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Breathe Books Hiring Former Louie's Pastry Chef For New Cafe

Hampden’s Breathe Books will add a café in February that offers beans, grains and greens.
Owner Susan Weis-Bohlen is spending $150,000 on the café, generated from area foundations and investors.
Vegan, vegetarian and Ayurvedic foods will be on the menu, in addition to café staples like scones and muffins. The new-age bookstore will also offer vegan cookies and cupcakes and raw macaroons, along with light meals like the Chick Pea Pick Me Up and Your Tart’s Desire and a daily blue-plate special. All treats will be made without white sugar and white flour. Weis-Bohlen is looking for local coffee products to sell at the venue at 810 West 36th St.
Joann Goshen, the former pastry chef of beloved Mount Vernon institution Louie's Bookstore Café will be working in the kitchen. Joining her will be Rene and Don Gorman, formerly of Pikesville’s Puffins Restaurant. Weis-Bohlen will also prepare dishes that conform to the Ayurvedic tradition. Ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine that relies on food for its healing properties.
In addition to the chefs, Weis-Bohlen will hire three additional employees as the hours extend from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Breathe currently employs four.
The coffee bar will be in the front of the store, with a lounge area in the back, outdoor seating on the porch and as many as six tables upstairs. The store will carry magazines and international newspapers once the café opens.
Weis-Bohlen says she considered finding a new space for the café but decided to include it in her 750-square-foot store, a renovated house that already has a kitchen. She says she wanted to stay in Hampden because of the support from the community and the Hampden Village Merchants Association.  
Breathe’s café will bring in another source of revenue as more people turn to digital books. “Books themselves aren’t what they used to be,” Weis-Bohlen says. “Customers need a healthy, happy living. Food makes a bookstore more comfortable and casual.”
Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Susan Weis-Bohlen, Breathe Books

New Fed Hill Boutique Sells Second-Hand Gucci

A second-hand boutique in Federal Hill promises shoppers stylish, affordable purchases that are cleaned for new owners.
B'more Betty, which stands for “Bringing Exclusive Trends To You,” opened at 1316 Light St. earlier this month. A buyer and seller of designer and vintage clothing and accessories for women, Betty carries Gucci, Anne Klein, Ann Taylor, Christian Dior, Burberry and Nine West, with prices between $7 and $100.
Customers can bring their items for selling and trading on Sundays. Owner Camille Edwards exchanges clothing and accessories up front for cash, 25 percent store credit or other store items. Inspired by her own thrift store purchase nightmares complete with deodorant-stained dresses and food spots, Edwards takes all previously used items to Zip’s Dry Cleaners every Tuesday.
Edwards, a Federal Hill resident who has lived in the area for one year, says she believes Betty fits the neighborhood. “People are open to buying and selling vintage things here. It’s a safe area with foot traffic,” Edwards says. When looking for places to open her boutique, Hampden came to mind because of the vintage feel and friendly atmosphere, but she believed the price range and formal style of the designer brands would attract more customers in Federal Hill.
Edwards’ inspiration for opening a small shop and decorating the 900-square-foot boutique with vintage, artistic styles came from her love of Parisian shops. She currently has only one other employee who helps during evenings but would like to hire more and expand in the current building to include men’s clothing.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Camille Edwards, B'more Betty 

Stone Mill Opening Second Bakery and Cafe

For many years, Stone Mill Bakery co-owner Alfie Himmelrich has admired Stevenson Village, the small, upscale shopping center nestled among the farmland in Baltimore County’s Greenspring Valley.
Now he’s joining the Village this month, opening a second Stone Mill Bakery & Café in the space formerly occupied by the now-closed Coffee with T. The two-level, 1,000-square foot space in Stevenson is getting a general facelift and will likely house Stone Mill the first or second week of December. In the spring, Himmelrich will add a barbeque pit in the parking lot of the new location with his dad and son – both named Sam – serving as the pitmasters.
Himmelrich, who co-owns Stone Mill with his wife Dana, says he probably visits about 10 different spaces a year, but he’s never been tempted to expand beyond his single café and retail outlet at Green Spring Station in Lutherville until now.
“Not only have I frequented that location as a consumer, but I’ve always loved it,” he says. “It’s so sophisticated.”
“We’re doing some fun stuff. We’re going to do some brunches and we’re setting the upstairs up as a dining room.”
The café will employ four people, including one long-time Green Spring employee who will transition to the new location. Himmelrich says the new Stone Mill will be a quieter and more intimate experience than Green Spring, which is often jammed-packed with loyal customers.
In addition to the Café, the couple also run the Stone Mill wholesale bakery in the Clipper Mill Industrial Park, which provides bread to shops and restaurants throughout Baltimore and Annapolis. The company employs 65.
Stevenson Village has been around since the 1970’s. Max Realty bought the property about three years ago.
“I have been a customer of Stone Mill for many years and I was convinced that they would be a great fit for Stevenson Village,” wrote Max Realty co-owner Aaron Max in an email.
Reporter: Amy Landsman  [email protected]
Sources: Alfie Himmelrich, co-owner Stone Mill Bakery
Aaron Max, co-owner Max Realty

Indian Grocery Store Opens in Downtown Baltimore

Downtown residents now have a place to buy ingredients to make chicken tikka masala or palak paneer.
Annapurna Grocery and Gifts opened last week at 323 North Charles St, selling Indian and Nepalese spices, ready-to-eat foods, sweets and Korean noodles. Owner Ryan Thap, who also owns the neighboring Lumbini Restaurant, says he believes his grocery store will be well-received by downtown customers who appreciate ethnic foods but look for ways to save a buck. “They like the ready-to-eat foods. If they go to a restaurant for it though, they pay more than $20,” Thap says.
Thap says that although the grocery store has already opened, he will hold a Grand Opening in one month during which he plans to incorporate customer feedback and extend store hours from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. The store is currently open daily from 11.a.m.-8 p.m. Thap has already received specific customer feedback he plans to incorporate, like carrying more Indian vegetables, frozen foods and breads along with ingredients to make chicken curry and paneer. Customers with purchases of at least $100 can have their groceries delivered.
Thap planned to open the grocery store since February and invested $60,000 in the 1,600 square-foot space. He currently has one employee but is considering hiring two more.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Ryan Thap

New Ellicott City Shop Caters to Yoga Lovers

Yoga enthusiasts and fans of yoga-inspired apparel have a new shopping destination in Ellicott City's historic downtown.
Gogo Guru will open Nov. 17 in the Reedy Electrical building at 8289 Main St. in Ellicott City, next to Tersiguel’s restaurant.
The shop will sell yoga equipment such as mats, yoga clothes, yoga-themed gifts, as well as yoga-inspired fashion apparel.
Owner Hilary Brich has put an emphasis on getting clothes from independent designers that are made either in the US or from a fair trade partner that adheres to fair labor practices.
"We vet the sources of our clothing to make sure it's not made in a factory in China. Our stuff costs a little more but you're supporting independent designers, there's more quality, design, style, and more interesting fabrics," Brich says.
An avid yoga practitioner who became a certified yoga instructor, Brich wanted to combine her extensive business background--working in varying capacities from IT to marketing-- with her love for yoga. Thus, the idea for Gogo Guru was born.
Brich spent the past two years scouring for a retail location for her shop, including Baltimore City neighborhoods like Mount Vernon and Fells Point, to locations in Columbia.
She ultimately selected a location in Ellicott's City's historic downtown because of her ability to work with the building owner to customize the space to her needs within her budget.
The 480-square-foot space is still undergoing the final touches of construction after a renovation that knocked down a wall and opened a big window that had been covered for years in the historic building. The process required approval from the county's historic preservation board.
Brich says she was drawn to the area by the eclectic mix of shoppers and visitors from 20-somethings to an older generation of motorcycle riders that come downtown to have a good time.
Additionally, the yoga scene in Ellicott City is incredibly vibrant with yoga studios and spaces at community centers within every square mile of the city, Brich says.
A quick search on Yelp indicates more than 15 yoga studios in the vicinity of Ellicott City.
Source: Hilary Brich, owner, Gogo Guru
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Kids Clothing Store Relocates to Federal Hill

A boutique for fashionable youngsters has moved from Mount Vernon to Federal Hill, a neighborhood that the owner hopes will attract more shoppers.
Cottage Kidz Boutique opened for business Oct. 27 at 1129 Light St., the former location of Bobabooi's Treasure Chest. The move from 823 North Charles St. wasjust two days before Maryland started feeling the effects from Hurricane Sandy. Cottage Kidz assistant Phillip Hawthorne says shoppers were sparse during its first Saturday in Federal Hill when everyone was making Sandy preparations, but is now picking up.
Owner Kimberly Pitts believes her boutique is a better fit in Federal Hill. “There’s more kids here, and the traffic is much heavier,” Pitts says.
The boutique opened at its original location August 2009. The new location is about 1,000 square-feet, which is the same as the old one. Although there is no longer a play area, the Boutique now has a wall that young shoppers can doodle on with chalk.
Cottage Kidz sells apparel, footwear and accessories for kids toddlers through ‘tweens. The boutique also now carries baby clothing and brands like Bean Belt, Alpha Industries and True Religion. Merchandise runs from $10-$180.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Kimberly Pitts, Cottage Kidz 

Lauraville Salon to Cater to Women of Color

A new salon hopes to pamper women in Lauraville with makeup, cosmetics, lingerie, manicures, and pedicures. The 1,000-square-foot Aboni Amour will open Dec. 2 at 4600 Harford Road. 
Owner and Baltimore-native Ebony Tyson launched her makeup line, Aboni Cosmetics, last year and plans to feature the products such as foundation, lipstick, lip gloss and blush at the new location. The cosmetic line was previously sold exclusively online.

"I started the line because it's really hard for women of color to find makeup and colors that compliment our skin," Tyson says.

Tyson had been looking for a site to expand her makeup line. After hearing about the location in Lauraville, she decided it would make a good fit for her business. Tyson says she wants to offer a place for women to be pampered and have fun and wants her customers to see and feel the makeup on their skin before purchasing it.
For Tyson, the path to creating a makeup line and starting her own salon is personal. While in college, Tyson worked as a consultant selling makeup through a company, but the makeup she was selling didn't exist for women of color. Tyson, who is African-American, set out to create her own makeup line that catered to women with a myriad of skin tones.
Tyson taught herself how to create makeup using online tutorials and says her makeup line is all natural, healthy for the skin and safe for use with very sensitive skin.
The company is currently hiring two or three makeup artists.
A grand opening event will take place at the location on Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Source: Ebony Tyson
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Yoga Studio Opens on Charles Street

A new downtown yoga studio wants to help Baltimoreans relax the mind, body and spirit.
Quiet Winds yoga opened last week in a 1,000-square-foot studio and office space at 519 North Charles St. Classes are offered for all ages and skill-levels and range from 30-60-minute sessions for $10 and 100-120-minute sessions for $20. Longer sessions are designed to maximize decompression and relaxation periods, while classes in general extend past general yoga skills and incorporate Reiki, aromatherapy, Kundalini and hypnosis techniques.
Owner Brianna Bedigian says she believes her studio offers a different kind of yoga compared with others in the area.
“At Quiet Winds, there’s more of a focus on the mind than the body, on nurturing and nourishing,” Bedigian says.
Bedigian has practiced yoga for more than 15 years and was inspired by its healing powers that helped her after she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and in recovering from a car accident. She completed her 200-hour training at an ashram in Colorado and studied with yoga teacher Donna Farhi and has taught classes locally at Charm City Yoga and Prana Studio in Annapolis. She continues to offer Tuesday yoga sessions in the galleries at the Baltimore Museum of Arts where she enjoys teaching with Botticelli behind her.
Bedigian will be adding classes by October 30 with four instructors at Quiet Winds, and plans to hire more as business grows.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Brianna Bedigian, Quiet Winds

Three New Businesses Open in Highlandtown

Three new businesses have opened on South Conkling Street, including a grocery store, clothing shop and art gallery, says Highlandtown Main Street Manager Amanda Smit-Peters.

A refugee-owned Nepalese grocer Druk Grocery, clothing store J and M Fashion Stop and art gallery Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center have opened within the last three months. They're the latest to open in the East Baltimore neighborhood, home of arts center the Creative Alliance. The area scored a coup in May when Winston Blick opened an outpost of his popular Hamilton restaurant Clementine at the Creative Alliance.  Community activities, including an art project and a local farmers market, have led business owners to take notice of the area and invest in the neighborhood, Smit-Peters says.
Nancy Jagelka's 1,000 square-foot gallery combines her personal studio with an instructional space for children's art classes. 
Jagelka's work and classes focuses on recycled art projects, or work that uses found materials and repurposes them as works of art. The center will offer classes on a donation basis to youth as young as four years old in the recycled arts. The first in a series of workshops will start on Saturday and will focus on mask-masking. 

It doesn't take a lot of money to make art, Jagelka says, but it is a communal process. With the help of a grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation, Jagelka recently organized an intergenerational mural project at Bank and South Conkling Streets in Highlandtown across from Hoehn's Bakery that was a partnership between her art center, the John Booth Senior Center, and Mosaic Makers Inc.
The mural was dedicated with an event and children's activities on Oct. 6.

Smit-Peters credits pop-up shops and art projects earlier this year, a series of events where businesses and art projects took over vacant spaces in Highlandtown, as a way of generating new business in the area. Smit-Peters says the new businesses leasing space on the block benefited from business owners who saw increased interest in the area and made improvements to their buildings to attract new tenants. The presence of the weekly farmer's market has also attracted new businesses to the area.
"This block feels like what a main street is like. It's nice to see businesses make improvements together," Smit-Peters says.

Following the participation in the pop-up shop project last winter, Jagelka worked with a landlord who she says was very flexible in helping her to establish a permanent location in the neighborhood. 
Source: Amanda Smit-Peters, Highlandtown Main Street; Nancy Jagelka, Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Posh Retro Clothing Store Debuts in Federal Hill

Trendy professionals in Federal Hill can now throw a party decked out in retro clothing.
Posh Retro opened this month at 1003 Light St. But Amber Ivey’s store operates a bit differently than your average retail outfit.

It is open to the public on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of the week, customers can call and schedule “lifestyle parties” for 15-30 guests ranging from shopping parties to business lunches. Hostesses receive discounts on future purchases and “swag bags”, and nonprofits that schedule a “Party with a Purpose” receive 20 percent of each sale toward their organization’s mission.
Posh Retro’s new-and-used clothing caters male and female customers ages 21-mid 30s/early 40s. Items average around $39. While Ivey currently has three employees and is looking to hire about five women ages 22-26 to work as brand representatives. She has a goal to expand in 18 months with locations in Washington, D.C., and Boston.
Ivey, who invested $15,000 for the Baltimore location, was happy when the roughly 1,000-square-foot-location became available. “Posh Retro fits Federal Hill,” Ivey says. “There’s a young, hip vibe with people who want clothes that are a little different.”
Ivey opened Posh Retro in 2008 in Newport News, Va., and then Portsmouth, Va., in 2011 for a year. She decided to move the store with her to Baltimore while pursuing a master in public administration at University of Maryland at College Park.
The business owner donates about 15 percent of each customer’s purchase to Mission: Launch, Inc., a Baltimore nonprofit that assists job seekers once they have been released from prison.
Writer: Jolene Carr,
Source: Amber Ivey, Posh Retro 

Wellness Center Opens Near Hampden

There’s a new place in Woodberry where Baltimoreans can do their downward dog.
Respite Wellness Center opens for business at 2000 Girard Ave. Oct. 1. The Center offers yoga, Reiki, and Zumba classes along with massage and acupuncture sessions.
Certified yoga instructor and massage therapist Angeline Gentile has partnered up with acupuncturist Tiffany Houchins to open Respite. Gentile, a Hampden resident, found the 1,500 square-foot location on Craigslist and thought it was ideal since the space was already set up for a wellness center with three treatment rooms, a yoga studio, a kitchen and reception area.
 “We decorated the space with a Woodberry urban-organic vibe,” says Gentile. Gentile says she plans to work with Artifact Coffee and offer lunch for afternoon yoga sessions provided in the backyard, which she will set up with hammocks as a place to socialize.
Gentile, who also holds corporate yoga classes including sessions at Baltimore City Public Schools for teachers, enjoys providing classes for Baltimore workers like artists, writers and small business owners who need to relax but have tight budgets, and she often offers sliding scale prices.
Respite is currently offering intro specials, like $70 for 90-minute massage sessions that usually cost $100. Walk-ins for yoga classes are $15, and $10 for seniors and students, or 10 classes for $120.
Respite currently employs three acupuncturists and five yoga instructors. There will also be a life coach and licensed social worker later this month. Gentile would also like to add bars and Pilates instructors in the future.

Source: Angeline Gentile
Writer: Jolene Carr

Renovated 13th Floor Opening This Month

After a season of closure for renovations, the Belvedere's the 13th Floor will open Oct. 4 with a new design and concept.
Known for its dramatic views of Baltimore, the restaurant and lounge located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood has been closed since April.
The restaurant's parent company Belvedere Restaurant Group focused on creating a new look and approach for the space by hiring local PR firm Vitamin to rebrand the spot, Owner Sondra Goad says. The restaurant group is spending $500,000 on the renovations. 
Interior designer Joley King hoped to design a space that combines a modern aesthetic with reminders of the building's historic past including some of the original steel columns. The building will also feature custom designed stained glass as well as artisan steel furniture in a tribute to Baltimore's steel history, Goad says. 
"The 13th Floor will be a place to unwind, to talk, and to connect, while being above the daily grind in one of Baltimore's most historic landmarks," Goad says.
Goad says the bar and restaurant will cater to an upscale crowd as well as expanding the uses of the space to focus on private, catered events and wedding parties.
A Beaux Arts style building, the Belvedere is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The former hotel was the premier lodging in Baltimore in the first half of the 20th century with guests such as John F. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson, and Clark Gable. In 1991, the building converted to condos with restaurants and bars remaining open to the public.
Other businesses inside the building, now a condo complex, include the Owl Bar and Truffles Catering.
Source: Sondra Goad, owner of Belvedere Restaurant Group.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Vegan Bakery Opens in Fells Point

No eggs? No dairy? No problem, says the owner of a new vegan bakery in Fells Point. 

Dirty Carrots will open Saturday at 600 S. Wolfe St. in the space formerly occupied by Smedly's, a popular coffee shop and will sell vegan baked goods including salted caramel cupcakes and whoopee pies.

There are three other vegan bakeries in Baltimore, according to VegBaltimore.com
Owner Lisa Muscara Brice says it's her goal to provide a vegan option for Baltimore residents and to show them how delicious vegan food can be.
She calls the Fells Point neighborhood where she set up her bakery a "phenomenal" place with a "great mix of people where I've felt welcomed from the moment I've been down there." 
For now, the bakery will offer carry-out treats and coffee in the same space where Brice bakes all of her treats including wholesale orders for places like Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse and the Baltimore Farmer's Market.
Eventually, Brice hopes to have table serve but she says she's growing slowly.
"Baby steps get you there often," Brice says. Ultimately, Brice wants to continue growing her wholesale business, as well as additional retail locations.
To get her business off the ground, Brice participated in the Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore Inc. program. The program aided her in writing a business plan and helped her to formalize a concept for the bakery.
Source: Lisa Muscara Brice, owner of Dirty Carrots
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Mount Vernon Coffee House to Open Across From Starbucks

Coffee connoisseurs looking for in-house roasting in Midtown will soon have a specialty coffee shop for espresso fixes and coffee cravings.
TriBeCa Coffee signed a lease for a 1,300 square-foot space at 1210 N. Charles St. where owner James Jean will spend as much as $250,000 to open the 30-seat coffee lovers paradise. Jean expects to open the Mount Vernon shop by early November.
TriBeCa is one of a number of artisan and specialty coffee shops that have opened recently in Baltimore. This summer, Spike Gjerde's Artifact Coffee opened in Hampden and Lamill Coffee opened at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.
Located near the University of Baltimore close to the intersection of Charles and East Preston Streets, TriBeCa coffee will feature coffee beans from multiple origins, various brewing methods and store-roasted coffee beans.
Jean was drawn to the location for its ample foot traffic due to its proximity to nearby universities such as the Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Baltimore and Peabody Institute.
But Jean will face serious competition from national coffee chain Starbucks, which has a location across the street. By offering coffee at a lower price point, in-house roasting and a complete remodel of a former beauty salon, Jean hopes to encourage customers to get their coffee from TriBeCa as opposed to Starbucks.
A former registered nurse, Jean decided to change careers after two years of nursing and learned how to roast coffee while working in the roasting division of Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Co.
He traveled across the country researching how to run his first specialty coffee shop. He plans to hire five employees to work as baristas. 
Source: James Jean, owner of TriBeCa Coffee
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

New Hotel and Retail Building Slated For Harbor East

Hoping to capitalize on increasing growth east of the Inner Harbor, plans are in the works to build a new 205-room hotel with ground-level stores in Harbor East next year. 

Englewood LLC and Chesapeake Real Estate Group have reached an agreement to construct the property and 15,000 square-feet of retail space at a former warehouse building at 511 S. Central Ave. As the primary developer, Englewood will own and operate the hotel.

Chesapeake Real Estate Group will operate the retail space, says Ken Finkelstein, president of Bethesda's Englewood LLC. Construction would take about 18 months to complete if the project gets approvals from the city's zoning and design panels.

The planned hotel will be an upper mid-market brand, which means slightly more upscale than the neighboring Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard by Marriott, Finkelstein says. He declined to say how much the project would cost or the hotel brand. 

The developers purchased the property at 511 S. Central Ave. in December for $3.2 million, according to state property records. The building is in the preliminary stages of the development process so it's too early to say what kind of shops  will fill the new construction, says Neil Tucker, principal at Chesapeake Real Estate Group.

"This is a pretty dynamic area where lots of growth has occurred and more will occur as Harbor East and Harbor Point expand," says Finkelstein, who launched the development firm within the last year. Finkelstein is a former partner at the JBG Cos. of Chevy Chase, which has developed numerous hotels in the Washington area. 

Finkelstein's new Baltimore hotel will face competition from the 256-room Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, which opened last year in Harbor East, and several other newer properties. But Finkelstein says he believes there is opportunity and room for another hotel in that neighborhood given the area's continued growth. 

Baltimore City officials approved a 3 million-square-foot master plan for Harbor Point, an area between Harbor East and Fells Point. The massive 500,000-square-foot regional headquarters for Chicago energy company Exelon Corp. will open there in 2014. Harbor East has seen an influx of national retailers with the recent openings of J. Crew, Anthropologie and MAC Cosmetics and new restaurants. Gordon Biersch is spending $3 million to open a 329-seat eatery in October while Fleet Street Kitchen will open next month. 
Chesapeake Real Estate Group developed the Babgy Building, which houses Fleet Street, Ten Ten restaurant and several offices.  

"We want to build upon the success of Harbor East with the Babgy Building project," Tucker says.

Source: Ken Finkelstein, president of Englewood LLC; Neil Tucker, principal at Chesapeake Real Estate Group 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]
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