Howard Bank Continues its Support of Ellicott City Flood Victims and Rebuilding Main Street

  • 18 Nov 2016
  • Posted by Amarasco

Bank employees will decorate and then donate Main Street-themed Christmas tree to Ellicott City Partnership at this year’s Festival of the Trees hosted by Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Baltimore, MD, November 18, 2016 —Howard Bank, a growth-focused community bank serving businesses, professionals and individuals in the Greater Baltimore area, today announced its participation in this year’s Festival of the Trees, a three-day holiday event hosted by Kennedy Krieger Institute.

The Festival of Trees, which will be held on November 25th to November 27th at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, benefits children and families who receive treatment at the Kennedy Krieger, the internationally regarded health care organization dedicated to treating children and young adults with a range of disabilities.

Howard Bank employees will collect ornaments donated by community members and local Main Street store-owners reflecting the history of Ellicott City and then decorate the tree, which will be displayed at the Festival. The tree will be donated to the Ellicott City Partnership and then raffled to raise money to support of Ellicott City flood victims and raise awareness about rebuilding Main Street.

“We want to ensure the victims and business owners of the Ellicott City flood that their futures and the recovery of downtown are important to Howard Bank,” said President and CEO Mary Ann Scully. “The Festival of Trees is an incredible community event that spotlights Kennedy Krieger, a Baltimore institution that has transformed the lives of young people and their families.”The Festival showcases more than 700 holiday trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses created by local designers. The three-day event will offer a number of holiday activities, including live music, holiday readings and pony rides.

Following The Festival of the Trees, Howard Bank’s tree will be donated to the Ellicott City Partnership and used in a raffle at Midnight Madness, an annual holiday

event hosted in Old Ellicott City to benefit local business. This year the money raised from the raffle will be used to help flood victims, local business owners and the rebuilding of Main Street.

Midnight Madness will be held on December 2nd from 6:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. in Old Ellicott City. The 38th annual holiday festival offers a tree lighting ceremony, caroling, visits with Santa and shopping and dinner specials.

For more information about The Festival of the Trees and Midnight Madness, visit: http://festivaloftrees.kennedykrieger.org; http://visitellicottcity.com/midmad/.

About Howard Bank
Howard Bancorp is a bank holding company with total assets slightly over $1.0 billion as of September 30, 2016. Its principal operating subsidiary, Howard Bank is a locally managed, headquartered and growth-focused community bank serving businesses, professionals and individuals in the Greater Baltimore area through 13 full service branches. Howard Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Howard Bancorp (NASDAQ: HBMD). For information visit www.howardbank.com.

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A Letter From Mary Ann Scully- #ECSTRONG Fundraiser Update

  • 06 Sep 2016
  • Posted by Admin

I am very happy to share the excellent news that we have exceeded our goal of raising an additional $10,000 of donations, matching our initial $10,000 commitment for the Ellicott City Partnership to help rebuild Ellicott City!  As of this morning, we have raised $20,113!

 We remain committed to the recovery effort of Ellicott City’s Main Street and we will continue to collect donations in all of our branches through the month of September.  In addition to having the #ECSTRONG bracelets in our branches for the remainder of the month, we will be setup at the Howard County Police 5K run on September 11th at Centennial Lake and we will also have them available at our September Accelerent breakfast. 

 Thank you all for your generosity and support with this mission and let’s continue our hard work to help Main Street come back stronger than ever.

 

Mary Ann Scully

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Hogan Administration Announces Programs Available for Ellicott City Recovery

  • 05 Aug 2016
  • Posted by Admin

Hogan Administration Announces Programs Available for Ellicott City Recovery
Maryland Department of Housing Offers Revitalization Programs

ANNAPOLIS, MD – As part of Maryland’s comprehensive response to recent flooding in Howard County, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is offering a number of programs that will help impacted households and business owners, including increased funding or additional flexibility for previously submitted applications to assist the city. This action from the department follows a directive from Governor Larry Hogan earlier this week ordering all state agencies to assist Ellicott City residents and businesses in their recovery efforts from the historic flooding this past weekend.

“The flood waters have receded, but the real work has just begun, and we will continue to work with Howard County and Ellicott City officials

to provide the resources necessary for an effective recovery and rebuilding,” said Governor Hogan. “Helping residents and businesses get back on their feet and ensuring that Ellicott City’s historic main street comes back even stronger will remain a top priority of our administration.”

Ellicott City has requested funding for façade improvement through the Community Legacy Program, and the Department of Housing and Community Development will work with the city in order to increase funding based on damage assessments. Additionally, the department will extend Ellicott City’s application deadline for the Strategic Demolition Fund to enable assistance if needed for this program.

“Our department has a long and successful history of partnership with Ellicott City, particularly through our neighborhood revitalization programs,” said Secretary Kenneth C. Holt. “We will continue to strengthen this partnership as we work together to support business owners and residents during their recovery efforts in the wake of this tragic disaster.”

Specific information on Community Legacy, the Strategic Demolition Fund, and other Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development programs include:

Disaster Relief Housing Program

This program provides financial assistance in a declared emergency area to a family whose primary residence was damaged or destroyed by the disaster. The program will allow 20-year loans at a 0% deferred interest rate to affected and eligible homeowners. The disaster relief financing is based upon the total cost to rebuild or rehabilitate the home, less any Federal Emergency Management Agency recoveries and less any insurance proceeds.

DHCD Contact: Jack Daniels, 301-429-7802[email protected]
                         David Klingler, 301-429-7799, [email protected]

WholeHome (Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program)

This program provides low interest rate financing to low- and moderate-income homeowners or to landlords with one to four unit rental properties in order to rehabilitate their dwelling or rental unit.  Homeowners and tenants must meet eligibility requirements of 80% statewide income. If this is a rental property, the owner must agree to recorded covenants restricting the rental unit usage.
http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Residents/Pages/WholeHome.aspx

DHCD Contact: Jack Daniels, 301-429-7802, [email protected]
                         David Klingler, 301-429-7799, [email protected]maryland.gov

Maryland Disaster Housing Assistance Program (MDHAP)

This program is a resource for short-term, emergency rental assistance for families or individuals displaced by a natural disaster as identified by MEMA of DHR. MDHAP will pay the owner the advertised rent or 100% of the fair market, whichever is less. The term of the voucher is 90 days, extensions will be considered if the home is not ready for occupancy at the end of 90 days.

DHCD Contact: Gregory Hare, 301-429-7775, [email protected]

Community Legacy

The Community Legacy program is a flexible source of grant and loan funding for revitalization of targeted areas; downtown Ellicott City IS eligible for these awards. Recent awards in Ellicott City include grants for storefront improvements and street furniture. The eligible applicant is Howard County or a local nonprofit development organization.
http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/programs/CL.aspx

DHCD Contact:  Melissa Archer, 410-209-5820[email protected]

Strategic Demolition Fund

The Strategic Demolition Fund is used by local governments and nonprofit community development organizations for a range of predevelopment activities, including removal of unsafe structures, demolition of obsolete structures, site acquisition and land assembly, infrastructure improvements, site development and architectural and engineering services. Eligible applicants are local governments and local nonprofit development organizations.
http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/programs/SDF.aspx

DHCD Contact:  Melissa Archer, 410-209-5820[email protected]

Main Street Maryland

Ellicott City is one of Maryland's 28 designated historic Main Streets, and is, therefore, able to participate in quarterly trainings as well as participate in the above two grant programs as well as the Main Street Improvement Program, which provides a range of small grants for local revitalization projects. Eligible applicants are local governments and local nonprofit development organizations.
http://dhcd.maryland.gov/Communities/Pages/programs/MainStreet.aspx

DHCD Contact:  Susan Sheppard, [email protected]

Maryland Business Recovery

The Maryland Business Recovery Loan Program is an emergency loan program to assist small businesses affected by the flooding event in Ellicott City on July 30, 2016.

Eligible Applicants

  • Maryland-based small businesses
  • Business must be located in a commercial space
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Business must be located in Ellicott City’s Main Street area
    Note: Applicant must show proof of insurance status

Amount of Financing Available

  • Up to $50,000 (amount based on damage assessment).
  • Interest rate of zero percent (0%)
  • Higher amounts will be considered on a case-by-case basis
  • Financing may be used in conjunction with other financing, insurance proceeds, etc.
  • Target loan term is 1-5 years, depending on loan size and affordability

Eligible Uses of Funds

  • Renovations
  • Repairs and replacement of furniture, fixtures and equipment
  • Inventory replacement
  • Certain other costs associated with recovery of a small business, including working capital

DHCD Contact: Michael Haloskey 443-214-8429, [email protected]

For more information about the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and its programs, visit http://dhcd.maryland.gov or call 1-800-756-0119.

 

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Bringing Back Ellicott City: Resource Page

  • 05 Aug 2016
  • Posted by Admin

Below are some resources for how you can help flood victims on Main Street.  We will keep this current as updates become available. 

Ellicott City information and resources:

Ellicott City Partnership: https://ecpartnership.org/#donate

State of Maryland Website with links to all of the recent press releases related to Ellicott City: https://mdbiznews.commerce.maryland.gov/2016/08/rebuilding-ellicott-city-can-help/

Hogan Administration Announces Programs Available for Ellicott City Recovery: http://governor.maryland.gov/2016/08/02/hogan-administration-announces-programs-available-for-ellicott-city-recovery/

Maryland Business Recovery Loan Program is an emergency loan program to assist small businesses affected by the flooding event in Ellicott City on July 30, 2016. Maryland Business Recovery/Loan Program Fact Sheet

Maryland Biz News Article with links to how people can help Ellicott City: https://mdbiznews.commerce.maryland.gov/2016/08/rebuilding-ellicott-city-can-help/

Howard County Government website with updated information for Ellicott City Residents and business owners: http://www.howardcountymd.gov/ECStrong-Recovery-Resources

Howard County Government’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/hocogov/

Preservation Maryland: http://preservationmaryland.org/help-ellicott-city-recover-descructive-flood/

The Red Cross will be accepting donations for residents impacted by the flood. Stay tuned for details.

The Community Action Council will be accepting food donations at the Howard County Food Bank www.cac-hc.org

The Elkton Chamber & Alliance is collecting clean up materials  http://bit.ly/2aXpoBO

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Howard Bank is Committed To Bringing Ellicott City's Main Street Back. Hands On!

  • 01 Aug 2016
  • Posted by Admin

A Message from Mary Ann Scully, President and CEO of Howard Bank

Ellicott City’s Main Street epitomizes everything that small towns have stood for over the years. It has always been a very important part of the larger county and regional economy for just that reason - a living demonstration of what small business owners, retailers, artists, entertainers, hospitality and professional service providers can accomplish working together. There are no big businesses on Main Street in Ellicott City. For this reason, among others, it successfully attracts local, regional, national and international visitors every day and night.EC-strong-FB-post-image (002)

So after the devastation of Saturday evening, Howard County’s heart is breaking. But Howard County’s heart is big and welcoming as well. As the flood ripped down Main Street, several people risked their own lives and formed a human chain to rescue a victim trapped by the ferocious currents.  Within hours of the devastation, neighbors began gathering in the streets offering their assistance to the recovery effort without delay.

The larger community as well has mobilized quickly to not only respond but to proactively rebuild better than ever.

At Howard Bank, we too are heart broken by the flooding that occurred in Ellicott City on Saturday night.  Many businesses and residents alike - some customers but all friends, lost everything. Our colleagues at Howard Bank are committed to the recovery effort.  We will partner with the Howard County Economic Development Authority, Ellicott City Partnership, the Red Cross and the Community Action Council to provide resources and assistance to the community at large and we are also committed to working with our individual clients who were impacted by the flood.  We will, as community banks always do and as Howard Bank has always done assume an advisory, a leadership and a “Hands On “role in bringing Main Street back.

 

Scully Signature

Mary Ann Scully, President and CEO of Howard Bank

 #ECStrong  #EllicottCity #HBCommunity

 

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For the 10th Year in a Row, Howard Bank Supports Columbia Festival of the Arts. This Time at its New Location: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.

  • 06 Jun 2016
  • Posted by Admin

For the 10th consecutive year, Howard Bank is supporting the Columbia Festival of the Arts, which for the first time will be held at the Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods.CFA2006 In addition to the move, the Festival will explore India’s transformation into the modern world and feature author Nadia Hashimi. It will also formally launch the new Columbia Film Festival. “The Festival of the Arts is excited to move to Symphony Woods this year given all of the development in Town Center,” said Todd Olson, Columbia Festival of the Arts Executive Director. “The renovated Merriweather Post Pavilion, the soon-to-be finished Chrysalis Amphitheatre, and the proposed Arts Center…all within a stone’s throw of each other will surely create a cultural epicenter in Howard County and all of Central Maryland.” The June 10th – 26th event marks the Festival’s 29th year, and one of the biggest occasions in its history. Traditionally, the Festival has been held at the Lakefront.The Festival’s inaugural free “Weekend In The Woods” runs Saturday June 18th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 19th from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.   Photo: 2006 CFA - Andrea Martinez, Mary Ann Scully, Steve Sachs & Chris Marasco “It’s about giving back to the community,” said Robert Marshall, Marketing and Communications Director for the Columbia Festival of the Arts. “It’s not unlike Wine in the Woods. It’s part of the larger Festival of the Arts at Columbia.” The festival also ushers in the start of summer, said Mary Ann Scully-President and CEO of Howard Bank. “The CFA means three things to me - a legacy of community celebrations, bringing the arts to everyone, and the kickoff to summer in Columbia,” she said. “Being a part of the CFA is a reminder of what makes Columbia such a spirited community,” added Chris Marasco, Senior Vice President of Howard Bank. “The festival entertains all elements of our community: races, ages, incomes, and genders.” This year’s event highlights the community and its artists.  The Festival is providing a remarkably larger space for local artisans to showcase their wares to the public, and for Maryland residents to experience some of the area’s best musicians. Weekend In The Woods headliners include Black Masala, a fast paced brass group from Washington, D.C., and the Glenelg Jazz Ensemble, a crowd favorite. The Glenelg Ensemble has not just been recognized locally, but on the national level, too.The high school performers have received more than 60 awards and first place finishes in the last 10 years alone. Other musicians performing during the free weekend are: Anthony “SwampDog” Clark, The Shrapnels, Elikeh, Samuel James, and La Unica. The main theme of the event is “The Silk Road Stories.” On June 18, the Festival is hosting Mystic India: The World Tour Bollywood Spectacular! which is based on the concept of ancient India’s transition into modern India. Another highlight of the Festival is the June 26 event: Refugees on the Silk Road. Novelist Nadia Hashimi will read an excerpt from her new book, which places a spotlight on the recent refugee crisis. The Columbia Festival of the Arts sponsors events and shows like this year round, and is using this year’s Weekend In The Woods to launch the new Columbia Film Festival. The inaugural event will produce and show films four times a year in a variety of genres, such as features, shorts, and documentaries. The Film Festival will also host student made films. The purpose of the Film Festival, according to the Columbia Festival of the Arts, is to, “Introduce Howard County audiences to the best in the world, national, and local cinema, and is dedicated to inspiring and reflecting the diverse community it serves.” For many, the festival is a place to connect with people and help the broader community. “The Columbia Festival of the Arts is where I started my volunteer career,” said Andrea Martinez, a Junior Loan Processor at Howard Bank. “Meeting new people, giving my time and energy to something bigger than myself has helped me grow as a human being and a person by leaps and bounds.” The change of location means next year’s Festival will showcase musicians in the Chrysalis stage, a brand new amphitheater currently under construction. The Chrysalis will offer a permanent stage for performers and will seat more than 400 people. Despite the fact the Chrysalis stage is not complete, this year’s Weekend In The Woods is poised to be the best, most exciting one in the Festival’s history. The Symphony Woods location is a sprawling 16.5 acres of beautiful landscape. With an incredible new space and remarkably talented musical guests, the event is not one to miss. For more information and/or to purchase tickets visit www.ColumbiaFestival.org.      

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9 Green Business Opportunities for Eco-Entrepreneurs

  • 03 Mar 2016
  • Posted by Admin

There have been many speculations in recent years about the future of our planet, our environment and all living things that surround us.

Eco-greenThere are still ongoing problems and issues about climate changes, gas emissions, energy consumption and other alarming subjects. In response to these urgent problems today, there has emerged a solution in a shape of sustainable development.
As we live in a world where economy and politics rule over, we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation choosing between working to survive and working for accomplishing higher goals.

Fortunately, there have been certain developments in this sphere and soon enough

many people who have the desire to prosper will be able to start their own green businesses that will not only bring them success but will also positively affect the environment.

These are some of the business opportunities of the future:

1) Composting Business
compostMany people worldwide already use composting as one of their daily activities.
This is a common practice in most rural areas, smaller towns and villages where people farm their own crops, grow their own foods or just have a small piece of land they maintain. Of course, this will become a more common practice in the future as the demand for organic materials is rapidly growing.
It is a business that requires minimum startup costs, where you have a clear and visible target clientele and the best thing is that it is completely home-based.
2) Organic Clothing Lines
The fashion industry represents one of the most sustainable industries in the world. Of course, all around the globe, people have becoming more interested in organic clothing lines and eco-friendly garments.
This could be a great business opportunity for creative people who can create their own fashion lines by using only natural and organic materials.
The demand for organic clothing is rapidly growing as the materials used are much more durable and of higher quality and mostly they do not support free or child labor.

3) Eco Blogger
Whether we would like to admit it or not, we are all very much involved in the virtual world.
The internet and technological era is taking over and it is certain to say that the future is exactly here. Blogging has become one of the most popular means of earning easy money, sort to say. But as easy as it sounds, being a devoted blogger is not so simple.
Of course, this is a great opportunity for all those virtual eco-minded people who see the real problems, seek solutions and are not afraid to share them with the rest of the world.

4) Green Architecture
Can you imagine a self-sustainable home that works on the principle of solar panels, energy and water saving devices made from all natural materials?
No it is not a fantasy.
Green architecture or sometimes even called green construction is an actual line of business that is becoming more popular every minute. A professional team of people is set to create homes, buildings and other facilities using only eco-friendly products and energy saving materials.
A functional, practical and most importantly – a healthy way of living.

5) Organic Products
For years now there have been debates about conventional products that we use in our everyday life.
From cleaning products we use in our kitchens, bathrooms and living space up to cosmetics like makeup, soaps, shampoos and similar. There have been a lot of debates about these products containing toxic chemicals harmful for organisms and our surroundings.
This is exactly why there is a high demand for organic products that contain only the most natural ingredients and no health risks. It is a great business opportunity for new and fresh cosmetic industries.

6) Permaculture Farms
Great news for all those people who enjoy the country life and would like to create a successful business out of farming.
Permaculture farms are growing in popularity in the last couple of years as they represent a true sustainable method of living.
So why not take advantage of this knowledge?
You could open a green consulting business for advising people on how to implement a sustainable lifestyle on their own. Also, there is big demand for fresh, healthy and organic foods that are not genetically modified. Here also lies a great business chance.

7) Recycling Centers
Why not take advantage of the whole technological development and the rapid appearance of electronics?
There is not a person in the developed world that does not own a Smartphone, a computer, camera, printer etc.
Recycling and reusing electronic waste is a huge chance to prosper in the business world. There are many companies that already have a developed business of waste disposal similar to rubbish removal in Sydney. Reusing these electronic devices in order to sell them again represents a profitable profession.

8) Bike Shop
Many countries have started implementing green methods of transport where they condemn cars, motorcycles and other fuel-using methods of transportation and support other means like electric cars and bicycles.
Opening a shop for selling and repairing bicycles is perhaps one of the smartest options nowadays, as there is an increasing demand for these vehicles. Also, do not limit yourself there; implement other ideas to your business like additional bike gear, reusing old parts etc.

9) Solar Generators
Renewable energy sources represent the future of our planet. One of the most lucrative businesses is surely producing and selling solar generators. This is an outstanding way of implementing an environmentally friendly and sustainable lifestyle in people’s homes.
The best thing about solar generators is that other than the fact that they save energy, they also save you money in the process.
This is great as it allows you to expand your target audience to more people. This means that even if someone does not wish to implement an eco-friendly approach in their home, they will surely wish to implement money saving methods.

We have only one planet and it is our duty to preserve it. The sustainable movement is only a step in the right direction. These green businesses do not represent only a mean of making money but a way of making a better world. We have an obligation towards our environment to become more aware and more giving.

Are you looking for green business opportunities?

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What Does Football And Finances Have In Common?

  • 21 Dec 2015
  • Posted by Amarasco

Your personal finances Football-moneyhave a lot more in common with a football team than you might think.

Most people like football and it is especially exciting to watch. Although we don’t always understand all the strategies just yet, we enjoy watching the carefully planned plays. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but nevertheless, very fun stuff to watch.

Football and finances have a lot in common. The plays are carefully planned, the teams spend countless hours

practicing and strategizing, there is an experienced coach that guides the team to victory and they never give up.

Their goal is specific, understood by all and there is serious motivation to win.

Your money matters, your financial road map, require the same mindset as those big, bad, burly football players. If you don’t have a specific plan in place, if you don’t practice and don’t have someone guiding you, you will probably not end up where you want to. When it’s time to send your kids to college, go on that vacation or retire, where are those funds coming from? What if you lost your job unexpectedly? Do you have reserves to fall back on?

Read the playbook.

Imagine those football players running onto the field with no plan, no plays. It would almost be painful to watch. Complete chaos. Is that what we enjoy watching? Doubtful. So, is your financial picture complete chaos? If so, don’t panic. It’s never too late to get things in order.

Start by having a plan.

Write down specific goals, what action steps are necessary to achieve those goals and by when. If lifestyle changes must occur, define what those changes are and commit to that change. Sit down and pull all your bills out for the last month. Determine your fixed expenses and compare that to what you actually spend every month. Sometimes this alone can be a real eye opener. Where does all that extra money go? The local coffee house? Lunch out? Those shoes you had to have? Here’s an interesting statistic: If you saved $4 per day (one coffee) for 5 days per week for 52 weeks and invested that money at 10%, do you know how much you would have after 40 years? Some would say about $80,000, $90,000 even $100,000. Nope, you would have $553,396. Wow. Compound interest could be your new best friend.

Are you ready for some football?

With the start of the New Year, We encourage you to spend some time and make a plan. You deserve this. If you need some help, seek guidance. Taking action is the most important step you can take.

 

 

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Howard Bank Aberdeen Branch Recognized During Harford County Business Appreciation Week

  • 24 Sep 2015
  • Posted by Amarasco

From Cecil Whig, September 24, 2015

aberdeenHAVRE DE GRACE — Elected officials joined the staff of Harford County’s Office of Economic Development to visit with numerous businesses in the county during Business Appreciation Week on Sept. 25.

The week kicked off with a breakfast at the Ground floor in Havre de Grace where Good Neighbor Awards were presented to Cytec and Harford Systems and ended Friday with a meet and greet at La Tolteca in Aberdeen and Wargo’s in Forest Hill.

Businesses visited included:

Edgewood/Joppa — Future Skies, Joppa Automatic Transmissions, Harbor Freight Tools, Perez International Foods and Sandmar Properties, LLC.

Bel Air — Sunny Day Café, Towne Barbers, Law Office of Anthony J. DiPaula, Savona, and Buontempo Brothers.

Jarrettsville — Kurtz Funeral Home, Jarrettsville Creamery, Jack’s Small Engines, Jarrettsville Pharmacy, Jarrettsville Family Care, Keen Dodge, Jarrettsville Federal Savings and Loan.

Aberdeen — Hinder Ford, Medline Industries, Inc., Howard Bank, Flowers by Lucy, Dee’s Flowers & Gifts, Bourbon Street Market, Boeing.

Havre de Grace — Havre de Grace Decoy Museum, Desserts by Rita and Wilhelm Automotive.

Forest Hill — Comer Construction, Inc., Home Paramount, York Insurance, T.W. Ellis Design & Build, and Forest Hill Industrial Park.

“We have so many talented and committed businesses here in Harford County,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “From multi-generational, family-owned small businesses to international corporate headquarters; our diverse economy is one reason Harford County is Maryland’s new center of opportunity.”

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How to Save on Back-to-School Shopping

  • 21 Jul 2015
  • Posted by Amarasco

You can trim costs on supplies by shopping sales and snagging coupons.

Even though it's early, it's time to start shopping for supplies.
As the excitement of the July Fourth holiday weekend quiets down, you might notice that stores are featuring back-to-school inventory. It's a good thing, because a new survey by Rubicon Project reports that nearly 25 percent of parents

with children in kindergarten through 12th grade have already begun shopping for the upcoming school year.

Start thinking about the items you need now, and you can take advantage of early sales as well as take the pressure off later in the summer when you're trying to enjoy the waning long, sunny days.

Here are a few tips to navigate sales during the next few months and spend less money and time on shopping.

Don't buy what you don't need:

It's so tempting to snatch up shiny new notebooks and folders right away in the beautifully designed display cases you see in stores, but wait before you buy. The first thing to do is dig through last year's backpacks and desks with your kids to find out what supplies are left over. Chances are there are a few things that weren't even opened yet. Take inventory of everything you have, including each child's wardrobe, and then make a list of what supplies and clothing is needed for next year.

Get the list, check it twice:

If you have not yet received a list from your child's teacher with required supplies, contact the school and ask for one. This is especially important for specific items you might need (like certain models of calculators), which you might want to buy early to make sure you get them before a store runs out.
As for the generic supplies, such as folders, notebooks and pencils, consider scheduling a quick shopping trip late in the summer. You can get great bargains as stores try to clear the shelves of these popular items when school is about to start.

Stay home and shop:

If you think you need to head to stores to get back-to-school supplies and great deals, you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you can do most of your shopping from home. Often you can combine additional discounts with sales on school supplies, technology and fall clothing. Visit your favorite coupon website and check for codes that will take an additional percentage off your total or get free shipping on an order. Always search for codes before checking out to make sure you're not missing any deals.

Another way to save money on your online shopping is clicking through a cash back website before you make your purchase to earn a percentage back on your order. You might find that certain stores are offering bonus cash back rates to celebrate the back-to-school season. Loyalty cards can also help stack up on the savings, especially if you're shopping at retailers that are already familiar to you.

If your kids love the annual tradition of heading to the mall or the outlets to shop for school, you don't have to miss out on that fun day together. Check to see if your state hosts a tax-free holiday weekend – they usually occur in early August. Bring along your smartphone and check online before you make any purchases to make sure you're getting the best deal. You can also use a coupon website or mobile app to access coupons for use in the store. If you don't end up buying an item you want in the store, you can purchase it online and find a free shipping offer. That way you can make sure your kids each get a few things they really want without emptying your wallet.
Hopefully these tips will help find yourself breezing through the back-to-school shopping season and saving money in the process. Then, you, and your kids, can focus on learning!

 

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