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Italian deli opening on Ellicott City's historic Main Street

Ellicott City Main Street’s refurbished home goods and specialty foods store will soon offer a new tasty takeout option.

Randy & Steve's The New General Store will open its Italian-style deli at the end of April. Owners Randy Neely and Steve Archuleta’s menu will include sandwiches made with cured meats and international cheeses, soups, salads, desserts and teas. They will also carry organic milk, butter and farm fresh eggs from northern Maryland farms.

Neely and Archuleta will hold a Grand Opening April 27 with music, free massages and wine tastings from Pure Wine Cafe. A Vanns Spices’ rep will discuss the company’s products and a chef of Bittersweet Herb Farm will present cooking demos.

The New General Store currently sells soup and pesto mixes, truffle and olive oils, sodas, spices, honey and herbs stored in a 1904 meat cooler.  It also carries gifts and home spa items such as diffusers, lotions, soaps and candles.

Neely and Archuleta formerly owned The Good Life Market, an Ellicott City garden gift shop. They returned from a sabbatical in Portugal once they heard that Yate’s Market, a 127 year-old staple at 8249 Main St., was going out of business last June. Neely and Archuleta opened the New General Store in late September, promising former owner Betty Yates to preserve the vibe of Yate’s Market but incorporate elements of a boutique. Neely and Archuleta renovated the 2,380-square-foot space and are securing a food license and modern equipment.

Neely and Archuleta will use the basement for a garden room and other retail items and carry perennials, annuals and garden statues outside.
Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Steve Archuleta, co-owner of Randy & Steve’s The New General Store

Metro Centre retail and residential building to open in May

Construction of the first two residential and retail buildings for massive Baltimore County development Metro Centre at Owings Mills will wrap up by next month. The first will open in May and the second will open at the end of June.

The buildings, called Metro Crossing, are both five-stories high, with retail on the ground floor and rental apartments on the upper floors. The buildings are mirror images of each other. The two buildings split evenly a total of 56,000 square feet of retail space and 232 one- and two-bedroom apartments. 

A number of retail leases are in final negotiations, says Lynn Abeshouse, managing principal of real estate brokerage firm Abeshouse Partners. Until contracts are signed, Abeshouse declined to give specific names but says possible tenants include fast-casual and white-table restaurants, clothing stores, liquor stores and health clubs. 
One-bedroom apartments average 770 square feet; two-bedroom apartments, which all have two full bathrooms, run from 873 square feet to 1,245 square feet. Prices for one bedrooms run from $1,580 to $1,695 per month; for two bedrooms, $1,855 to $2,490 per month. Abeshouse declined to say how many apartments have been leased so far. 
The two buildings are located on Grand Central Avenue, off Painters Mill Road, near the Owings Mills Metro Subway Station and across from the County Campus at Metro Centre at Owings Mills. The six-story combination Baltimore County Public Library and the Community College of Baltimore County building is scheduled to open this week. A free parking garage next to the building is already open.
The two residential and retail buildings, the library/community college building and an office building now under construction compose the first phase of the Metro Centre at Owings Mills. That's about one-fourth of the total development. The four-story, 200,000-square-foot office building on Grand Central Avenue is expected to open this fall.
The state-designated transit-oriented development will eventually have over 1.2 million square feet of office space; 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space; 1,700 residential units; and, a 250-room hotel. Maryland and Baltimore County have spent more than $57 million on infrastructure at Metro Centre at Owings Mills to date. The rest is privately funded.
Source: Lynn Abeshouse, Abeshouse Partners
Writer: Barbara Pash

Day spa moving into former Salamander Books' spot on Charles Street

Downtown residents will have a place to relax and unwind this month when a Parkside neighborhood spa moves to the neighborhood.
Simple Wellness Hair and Day Spa will relocate from 4327 Plainfield Ave. to 519 North Charles St. March 16. The new location will hold more space and hopefully generate more foot traffic, co-owner Angela Hardy says.
Simple Wellness offers holistic care, incorporating techniques to target the mind, body and soul. That includes therapeutic massages, facials, hair styling and nail treatments. Hardy advocates natural ingredients and makes her own natural oil blend for hair and scalp treatments. Nail treatments include brands like Scotch Naturals that don’t use acrylic. The spa will also provide monthly package deals, and customers can rent the space for spa parties.
Hardy opened the spa in 2007 in a two-bedroom home slightly under 1,000 square feet. The newly rented space, which is the former location of Salamander Books, is 1,500 square feet.
The spa currently employs four and Hardy is hiring nine to style hair, provide massages and do nails. Hardy studies Trichology, a field that combines medicine and cosmetics to treat the hair and scalp. She plans to incorporate this more into spa services in the future, including consultations where she can help treat conditions of the hair and scalp while referring customers to physicians.
Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Angela Hardy, co-owner of Simple Wellness Hair and Day Spa

Entrepreneur opening 10 Smoothie King locations in Greater Baltimore

Locust Point residents will have a spot to fill their craving for fruity drinks like Mangosteen Madness and Celestial Cherry High when Baltimore City’s first Smoothie King opens next month.
Franchisee Minseok Yu will open the Smoothie King at 851 East Fort Ave. by April. Yu says he plans to open 10 Smoothie Kings in Greater Baltimore and is currently looking for a location for his second store in Canton or the Inner Harbor.
Yu previously owned commercial property in his native country of Korea and will be moving to Baltimore the end of this month. He invested $250,000 in the franchise, which includes rent, training and travel fees. The 1,200-square-foot space was formerly a tanning salon. Yu says he believes Locust Point will be a good location for the first store because the neighborhood is growing but still could still use more retail.
Yu noticed how popular Smoothie Kings are in his native country. When he came to visit his brother who lives in Baltimore, he was surprised that there wasn’t a Smoothie King in the city. “A lot of people in the city go to the Smoothie King across from the Towson Mall,” Yu says. Yu says he plans to hire 10 employees for the first location.
Smoothie King is a health store that offers fresh-blended smoothies, vitamins and herbs, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition products. There are over 600 Smoothie King locations in the United States, Korea, Singapore and the Caymans. The company is headquartered in New Orleans.
Source: Minseok Yu, Smoothie King franchisee
Writer: Jolene Carr

Marketplace at Fells Point signs lease with neighborhood Main Street group

The developer of the Marketplace at Fells Point says that that the first phase of the $40 million apartment and shopping complex will be ready by the first quarter of 2014. It has also signed on Fells Point Main Street as a tenant.

Roughly half the retail and 59 apartments located east of Broadway will be completed at that time, says Dolben Co. Senior Vice President Drew Dolben. The completion of the remaining 100 apartments and 13,000 square feet of retail is still several years out, Dolben says.

Early 2014 is also when Dolben Co. will debut the renovated former Fells Point Comfort Station at 1630 Aliceanna St., which Dolben bought from the city in late 2011 for $275,000.

The former comfort station will house the new office of Fells Point Main Street, which signed a 10-year lease with Dolben. The nonprofit, which promotes the neighborhood’s historic district, will move from its current location at be located on the second floor. The first floor will house a fitness center for the apartment residents.

Dolben says it is wrapping up the foundation work along the 600 block of Broadway and building a new structure behind of the facades.

The idea is to construct a modern building while retaining the historical details. Dolben says he is now wrapping up the foundation work.

“When you walk down Broadway, you’ll think it’s been there for 100 years,” Dolben says.

Based in Massachusetts, Dolben has a regional office in Anne Arundel County’s Odenton. Dolben acquired the rights to develop the apartment and retail portion of the Marketplace at Fells in December 2011 from South Broadway Properties LLC’s Dave Holmes. South Broadway is still leading the $5 million renovation of the Broadway Market. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Drew Dolben, Dolben Co. 

Sewing supply shop opening in Highlandtown

Baltimore seamstresses take note: a new shop carrying yarn, crochet hooks, buttons, sewing supplies and knitting needles is opening March 1 in Highlandtown.
Baltimore Threadquarters 1,880-square-foot store will open at 518 South Conkling St., with space for retail in the front and a classroom, kid’s room and sewing room in the back. Owners Marlo Jacobson and Allison Fomich will also sell vintage fiber arts supplies and an assortment of Cascade brand yarns that range from $2 synthetic to $20 Alpaca fur yarns. Some items come from estate sales and others are handmade by local artists.
The owners established an Indiegogo crowdfunding page to help raise the money needed to pay six teachers and buy materials. Their goal is to raise $5,000. The entrepreneurs searched for space in their neighborhood and found the first floor of the Botteon Building through the Southeast Community Development Corp.
With a background in nonprofits and doll making, Jacobson teamed with jewelry maker Fomich when she couldn’t find fiber art materials in the city.

“We want these services and supplies available for city people," Fomich says. "It all started when we couldn’t find them. If you have to go out to the county each time it becomes daunting. Now you can go to the farmers' market, go to the library and then come here.”
Writer: Jolene Carr
Sources: Marlo Jacobson and Allison Fomich, co-owners of Baltimore Threadquarters

Harris Teeter on target to open Ellicott City and Canton stores

Harris Teeter is opening its Ellicott City store April 3, according to a company spokeswoman, even as the North Carolina grocer considers a sale to two private equity firms.

It does not yet have an opening date for its Canton Crossing shop to open in a shopping center along with Target, Michael's, Five Below and local Greek restaurant Samos. The company says in a statement that it will "continue its strategic, new store growth plan." 

The grocery store will anchor a $22 million open-air shopping center called Town Square at Turf Valley. The site will also feature three or four restaurants and 10 to 15 shops totaling 100,000 square feet, says Tom Fitzpatrick, president of Owings Mills developer Greenberg Gibbons Commercial Corp.

The 48,000-square-foot Ellicott City Harris Teeter will be the grocer's eighth Maryland store. It opened a store in Baltimore City late last year, anchoring Locust Point’s McHenry Row. The Turf Valley store will employ 115, Jones says.

Located at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center, the new shopping center will have many of the same features as Greenberg’s Hunt Valley Towne Centre and Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole, including an outdoor gathering space with fireplace and water fountains. It will feature all-brick landscaping and exterior.

Fitzpatrick says he hopes the 100,000-square-foot center will draw from Clarksville, Glenelg and other affluent communities in western Howard County.

Restaurants will be of the upscale casual variety, rather than fine dining, Fitzpatrick says. He declined to name the restaurants and shops slated to open until a formal announcement is made later this year.

The Turf Valley site will also include a separate office complex, 160,000 square feet of office space, 150 townhomes and 192 condominiums built by the Keelty Co. of Stevenson. 

Writer: Julekha Dash
Sources: Tom Fitzpatrick, Greenberg Gibbons; Danna Jones, Harris Teeter

Samos Restaurant's Canton Crossing shop to open in October

After 36 years in Baltimore Greektown’s neighborhood, Samos Restaurant is expanding to Canton with a fast-casual restaurant opening by October at the Shops at Canton Crossing.

Customers at the new store will order and pay at the counter and the 20-person staff will deliver soups, salads, tzatziki, hummus, and pita wraps to the tables at the 1,650-square-foot restaurant.

“We’ll have most of our favorites from the original locations, the ones that can be prepared quickly,” Samos Owner Michael Georgalas says.

He expects the developer will have the shell of the building ready to go in late spring, with interior renovations expected to take about four or five months after that. Georgalas is still planning the space and working on layout and doesn’t know yet how much he’ll spend on the new restaurant.

If the Canton location is successful, Georgalas says the family may expand further. He says there are no specific areas under consideration, but he points out that Samos has a customer base that extends from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia.

Canton Crossing developers earlier this month unveiled the names of more than a dozen shops and restaurants that will open in the long-awaited development anchored by Harris Teeter and Target. Ulta, Old Navy, Michael’s and Five Below are among the new tenants in the East Baltimore shopping center. Samos is one of the few locally owned businesses that are part of the mix.

“This gives us an edge on being able to meet the needs of local customers, better than the national chains. We’ve been in the area so long,” says Georgalas. “There’s a lot of promise in the area, there’s a lot of people moving to the area. We wanted to serve that area.”

In 1977, Michael Georgalas’ father, Nicholas, opened the original Samos on the 600 Block of Oldham Street. Michael Georgalas currently manages the original Samos, and is the owner of the new location.

After so many years of only one Samos, what made the Georgalas family decide to expand now? Georgalas says a lot of it had to do with Neil Tucker, a principal with developer Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC.

“He’s been a customer of ours for many years. We’ve considered several locations. Some of them were a little too big for what we wanted to do. This one seemed like a perfect size and great location.”

Writer: Amy Landsman
Source: Michael Georgalas, Owner, Samos at Canton Crossing

Retro clothing boutique moves from Hampden to Station North

A retro clothing boutique has moved from Hampden to the growing Station North Arts and Entertainment District.
My Dear Vintage relocated last month from 3610 Falls Road to 2015 North Charles St. in the Charles North neighborhood. Along with the women’s vintage clothing and accessories, owner Brandi Foster now offers men’s vintage and home goods in her 1,800-square-foot shop.  She held a grand opening party Jan. 26 with wine and cupcakes for her 115 guests.
Foster opened her first physical location last June in the 200-square-foot space above Lovely Yarns near the Avenue but moved out to search for a larger store. Foster enjoyed having her boutique in Hampden but wanted to look for larger locations so she could add more merchandise.

She started searching for available places in November and was impressed when she came across the former church that has a massive storefront window to showcase items, an upstairs loft area and space for fitting rooms. The new location has the potential for drawing customers because the Station North Arts neighborhood is attracting more college students, Foster says. More students are coming to the area with the expansion of the Maryland Institute College of Art.
My Dear Vintage carries seasonal vintage and home decor ranging from $2 to $50. Current hot items include men’s graphic T-shirts and faux fur jackets, Foster says. Foster still runs her boutique alone. She plans to add children’s vintage to her clothing line this spring or summer.
Source: Brandi Foster, owner of My Dear Vintage
Writer: Jolene Carr

Sub shop Jimmy John's scouting for new locations

Fast-growing Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches is opening its latest shop in an office and retail building at 537 Ritchie Highway in Severna Park and has plans to open others throughout Greater Baltimore.

The Severna Park location, currently under construction, will be the 11th Maryland location for the sub and sandwich shop when it opens in the spring. Others are located in Annapolis, Baltimore, College Park, Columbia, Frederick, Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, and Hagerstown. Jimmy John's spokeswoman Katherine Perry says the company has plans to grow in Greater Baltimore but wouldn't release locations or the names of franchisees.

Headquartered in Champaign, Ill., Jimmy John’s features fresh bread baked in-house every day. Meats and vegetables are also sliced fresh in-house. On its website, Jimmy John’s boasts its products contain “no fake stuff, no additives, no fillers.”

Jimmy John’s currently has over 1,200 stores that are both franchise operations and company owned. It is expected to open 250 stores in 2013, according to FranchiseDirect.com. The average store is 1,200 square feet.

Starting a Jimmy John’s franchise requires an initial investment of between $306,000 to $488,000.
Source: Katherine Perry, spokeswoman, Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches; FranchiseDirect.com
Writer: Amy Landsman

Panini shop adding Maryland franchises

Amorini Panini, a Washington, D.C., restaurant that serves sandwiches and salads, is franchising its business starting in New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Matt Gray, the sandwich shop’s co-founder, says he has filed franchise registration forms and plans to start offering Amorini Panini franchises by early spring.

"The hardest part is building the template and making sure that template works," Gray says.

For the past six months, Gray says he has worked with ifranchise, a consulting firm based outside Chicago, to help him create a manual that instructs future franchisees how to choose a location; handle permitting, construction, and hiring; and run the business.

Gray says his goal for 2013 is selling just five franchises, but his five-year plan includes expanding to 100 franchise-owned restaurants in the Northeast.

Gray, who opened the first Amorini Panini with his business partner Rich Twiley in D.C.'s Penn Quarter in 2010, says that a second location will open its doors by the third week of January. The new restaurant is located at 801 18th St. NW, and will hire 10 employees.

"We’re actually documenting the process so that when we start selling franchises, the franchise dealer will have all this information.

"Today we’re selling paninis, and tomorrow we’re selling systems," he says.

Its menu features breakfast paninis, including a strawberry nutella sandwich; a Montana buffalo chicken panini; and an Italian salad.
Writer: Luis Velarde
Source: Matt Gray, Amorini Panini

Luis Velard is development news editor for Elevation DC, a sister publication. 

Acupuncture studio debuts in Hampden

A new business on the Avenue in Hampden allows visitors to try holistic healing on a budget.
Mend Acupuncture opened last month at 1008 W. 36 St. above Hampden Junque. Owner Sarah O’Leary offers $25 acupuncture sessions to clients in her 600-square-foot studio.
Mends houses six reclining chairs but O’Leary may be purchasing two more. She currently works with ten independently contracted acupuncturists. The Mends acupuncture procedure is a more modest version than your average, O'Leary says. It  focuses on areas from the elbows down and knees down and sometimes the ears and head.
O’Leary also owns Seeds Center for Whole Health and decided to open a separate drop-in acupuncture studio after noticing a growing interest in the healing technique. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat back pain, infertility and digestive difficulties while enhancing overall well-being.
“The acupuncture aspect really expanded, there was a two month waiting list at Seeds,” O’Leary says. “More and more insurance companies are covering it, but people who don’t have insurance can’t afford it.”
O’Leary says the low price is bringing a lot of newbies to acupuncture, many of whom are graduate students, artists and people who work in the hospitality business. Mend stayed open late along with other businesses on the Avenue for First Fridays during the holidays and administered 200 acupuncture treatments by the end of December.
O’Leary rented the space above Cafe Hon to open Seeds in 2007. Seeds offers services like reiki, massages and organic waxing. O’Leary enjoys being a business owner in Hampden, where it’s affordable and where there are fellow moms who own their own business. 

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Sarah O'Leary, Seeds

Portuguese, Mexican and Italian cuisine coming to Towson

Portuguese, Italian and Mexican restaurants will join Cinemark Theatres at the $85 million Towson Square project, expected to generate more than 1,500 jobs.

Plans for the theater have also been revised, with 15 screens instead of the original 16, county officials and developers said at a news conference Tuesday. The theater will be one of two in the country to feature a VIP seating section with private bar access and premium food. Work on the 850-space parking garage will finish in the fall and the entire Towson Square project will open in 2014.

Nando’s Peri-Peri, La Tagliatella and On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina will open at the development, along with five other eateries that have yet to be unveiled. A South African-based franchise that sells flame-grilled Portuguese-style chicken, Nando's has restaurants in Annapolis, Gambrills, National Harbor, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg. La Tagliatella is a European chain that is owned by AmRest Holding SE, which bills itself as the largest independent restaurant operator in Central and Eastern Europe. This would be the first La Tagliatella in Maryland and the fourth in the US.

The development may include some retail, but the center will be predominantly entertainment focused, said Cordish Cos. Vice President Blake Cordish. 

Branding Towson as an area that can attract folks outside the county was a major theme at the news conference.

"We’ve put together a collection of amenities that would be a regional draw,” Cordish said.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz engaged in a little light-hearted rivalry with Bethesda, saying he’s tired of hearing about Bethesda’s wonderful amenities and strong business community.

“Guess what folks? We’re certainly a livable and loveable jurisdiction. We are going to make Towson a regional destination.”

Writer: Amy Landsman
Sources: Blake Cordish, Cordish Cos; Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County Executive 

Developer Plots $25M Apartment and Retail Complex in South Baltimore

Construction will begin this summer on a $25 million building with market-rate apartments, a 247-car garage and retail.

Developer Chesapeake Realty Partners expects the project to be completed in the spring of 2014. The Owings Mills company also spearheaded the apartment complex across the street at 1901 Patapsco St.

Plans for the as-yet unnamed project at 2 East Wells St. call for 153 apartments, including 96 efficiencies and 57 one-and-two bedroom units. Renters can expect to pay, on average, about $1,800 per month. 

Currently, there are warehouses and offices on the lot, which also includes 1800 and 1802 Patapsco Streets. Mayers says he believes this is an opportunity to “create a new version of an existing neighborhood,” with good walkability and easy highway access.

The project also calls for 6,000 square feet of retail, says Chesapeake Realty President Jonathan Mayers. Facing East Wells Street, future retail tenants will serve the local community, and could include a bagel and coffee shop, nail salon, or a small local grocery, Mayers says.

“There’s really few commercial or industrial buildings left, and everything else in the neighborhood is more or less rowhomes or new apartment buildings,” Mayer says.

Demand for apartments remains strong throughout the city as many apartment complexes report nearly 100 percent occupancy rates. 

“We feel there’s a dearth of housing options in the south Baltimore market,” says Josh Fidler, Chesapeake’s chief operating officer. He says the area holds a number of assets, including Riverside Park, the headquarters for the National Federation of the Blind and the former Pabst brewery that is set to reopen this summer.

Mayers says the garage will be large enough to offer secure parking for tenants and visitors, with additional spaces available for lease. Plans also call for widening the alleys around the new building, making parking and access easier for the existing rowhomes on South Charles, Barney and Patapsco Streets.
Jonathan Mayers and Josh Fidler; Chesapeake Realty Partners
Writer: Amy Landsman

Japanese Tea House to Open in Ellicott City

A new gift shop and café called Matcha Time is making its home in downtown Ellicott City.

Owner Hatsumi Watanabe-Smith grew up outside Tokyo, and later traveled the world. Now she and her family are settled in Ellicott City, where she’s decided to open shop, named for the Japanese green tea known as matcha. The gift shop opened this month at the 1,000-square-foot space at 8381 Merryman St. The café will open in the coming months once it gets county approval.

Though Ellicott City is home to a tea room, Tea on the Tiber, Matcha Time will offer sushi, Japanese baked goods and, hopefully, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

Watanabe-Smith and her husband Derek Smith invested about $70,000 in the store, whose entrance faces a parking lot. The space was previously home to the Hackers Inc. Mancave, which moved last spring to a larger location in Ellicott City. Smith says the search for a suitable space took months, as good locations in Ellicott City tend to get snapped up fast.

The space is divided between a retail section, and the teashop and café. The retail side features Japanese crafts, origami, and handbags and clutches fashioned from vintage kimonos.
Writer: Amy Landsman  [email protected]
Sources: Hatsumi Watanabe-Smith, Derek Smith, owners, Matcha Time
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