This year, we're honored to award Howard Bank's 2019 Keep It Local Small Business contest winner, Rise 'N Grind Cafe of Rising Sun, Maryland, $10,000!!!! 

About the Contest:
At Howard Bank, business is always personal. We don't just work here; we're from here. So we are invested in helping the people who live and work here succeed. That is why we decided to implement an annual contest to show our dedication to and support of small businesses in the community. Our Keep It Local contest was designed, not just to find the community's favorite business, but to find a business that is dedicated to their community. What does the winning business receive? $10,000 toward their great work and continued success.

The rules were simple: 

  1. Any person, including business-owners, could nominate as many small businesses as they'd like.
  2. The nominated business must be located within the Howard Bank branch footprint: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Harford, and Howard counties, as well as Baltimore City.
  3. The nominated businesses and/or nominators did not have to be a Howard Bank customer.
  4. Employees of Howard Bancorp and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, and their immediate families (spouse, parents, children, siblings, and their spouses) were not eligible to win. Employees of Howard Bancorp could not nominate or vote in the contest.

When the contest was announced, the nominations poured in. We reviewed over 300 eligible business nominations! We then selected 15 small businesses, based on their impact on the community, to be entered into the voting portion of the contest: ArtFarm Studios, Caprichos Books, Connie's Chicken & Waffles, Domesticity Studio, Fadensonnen Bar, Go Season Clothing, Hair & Things, Intreegue Design, Iron Bridge Wine Company, Jolles Insurance, Mount Royal Soap Company, Rise 'N Grind Cafe, Shephard Design Company, The Teal Antler Boutique, and Watt Business Solutions.

After the first round of voting had completed, 5 small businesses moved onto the final voting round: ArtFarm Studios, Caprichos Books, Domesticity Studio, Iron Bridge Wine Company, and Rise 'N Grind Cafe. 

We are thankful to everyone who nominated and voted in our contest! More importantly, we're proud to have had such a wonderful selection of small businesses doing great things in and around their communities.This year, we're honored to award Howard Bank's 2019 Keep It Local Small Business contest winner, Rise 'N Grind Cafe of Cecil County, $10,000! CONGRATULATIONS RISE 'N GRIND! Read more about this year's winner below and check out the video!  

About Rise 'N Grind: 
From a dilapidated building to a thriving coffee shop, Rise ‘N Grind is the key ingredient to revitalizing Main Street in Rising Sun. With no businesses opening there in over a decade, Jeremy and Angelina saw massive potential in the abandoned structure that had been deemed to be leveled to a parking lot. With tenacity and vision, they relentlessly transformed it into a beautiful, charming café that not only serves delectable delicacies but also provides a home that draws the community together. For the owners it was never just about coffee, it is about changing lives. Guests have cried upon entering the café because they felt the building would never breathe again. Recently, this dynamic husband and wife team were instrumental in securing four new businesses to occupy nearby empty buildings. They are determined to rejuvenate Main Street by bringing back the glory it deserves. Their hopes are that Rising Sun will no longer be a place to simply pass through, but rather a prominent destination in Cecil County. This little café gives back in a huge way by hosting events for teachers, children, nurses, and first responders. They also hold fundraisers, promote local businesses, and bring in musicians, all while providing a place to enjoy and savor life within its picturesque walls. It’s the lure of caffeine that draws customers through the doors, but it’s the warm, inviting atmosphere and love they are shown that keeps them coming back. Rise ‘N Grind is the heartbeat of the town.