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Merchants begin preparations for Small Business Saturday

Posted On: 11/7/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—“On November 30, let's get out and Shop Small,” is the tag line that American Express is using this year to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize small independently owned retailers, in the third year of a nationwide campaign it created and marketed for the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Steve Frene, co-owner of Main Street mainstay Victorian Charm, said he would prefer the event begin on a different day, because holding it on the busiest Saturday of the year made it difficult to discern a difference in the amount of shoppers who would normally come into the store that day. “It almost gets lost,” he said. However, he was quick to note the concept conveyed was a good message to get across at any time. He suggested holding it on the weekend before Thanksgiving would be even more helpful because it would encourage people to start shopping earlier. “But I love that somebody is reminding people to shop local,” Frene sai...
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Several indicators when gauging health of economy

Posted On: 10/24/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

 I’m often asked about what reports or news that I think are the most important when gauging the health of our economy. Following are the 10 most important in my opinion. Jobless Claims. The number of people who file for unemployment benefits in a given week. This data is collected by the Department of Labor, and published as a weekly report. The number of jobless claims is used as a measure of the health of the job market. Non-Farm Payroll. A statistic gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which represents the payroll data for the bulk of the U.S. The employees that are not included in this report include government employees, nonprofit employees, individuals who work within a private household, and farm employees. This calculation represents roughly 80 percent of the U.S. work force. Consumer Price Index (CPI). An inflation indicator that measures the change in the cost of a fixed basket of products and services, that include: housing, electricity, food, and ...
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Water babies seek to capitalize on love of ocean

Posted On: 10/24/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Water babies seek to capitalize on love of ocean  BERLIN—Hunter and Devon Bostic grew up on the water and their parents are entrepreneurs, so it is no big surprise that their first venture, Sea-La-Vie, would open with the type of atmosphere and seasoned polish that drew crowds into the repurposed North Main Street studio at 11 Artisans Way on Oct. 19. Actually, the robust foot traffic  on opening day coincided with Berlin’s Octoberfest celebration. A common refrain of customer’s entering the shop with its whitewashed walls and nautical-themed gifts and décor items was, “Wow, it smells so nice in here!” A common view as customers left the shop was the Tiffany’s blue bags, with crisp white borders and string handles and pink tissue paper wrapped around newly-purchased goodies peeking out along the top, swinging from the arms of sated shoppers. Inside, the shop bathed in light and with a nice balance of open space, included crystalized faux chandeliers, white paper lanterns and Capiz ...
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Corbett and Waldhelm, new owners of Bluebird Farms

Posted On: 10/17/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Corbett and Waldhelm, new owners of Bluebird Farms BERLIN—Nancie Corbett enjoyed working at the nursery at 11207 Racetrack Rd. that is now called Bluebird Farms so much that she worked for free for a month and a half after the owner retired. A transplant from Baltimore County, who has lived in the area for the past 20 years, Corbett worked as a furniture refinisher and restorer, having done many pieces for the Harrison Group and the historic Atlantic Hotel. But she is no novice to farming. She said she comes to her new business venture with 30 years garden and farm experience. Corbett bought the farm, the Gazebo, along with her husband Donnie Waldhelm, who it turns out hails from New York—from Brooklyn. Waldhelm, who has a background in marketing, was excited and thought the purchase was a good opportunity, Corbett said. The Ocean Pines Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 15, to welcome the new owners into the local business community. The location is less than a mile from Beauchamp Roa...
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Looking at estate planning from different age perspectives

Posted On: 10/17/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

I'm often asked; what is estate planning? To answer that question, let's look at estate planning from different age perspectives; the 30 to 50 group; the 50 to 70 crowd and the 70 and above age bracket. Between ages 30 to 50 you’re either getting started with a career and a family or have them in the works. You think, at least occasionally, about retirement and begin to accumulate an estate. By this point in your life you may have started a 401(k) or other retirement savings plans. If you have children you think about their protection, if something unforeseen happens to you. Statistics show that you think life insurance, for both husband and wife, for the loss of either will cause a loss of support for the kids and added expense for the home. Maybe you’re still paying your college loans but want to start saving for your own child's college education. On top of everything you are dealing with for your own family, you also need to consider and ask your par...
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Financial areas highlighted to be reviewed yearly

Posted On: 10/10/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

The following are eight areas of your financial life you should probably review on a yearly basis: INVESTMENTS. Review your investment strategy – make sure it’s in line with your current investment goals. Look over your portfolio positions and revisit your asset allocation. Are you still adhering to your investment policy? Do you have an investment policy? RETIREMENT. Take a look at your overall retirement strategy. Does it (still) make sense or not? If applicable, take your RMD (required minimum distribution) from your traditional IRA. Take a look at and/or max out contributions to IRAs, 401(k)’s. Consider maxing-out catch up contributions, if applicable. Finally, consider Roth IRA conversion scenarios. RETIREMENT INCOME. If you’re not already taking your retirement income, what will your withdrawal rate be? Is it guaranteed? Is it predictable? What happens if the economic environment changes? TAXES. Search for possible credits and/or deduction...
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Development tour to showcase commercial properties

Posted On: 9/26/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

OCEAN PINES—Worcester County will host a commercial bus tour of the Lower Eastern Shore on Sept. 27 to highlight areas ripe for commercial development and familiarize potential investors with the area. The county’s Economic Development Director Bill Badger said the tour will begin at Harrison’s Harbor Watch at the Ocean City Inlet and commence up the length of the boardwalk by tram with a guided tour of “iconic Ocean City” to 27th Street. The group will include investors and local and county officials and is scheduled to travel through Ocean City, West Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin, Badger said. The investors will be briefed on commercial sites that are ready for development or redevelopment and sites that officials would like to see developed or redeveloped in the future.  Badger said the tour concept was meant to provide a fun and different way to remind investors of why the Eastern Shore is a great market for business invest...
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Childcare provider wants to expand business

Posted On: 9/19/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry

BERLIN— After a chance encounter in the local Wal-Mart parking lot with state officials recruiting local entrepreneurs, a business owner could realize one of her dreams. Sheneka Nichols, a 38-year-old mother of six, said she bought Stages Early Childhood Learning Center, Inc. two years ago after she and her husband, Clayton, faced an emergency need for childcare when a daycare center three of the Nichols’ children attended closed abruptly on April 1, 2011. Nichols said she has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a master’s degree in early childhood education from Wilmington University and is a certified childcare provider.  She has worked in the public school system for nearly ten years, she said. She has lived in Berlin since her mom returned to the area with her when she was eight months old. Nichols said her husband, a construction worker, has been very supportive of her venture ambitions, ̶...
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Retirement myths including money needed, discussed

Posted On: 9/19/13
Written By: Chip Gordy, MBA, CRPC

Following are some “untruths” about retirement that I’ve observed over the years. You will not need as much money during retirement as you do now. The general rule of thumb says that you will need approximately 70% of your pre-retirement income in order to maintain a lifestyle similar to that which you currently have. This may be true if you live your current lifestyle. However, when you retire, you will have more free time for travel, leisure activities, hobbies, and other things you might like to do during your retirement years. In addition, medical expenses will increase at a faster rate than they likely did during your pre-retirement years. Also, your overall tax rate may not drop very much. My retirement years won't last all that long. The fact is, today individuals in their 50s and 60s are generally healthier than previous generations. Currently, if you are age 65 your life expectancy is approximately 21 years, which is a long time to plan for....
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Breast cancer support group opens WOC office

Posted On: 9/5/13
Written By: Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

Breast cancer support group opens WOC office BERLIN—Independent breast cancer support organization Women Supporting Women closed its Worcester County office on Old Ocean City Boulevard, reopening at 12216 Ocean Gateway in a cost-saving move. Past volunteer Mary Henderson was hired as the full-time coordinator, along with Salisbury University student Cristina Bustamante, who will handle daily operations. A senior, Bustamante is plans to graduate with a double major in marketing and management in December 2014. Women Supporting Women’s mission is to provide awareness, education and support to those affected by breast cancer. The immediate goal of the new office, however, might be to get new signs up so individuals can find them. The $900 of signage needed for the door, building and roadside pylon will have to come out of overhead cost, if not donated beforehand, Henderson said. The organization provides surgeons with bags of information kits and products for their patients who are battling cancer, H...
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