Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meet CarMax

                     Five Questions with Damon Devins, General Manager, Frederick CarMax

5601 Urbana Pike
Frederick, MD  21704-7292

CarMax pioneered the used-car superstore concept delivering what consumers want when shopping for a car: an ethical, honest, no-haggle experience with a wide selection of high quality vehicles. CarMax has been one of the Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” for ten consecutive years and currently operates more than 130 used car superstores nationwide.

How long have you been in business?
CarMax has been changing the way America buys cars since we opened our first store in Richmond, Virginia, in 1993.

How many employees do you have?
The Frederick CarMax location employs nearly 150 associates. CarMax has approximately 20,000 associates nationwide.

Why do you believe you will be successful in Frederick County?
We are excited to bring jobs and the unique CarMax experience to those in the Frederick County area. We are a growing company and offer an unmatched customer experience. Customers choose CarMax for a transparent and fun process for buying a used car. With more than 35,000 cars online at carmax.com and on our app, customers can shop nearly every make and model. We also provide fast, commitment-free appraisals. We’ll buy your car, even if you don’t buy ours. We invite the Frederick community to come see us as they start the search for their perfect vehicle.

If your company is involved in community outreach, please share with us your involvement.
Community giving is a big part of the CarMax culture and it’s personal to our associates. We are proud to be part of the Frederick community and support great organizations that are making a positive difference to families in our area.  Frederick County Boys and Girls Club received a $20,000 grant from The CarMax Foundation for Project Learn. Our team has clocked more than 240 volunteer hours at the Frederick County Boys and Girls Club. Teams of associates have been a part of three nonprofit walks in Frederick supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes, and Animal Welfare League of Frederick County. The CarMax Foundation also made donations to each of these organizations on behalf of the volunteers.

What are you most proud of?
More than 20 years ago, we wanted to give car buyers a better option. CarMax was founded on the principle of integrity and that remains the core part of our culture today. Integrity is ingrained in the way we do business, in every role, responsibility and process. Our sales consultants act as “car matchmakers,” receiving the same commission for any car a customer purchases, no matter its price. They are true advisors to find each customer his or her perfect car to fit budget and lifestyle. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

August Edition of the Frederick County Monthly Business Economic Indicators Now Available

August Highlights

  • Unemployment increased slightly In July to 5.6% but still well below Maryland’s rate of 6.5% and the U.S. average of 6.2%.  
    • It is also still lower than it was at this time last year when it was 5.8%.
  • The residential housing market seems to be very active with an 11.5% increase in number of houses sold compared to last year at this time. 
    • There are also 40% more homes on the market selling for 4% more than this time last year. 
  • The commercial and industrial market saw the highest dollar value in 3 years at this time with $14-1/2 million in construction costs for August.
  • Our overall commercial vacancy rate of 12.2%  is lower than the 5-year average of 15%. 
    • The most noticeable decrease in vacancy for the flex market (4-1/2 percent lower than the 5 year average 14.5% versus 5 year avg of 20%).
To download a PDF, please click here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Renowned Financial Strategists at Hood

Two nationally renowned financial strategists will discuss their insights about Frederick County’s economic outlook Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Hodson Auditorium in Rosenstock Hall at Hood College.

In a talk entitled “The Shifting Landscape of American Communities,” James Chung and Maurice Nicholson will discuss the practice of predicting market changes and national trends and how these methodologies can be applied to the economic demography of Frederick County.
Following the presentation, which is free and open to the public, questions from the audience will be addressed.

            Chung is the president of Reach Advisors, a New York-based strategy, research and predictive analytics firm focused on emerging shifts in the external landscapes. He serves some of the nation’s largest organizations involved in community development and economic development, tourism and resorts, healthy living, museums and cultural institutions, higher education and other fields undergoing significant change or confronting major bets about the future.
Chung has been a featured speaker at many of the national and international conferences for the fields that he serves. He is also a writer, analyst and recurring source for media organizations such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR and “NBC Nightly News,” among many others. He is the co-author of “Life Stages of the Museum Visitor.”  Chung earned his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Harvard University.

            Nicholson is president of The Relevance Company, a cultural insights and strategy firm focused on helping clients with target market selection and developing strategies to deliver value by leveraging cultural connections. He has assisted organizations involved in economic development in the D.C., Los Angeles and Boston regions, examining how the public is changing and what that means for the future of those communities.  Nicholson earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University, and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

The presentation is part of Hood College’s Management Distinguished Lecture Series, which focuses on economic issues facing today’s communities. Most recently, the series featured Stephanie Hill of Lockheed Martin and Jessica Jackly, founder of KIVA.

The presentation is co-hosted by Hood College and the Frederick County  Chamber of Commerce and underwritten by chamber members, including Ausherman Properties, Harris Smariga, Leidos Biomedical Research, Linowes and Blocher, Miles & Stockbridge, Miller and Smith and Elm Street Development.  Promotional partners include the Frederick Office of Economic Development, Frederick County Office of Business Development and Retention, and Frederick County Building Industry Association.  For more information contact Cynthia Miller, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, at 301-662-4164.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Governor O’Malley, Lt. Governor Brown Kick Off Third Annual InvestMaryland Challenge

Media Contacts:             
Nina Smith, Governor's Office: 410-533-0363
Karen Glenn Hood, DBED:  410-767-6318


ANNAPOLIS, MD (September 17, 2014) Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown today officially launched the third InvestMaryland Challenge, Maryland’s national business competition. The Challenge is part of Maryland’s comprehensive strategy to grow the State’s thriving entrepreneurial community and create jobs -- it connects innovative startups with the resources they need to reach the next level. Winners in four categories—Information Technology; Defense and Security; Life Sciences; and Sustainability and Exploration—will each receive $100,000 grants. The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) is awarding the prize money through the Maryland Venture Fund and BioMaryland Center. As in previous years, DBED is working with partners and sponsors to expand the pool of prizes that will be awarded when the Challenge concludes in the spring. Prizes include cash grants, incubator space, marketing and legal services, and opportunities to pitch investors. For more information or to apply, visit www.investmarylandchallenge.org.

Some past InvestMaryland Challenge winners created a video urging early-stage business owners to enter the Challenge. Since bringing home $100,000 grand prizes for their categories, these ambitious entrepreneurs have hired new workers, launched new product lines and earned new investment. Now they ask, "Who will be next?"

 “For three years in a row, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has ranked Maryland the #1 state for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Governor O’Malley said. “The InvestMaryland Challenge is just one part of our ongoing efforts to foster innovation, promote economic growth, and create jobs.”

“The InvestMaryland Challenge helps create jobs and grow our economy by supporting Maryland’s cutting-edge small businesses,” Lt. Governor Brown added. “We’re committed to helping our small and innovative businesses grow, thrive, and stay here in Maryland, where they’ll create middle class, family-supporting jobs for more of Maryland’s workers.”

The Challenge is limited to companies with fewer than 25 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue. New this year is that all four categories will be open to businesses located in Maryland, in other states, and abroad. Out-of-state and country winners will have to establish an office in Maryland and spend a majority of the funding here if they win a top prize. The Department also expanded the scope of the four categories to better reflect the diversity of Maryland’s startup companies.

Applications are due Dec. 12. Companies that enter in the first month of the Challenge will pay a discounted fee of $49. The fee will rise to $99 after Oct. 16. Company entries and business plans will be evaluated by teams of expert judges that include successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, high-tech and scientific researchers, top-level executives and others who work with startups. The top 10 companies in each category will move on to face-to-face interviews with panels of judges. Winners will be chosen from the top three finalists in each category. Along the way, applicants will also have many opportunities to network with their competitors as well as judges to connect them with potential customers and partners.

The inaugural Challenge, launched in 2012, awarded more than $425,000 in cash prizes and services and drew 259 contestants in three categories from 10 states and Washington D.C., with companies applying from as far away as California, Georgia and Massachusetts. In its second year, the Challenge added a fourth category and increased the prize pool to nearly $1 million.

The Challenge is an offshoot of InvestMaryland, one of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s key economic initiatives. Created in 2011, InvestMaryland is a public-private partnership between the State and venture capital firms. It raised $84 million to spur growth in small, high-tech Maryland companies and is the largest venture capital investment initiative in Maryland’s history. Two-thirds of the funding – $56 million – is being managed by carefully screened private venture firms that will invest the funds and, if successful, return 100% of the principal and 80% of the profits to the State’s general fund. The remaining third of the InvestMaryland capital is largely allocated to direct investments by the state-run Maryland Venture Fund.

REALShare in September

The Frederick County Business Development & Retention (BDRD) office partnered with Turning Point Commercial and held their quarterly event, REALShare Frederick. REALShare Frederick is an event for commercial real estate professionals in Frederick and the surrounding area.  Today's attendees gathered and listened about the State of Maryland by Delegate Kelly Schulz along with the commercial market by Dave Eastep of CoStar.
Each quarter, BDRD partners with a real estate broker and makes the event available to the Frederick County real estate community. The next one will be in December and will be hosted by MacRo Ltd. For more information, please contact Jodie Bollinger at jbollinger@frederickcountymd.gov or 301-600-1058.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Homegrown Frederick

Want to know where you can get local produce, dairy and much more straight from the farm? Check out our Homegrown Frederick publication, in partnership with Frederick Magazine, now available to read online at http://issuu.com/diversionspub/docs/homegrown14 or contact us for a magazine copy!