Howard Bank Announces Top 5 Finalists for Annual “Keep It Local” Contest

Second round of voting is open to the public from June 14-21
BALTIMORE, MD, June 14, 2021Howard Bank, a commercial-focused community bank serving businesses, professionals, and individuals, today announced the top five finalists for its third annual “Keep it Local” contest.
The Keep It Local contest recognizes small businesses in Baltimore City and the Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Harford, and Howard counties that have shown outstanding service in their communities.
“We always look forward to this point in the contest and enjoy seeing how customers rally behind these small businesses. It shows how valued each and every business is, and the profound impact they have had on the community,” said Erica Starr, Director of Marketing at Howard Bank.
The top 5 finalists include:
  • Career Image Solutions — CIS is an HR consulting company on a mission to develop the professional lives of career seekers, small business owners and students— particularly for women, people of color, and those who may be underserved or underrepresented. The organization also supports and partners with local area non-profits such as Black Professional Men, Inc., Give Life, Inc, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Peabody Heights Brewery — Peabody Heights Brewery strives to be a welcoming place where people can build relationships, be part of a larger community, and have a good time. They are active in community events and initiatives like Abell Street Fair, Baltimore Green Space, and Waverly Main Street. They’ve also brewed special beers to support the Healthy Harbor Initiative, LGBTQIA youths, and racial equity.
  • Pierpoint Restaurant — Pierpoint is a small restaurant nestled in the heart of Fells Point. It has been hosting award-winning cooking classes for children and adults— including inner-city kids from St. Francis Neighborhood Center— since 2002. It’s also been a long-time representative for the Ravens at the annual Taste of the NFL, as well as a partner to many local charities including Our Daily Bread and Meals on Wheels.
  • State Fare — State Fare is a restaurant that prides itself on providing great, local state fare, showcasing the best food and drink Maryland has to offer. They’ve formed partnerships with several local small businesses, support youth and education through fundraising nights, and made sure that every child in the community had access to free bagged lunches while schools were closed during the pandemic.
  • The Broken Plate — The Broken Plate creates art and jewelry from recycled, broken, and sentimental china. As a lifelong resident of Baltimore City, the owner was always charmed by the yellow salt boxes. In 2020, when the salt boxes did not get picked up, the owner feared that the city had given up on the program. She started the movement that has 76 other artists joined in decorating more than 200 salt boxes across the city. 
Through midnight on June 21, the public can vote for the last round of finalists on the Howard Bank website. The winner will be announced on June 28, and will be awarded $10,000. Previous winners include Rise N’ Grind Café and Impact Martial Arts.
“The Howard Bank Keep It Local Contest helped fuel positivity amidst the 2020 shutdown,” said Angel and George Celona, Owners of Impact Martial Arts and the winners of the 2020 Keep It Local contest. “It gave our small mom-and-pop karate shop hope during the most difficult time and rallied our entire community together. With the funds, we were able to host the Perryville Police Department Outreach Program, install new state-of-the-art technology for our kickboxing program, and provide new flooring in our lobby.”
“I speak on behalf of everyone at Howard Bank when I say we’re thrilled to highlight these incredible businesses and the crucial work they are doing for our communities,” said Rob Kunisch, President and COO of Howard Bank. “Small businesses truly are the fabric of our communities.”
For more information and the voting form, visit

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