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Federal Hill Sports Shop Hopes For Home Run in New Location

A Federal Hill sports apparel shop is hoping to score with sports fans after moving to a spot that puts it closer to M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards.
Bobabooi’s Treasure Chest sells mostly Ravens, Orioles, Natty Boh and Terps gear and will also sell Washington Capitals gear starting in September. Prices range from $5-$100.
Bobabooi’s Treasure Chest relocated from 1129 Light St. to the 500 square-foot location at 1028 South Charles St. when they couldn’t obtain a long-term lease from the previous landlord, Co-owner Angela Lauta says.
Angela and her husband Dan also wanted to find a location closer to the stadium. The Light Street location drew less foot traffic as most of the crowds would gravitate to the bars and eateries, Angela says. The new store is painted bright Orioles orange. 
But the Lautas still wanted to stay in Federal Hill. “There’s no other [stores] around here that just sell sports gear,” Angela says. “We enjoy the fun, festive environment and the diverse crowds.”
They originally considered opening a vintage clothing store but then saw a need for sports apparel. Selling sports apparel also matched their backgrounds in sports as Angela played basketball and track in college and Dan played college football and attended the Giant’s training camp.
The Lautas run the shop themselves and would like to expand and hire more employees once their year-old business grows. They are currently looking for a social media intern to work a couple hours each week, taking pictures of new merchandise and promoting Bobabooi’s online.

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Angela Lauta, Bobabooi's Treature Chest 

Canton Ace to Open in September

DIY home improvement enthusiasts in Canton don't have much longer to wait for their new hardware store.
Canton Ace Hardware will open in mid-September at 1001 S. Lakewood Ave., following an investment of as much as $800,000 from owners, says Rachel Machacek, a spokeswoman for Ace Hardware in Greater Baltimore. The store will be located across the street from the Canton Safeway. 
Co-owners Gina Schaefer and Marc Friedman invested between $600,000 and $800,000 to open and renovate the 11,000-square-foot space. Schaefer and Friedman own seven other Ace stores in Baltimore and Washington, including locations in Waverly and Federal Hill. 
While the space was close to move-in ready, the company did complete some renovations, including adding a new HVAC system, new offices and lighting.
Canton attracted the owners because of its walkability, neighborhood feel, and its proximity to independent shops and restaurants. The company wants local residents to have a shop in the neighrborhood for their home improvement needs without having to get into the car and make a lengthy drive, Machacek says.
The store will look to employ 15 workers initially, Machacek says.
The store will sell a variety of products including basic hardware, housewares, lawn and garden supplies, patio furniture, and more. And, you can bring your dog there. 
As part of the national Ace Hardware co-operative, the stores are locally owned establishments that bring jobs and business to the local economy, Machacek says.
Source: Rachel Machacek, communications manager, A Few Cool Hardware Stores
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Park Lane Shopping Center Sold For $7M

The New Park Heights Community Development Corp. Inc. finalized a deal this month to buy the Park Lane Shopping Center in Northwest Baltimore for $7 million and is plotting the center's long-awaited redevelopment.
The nonprofit's president and CEO Will J. Hanna II says it bought the shopping center at 4400 Park Heights Ave. with private funding.

Three years ago, Baltimore City and the Baltimore Development Corporation approved a $4 million bond to be used for the redevelopment of the shopping center as part of the Park Heights Revitalization area. Hanna says he expects work to begin in January and to be finished by the fall. Stores at the shopping center, at the corner of Park Heights and Coldspring Lane, will remain open during the work.

Park Lane Shopping Center is 263,000 square feet in size, a figure that includes a large parking lot in the rear. Hanna says it is 85 percent occupied, and current tenants include a Dollar Store, pharmacy, mattress store and check cashing place. The CDC will be seeking a bank and other new tenants once the renovations are done. 
Hanna estimates the shopping center is more than four decades old and says it looks "dated." The redevelopment of the property will include a refacing of the exterior and a reallocation of the size of the spaces within, to allow for more new tenants. 
The construction of a library on part of the rear parking lot is also under consideration. “The community wants and needs a library,” says Hanna. He says he has not contacted Baltimore City’s Enoch Pratt Library System and a library would most likely be a private venture.
To celebrate the acquisition, the community’s annual “National Night Out” will be held at the Park Lane Shopping Center. Hanna says his group is partnering with the Baltimore City Police Department and city agencies for the anti-crime event.
Source: Will J. Hanna II, New Park Heights Community Development Corp. Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash

Marketplace at Fells Developer Sprucing Up Facades on Broadway

Construction on the massive Marketplace at Fells Point project will close sidewalks and parking spaces of the westside of the 600 block of South Broadway Street for the next year as the developer works to preserve building facades in the neighborhood. 
The renovation of building facades or exteriors is part of the development plan to preserve the streetscape that has been there for 100 years, says Drew Dolben, senior vice president for Massachusetts developer the Dolben Co. Inc..
The developer is also constructing an entirely new building as part of the $40 million Marketplace at Fells Point project that broke ground in May. The project will eventually include 159 apartment units and more than 27,000 square-feet of retail space. Dolben acquired the rights to build the housing and retail portion of the project from Dave Holmes earlier this year. 
Dolben expects for tenants and residents to begin moving into the development within the next 15 months with the entire project completed in 20 months.
The smaller building on the eastside of Broadway will open first and the building on the westside will follow shortly after, Dolben says.
Meanwhile, in  Anne Arundel County, the Dolben Co. plans to complete its Village at Odenton Station before the end of September. 

The company has signed a lease with a dry cleaner and in currently in negotiations with a restaurant at the location. The company plans to have a mix of retail similar to a traditional main street including a coffee shop, a nail salon, a hair stylist, a spa  and a total of three restaurants.
Source: Drew Dolben, senior vice president for the Dolben Co. Inc. 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Vintage Clothing and Second-Hand Store Planned Near Station North

After 15 years of collecting one-of-a-kind and second-hand items from her travels, entrepreneur Mary Garcia plans to open a store dedicated to affordable uniqueness this August in the Barclay neighborhood near the Station North Arts & Entertainment District in Baltimore.
Garcia says she invested more than $50,000 in the merchandise and renovation of Old All-Around Vintage Finds, which she plans to open at 2129 St. Paul St. following a hearing at the city's zoning board August 7.
Garcia wants to create a place where the past meets the present where everyone from bargain hunters to vintage clothing lovers to children will find something at the new store. 
"This has been my dream. This is it," Garcia says.
The store will sell vintage women's clothing including fashions from the 1920s, 1960s and 1980s. The store will also sell a variety of pieces that Garcia has collected including decorative housewares and collectible dolls.
Garcia wants to improve the surrounding community that she describes as friendly and in-need of small businesses with affordable goods. Garcia also hopes to attract art students and visitors to nearby Station North to her shop.
As part of the renovations to the 900-square-foot space, Garcia added new windows and floor, repaired water damage, and installed French doors from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Baltimore reminds Garcia of her native Dominican Republic, and she plans to relocate to the city from Silver Spring with her teenage daughters. She wants to expose them to the experience of owning a small business.
A first-time business owner, Garcia has worked for the past 25 years in customer service and has an academic background in merchandising and marketing.
Source: Mary Garcia, owner of Old All-Around Vintage Finds.
 Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Fells Point Gets a Corner Grocer

Fresh, local produce is now just steps away for many Fells Point residents.  
Fleet Street Market, the brainchild of lawyer-turned grocer Claudette Torbey, opened this month at 2001 Fleet St. with a mission to provide fresh, local and organic foods for neighborhood residents.
For Torbey, the market is half about food and half about community. She saw the need for a neighborhood grocer and decided to pursue it hoping to improve the community along the way.
"I wanted fresh produce within walking distance. I live five blocks away, and I was frustrated to have to get in the car," Torbey says.

The owner says she is trying to source as many local products as possible in the 1,100-square-foot Fleet Street Market.
The store has everything from produce from Calvert Farms to local artisan producers supplying jams, granola and salsas.
There's all frozen pasta from Little Italy, fresh bread from Hamilton Bakery, milk from Trickling Springs Creamery, in addition to meat, cheese, sushi, cupcakes and other desserts. Torbey plans to make sandwiches on-site as well.
One comment on Yelp, a website that allows users to post reviews of local shops and restaurants, describes it as "Whole Foods meets corner bodega."
Tobey says the reaction from the community so far has been extremely positive.
"The neighborhood has really come out…people are saying hello, kids are here. I hope people enjoy shopping when they are here," she says.
Source: Claudette Torbey, owner of Fleet Street Market
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Belgian Beers and Waffles Coming to Former Chesapeake Space in September

The owner of a Belgian brasserie slated for the Station North Arts and Entertainment District says he is eyeing a September opening for De Kleine Duivel if construction stays on schedule.
The 2,700-square-foot restaurant will serve Belgian beer along with Flemish and French dishes, including a Flemish stew, moules frites and ratatouille, Owner Paul Kopchinski says. Patrons can also order Belgian waffles for dessert and Saturday and Sunday brunch.
Kopchinski says he’s not sure yet how much he will invest in the new restaurant at 1709 N. Charles St., but says he’ll meet the $200,000 threshold needed to get a new liquor license.
Kopchinski says he plans to hire about 20 to staff the restaurant, which will offer outdoor seating.
De Kleine Duivel will join Milk and Honey Market and one other restaurant in the Station North spot that has been vacant for a quarter of a century. Developer Ernst Valery says he expects all of the businesses to open in the fall. The city’s second Milk and Honey will operate as a café rather than a market. Valery says he couldn’t yet share any information on the second full-service restaurant that will open in the fall.
The new businesses will finally bring more activity to a dormant corner of the neighborhood that has been steadily gaining new eateries, art galleries and events, but will lose an anchor tenant in the fall when Everyman Theatre moves to the west side.
Kopchinski had originally eyed Hampden for his beer-themed restaurant before settling on Station North.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Paul Kopchinski, De Kleine Duivel 

Hamilton Hatches Retail Incubator

The Hamilton and Lauraville neighborhoods in Northeast Baltimore is known for its eclectic residents and top-notch restaurants.

But soon, it could be known as a place to shop some community leaders succeed in their vision of turning an old firehouse into a launch-pad for budding store owners. 

Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street purchased the old Hamilton Volunteer Firehouse at 3015 Hamilton Ave. last month for $65,000, says Regina Lansigner, director of Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street.
The organization plans to renovate the 3,250 square-foot building and use the first floor storefront as a business incubator. Business mentoring services will be provided to prospective entrepreneurs, and the main street association will help businesses move into a new storefront location in the community.
The first floor of the building will be used as a retail business incubator and office space will occupy the second floor.
The building was recently hit by a car and suffered some structural damage, and Lansigner says renovations and the budget for the project are on hold until the repair estimates are received. The organization hopes to raise renovation funds through events, donations, and grants. 

"Those who are aware of our plans to incubate business are excited that we might be able to fill some of our small storefronts with the type of retail that will be useful to the residents.  We need clothing, shoes, and housewares," Lansinger says. 
Lansigner says a business incubator concept has been in the works in Hamilton for several years. The neighborhood farmer's market has been used as an incubator in the past.
The incubator should be open by next spring, Lansigner says.
Money to purchase the building was raised through appeals to board members, business owners, and neighbors who loaned money to the organization, Lansigner says.
Baltimore Main Streets are a part of the Baltimore Development Corp. and work to revitalize neighborhoods through promoting small businesses in communities across the city.
Source: Regina Lansigner, director of Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street.
 Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

My Dear Vintage Opens in Hampden

A new boutique at 3610 Falls Road offers women another place to shop for vintage threads in Hampden.
My Dear Vintage opened June 2. Owner Brandi Foster rents the 200-square-foot space from entrepreneur Sue Caldwell above her shop Lovely Yarns.
My Dear Vintage sells fedoras, purses, dresses,  jackets, among other items, ranging from $3 to $65. The selection is a mix of both lesser-known brands and high-fashion designers Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Hermes. Pieces date from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Foster wants to keep My Dear Vintage in Hampden but look for a larger location as the physical store becomes profitable. Within the next few months, Foster plans to add apartment items to her collection. In the next year, she hopes to offer retro clothing for men and kids, which she says she  believes are in high demand but often overlooked by shops.
Foster named the boutique in honor of her grandmother who sparked her passion for vintage clothing and whom she affectionately referred to as “my dear.”
Foster originally established My Dear Vintage as an online store in the summer of 2010. Once she was successful, the former Pikesville native wanted to scout out a physical location for the boutique in Hampden.
“Hampden has really changed. It’s a great place with young hipsters who like to shop,” Foster says.
She now lives 3 blocks away from her shop and enjoys perusing the boutiques of fellow Hampden merchants like Avenue Antiques for household gadgets. She runs the boutique solo. 

Writer: Jolene Carr
Source: Brandi Foster 

Vintage Clothing Shop Opens in Hampden

A new Hampden shop selling vintage clothing and threads from smaller designers hopes to appeal to both men and women in their search for that perfect T-shirt or unique accessory.
Hunting Ground opened last month in a 170-year-old church on Falls Road near the Avenue in Hampden.
Co-owners Jessica Soulen and Jenna Hattenburg have years of experience working in retail and decided to open a store where both men and women can shop together. They were looking to fill a void in Baltimore.
"Guys especially have a hard time finding stuff in Baltimore," Soulen says.
The 1,100-square-foot Hunting Ground aspires to create a casual atmosphere where shoppers can find interesting items, and neat accessories. Additionally, the shop buys clothing from people looking to sell items. The store's owners sell items that fit into a modern wardrobe versus having costume pieces, Soulen says.
The shop wanted to work with small designers to acquire its new clothing. The shop carries no big labels or anything you could find at the mall, Soulen says.
Soulen says that she and Hattenburg wanted to open a shop in Hampden to be close to a major shopping destination for Baltimore locals, but they didn't want a narrow space on the Avenue for their shop. Instead, they waited for a spot with more space and ended up with what Soulen describes as a very unique, warm, and inviting location with big windows and lots of light.
After acquiring the property, Soulen and Hattenburg worked on building out the space starting in November.
"We did everything ourselves from building racks to painting. Everything is custom-made," Soulen says.
The new project for the owners is to establish their e-commerce site to extend their sales to an international market.
Source: Jessica Soulen, co-owner of Hunting Ground
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Entrepreneurs Promise Farm-to-Doorstep Produce

Two local entrepreneurs want to bring the bounties of Maryland's farms to your neighborhood, maybe even your doorstep.
Here's the concept: Friends & Farms goes out and gets the freshest produce, meat, dairy, and seafood from farms and suppliers around the region. Then they divide it all into a basket that you pick up once a week from a designated location in your area. They also plan to provide direct delivery to homes, says co-founder Tim Hosking.
In the works since last fall, the venture will launch May 31 with the first basket pick-up in the week of June 4. The company will start in Howard County and plans to expand to locations as far north as Baltimore City and County, and as far south as Northern Virginia, Hosking says.
Baskets will include two proteins, a myriad of fruit and vegetables, milk and bread every week, and occasionally items like eggs, bacon, herbs and spices. The food will have been picked, baked, or harvested within 24 to 48 hours.
They are priced more along the lines of Giant as opposed to Whole Foods or a farmers' market, Hosking says.
Hosking says he thinks that quality, freshness, and price will differentiate Friends & Farms from other retailers and markets. Large baskets designed for a family of four will retail at $76, while smaller baskets for two will run at $51. 
The company recently leased a 4,500-square-foot office and warehouse space in Columbia as its distribution base. It currently employs four full-time employees with plans to hire additional part-time workers.
Hosking and co-founder Philip Gottwals have both worked in areas of community development, food and agriculture and finance. They are hoping to better connect busy, working people with high-quality, fresh foods straight from the farm and sea.
"We really want to work in the food system, and many aspects of it aren't functioning well, some may even say it’s broken. We are putting our money where our mouths are with this project," Hosking says.
Friends & Farms will host a launch event May 31 at Boordy Vineyards in Hydes.
Source: Tim Hosking, co-founder of Friends & Farms
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Station North Flea Market Kicks Off Saturday

You just might find that treasure you've been looking for this weekend at the opening of the Station North Flea Market.
The season opens Saturday, May and will run on the first Saturday of every month until October at the corner of Lafayette and Charles Streets in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

Previously the market was held on the unit block of East North Avenue, but the decision was made to relocate the market from a busy and loud location on North Avenue to an area better scaled for a flea market, says Ben Stone, executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. 

One of the main goals of the market, Stone says, is to create a vibrant community event that engages locals, visitors, and artists alike. The market helps to build community for both older residents of Station North, as well as younger artists and students.  

This year, the flea market will commission some small, affordable pieces of artwork. The goal was to create a way for people to get quality art rather inexpensively, Stone says.
Other offerings include antiques, vintage clothes, crafts, and household items.
Stone expects at least one or two food trucks selling their culinary creations on-site.
If the weather is good, tours will be offered of the murals painted recently as part of the Open Walls Baltimore project. The opening of the flea market will also coincide with the opening of the Maryland Film Festival.
For vendors interested in participating in the flea market, the market is first-come, first-served. The cost is $20 and tables can be rented on site for $10.
Send an email to [email protected] to reserve a space in advance.
Source:  Ben Stone, executive director of the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Highlandtown Businesses Push For Outdoor Seating

Highlandtown businesses want to offer you a seat outside this summer.
Six restaurants and businesses in the Highlandtown Merchants Association submitted applications to the city's zoning board this month for outdoor table seating. The move is an attempt by area businesses to boost sales and beautify their neighborhood with outdoor seating.
The applications for outdoor seating were part of a plan, two years in the making, to create a more inviting space for diners and shoppers in the area, says Jody Rosoff, treasurer of the Highlandtown Merchants Association and owner of Docs Smokeshop on Eastern Avenue. Rosoff wants outdoor seating in front her business. 
Other businesses that want to have outdoor seating include the Creative Alliance, Filippo's Pizzeria, Mi Viejo Pueblito, and Little Morocco Cafe.
Rosoff says that outdoor seating for restaurants and other businesses will add dimension to storefronts and create a more "charming" atmosphere. The tables will also invite guests to stay around to shop and dine.
The Highlandtown Merchants Association paid for the $250 initial permit fee per business to encourage businesses to participate in the outdoor seating campaign, Rosoff says.
But the total cost of having outdoor seating is likely an investment of several thousand dollars for the expense of the tables and additional yearly fees.There are 300 businesses that are part of Highlandtown Main Street
As part of the permitting process, each merchant had to present a document with the proposed outdoor seating in front of their business. Each business will go before the city’s zoning board to determine if the business will be allowed to have outdoor seating. The city’s zoning board has yet to set a hearing date on applications from merchants in Highlandtown.

The Creative Alliance was already putting together an application for outdoor seating when they were approached by the merchant's association. The performing arts venue wanted to add outdoor table service for its new restaurant project in partnership with Clementine. Clementine at Creative Alliance, a full restaurant, will open May 17, says Andre Mazelin, theatre and rental manager at the Creative Alliance. 
Sources: Jody Rosoff, treasurer of the Highlandtown Merchants Association and owner of Docs Smokeshop on Eastern Avenue.
Andre Mazelin, theatre and rental manager at the Creative Alliance. 
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Wine and Craft Beer Vendor Slated for Wegmans Building

Shoppers at Columbia’s new Wegmans Food Markets won’t have to go far to find that perfect wine for their meal.  A new 9,800-square-foot liquor store will open on the second floor of the Wegmans building, the store’s owner says.

Upstairs Wine, Liquor & Beer hopes to cater to shoppers at the new grocery store by offering a “Wegmans-type” shopping experience for customers with a huge variety of wines, beers, and spirits from all over the world, Owner Mike Smith says.

The store’s emphasis, Smith says, will be on wine and craft beers, including some from Maryland.

“This store will definitely not be a typical strip center package store,” Smith says.

For Smith, the location near Wegmans is ideal as he hopes Wegmans' customers will look to his store for liquor to accompany food purchases.

If Smith’s liquor license application receives approval from the Howard County Liquor Board May 1, he plans to open Upstairs Wine, Liquor & Beer within six to eight weeks. Construction is still underway and most of the store’s 20 to 25 employees still need to be hired and trained.

Wegmans will open June 17 off Snowden River Parkway and McGaw Road in Columbia.

A lawyer and 20-year resident of Ellicott City, Smith says he has made his own wines and brewed his own beer for over 20 years.

“You might say that I’m trying to branch out professionally into another area that very much interests me,” Smith says.

The shop also plans to offer tasting and other educational events to inform customers about wine and beer to enhance their meals, Smith says.

Source: Mike Smith, owner of Upstairs Wine, Liquor & Beer
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]

Candy Shop Moving From Harbor East to Downtown

Shoppers in the Inner Harbor will soon be able to satisfy their sweet tooth with treats like old school candy and chocolate shaped like crabs.
The Best of Luck Candy & Gifts, a specialty nostalgia candy and gift shop, will relocate May 1 from Harbor East to a larger location at 601 E. Pratt St. in the Power Plant entertainment complex, says owner Alexis "Lucky" Thompson.
In the new, approximately 900-square-foot location, the business will have double the space and plans to add a coffee bar in addition to new candies, gifts, custom gift baskets, and additional room for events such as birthday parties. Thompson also plans to offer more Baltimore-themed candy and gifts.
Thompson expects the new location will receive great visibility from both foot and car traffic.
Raised in Baltimore, Thompson says she always dreamed of owning a candy shop. She recently moved back to Baltimore with her husband after working in marketing in New York. The store opened at its previous location on 612 S. Exeter St. last October.
The store underwent a month of remodeling as part of a relaunching of the store's brand.
While the company has no plans for further expansion in the near future, they do plan to do more events such as bachelorette parties and showers. The company also recently added four new employees for the new shop, Thompson says.
Source: Alexis "Lucky" Thompson, owner of The Best of Luck Candy & Gifts
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, [email protected]
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