A Week In Business

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Housing Market Update

BERLIN – The local housing market is slowly gaining momentum, as single-family home settlements appear to be increasing in comparison to this time last year.

According to the latest figures from the Coastal Association of REALTORS®, single-family home settlements in August 2014, compared to August 2013, increased moderately in Wicomico and Somerset counties as well as Ocean City. Settlements were down by 11.4 percent in Worcester County.

The figures also reflect an across-the-board jump on single -family home sale prices compared to last month. In Wicomico County, the average sales price increased by 4.6 percent, Worcester by 10.4 percent, and Somerset by 8 percent.

Just as they did in July, contracts, or pending single-family home sales, increased in all three counties in August, pointing to even more settlements in the near future. Contracts for condominiums also increased in Wicomico and Worcester counties as well as in Ocean City.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), national figures are reflective of this trend, as the Pending Home Sales Index climbed 3.3 percent to 105.9 in July from 102.5 in June. NAR’s figures for August have not yet been released.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, has attributed the increase to a larger housing inventory that creates less competition and gives prospective buyers more time to review their options before submitting an offer.

However, that may not necessarily be the case in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties, as new single-family home and condominium listings were down in August in all three counties.

“Overall, we attribute the increased contracts and settlements to the stabilizing of the local economy, which is steadily adding more jobs and giving families more confidence to enter the market,” said Sheila Dodson, executive director of Coastal REALTORS®.


Executive Honored

SALISBURY — The South Atlantic League announced its annual awards for the 2014 season, honoring Shorebirds’ executive Alyssa Dooyema as the Female Executive of the Year in the South Atlantic League.

“I am truly honored to be recognized by my peers throughout the South Atlantic League,” said Dooyema. “I am grateful to receive this award, and I would like to thank everyone at the Shorebirds organization, as well as my family and friends for their support.”

“Alyssa has been instrumental to our success as an organization this season,” said Shorebirds General Manager Chris Bitters. “She is incredibly deserving of this honor, and we are very proud that she has received this recognition from the league.”

Dooyema joined the Shorebirds in February of 2012. As the Business Development Executive, she is responsible for organizing promotions, theme nights and birthday parties at Shorebirds games. Dooyema also organizes non-baseball events at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium including Fan Fest, business meetings and stadium rentals.


SU Earns Value Listing

SALISBURY — For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly magazine has named Salisbury University one of “America’s Best Bang For The Buck Colleges.”

The list spotlights 349 schools in the country that “do the best job of helping non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.”

SU was ranked at No. 93; No. 41 among master’s-level universities. With over 1,500 schools examined, this places SU among the top 10 percent nationwide.

To be included, colleges had to meet criteria related to Pell grant recipients, graduation rates and student loan default rates. Net price of attendance also was a factor.

The list challenges prospective students to ask the question: “What colleges will charge people like me the least and give me the highest chance of graduating with a degree that means something in the marketplace?”

Two other publications also named SU one of the better higher education values in the United States this fall.

Money ranked SU second among University System of Maryland campuses in its “Best College Values,” after the University of Maryland College Park. At No. 223, SU is in the top 15 percent nationally, based on factors including “educational quality, affordability and alumni earnings.”

In Forbes, SU was among the top three System campuses with College Park and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, based on factors ranging from student satisfaction and graduation rates to career success and student debt.


Five-Star Recognition

BETHANY BEACH, Del. – Michael Loftus, owner of Loftus Wealth Strategies in Millville, Del., has recently been named a Five Star Wealth Manager for 2014 by Five Star Professional, a company that researches and recognizes outstanding service professionals.

According to FiveStarProfessional.com, Five Star Professional conducts research to help consumers with the important decision of selecting a service professional. The Five Star award is presented to wealth managers, real estate agents, mortgage professionals, home/auto insurance professionals and dentists in more than 45 markets in the U.S. and Canada. The Five Star award recognizes service professionals who provide quality services to their clients. Five Star Professional was started in 2003 and has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Loftus Wealth Strategies is celebrating its five-year anniversary this year.

“This award is a wonderful nod to my professional work, and happens to coincide with our five year anniversary. I take great pride in caring for my clients, and so recognition as a Five Star Professional is an honor,” said Loftus. “I provide a high level of experience, with hands on attention. I enjoy the challenge of helping my clients achieve their dreams and desires, and to be recognized for this is a dream come true.”


Renovations Completed

SALISBURY — Gillis Gilkerson, a general contracting and construction management firm on Delmarva, announced the completion of renovations made to the new Woodbridge Marine Corps JROTC’s Complex – Camp Raider.

The 4,800-square-foot property covers three buildings on the Woodbridge School District property in Greenwood, Del.

“EDiS Company has worked with Gillis Gilkerson on many projects,” said Diana Patille, EDiS Company senior project manager. “They consistently deliver on time, on budget and successful projects for our clients. The Camp Raider Team did an excellent job on this very fast-paced, budget-driven contract.”

Renovations were completed on three modular units given to Woodbridge from Polytech School District to be earmarked as the future home of “Camp Raider.” The fit-out included selective demolition, instillation of a new HVAC unit, fire alarm system, plumbing, electrical work, siding, roofing, interior finishes and door frames. The compound is now equipped with an indoor shooting range, classroom space and outdoor drill area.

“Gillis Gilkerson is always pleased to have the opportunity to work on projects that create a positive impact our local schools,” said Dwight Miller, president, Gillis Gilkerson. “The work we completed for the district helped create a face for the Camp Raider compound which ultimately helps instill a sense of pride for the students in the JROTC program.”

The work was completed within six months to meet the school district’s goal to open with the new $52.5 million Woodbridge High School for the start of the 2014-15 school year.


A Week In Business

City Employees Retire OCEAN CITY — Charles Bunting and Frank Marshall have retired after almost 70 years of combined employment with the Town of Ocean City. Marshall, who joined the town full-time in September of 1974, retires as the Construction Supervisor for the Public Works Department. Also leaving the department, Bunting will be finishing his last day in the maintenance … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Gillis Gilkerson received a proclamation from Salisbury Mayor James Ireton Jr. this week proclaiming Aug. 25, 2014 as “Gillis Gilkerson Day.” The proclamation was presented to Gillis Gilkerson in recognition and celebration of its Aug. 1 anniversary of 30-plus years in the business community. Pictured, from left, are Gillis Gilkerson CEO Palmer Gillis, Vice President JB Barnes, President Dwight Miller … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Top winners at the Coastal Association of REALTORS® Annual Awards ceremony last week were Joe Wilson, Rooki; P.J. Aldridge, Lifetime Achievement Award; Jamie Wetzelberger, Affiliate of the Year; Brandon Brittingham, REALTOR® of the Year; and Wes Cox, Community Service Award. Submitted Photo         OC Banker Graduates OCEAN CITY — The Bank of Delmarva President and CEO Edward … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Staff and administration at Atlantic General Hospital gathered recently outside the hospital to celebrate the 2014 Map Award for High Performance in Revenue Cycle. Submitted Photo           The Ocean Pines and Ocean City Chambers of Commerce jointly sponsored a ribbon cutting Aug. 8 at the Shore Bank offices on Stephen Decatur Highway in West Ocean City. … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Tax-Free Shopping Initiative Announced BERLIN – Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that his office is gearing up for Shop Maryland, the state’s tax-free week. Beginning Sunday, Aug. 10, consumers who buy clothing and shoes priced $100 or less will be spared the state’s 6 percent sales tax for one week, ending Saturday, Aug. 16. “Each year this initiative helps Maryland families … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Non-Profit To Relocate SALISBURY – Sperry Van Ness-Miller Commercial Real Estate Senior Advisor and Managing Director Brent Miller has announced the three-year lease of 123 Camden Street in Salisbury. The 1,500-square-foot space has been leased by Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness skills. Miller represented … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Seminar Attended BERLIN – In recognizing the importance of protecting their customers’ financial investments, members of the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR) participated in a flood insurance seminar on Thursday, July 17 at the association’s Berlin office. The seminar, which was taught by Phillip Rager, flood business development consultant with the Harleysville, Pa.-based Nationwide Insurance, focused on various aspects of … Continue reading

A Week In Business

Apple Discount Drugs President Jeff Sherr, right, received on Monday the Health Mart® Community Healthcare Excellence Award for consistently providing care and services that add measurable value to patient health care and community wellness. Sherr, pictured with McKesson Pharmaceutical Sales Manager Shaun Morse, is one of 10 pharmacists nationwide to receive the award. Submitted Photos       On behalf … Continue reading

A Week In Business

June Market Report BERLIN – June figures from the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (CAR) reflect an across-the-board increase in sales of single-family homes in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties. Wicomico and Somerset counties saw the most drastic increase in new sales/contracts, each showing a roughly 66 percent spike compared to June 2013. Worcester County saw a 20 percent increase. Settlements … Continue reading