Baltimore Beat Closes in a Blink

If you blinked, you probably missed The Baltimore Beat. The Brown Naff Pitts Ominmedia started the Baltimore Beat last November after the Baltimore City Paper closed. The Baltimore Beat closed because of its lack of advertising.

The Beat’s managing editor and news editor, Brandon Soderberg, said “Don’t let this deter anyone else from trying. I am glad we tried and we will see what we want to do next.” 


Icelandair Returning to BWI

Those in the Baltimore area can get ready for some added fun as Icelandair is coming back to the area. They are adding four weekly roundtrip flights to Reykjavik, Iceland starting May 28. They used to fly through BWI, but stopped doing so in late 2007. Now, they are returning.

Those in the area were already able to get to Iceland since WOW Airline has been offering services out of BWI since 2015, but now there will be additional summer services through BWI and these new services. The new services between BWI and Iceland will be on a Boeing 757-200 and the flights will be on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

As Icelandair CEO Bjorgolfur Johannsson said,

“The time is right for Icelandair to return to BWI. Icelandair has been in operation for over 80 years, and Baltimore has played an important role in that history.”

Salontra Select Suites

Wilson Nolley Jr. wants to help the beauty industry to prosper. He has now founded Salontra Select Suites, a 35,000 square foot space that has 135 suites for salon professionals. It’s being called a “co-working space for stylists.” He offers beauty professionals to lease salon suites within a larger community of other professionals. Housed here are cosmetologists, barbers, nail technicians and others.

They have great amenities as well from a cafe with complimentary Starbucks coffee bar, concierge services and more.


Snag-A-Slip Gets More Funding

The Baltimore startup Snag-A-Slip has raised $4.8 million to develop new product features and to step up its marketing and sales. They are an online boat slip reservation company and many companies participated in the contribution including Claritas Capital, TCP Venture Capital, Abell Foundation and others.

Snag-A-Slip is a two year old company that works with 500 marinas from Canada to the Caribean. They started in Annapolis in 2015 and they connect boaters with the slips that are available for them through their website and their mobile app.

One of the most appealing things about the company is that they don’t make their money by charging boaters but by charging fees to marinas.

Theresa Sexton, a partner at Claritas Capital said, “We are excited to support the Snag-A-Slip team in their expansion goals. It’s clear the company has deep expertise in the maritime, hospitality and technology industries, and that they have developed a product that boaters enjoy.”

More Sneakers Coming Your Way

If you’re wondering what happened to your favorite DTLR (Downtown Locker Room) Store, wonder no more. The Hanover-based company has merged with Sneaker Villa Inc. to create an urban retailer with 230 locations. The transaction was completed by private equity firms Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. and Goode Partners LLC, both of New York.

DTLR already had 110 stores in 12 states and DC including the 12 that you might have known in Baltimore, two in Glen Burnie and one in Annapolis. The Philadelphia-based Sneaker Villa had 120 locations in 10 states.

Now, the combined company has stores in 19 states and Washington D.C.

As Glenn Gaynor, the CEO of DTLR explained, “This merger will allow us to better serve our customers, employees and vendor partners. The combination will allow us to enhance the consumer experience by leveraging the best practices of both VILLA and DTLR. By combining our talent and resources we can accelerate growth and expand our reach.”

Executives on the Move

In new Baltimore business news, Rhonda Pringle is taking over as the publisher and market president of the Baltimore Business Journal. She is from Florida and is joining BBJ from the sister paper, the Phoenix Business Journal where she had the position of advertising director since 2015.

New CEO at eOriginal Inc.

For those of you keeping tabs on the software world in Baltimore, you’ll be interested to know that the Baltimore company eOriginal Inc. has hired Brian Madocks as its new CEO.

He was previously the chief executive of a number of other companies including Revitas Inc., Vitalyst Inc. and SunGard Higher Education.

Madocks is replacing Stephen Bisbee, the co-founder and CEO of eOriginal. Bisbee will continue as president and will use this opportunity to focus more on the company’s efforts with product evolution, customer service and expansion of intellectual property.

As Bisbee said in a statement about the transition,

“Brian’s knowledge and experience in leading companies through rapid expansions will enable eOriginal to reach its full potential. This change in leadership will fuel eOriginal’s growth and accelerate our ability to provide excellent products and services to our customers.”

Soon You’ll Get Your Under Armour Shoes at DSW

Here is something that Under Armour lovers will enjoy. Under Armour Inc. has just entered into a partnership with DSW Inc. Jason LaRose, the president of North America for Under Armour has said that they will bring their shoes to the DSW stores starting in July.

The Baltimore-based shoe giant has also entered into a similar deal with Kohl’s.  As Debbie Ferree, the chief merchandising officer at DSW said, “It’s a collaboration where we are developing unique product and it will be unique product for DSW with [Under Armour’s] design team.”

The new Under Armour partnership with DSW is part of Under Armour’s strategy and long-term strategic plan. Footwear is a major business, with sales in the US growing by 50% in 2016 to hit $1 billion.

As LaRose said, “Under Armour outfits all athletes at every level and it is critical that we engage with our consumer across key distribution channels. It is important to offer the consumer an opportunity to engage and experience our brand across key distribution channels and everywhere they shop.”

A New “Made in Baltimore” Certification

Soon, the Baltimore City’s Department of Planning will be certifying “Made in Baltimore” businesses. It will be for companies that make products in the city and local stores that sell these. Those that are certified will be allowed to display their “Made in Baltimore” seal on their products and their websites and on their store windows.

The goal of the program is to give a boost to small, local businesses and to encourage people to buy from them. The program is funded by a $100,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration with matching funds from Baltimore Arts Realty Corp., Abell Foundation, Baltimore Development Corp. and the Planning Department. The total budget is $220,000.

Learn more about this business venture and idea.