Chamber Update

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Please give a warm welcome to our newest members: Eagle Title, REPP-C LLC, SpotOn Transact and Severna Park Tutoring and Educational Advocacy. We also want to send a huge thank you to all our renewing members. We truly are Chamber Strong!

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we highlighted five successful women business owners who have operated their businesses for decades. These talented entrepreneurs were featured in our weekly newsletter and included Donna Duran, owner of the Broadneck Grill and in business for 26 years; Donna Jefferson, owner of Chesapeake Family Life Magazine and Jefferson Communications and in business for 31 years; Christina Prieto, owner of Christina Josephs Salon and in business for 32 years; Kim Lawson, owner of Fishpaws Marketplace and in business for 31 years; and Dianna Lancione, owner of The Voice Media Inc. for 26 years, with the paper in business for 40 years.

In keeping with the theme of Women’s History Month, our Successful Women in Business committee held a virtual luncheon on March 10 featuring “serial” entrepreneur Pat Troy. Pat is the owner of Bay Media and Next Wave Group LLC. Notably, Pat was a co-founder of Chesapeake Academy with Marguerite Mills, the founder of the Severna Park Voice/Voice Media. Troy also was a three-term president of the Greater Severna Park Council, monitoring growth in our community, and the organization continues today to ensure that development does not negatively impact our environment. And she co-founded ASPIRE (Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal and Enhancement). We enjoyed hearing her philosophy of “always challenging yourself with the hardest thing you can do and then fully committing to doing it.” The event was sponsored by Valerie McLaughlin of Emerald Financial Partners, another successful woman business owner.

On March 11, we held a ribbon cutting celebration for Severna Park Eye Care, formerly known as Peepers of Severna Park (not affiliated with the Peepers chain). Dr. Kevin Johnson, the owner, explained that the new name better represents their private, locally owned practice and commitment to full service, comprehensive eye care. They have also surpassed 25 years of business success! Congratulations, Severna Park Eye Care!

Our Learn and Lead committee for nonprofits featured James Golden of Golden Consulting, who presented Microsoft Office for nonprofits. Committee chairs are Jenn Triplett of Treebranch Group and Larry Sells of Larry Sells Consulting.

On March 18, our wellness committee held a webinar called “Food Equals Medicine.” Presenters were Carol Heckman, registered nurse and practitioner at Chesapeake Holistic Health Center, and Heather Frantz, owner and holistic health coach at Involve Your Body. They discussed the relationship between food and physical/mental health, and the importance of selecting food that will provide proper nutrition to support overall health.

We were thrilled to have the “green light” to hold our beloved Independence Day parade. Because July 4 falls on a Sunday, the chamber will hold the parade on Monday, which will be the official federal holiday. We plan to have all the features including the decorated bike contest, a DJ, the judges table, and of course, the wonderful parade participants. If you have any questions and would like more information about being in the parade, please email me at info@gspacc.com. You will need to complete a parade application and rules document. We also have sponsorships available if you are interested.

Speaking of sponsors, we currently have Chick-fil-A, Kogen Dojo, Bernward Construction Mechanical, Steak ‘n Shake and Citizens to Re-Elect Heather Bagnall as supporters of the parade.

We are overjoyed to announce that our grand marshal for this year’s parade will be Eddie Conway, owner of Garry’s Grill. When it became apparent that the pandemic was not going to end in a matter of weeks, Eddie went into overdrive to add services that he had never offered before. Seeing the shortage of hygiene products, he was able to order items from distributors and created a “store” at the restaurant to sell toilet paper and other supplies. He implemented a delivery service, often making the runs himself. He promised his staff that no one would be out of a job, and he made sure that all 32 employees retained their positions even when allowed capacity in the restaurant was only 25 percent. He recognized that nonprofits would suffer greatly, and held fundraisers for 18 organizations, including Special Olympics Maryland. Eddie created his own Polar Bear Plunge behind the restaurant, and through donations and sponsors, he raised over $36,000. He loves his community and continues to give back, all while raising a family that includes a newborn. We are honored to give Eddie a well-deserved recognition as the parade grand marshal.

We are planning a busy April with several in-person events. Please visit us at www.gspacc.com. I would love to add you to our email list so that you receive the weekly newsletter. Please reach out at ceo@gspacc.com and I will get you subscribed so that you stay in the loop.

As always, we urge you to support our small businesses in every way you can. Shop local, eat local, give local and support local for a better community.

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