OCEAN CITY — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot was in the resort Wednesday to kick off his “Better with Less” tour, recognizing an iconic Ocean City restaurant as the first recipient of an award that bears the tour’s name.
In an effort to highlight businesses innovatively operating at lower costs and pass along those lessons of efficiency to government, Franchot kicked off his tour with a first stop at BJ’s on the Water on 75th Street in Ocean City. The visit was the first of a 24-stop trek across Maryland to honor private sector businesses and non-profit organizations thriving in the current economy while continually being asked to do more with less.
In March, Franchot announced the program and encouraged businesses, civic groups and citizens to nominate an organization or private sector operation that has achieved economic success while using fewer resources, identified new market opportunities in the current economic climate, used innovation to operate more efficiently or strengthened local communities by providing vital services or opportunities for success. Nearly 100 nominations were received and one winner will be announced in each county and Baltimore City.
“During my many visits to small businesses across the state, I’ve seen the genius of the private sector at work,” Franchot said. “We in government could learn a thing or two about how to operate more efficiently.”
Franchot presented the first “Better with Less” award to owners Billy and Madlyn Carder. The establishment opened in 1979 and has always had the reputation for staying open year-round for more than three decades. Franchot recognized the Carders’ tenacity and innovation with his first-ever award on Wednesday.
“In government, we’re asked all the time if we can do better with less money,” he said. “The private sector does it all the time and you are a perfect example of that.”
Billy Carder said he was pleased with the award and vowed to continue to be a model for how to do it right.
“We’re very flattered to receive this award,” he said. “It feels good to be recognized for being able to compete and be successful in this tough economy. One way or the other, we’re going to do what we have to do to survive.”
Madlyn Carder said it hasn’t always been easy, particularly in the current recession that continues to drag on, but her loyal staff has pulled together to make it work.
“Through everything, we have not had to lay off anybody and we take a lot of pride in that,” she said. “We could have, and maybe should have along the way, but we’re just going to get through it together.”
Mayor Rick Meehan said the Carders have been successful for a long time in Ocean City and drew from their ad slogan to illustrate his point.
“Their motto or slogan here for years has been ‘still the same,’ and they just keep getting better,” he said. “They’re doing it better than they ever have.”
Delegate Mike McDermott (R-38B) praised B.J.’s on the Water for thriving in what has become an increasingly difficult business climate in Maryland.
“You’re an example of being able to strike back and do what you can do with less,” he said. “I hope next year we’re not back here giving you an award for doing even more with even less, because that’s what this legislation did.”