficult,” Schor said. “The way the program is designed forces you to get vulnerable quickly. And you learn quickly that the one thing

Photos courtesy of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce

everyone has in common is that we all care about the community

“The way the program is designed forces you to get vulnerable quickly. And you learn quickly that the one thing everyone has in common is that we all care about the community we live in.” - Holly Schor, Leadership Frederick Class of 2023

we live in.” At the beginning of the program, Thrasher said she knew about 20% of her classmates. “You really build relationships with many others,” Thrasher said. “I now consider more than half of them genuine friends that I can reach out to anytime.” More than 20 years later, Heine said he remains connected with some of the individuals in his Leadership Frederick class. After the class graduates, members become part of an alumni network and many choose to stay involved in the program by attending alumni events. Heine, who serves on the chamber’s executive board, tries to send one or two emerging leaders from Woodsboro Bank through the program each year. Schor also encourages colleagues to participate in the program. In addition, she wants to stay involved in supporting a content day

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Leadership Frederick

Leadership Frederick has a robust group of alumni who not only give back to the program, but also are leaders who are giving back to the place where they live, work

Photo courtesy of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce

and play.

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Leadership Frederick

and participate in the Leaders on Loan program, which pairs class members with a local nonprofit to work on a particular problem or need of the organization. Top photo by Shuan Butcher; middle and bottom photos courtesy of the Frederick Chamber of Commerce

Leadership Frederick has a robust group of alumni who not only give back to the program, but also are leaders who are giving back to the place where they live, work and play. Schor recommends the program to anyone. “It has a ton of value… where else can you learn about your community, yourself, and others in one place?” If you are interested in understanding the Frederick community better, developing or fine-tuning your leadership capabilities, or growing your network, consider joining the next cohort. Applications for the 2024-25 class will be accepted starting in February. For more information, visit

Shuan Butcher is a graduate of Leadership Frederick’s 2008 Class. For the past 15 years, he has also coordinated the program’s Quality of Life Day. Winter 2024

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GIVE and Let GIVE:

Frederick businesses give back to the community, all year long

by Chris Slattery

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Winter 2024


any consumers have gotten onboard in recent years with the idea that shopping at and supporting small, local businesses is a good idea. The dollars spent locally make a difference locally, too, creating local jobs and contributing to the local tax base. And many

local businesses also give back directly to their communities. “If we have a platform, it’s our responsibility to do something positive with it,” says Sumner Crenshaw, owner of The Muse in Frederick. “The Muse has been around for so long, we’re such a staple to the community, and we have this strong platform. We might as well do what we can to support the people who need it and get the word out about various causes.” Crenshaw and The Muse spent 2023 supporting The Frederick Center, an organization that supports and advocates for LGBTQ+ people in the greater Frederick community.

Photo courtesy of The Muse

“They do support and outreach, they do Frederick Pride every year, a lot of good stuff,” explains Crenshaw, adding that The Muse’s sponsorship of The Frederick Center raised more than $8,000 for the nonprofit, mostly through a unique art auction that challenges customers to get in touch with both their inner artists and inner philanthropists. Winter 2024

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Give & Take

“We do what we can to support the people who need it, and to get the word out about various causes. And we appreciate everybody who shops local every year.”

Photo courtesy of The Muse

- Sumner Crenshaw, owner of The Muse

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Give & Take

“We have a couple of ways we give back,” she says, “starting with our Lend a Hand Charity Art Auction, which we’ve done every year for 12 years in a row now.” It’s a simple idea: The Muse shoppers can purchase small canvas squares for $20 each and create a piece of art that the store displays and then auctions. All the proceeds from the canvas sales and the auction itself go to that year’s chosen charity. Crenshaw, an oil painter who moved to Frederick from Vermont, says that thematically the Lend a Hand Charity Art Auction fits perfectly with The Muse. “We specialize in all handmade, all American made stuff,” she says. “Sixty percent of our items are made right here in the DMV area.” Crenshaw says The Muse, which she took over in March 2020 from the previous owner, Whitney Dahlberg, who opened it in 2003, offers “a little bit of everything. Jewelry, pottery, mugs; T-shirts and clothing; candles, perfumes, scarves, baby items, Christmas ornaments, artwork and prints.” And the variety doesn’t end with the inventory. Crenshaw says that The Muse has collaborated with local artists to create and sell Ukraine-related items and raise money for charities to Photos courtesy of The Muse

support that country. “We also did funding for Reproductive Justice, and we did a fundraiser to support women in Afghanistan,” she adds. “We do what we can to support the people who need it, and to get the word out about various causes. And we appreciate everybody who shops local every year. We appreciate the support.” Winter 2024

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Photo courtesy of Frederick Social

Give & Take

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Give & Take

365 Days of Giving Audi and Michael Nagi, owners of Frederick Social, a restaurant and gathering space on Carroll Creek, are partners in life as well as business. They’re raising two daughters in Frederick after moving here from New York City, where Mike worked on Wall Street. “A marriage of our skills is kind of what got us to Frederick Social,” says Audi, a sustainability expert who’s brought her unique skill-set to the self-serve tap house and eatery, which offers 50+ varieties of beer as well as wine, cocktails, seltzers and kombucha plus farm-to-table food. “We basically built the place we’d want to hang out in,” Mike says. “What really drove us to this business was the desire to do something that we love while working together.” Frederick Social is a love story: Mike loves Audi, of course, but he’s also quite passionate about beer. He loves it, he doesn’t like to waste it, and the technology involved in a self-serve tap house means there’s very little waste.

“We’re very environmentally conscious, and we think of that as ‘giving back’ to the community.” - Mike Nagi, co-owner, Frederick Social

At the end of the night, the restaurant offers up deep discounts on unsold food via the Too Good to Go app. Then 90% of any waste goes to compost through a pilot program with Key Photos courtesy of Frederick Social

City Composting. “It’s free,”* Audi says. “They collect our composting weekly and sell the compost back to local farms.” The Nagis believe that they’ve diverted 20,000 pounds of restaurant waste from landfills in the last two years. It’s one gift the restaurant offers its community, but it’s far from the only one. *Key City Composting provides free service to Frederick City residents but businesses do pay a fee. Winter 2024

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Give & Take

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Give & Take

“We’re very environmentally conscious, and we think of that as ‘giving back’ to the community,” Mike says. “We also have a monthly, rotating Charity of the Month.” They call it “365 Days of Giving,” an in-house charity booster that benefitted 12 local organizations in 2023: Platoon 22, The Umbrella Project, The Unity Campaign, The Boys & Girls Club, Frederick County Mental Health Association, The Frederick Center, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Community of Grace, Centro Hispano, Girls On the Run of Mid and Western MD, Federated Charities, and Frederick Community Table. “We’re partnering with them for the entire month, utilizing our social media to promote who they are, what they do, and how our customers can contribute monetarily or through volunteering or Photos courtesy of Frederick Social

donations,” Mike says. They also provide a round-up option at point of sales so customers can support the designated nonprofit, and offer free use of Frederick Social space to the charity of the month for fundraising or networking purposes. “And we dedicate one of our taps to the charity of the month, so a portion of the proceeds go directly to the nonprofit,” Mike says.

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Photo courtesy of Convoy Creatives

Give & Take

“It’s really just about locking arms and rubbing elbows. Partnerships over profits has always been the key for me.” - Chris Martin, owner, Convoy Creatives

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Give & Take

Close to Home Like the Nagis, Chris Martin has found a way to give back

The contents of the Convoy Closet expanded, and Martin expanded its benefactors.

to the community all year round. Martin’s passion isn’t beer,

“I contacted The Common Market to see if they wanted to

though — it’s Frederick. The graphic design specialist has a

partner with me,” he explains. They did. “Basically, I donate my

deep abiding love for the place where he was born and raised.

money, Common Market matches it, and the community liaison for

“I was a touring musician for about 10 years,” Martin says. “I’ve toured the country, seen big cities and small towns. There’s really nothing like Frederick.”

Ballenger Creek goes and picks out that amount of money’s worth of goods for the entire month, and it goes in the cabinet.” From there, individuals and families can take what they need.

Martin no longer makes music professionally, but when he

Martin admits there are a lot of reasons he gives back, from

did, he started doing graphic design for his band: T-shirts and

his own parents’ example to the sense of “pride and dignity” his

album artwork, mostly.

generosity gives him to the way helping others cements him

“Then I started doing it for other bands, and people just got word of what I was doing,” he recalls. “When I retired from music, I wanted to capitalize on that.”

further to the community where he’s now raising his own family. “It’s really just about locking arms and rubbing elbows,” he says. “Partnerships over profits has always been the key for me.”

So Martin entered the corporate world, working in marketing design for a decade before deciding to go out on his own, and

The Muse

Convoy Creatives was born.

19 N. Market St., Frederick

“A convoy is a partnership where you’re working side by side to complete a mission,” he explains. “I don’t want to feel, on either end, like one person is in front of the other.” Like Martin himself, Convoy would become part of Frederick. “I knew a lot of the community, neighbors, business owners,” he says. “I knew I’d be able to bring the branding and design world mixed with digital marketing to help businesses grow.” But Martin wanted to help the community grow in other

301-663-3632 Frederick Social 50 Citizens Way, Frederick 240-629-8525 Convoy Creatives

ways. He says he always knew that if he went into business for

605 N. Bentz St., Frederick

himself he’d reinvest in the community, and he did just that. A


natural connector, the Frederick native served on boards and

committees, helping where he could. “It’s not pulling my arm,” he explains. “I’ll move things around; I’ll make the time if I’m adamant about it.” That’s the condition, he says, he has to feel “adamant” about what he’s doing. When he realized that his childhood alma mater, Ballenger Creek Elementary School, had kids whose low-income families were struggling, Martin reached out to a former teacher who had made a big impact on him, called the principal, and proposed a monthly donation of 5% of Convoy Creatives sales. “At that point I was still doing it on the side,” explains Martin. “I was still in the corporate world, doing Convoy as a freelancer.” As his business grew, so did the donations to Ballenger.

Chris Slattery is an avid storyteller who covered the arts and

“I donated a fridge to them, they designated half of the

entertainment for The Gazette and the Arts & Humanities Council

electrical room to what we call the Convoy Closet,” he says. “A

of Montgomery County’s CultureSpotMC and now writes for a

bunch of shelf space for food and things that families could

variety of corporations and publications while procrastinating

take home.”

over several unfinished works of fiction.

Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 37



38 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

A small business owner’s guide to prepping for tax season


by Katie Hanna Wasan Tita

ax season can be a daunting time for small business owners, but with the proper preparation, it doesn’t have to be a headache. In this guide, we’ll walk you through essential steps to ensure a smooth and stress-free tax season.

Winter 2024

Frederick Business 39

Mind Your Business

40 Frederick Business Quarterly

The first thing you must do is get organized. Create a centralized system for all your financial records, including income statements, receipts and expense reports. Digital platforms and cloud-based solutions such as QuickBooks Online can streamline this process, making it easier to access and share information with your accountant. In this guide we’ll assume you are using accounting software, but a digital filing system such as Google Drive can also work if your business is very small. Make sure you have a file for all of your receipts and important documents as well as a spreadsheet to total all of your income and expenses.

Winter 2024

Mind Your Business

STEP 1: DATA ENTRY This is the most time-consuming part of bookkeeping, but it is the foundation for creating financial reports that let you monitor the health of your business and make better business decisions. It’s also absolutely critical to ensure that you are getting all the tax deductions you possibly can. Cloud-based accounting software can link with your bank and credit card accounts and pull individual transactions so all you need to do is categorize them into the appropriate accounts. The key is to label everything clearly and be as consistent as possible when you are categorizing.

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Frederick Business Quarterly 41

Mind Your Business


Most businesses skip this step, but it’s so important to do in order to double check that everything you’ve entered is correct. Reconciliation takes what you’ve put into the accounting software and matches it to the actual bank/credit card statement. It has its own module within your accounting software — all you need to do is enter the ending balance and the ending date of the statement. In a perfect reconciliation, every transaction should be marked off and there should be a $0 difference. If there are outstanding transactions, research why they haven’t cleared the bank and make corrections if needed.

42 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

Mind Your Business

STEP 3: FINANCIAL STATEMENT REVIEW Start with your Profit & Loss statement — this is the snapshot of all of your income and expenses. Make sure you don’t have any accounts that are negative. Look for inconsistencies month to month. Are there any accounts that are a lot larger than you think they should be? Don’t forget to review your balance sheet! The balance sheet is the record of all of your business assets, liabilities and equity. Check to make sure you’ve recorded the interest for any loans/liabilities. Loan interest is an expense that is tax-deductible! Make a note of any new fixed assets you’ve put into service in the past year and tell your tax preparer about them. Fixed assets are large purchases such as equipment or vehicles that are typically worth more than $2,500. Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 43

STEP 4: COLLECT AND SEND DOCUMENTS TO YOUR TAX PROFESSIONAL If your tax preparer doesn’t already have access to your accounting software, you’ll want to send them your end-ofyear Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet. They don’t need to see every single one of your receipts, but you will want to send them any receipts for fixed assets. If you run a payroll, they will want to see your quarterly payroll returns and your W-2/W-3 documents. Also send a list of any quarterly estimated tax payments you have made throughout the year and send any Form 1099s that you have filed for your independent contractors. 44 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

Mind Your Business

Mind Your Business

To avoid extra stress leading up to tax season, you should complete Steps 1-3 every month. Accounting software will make this super fast and simple, but it can also be done using spreadsheets — you will just have a lot more manual entry. It also helps to have a folder in your filing system to add the documents in Step 4 as they happen throughout the year, so you’re not scrambling to find them at the last minute.

If you haven’t caught on to the theme yet, a good relationship with

Katie Hanna, CB is the Owner & CEO of Details Matter Bookkeeping & Advisory. She is a Certified Bookkeeper & Elite

a qualified tax professional/CPA is essential. While you can prepare

QuickBooks ProAdvisor. She has thirteen years of experience in

taxes on your own, a good tax professional can help maximize your

the accounting industry and eight years of experience as a small

tax deductions, keep you in compliance, and help you plan for taxes

business owner. She has a passion for educating small business

effectively. The expense is more than worth it — and it’s another tax

owners and showing that numbers don’t have to be scary! She

deduction! Meet with them regularly as your income changes, but

was born and raised in Walkersville, Maryland and currently lives

especially toward the end of the year, so you can plan for taxes due.

there with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 45

MARYLAND GOLF With a county population of

300,000 and 13 golf courses, Clustered Spires has earned “Best of Frederick Golf Course”! Golf Digest awards Clustered Spires a HHHH rating. Clustered Spires reputation is a great conditioned golf course with wonderful greens and considered the best value golf course in central Maryland. Clus

46 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

at its finest NON-SENIORS RATE Monday–Thursday ......... $43 Friday ............................. $47 Saturday & Sunday ........ $61 SENIORS/60+ RATE

Monday–Friday .............. $33


5 pm–Dusk..................... $27


8415 Gas House Pike | Frederick, MD 21701 | 301-600-1295

Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 47

Photo courtesy of House is in The Bag


48 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

Generosity is ‘in the bag’ Annual purse auction raises money to house women in need by Molly Fellin Spence

Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 49


IMPACT: House is in The Bag

oach. Spartina. Vera Bradley. Michael Kors. Tory Burch. Ralph Lauren. Louis Vuitton. Having one of these names on the handbag you

carry means you care about style and quality. Owning a designer bag is a status symbol for many, but in Frederick

County, it can also mean you’re the supporter of some nonprofit organizations whose mission is to help women and families in need access safe and affordable shelter. Bringing together the world of designer purses and charitable causes is Valerie Cramer, the founder and chairwoman of the annual House is in the Bag purse auction, whose profits have supported both Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County and The Frederick Rescue Mission’s Faith House. Cramer started the popular event in 2010 and has helped direct more than $500,000 to charities that aim to help women in the Frederick region. Habitat for Humanity is a household name, known for building strength, stability and self-reliance via programs to promote home ownership. The nonprofit’s Women Build program may not be as well known. The Women Build program has a mission to empower women to take action against poverty housing conditions. “Women Build brings together women from all walks of life to address, in a concrete way, the housing crisis facing millions of women and children across the globe,” the organization states on its website. In Frederick County, Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program helps women learn construction skills and works

Top photo by Jessica Latos; inset photo courtesy of Women Build Bottom photo courtesy of House is In The Bag

with them to build homes and communities.

50 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

Photos courtesy of House is In The Bag

IMPACT: House is in The Bag

Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 51

IMPACT: House is in The Bag


Faith House is a program of the Frederick Rescue Mission (, and offers women, including those who have children, shelter and “a safe place to heal.” “Ensuring that families and individuals have their physical needs met is the first step in working toward the goal of obtaining safe, suitable housing,” the mission says on its website. Faith House’s two programs include a 90-day emergency shelter program and a one-year transitional living program. Both focus on employment and building self-sufficiency via oneon-one counseling, life skills and parenting classes, recovery support and other faith-based services. Cramer is also the founder of the nonprofit, Generosity, which runs the House is in the Bag fundraiser as its signature event. The purse auction has existed for 13 years in the county, providing an enjoyable event for attendees as well as an effective fundraiser for community charities.

Make a Difference in your mental health

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1003 W. 7th St., Suite 500 Frederick, MD 21701 301-345-1022

ALWAYS ACCEPTING NEW CLIENTS 52 Frederick Business Quarterly

Winter 2024

Photos courtesy of House is In The Bag


IMPACT: House is in The Bag Throughout the year, Cramer seeks out donations of new and gently used purses and bags from members of the community and beyond. In the past celebrities such as actresses Mila Kunis and Allison Janney signed and donated purses that were auctioned off to benefit the organizations. Held each November, the event features live and silent auctions of new and gently used handbags, as well as designer scarves, jewelry and other accessories. Attendees enjoy a fun night out while also supporting community groups. It’s a win-win. The 14th annual fundraiser is set for Sunday, November 17, at Union Mills Public House, 340 E. Patrick St., Frederick. To learn more, go to

Photo courtesy of House is In The Bag

Handbag cake created by Sage Cakery

Molly Fellin Spence is an accomplished writer and editor with more than two decades of experience in the world of journalism. She’s worked with a variety of print and digital publications in the Mid-Atlantic region creating and honing compelling content to engage readers. A native Pennsylvanian, she has called Frederick, Maryland, home since 2002. Winter 2024

Frederick Business Quarterly 53


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