Baltimore Trying to Draw Tourism Back

baltimore-217620_640April’s riots were certainly not a welcome gesture for Baltimore’s tourism and it’s showing. Baltimore hotel business is down this summer. Downtown hotels posted an average occupancy rate of 73.3% in June, down from 82.5% during the same month a year ago. The occupancy rate in May dropped 17.1% to 64.7%.

While the hotels have had a drop in occupancy, they are still holding firm on their pricing. The average daily rate for a room downtown increased 3.4% in June to $176.14.

The tourism arm of the city, Visit Baltimore, is working to bring tourism back to Baltimore. They are running Internet radio and newspaper ads across the mid-Atlantic to win back visitors. Visit Baltimore and the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore have waied the $150 marketing fee that restaurants usually pay to participate in the Summer Restaurant Week event. This week runs from July 24-August 2.

 

New Head of KPMG LLP in Baltimore

KPMG LLP has named Christine Aspell to head its Baltimore office. A CPA by trade, she will replace Kevin Hall who is finishing his 39 year career with KPMG. Hall and Aspell will work together on the transition before he leaves.

Aspell joined KPMG in 1990 become becoming a partner in 2004. She is a Baltimore native who graduated from Loyola College in Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She is on the Loyola accounting advisory board and is the partner-in-charge of the Baltimore chapter of KPMG’s Network of Women.

 

New Program to Help Veterans

The Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs has started a new program to connect employers with job-seeing veterans. The program, called Operation Hire Maryland, is trying to build a “veteran-friendly business network” throughout the state. The program is being modeled after others in Virginia and North Carolina that are working.

The first full day of training will be soon. Dana Hendrickson, the director of outreach and advocacy for MDVA said that they got the idea after seeing the success with the 100 day challenge last year. During that challenge, 184 Maryland employers hired 361 veterans. As Hendrickson said, “What we learned was there was an exceptional opportunity to do great things.”

WOW Airline is WOWing in Baltimore

WOW, a new airline, has been catching the attention of Baltimore travelers. They will serve BWI five days a week with a route from BWI-Reykjavik, Iceland starting on May 8 with tickets as low as $99. CEO Skúli Mogensen said, “Hopefully what we will see is even more frequency to BWI. It’s premature to be definite about this.”

The airline started with its first flights from Boston in March and BWI is only its second airport it is serving.  Mogensen’s plan is to capture the hearts and pocketbook of customers who don’t mind flying through Iceland in order to save some money. WOW’s passenger list should grow from 500,000 from last year’s accounting, to 750,000 for this year. They project that it will grow to 1.2 million by 2016.

As the airport’s chief executive, Paul J. Wiedefeld, said about WOW: “It basically brings us the opportunity to tap into a whole new part of the market. They’re very aggressive, very forward-thinking. I think they’re going to do very good things here.”

Into the future, WOW hopes to add two more year-round destinations in Europe and two or three year-round North American destinations. The airline currently has 250 employees and six planes.

 

Lung Disease Specialist Creates Amazing Device

Dr. Bartley P. Griffith, a 30 year old lung disease specialist and faculty member at the University of Maryland School of Medicine founded Breethe in 2014. The company is developing a portable artifician lung that can let patients continue their treatment away from the hospital. They just announced that they have finalized an agreement with UM Ventures, the university’s commercialization office, to license their technology.

The device works like a lung, circulating air and blood. The device is wearable and is small enough to put into a backpack. As Griffith explained,

“Our respiratory assist and cardiopulmonary support technology has the potential to dramatically improve patient care and quality of life by enabling otherwise hospital-bound patients to leave the hospital and resume more of their daily activities.”

Lost Ark Distilling Co. Starting Up in Maryland

Brad Blackwell and Andy Debenham recently signed a lease for a 4500 square foot production space at 9385 Washington Blvd in Laurel. rather than brewing, they are distilling. As they explained,  “The beer scene right now is so crowded we’d have to spend so much money to get our product to compete for shelf space.”

Lost Ark Distilling Co. has been in the planning stages for a year. The co-founders researched for months before starting their venture. Now, they expect Lost Ark Distilling Co. to produce 2500 to 3000 cases of run and whiskey. They hope to have a grand opening in September.

As Blackwell said, “Maryland used to be famous for rye whiskey, and we want to be known for that too. We don’t want to taste like Kentucky bourbon, we want to taste like here.”

8 First Rate Restaurants Rated by Zagat.com

If you’re a foodie and you live in Baltimore – fear not. Now, there are so many great restaurants popping up all the time, and many of them are really serving first rate cuisine. So much so, that eight of these restaurants in the Baltimore area just made the Zagat.com list. Rita Rapuano, who did the evaluations, calls Baltimore a “maturing” dining and drinking scene.

Here is the list of hot places that are worth the trip:

Here’s her list:

Pigtown Bar for Sale to the Right Owner

If you’ve always dreamed of owning a salon, the Cockeyed Cow Saloon in Pigtown is up for sale. The bar at 900 S. Carey Street is selling for $225,000. This price includes both the building and the business. The building is 4000 square feet and has 60 seats on the first floor between the main bar and the attached side room. The bar area then seats 20 and has six television and two bathrooms. The side room has 40 seats and three TVs.

There is also a second floor with a private office, a full bathroom and a half bath. The basement has a full commercial kitchen, freezers, refrigerators and storage areas.

The bar is located in Pigtown, also known as Washington Village, a neighborhood in Southeast Baltimore.

 

Giorgio’s Restaurant on the Market

If you’re in the market for a new business venture, you might want to look at Giorgio’s Restaurant. Located at 6322 Reisterstown Road, it is now for sale for $145,000. The restaurant is among a number of fast food chains and carry-out restaurants. Giorgio’s offers Italian, Indian, Greek and American food for dine-in and take-out.

It’s a 2500 square foot standalone building. It seats more than 50 and has a parking lot with more than 40 spots.

This could be the opportunity for someone looking for a new business investment without spending a fortune to do so.

 

 

Richest ZIP Code in America?

It’s not Baltimore, but it’s close enough. Gibson Island in Anne Arundel County has been named as the richest ZIP code in the country. Movoto, the real estate website, has examined the per capital income of ZIP codes across the country using Census’ American Community Survey for 2009-2012.

The have a median per capita income of $264,393. Residents of the island have include Thurgood Marshall, Pat Sajak and others.

Here is a full list of the top ten, and an explanation of how each made the list:

1. 21056, Gibson Island, MD
2. 77010, Houston, TX
3. 04642, Harborside, ME
4. 94528, Diablo, CA
5. 99510, Anchorage, AK
6. 08248, Strathmere, NJ
7. 10007, New York, NY
8. 19316, Brandamore, PA
9. 02110, Boston, MA
10. 49717, Tuscarora Township, MI