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 and gives large and small retailers a boost in these financially challenging times,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “All hard-working Maryland moms and dads deserve this annual tax break as they prepare to send their children back to school.”

Resulting from legislation passed in the 2007 special session of the Maryland General Assembly, a tax-free week will occur every year during the second week in August, until the legislature decides to revisit the issue. During this period, each qualifying article of clothing or footwear selling for $100 or less is exempt from sales tax, regardless of how many items are purchased at the same time.

Businesses selling items that are not eligible for inclusion in the tax-free week can still participate in Shop Maryland. Under “Sellers Privilege,” other unqualified merchandise can be sold tax-free but the retailer is responsible for paying the sales tax owed to the state.

“Back-to-school shopping is the second biggest shopping season for retailers,” said Maryland Retailers Association President Patrick Donoho. “Tax Free Week has become a welcomed opportunity for consumers to save on clothing and footwear as they prepare for the new school year. In these tough economic times, retailers throughout the state will be offering promotions and sales to get shoppers into their stores.”

Club, Businesses Complete Addition

SALISBURY – The Wicomico Rotary Club has announced the completion of a bedroom addition/renovation project at The Village of Hope in Salisbury.

The Wicomico Rotary Club teamed up with Gillis Gilkerson and other local businesses, such as Lifetime Masonry, Bozman’s Floor Coverings, Seaside Electric, Salisbury Door & Hardware, Bayside Fire Protection and Superior Coatings, on this community service project.

This team of professionals and community members converted an existing storage closet into an additional bedroom connected to a family unit in the women and children’s section located in the transitional housing building.

“I learned about the needs of The Village of Hope in a Rotary meeting and as a member of the Community Service Committee, immediately felt that we could give a hand up,” said Dwight Miller, president of Gillis Gilkerson and fellow Rotarian. “The team working on the project was aware of the growing need for transitional housing for women and children and worked diligently to complete the transformation in less than a month’s time.”

Village of Hope Executive Director Jasime Rogers said, “We are grateful for the renovation work that was done as we are seeing more and more women with two or three children come through our doors looking for assistance. It was amazing to watch business professionals and community members working together to build a more comfortable living space for those families in need.”

Dr. Keith Coleman

Dr. Keith Coleman

Certification Earned

OCEAN CITY — Dr. Keith Coleman, director of tennis and head professional at the Ocean City Tennis Center, recently attended and passed a certification as a competitive coach through the International Coaches Institute (ICI) at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples, Fla.

The institute, which was founded in 1989, is run by Corporation President Emilio Sanchez and CEO Luis Mediero.  Sanchez is a former No. 1 doubles and No. 8 singles player in the world and was the captain of the first Spanish Davis Cup team that won the championship in 2008.

According to ICI, the competitive coaching course is designed in response to the high demands of today’s tennis, where players are pushed at a young age to begin competing.

“Through the competitive coaching course, a teaching tennis professional will acquire the necessary skills needed to transition to the next level of the pyramid in the Spanish Method of training,” said Coleman. “I try to help people learn and change their tennis game every day. Therefore, I believe it my responsibility to be willing to change my teaching approaches based on the best current knowledge available.”

This is the second training that Coleman, who is celebrating his 10th year at the Ocean City Tennis Center, has attended the Sanchez-Casal Academy.

“It was a privilege to have the chance to learn from Emilio Sanchez and Luis Mediero,” Coleman said. “We are lucky to have a wonderful public tennis facility here in Ocean City. We are always looking for ways to get our residents and visitors to utilize this gem as much as possible.”

Joni Waldych

Joni Waldych

Agency President Honored

BERLIN — Joni Waldych, president and owner of Innovative Benefit Solutions, a health insurance agency, has been honored as one of the Nation’s 50 Elite Women in Insurance by Insurance Business America magazine.

Waldych’s leadership has had a direct impact on her agency’s customer retention percentage of 98.9% and annual sales growth.  She has been an elite producer with BenefitMall for the last two years and holds the designation of Certified Benefit Consultant with the National Association of Alternative Benefit Consultants and is PPACA certified by the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Hospital Ranks High

SALISBURY — Becker’s Hospital Review recently named Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury and its Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute among “100 Hospitals and Health Systems with Great Oncology Programs 2014.”

The 100 hospitals were chosen for being on the cutting edge of cancer treatment, prevention and research, and the Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team selected them based on clinical accolades, quality of care and contributions to the field of oncology. Peninsula Regional was one of just four hospitals recognized in Maryland, and joins Christiana Care in Wilmington, Del. as the only two hospitals to earn the designation on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Grants Awarded

BERLIN — The Community Foundation’s Women’s Fund of the Lower Eastern Shore celebrated its third year of grant awards at a special reception hosted at the Community Foundation offices in June.

The Women’s Fund is a permanent endowment fund created to address the unmet needs of women and/or girls on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. Since the Fund was established in October 2011, more than 150 local women have become founding members. The Women’s Fund awarded grants totaling $77,000 to deserving organizations in Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties.

Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay received $2,500 to provide support for the implementation of a new financial literacy program called “Wallet Wise” to teach middle school girls about saving, spending and investing money wisely

HALO received $2,408 to provide furnishings for four bedrooms, providing housing for eight women participating in the Journey of Hope Program

Maryland Capital Enterprises received $2,500 to provide support for the Women’s Business Center which was recently relocated to the Eastern Shore

Salvation Army-Salisbury received $2,500 to support the creation of a six-week girls’ softball league to serve approximately 50 girls in the tri-county area

University of Maryland Extension’s 4H Program received $4,983 to support the Handling Emergency Response Situations (HERS) Program to provide girls with education and preparation tools to deal effectively with a variety of emergency response situations

Women Supporting Women received $1,500 to provide breast cancer health screenings at no cost to women without health insurance in Somerset County (in partnership with the Somerset County Health Department)

Woodrow Wilson Community Center received $1,000 to support the creation of an 8th an 9th grade girls’ basketball program

Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services in Berlin received $5,000 to provide support for the Strengthening Adolescent girls with Education and Support (SAGES) Program