Archives For April 2012

by Kathleen Snyder, President & CEO, Maryland Chamber of Commerce

The stroke of midnight on April 10 brought the 2012 Maryland General Assembly session to a chaotic end, with the failure of major tax and revenue bills raising the prospect of significant cuts in the state budget. Pressure, however, is already building for the governor to quickly call the General Assembly back for a special session to enact a revenue package to avoid the cuts, and possibly consider other issues. During the 90-day session the Maryland Chamber of Commerce took positions on 146 of the 2,580 bills introduced. Below is a recap of important business issues considered during the session.

State Budget

Although the General Assembly enacted a $15 billion state general fund operating budget for fiscal 2013, appropriations of more than $500 million were contingent on the passage of other bills that would have transferred funding from the Injured Workers Insurance Fund, shared teacher pension costs with county school boards, raised taxes, and taken other cost containment measures. The failure of those bills would trigger $512 million in spending reductions in funding for K-12 education, higher education, local aid, research grants and investment incentive programs for life sciences companies, and state agency operations. A special session could address these cuts, but tax issues would be worrisome to the Maryland chamber and its members.

Taxes

Debate over a variety of proposed tax increases to close the state’s budget gap consumed much of the regular session. Legislation to further increase individual income tax rates for individuals with incomes over $100,000 failed, but could be resurrected in a special session. The Maryland chamber opposed this tax increase because it would have meant some small business owners would pay more.

Once again, the Maryland chamber successfully led businesses in defeating other bills that would have implemented a corporate income tax system of unitary combined reporting, jeopardized single sales factor apportionment for manufacturers, and extended the sales tax to a long list of business and consumer services.

Economic Development

The Maryland Chamber was successful in obtaining changes to priority legislation that would have terminated many job creation tax credits, subject to a sunset review process. As amended, the bills will establish a process for the periodic review of 8 of the largest tax credit programs.

We supported the passage of legislation that will allow an individual or corporation to claim an income tax credit for costs incurred to obtain a federal security clearance for employees.

Small Business Procurement

Legislation was enacted with the support of the Maryland and Montgomery County chambers that will expand the definition of what constitutes a “small business” under the Small Business Reserve Program. Current law requires small businesses within an industry sector to be below both a total employee size and a gross sales volume. This bill would allow an entity to qualify as a small business if it meets either of the criteria.

Transportation Funding

A major disappointment to the Maryland Chamber and its business allies was the failure to raise more revenue for transportation. The Chamber supported legislation that would have brought in needed transportation revenue and provided a level of protection for funding designated for the Transportation Trust Fund. While the Chamber supported the intention of the bill, it urged for stronger protection of the trust fund through a constitutional amendment. Transportation funding is an investment in Maryland’s economic development and quality of life. The General Assembly failed to act on the legislation.

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews

More than 60 executives from Maryland and India gathered Tuesday in Baltimore to discuss business and economic connections between the state of 5.8 million and country of 1.2 billion.

The trip organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry follows a trade mission led by Gov. Martin O’Malley that shepherded more than 100 Maryland business leaders around India last fall.

The visits show the potential Maryland’s leaders see in India, and, likewise, the potential Indian companies see in Maryland.

R.V. Kanoria, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, chats with Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

“India has transitioned from an agriculture economy to a service economy and there’s a renewed focus on our manufacturing sector,” said FICCI President R.V. Kanoria, addressing the executives at the World Trade Center in Baltimore.

Kanoria, who met with O’Malley when the governor was in India, said he sees potential for collaboration with Maryland and companies here in many of the areas state officials and business leaders see as critical components of the growing, high-tech economy — education, clean energy, life sciences and cybersecurity.

“That’s the other thing that struck me about India, the innovation going on,” O’Malley said. “In our state, many of our strengths are strengths I know that India also has — biosciences, health care management, information technology, aerospace, defense, engineering services, just to name a few.”

The governor touted the intellectual and spending power of the federal and academic facilities in Maryland, the network of business incubators here and the highly educated workers that call the state home as assets for any business looking for a new base of operations in the United States.

“As a people, we have long understood that our economic opportunities are very much determined by the educational investments that we make,” O’Malley said.

India is already a large, and growing, trading partner for Maryland. Exports from the state to India have increased 70 percent over the last seven years, according to O’Malley.

Maryland shipped $252 million worth of goods there last year, according to U.S. Department of Commerce figures.

Kanoria said the total value of goods and services traded by the state and his country totaled $100 billion in 2011.

Maryland opened a trade office in India in 2009 and Kanoria said FICCI wants to open a counterpart in the state by the start of next year.

“One of the defining aspects of our character as Marylanders is that we, from our founding, have always been engaged with our neighbors around the world,” O’Malley said, looking out over the Inner Harbor. “This port, almost since our state’s founding, has been the center of trade of commerce… It is part of our DNA.”

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews

Job creation slowed in Maryland and across the country in March. But, Maryland continued to perform well when compared to many of its neighbors. Here are a few choice nuggets from the data Department of Business and Economic Development researchers have gleaned from the March jobs report.

-Maryland’s jobless rate in March — 6.6 percent — ranked 16th in the country and is 0.5 percentage points lower than it was in March 2011.

-Maryland added 1,500 jobs in March for a growth rate of 0.1 percent that ranked 12th in the country.

-The state’s private sector added 4,200 jobs, a 0.2 percent growth rate that ranked 7th in the country.

-The strongest growth came from professional and business services (3,400 jobs), leisure and hospitality (3,000), retail trade (1,500) and transportation and warehousing (900).

-February’s strong growth was revised upward, to 9,600 net new jobs (0.4 percent growth) and 12,100 private jobs (0.6 percent growth).

-In the first three months of 2012, Maryland added 20,200 jobs, a 0.8 percent growth rate that ranks 12th in the country.

-During that time, Maryland gained 23,700 private jobs. The 1.2 percent growth rate ranked 6th in the country.

-In the past year, Maryland’s employers have added 49,600 jobs. That 2 percent growth ranks 7th in the country.

-During that time, private sector employers added 47,700 jobs, good for 2.3 percent growth and the No. 9 spot among the states.

-Since the bottom of the recession — February 2010 — Maryland has regained 115,700 of the jobs lost. That 80 percent recovery rate is 8th in the country. The national recovery rate is 40.7 percent.

-Of the jobs recovered, 103,300 have been private jobs. That 67 percent recovery rate is also 8th in the country.

-Maryland’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the mid-Atlantic, second only to Virginia’s 5.6 percent in March.

-Virginia, however, shed 400 jobs in March.

-Virginia has added 38,000 jobs in the past year. The 1 percent growth rate ranks 23rd in the country.

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDBIZNews

More than 100 entrepreneurs crowded onto an indoor soccer field Friday and settled in front of a stage decorated with a row of mismatched chairs, two pink flamingoes, a garden gnome and an Australian sheepskin rug.

While many lead thriving businesses and have other success stories under their belts, the entrepreneurs were there to celebrate their failures.

“The idea is to get a cross section of Maryland business people, entrepreneurs and thought leaders to come in and talk about what failure means to them and what they learned,” said Jason Hardebeck, executive director of the Greater Baltimore Technology Council, which organized on the BmoreFail conference.

“The idea is to get everyone to learn from those failures so they’re not reinventing the wheel,” he said. “Maryland has a real opportunity to leverage its assets and its resources more effectively. You only do that by being more efficient. You have to take those lessons and apply them.”

Indeed, the message from the speakers — they included a doctor, a clinical psychologist, and an airline pilot — was that failure can be a good thing. From failures come teachable moments. Lots of failures can be an indication of a vibrant entrepreneurial community that is also churning out plenty of successes, too.

“If you’re not failing, you’re not learning,” Ron Schmelzer, CEO of Bizelo, told the crowd on the field at the Clarence “Du” Burns Arena in Canton.

“Failure is a necessity of life,” said Tracy Gosson, president and founder of Sagesse Inc., a marketing and business development consulting firm.

A slate of successful Baltimore tech entrepreneurs and executives offered their own examples of failures that were not catastrophic, and in many cases, proved instructive.

Jason Pappas, president of Hannix Inc.

Jason Pappas, the chairman of GBTC’s board and president of Hannix Inc., recounted buying up residential properties with two partners when he was still in law school. The portfolio included houses in Canton.

“This is probably ’92 or ’93. We were on Hudson Street, just behind the Can Company,” said Pappas, “The three of us were sitting there and we said ‘You know what? Canton is never going to get redeveloped. It’s just not going to happen.’”

So Pappas and his two partners unloaded their properties. And now, two decades later, one of the companies that Pappas started is in the Can Company building and he lives in a revitalized and vibrant Canton.

Tom Loveland, CEO of Mind Over Machines, recounted his rudderless college days that spanned three universities and countless interests.

“I really enjoyed computers, so I knew that I should not take any computer classes and turn this into work because then it would be awful,” said Loveland, whose IT consulting firm has made him one of the most visible tech entrepreneurs in Baltimore. “It would ruin my hobby.”

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

Maryland added 1,500 jobs in March, but the state’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.6 percent, according to figures released Friday morning by the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.

March was the seventh straight month of job growth in Maryland. Friday’s report also held good news from the month prior — labor officials revised February’s job creation number to 9,600, from an initial estimate of 8,000.

As it has in recent months, the private sector drove the growth in March.

The trade, logistics and utility sector added 2,700 jobs. Retail trade accounted for 1,500 of those positions.

Employment in professional and business services climbed by 3,400 jobs, with employment agencies, janitorial services and landscaping businesses making a particularly strong showing.

Leisure and hospitality added another 3,000 jobs.

But while private employers were adding jobs, governments were shedding them. Federal and local government employment decreased slightly and state government employment dropped by 2,300 jobs.

Over the last year, Maryland has added 49,600 jobs. Of those, 47,700 have come in the private sector.

And while employment rose in Maryland in March, nearly 4,000 people entered the labor market last month, outpacing the job growth and pushing the unemployment rate up to 6.6 percent from February’s 6.5 percent.

Frostburg State University’s College of Business will launch three new study abroad programs in China this year to better equip its graduates to find work with global businesses and organizations in a fiercely competitive job market.

“As employment prospects for graduates continue to remain uncertain, students should be looking to include experiences on their resume that distinguish them in the employment marketplace,” said Sudhir Singh, associate dean of the College of Business. “A study abroad experience in China is, in some ways, the equalizer that will make our students very competitive with their counterparts from the larger institutions for employment in larger multinational organizations in the for-profit, non-profit, governmental or NGO sectors that they might initially have even shied away from.”

Through the new study abroad programs, students will experience and study China’s vibrant culture and booming economy.

From May 20 through June 2, a dozen FSU students will travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xi’an. Led by Yan Bao, associate professor in FSU’s Department of Accounting, and Lilly Ye, assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Finance, the program will give students insights into China’s economy and business practices, with visits to factories, the Shanghai Stock Exchange and cultural destinations, as well as meetings with Chinese executives and Chinese college students at FSU’s partner institutions.

“We will have very special visits to places not regularly accessible to travel agencies,” Bao said.

While in Beijing, the classes will get to talk to top business leaders at the hotel where they will be staying, and learn about the design of the hotel and marketing and business practices used to run it. FSU’s students will also be able to visit a notable brokerage firm in Beijing thanks to a contact there.

Frostburg’s MBA program will also offer an international experience in China. Six students will travel to Beijing and Changsha for two weeks starting May 31.

Thomas Sigerstad, associate professor in FSU’s Department of Management, who is leading the trip, said the trip will give MBA student teams who are required to study certain industries a unique research opportunity.

“Some of them will be in the States doing research, while others will be on the China trip. They’ll be … doing field trips and visiting aluminum factories, equipment manufacturers and rice milling,” he said. “When students get done, they’ll have a 100-page, single-spaced report to wave around in interviews and say, ‘I studied in the fastest growing country in the world.’”

This fall, the business school will kick off a semester-long study abroad program at Hunan Normal University, FSU’s partner institution in Changsha. Three faculty members from the College of Business will teach five-week, accelerated sessions to span the 15-week semester. The semester also includes a three-credit “Chinese Culture and Business Communication” course taught by an HNU faculty member.

Singh said the college will seek to defray costs for students through scholarships and other funding sources.

“We hope that in two to three years, study abroad in China and other countries will be institutionalized within the College of Business’ educational culture and, who knows, students and their parents will elect to come to FSU’s College of Business because of its particularly successful global learning opportunities,” Singh said.

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

Educators, elected officials and medical leaders gathered Tuesday next to a vacant, dusty lot in West Baltimore to celebrate the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s $200 million plan to go big by going small.

The school ceremonially broke ground on the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, a facility that will use subatomic particles to provide cutting-edge therapy for cancer patients.

“It’s the best right now in radiation therapy,” said Dr. Jay Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

When it opens in 2014, UMB’s center will be among just a handful of facilities country offering such care. The treatment uses a stream of protons —they, along with neutrons and electrons, are the building blocks of atoms — to deliver radiation more precisely than traditional radiation treatments.

That ability to focus the radiation will allow for the treatment of tumors in more sensitive areas with less damage to the healthy tissue that surrounds them.

“It’s relatively recent introduction, but it’s a very revolutionary technology,” said Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of the medical school.

“We anticipate patients will be flocking to us,” he said. “This project will replace blocks of vacant housing in West Baltimore with a thriving new facility that will save lives, create hundreds of jobs, and bring more than $200 million in private investment.”

That investment will come from Advanced Particle Therapy. The San Diego company has partnered with the medical school on the 110,000-square-foot center in the UMB Biopark, which will be staffed by physicians from the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center team.

There are only 11 such facilities in the country, and 30 in the world. The closest to Baltimore is in Philadelphia.

“Right across from here,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley, “there are going to be a lot of families bringing all the hope they have in this world to this healing technology.”

The university expects the center to treat 2,000 patients a year, have a staff of 175 and be an additional catalyst for development around the Biopark on Baltimore Street.

“It’ll mean hundreds of jobs in building the facility,” Perman said. “It’ll be 2,000 patients a year who are served and all that they bring in economic [impact]. There’s work for our staff, for our faculty, there are research opportunities. It is an economic engine.”

It will also be a source of hope for cancer patients, said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who spoke about the cancer treatment both of her parents received from the medical school.

“I’m so blessed, and we are all … that we have University of Maryland here,” she said. “In Baltimore, we’re not playing for second … We’re here to be leaders in technology, in research, in medical care.”

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

ELTA Systems Ltd., an Israeli defense electronics firm and the world’s fourth-largest radar manufacturer, plans to hire 100 people at its newly opened U.S. headquarters in Howard County, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Wednesday.

ELTA North America, the company’s U.S. subsidiary, has leased 7,500 square feet of space in the county’s Maple Lawn development. ELTA plans to expand to 25,000 square feet as it hires more employees and ramps up the office to include electronics manufacturing and other services.

“We believe that leveraging the high-tech talent pool provided by the region coupled with the globally proven ELTA technology is a win-win for the customers of ELTA North America,” said David Machuga, the company’s president and CEO. “It was clear from the beginning that the leadership in Maryland at all levels is focused on economic growth and high-tech jobs. This has allowed us to move quickly to the region and begin hiring.”

ELTA Systems was founded in 1967 and is a subsidiary Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. It develops products for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, homeland security and fire control. ELTA has annual sales of $1 billion and exports products and services to the militaries of more than 50 countries.

The state, through the Maryland/Israel Development Center, started discussions with the company about establishing its U.S. presence in Maryland in 2010.

O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, County Executive Ken Ulman and Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian Johansson met with ELTA executives throughout the process.

DBED extended the company a $300,000 conditional loan and Howard County is offering a tax credit to bring ELTA to Maryland.

“Our strategic location accessible to many U.S. and foreign markets coupled with one of the most highly-educated workforces in the country will be a tremendous benefit to the company as they look to grow their U.S. customer base,” O’Malley said.

Brown met with ELTA officials during his trade mission to Israel in 2010, and Ulman met with IAI executives during his own trip to Israel last year.

“It’s exciting to see a cutting-edge, innovative company like ELTA North America creating high-quality jobs in our communities,” Brown said.

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

Gov. Martin O’Malley celebrated passage of Innovate Maryland on Friday, touting the program as a critical piece in the funding pipeline that funnels discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.

The goal of Innovate Maryland is to commercialize 40 discoveries every year through a partnership between the state and its research universities.

Maryland will kick in $5 million and Johns Hopkins University; Morgan State University; University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, Baltimore County and University of Maryland, College Park have agreed to contribute up to $200,000 each to help researchers take their ideas to market.

The state will look to those entrepreneurs to “reform and really revolutionize the way we feed, fuel and heal this increasingly interconnected world of ours, and in so doing, create jobs and expand opportunity,” O’Malley said at the Emerging Technology Center incubator on the Hopkins Eastern Campus.

“All progress depends on jobs,” the governor said. “There is no progress without jobs.”

Innovate Maryland, passed by the General Assembly in the legislative session that concluded last week, dovetails with another economic development program championed by O’Malley. In March, InvestMaryland raised $84 million in venture capital that will fuel small, high-tech companies.

“In our state, fortunately, we have all the assets we need to harness the promise of an innovation economy,” O’Malley said.

The governor pointed out several ETC success stories, including Moodlerooms, which grew from three co-founders in 2006 to more than 100 employees this year. The company was sold to education IT giant Blackboard in March.

O’Malley also toured the incubator, visiting several entrepreneurs, including those behind BOSS, CervoCheck, Theracord and Juxtopia.

Juxtopia was spun out of Morgan State University. The company is working on a wide range of projects, including robots designed to traverse the surface of the moon and a landing system to get them there safely. But the main thrust of the business is toward “augmented reality glasses,” eyewear that gives the user a heads-up display.

Instead of identifying targets for Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, Juxtopia is building glasses that will assist medics performing procedures on the battlefield, among other commercial, military and industrial applications.

Innovate Maryland ”has the promise of fueling collaboration among Maryland’s public and private colleges and universities and federal research labs that create … innovative solutions around which high-tech companies and, consequently, new, high-paying jobs can be created,” said Jayfus Doswell, Juxtopia’s president and CEO.

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

The Export-Import Bank of China’s first U.S. office will be established in Maryland under an agreement the bank signed Friday with the state Department of Business and Economic Development.

The bank will be a source of capital for Chinese businesses investing in the United States and the office, to be located in the World Trade Center building in Baltimore, will do business development, project evaluation and relationship building.

“This is a unique opportunity for Maryland to further build on our already strong ties with China and serve as the gateway for Chinese companies looking to establish a U.S. presence,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “With China having one of the world’s fastest growing economies, it is critical that we move forward now to explore new opportunities for trade and investment, particularly in our shared strengths of science and technology.”

Indeed, China is the state’s second-largest trade partner, behind only Canada. Maryland exported $666 million worth of goods to China in 2011, an increase of 16 percent over the year prior.

“Establishing an office in Maryland will yield mutual benefit for both parties, and will help us to create jobs and increase trade and investment,” said Zhu Xinqiang, the bank’s vice president.

Maryland was has had a trade and investment office in China since 1996 and the state is home to 16 Chinese firms.

O’Malley led a trade mission to China, South Korea and Vietnam last year that resulted in more than $85 million in investment in Maryland, including $40 million from the Tasly Group. One of the leading Chinese biopharmaceutical companies, Tasly will establish a 443,000-square-foot production facility at the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center.

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

Cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, mental illness, diabetes — Get Real Consulting has an app for all that.

The health IT company in Rockville builds digital bridges between doctors and patients, allowing caregivers to monitor patient health between visits and head off problems before they grow too serious.

The software also allows patients keep an eye on their own metrics, such as blood pressure readings and blood sugar levels, and stay on a healthy path.

Get Real’s InstantPHR system — PHR, for personal health record — has driven the company to triple-digit growth.

“We’ve tripled our income from last year,” Robin Wiener, Get Real’s president and co-founder, said during an interview in early April.

By that, she means Get Real — the company plans to drop “Consulting” from its name soon — brought in three times as much revenue in the first three months of 2012 as it did in all of 2011.

And Wiener expects more of the same.

Get Real and partner TELUS, the Canadian telecommunications giant, signed a deal in January to roll out InstantPHR to 3.5 million people in the province of Alberta.

Wiener estimates the software platform now has between 300,000 and 400,000 end users.

It is used by hospital systems around the world, including Columbia’s MedStar Health, government agencies and nonprofits such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and AARP.

Wiener said Get Real is getting ready to sign two more hospital systems and has another “58 different opportunities” in the pipeline, including governments, health exchanges and a dozen more hospital systems.

Those potential customers would take InstantPHR to Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia and other far-flung locales.

“No matter where you are in the world, everybody is looking for better [healthcare] outcomes,” Wiener said. “That saves governments, insurance companies and everybody money.

“There are new rules and regulations really forcing hospitals to look at outcome reporting. There are new mandates saying that if a person comes back with the same problem within 31 days, there’s a chance the hospital won’t be paid for it because they didn’t manage that person [correctly]. This is a way to manage their population.”

InstantPHR’s customizable platform facilitates that care management by collecting and tracking data in the ever-growing pool of digitally stored health information. Some 120 different widgets can be mixed and matched on a patient’s page to display the pertinent details.

Doctors’ offices and hospitals can input data directly and the system can also pull other data automatically, such as blood pressure readings taken by the machines at drug stores.

InstantPHR shows the patient where they’re doing OK and where they need work. It can also remind them to take their medicine or avoid salty foods and will send alerts to doctors, parents and other caregivers if it detects a problem.

Patients can also input their own information on a computer or smartphone.

“Just click, click, click, done,” said Wiener. “That information flows from our system up to the clinical system. The doctors can watch and see how you’re doing. They can actually send responses and say ‘You know what, it seems like you’re having a hard time right now, let’s get in and have an appointment.’ Or, ‘I’m looking at your sugar levels and they seem a bit erratic. Let’s come in and talk a little bit and maybe change your medicine.’”

By Nick Sohr, Managing Editor, MDbizMedia

Twelve years and two recessions ago, Jim Adams followed his feet.

An avid runner, Adams left a career in financial services and opened Falls Road Running Store in 2000. The shop, just outside the city limits in Baltimore County, has steadily expanded since then, peddling shoes, apparel and other accessories.

“As each [neighboring] business left we took over their space and took down a wall,” Adams said in a phone interview Tuesday.

The Baltimore Marathon was revived a year after the store opened. Business is good now, Adams said, “way ahead” of 2008, when the recession took hold, and the winter of 2009-10, when blizzards meant would-be joggers traded their running shoes for snow shovels.

“When the market crashed, everyone was predicting doom and gloom back then. Our business was still putzing along,” he said. “People were asking more for on-sale shoes, discounted merchandise. That’s all shaken out. It appears the people who have jobs are fairly secure they will have jobs. It’s not like there’s another wave of 3,000 people being laid off at General Motors.”

As the economy rebounds, Adams is also look for an extra boost from the National Retail Federation. Falls Road Running Store is one of 10 finalists in the industry group’s “Retail Means Jobs” contest, which pits retailers across the country against each other in successive rounds of popular voting online.

Voting runs until April 15, with the the top five vote-getters set to be announced April 16. (More than 245,000 votes were cast for the top 20 retailers in the last round.)

The top five will then be whittled to three and the winner will be announced May 16.

Top prize: $25,000.

In his entry, Adams said he would pay some bills with the prize money, save some, have a party for the store and go out to dinner.

His video focuses on the role retailers play in the economy. Retail is the second-largest subsector in the Maryland, behind only health care and social assistance. It accounted for 282,200 jobs in February, or nearly 11 percent of the jobs in the state, according to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Those stores buy goods from suppliers, sell them to customers and put money in the pockets of employees that they in turn use to buy other things.

One employee in the video puts it simple Baltimore terms — “Sixty bucks. Thirty Natty Boh’s.”