A Week In Business – May 7, 2021

Cato Supports Schools

SALISBURY — Hoping to accelerate the careers of kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math, Salisbury-based Cato Gas & Oil Co. has awarded $500 checks to 15 area local schools to support their S.T.E.M (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs.

“These students are tomorrow’s scientists and engineers, and as an industry, we depend on them,” said Cato Gas & Oil Co. President Michael G. Abercrombie, Jr. “The sky’s the limit for our kids, and we’re always proud to help fuel their learning and support their career dreams.”

Abercrombie said the company has long made it a priority to support the communities where it operates. This time, Cato Gas & Oil, owner of Goose Creek Convenience stores, made the donations in partnership with the ExxonMobil Educational Alliance, which has committed more than $34 million nationwide to fund math and science programs at schools in need.

Cato’s latest donations will support S.T.E.M. programs at the following schools: Berlin Intermediate School, Crisfield High School and Academy, Kiptopeke Elementary School, North Salisbury Elementary School, Pemberton Elementary School, Parkside High School, Delmar Elementary School, Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, James M. Bennett High School, N. Caroline High School, Benjamin Bannacker Elementary School, Salisbury Christian School, Mardela Middle and High School, Lake Forest High School and Worcester Preparatory School.

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Year’s Top Producers Listed

BERLIN — Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva Maryland recently announced its 2020 top producers. The yearly awards are based on the Gross Commission Earned (GCI) or the number of units, whichever is highest. The GCI is the total amount of commission money earned by an agent before associated expenses.

The #1 Agent of the Year Winner is Melanie Shoff of the Ocean City office. She was the top agent in GCI, volume and homes sold for Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva.

The #1 Team of the Year winner is The Fritschle Barker Group of the Ocean City office (Grant Fritschle, Jonathan Barker, Mark Barker, Clinton Bickford, Bryan Coates, Courtney Wright, Laurie Murray and Jackson St Jean). The team led in GCI, volume and homes sold for Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva. Additionally, The Fritschle Barker Group of the Ocean City office won the Quad Platinum Award.

Taking the Double Platinum Award was The Windrow Group of Maryland (Erik Windrow, Bob Windrow, Nikki Rayne and Jennifer Kukel).

Melanie Shoff of the Ocean City office won the Platinum Award.

Individuals and teams receiving the Quadruple Gold Award are Sharon Daugherty Group of the Ocean City office (Sharon Daugherty and Annie Tingle) and The Moore Team of the Ocean City office (Michael Moore, Mary Moore, Tammy Hall and Michael Dodson).

The Triple Gold Award winners for individuals and teams are The Britts Team of the Ocean City office (Nancy Britt, Gregory Britt, Lauren Britt Hudson, Kate Deckenback and Mandi C. Gaca Martenson); Michael Dunn of the Salisbury office; Lucido Global Team of Maryland (Audrey Serio, Franklin Serio, John Mead, Karen March and Shawn Whitehead) and Sheri Smith of the Ocean City office.

The Double Gold Award winners for individuals and teams are Kim Lucido-McCabe of the Ocean City office; Mike Maykrantz of the Ocean City office; and Jay Pierorazio of the Ocean City office.

Individuals and teams receiving the Gold Award are Billy Barr of the Ocean City office; Davis Strategic of the Salisbury office (Brett Christopher Davis, Aubrey Campbell, Darrell Walker and Charles Campbell); Tim Dennis of the Salisbury office; and Jimbo Weismiller of the Ocean City office.

The Silver Award Winners for individual and teams are Brenda Archer-Nichols of the Ocean City office; Kelley Bjorkland of the Ocean City office; and Rusty Molnar of the Salisbury office.

Individuals and teams that earned the Bronze Award are Bud Cumberland of the Ocean City office; Theresa Diefendorf of the Ocean City office; Rich DiFilippo of the Ocean City office; and Mia McCarthy of the Ocean City office.

Other awards that were presented at the event include Karen March of the Ocean City office winning Rookie of the year for Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva and Lauren Britt Hudson of the Ocean City office winning the 2020 Cultural Icon for Keller Williams Realty of Delmarva.

The firm’s accomplishments in 2020 include opening our doors in Western Sussex with Griffin Higgins Team and Cornerstone Associates in Seaford, Delmarva Home Team in Delmar, and Bright Home Group in Laurel; opening the Rehoboth Beach office and bringing in the Joe Maggio Group; hiring a Director of Operations Michael Moreland; transitioned reception services to virtual assistant; hired an assistant team leader for Maryland, Alishia Potter; hired a Rehoboth and West Fenwick agent service coordinator, Krista Carroll; hired new Ocean City Agent Service Coordinator Nedra Johnstone; hired Transaction Coordination Virtual Assistant Kat; launched Whitecap Mortgage; rolled out new agent models “KW Your Way”; hired new marketing coordinator Josie Sipler; launched Falcon Secured Insurance; hired new bookkeeper Al Demerich; launched coaching company; hired Assistant Development Director Harold Cyr-Townsend; launched Leveraged Agent Services; hired Transaction Coordinator for Maryland Morgan Brown; offered group health and life insurance benefits to agents; migrated accounting services to cloud solution; hired marketing services virtual assistant, Regine; launched cardinal settlements; and MC785 profit shared $281,439.

Leadership and staff were also honored at the annual meeting, including Walt Taraila, broker for Maryland and Delaware;  Alishia Potter, Maryland Assistant Team Leader; Michael Moreland, Director of Operations for Delaware and Maryland; Bonni Burris, Maryland Market Center Administrator; Harold Cyr-Townsend , Director of Career Development; Mike Watson, Training/Compliance; Courtney Wright, Training; Nedra Johnstone, Maryland Agent Service Coordinator; Al Demerich, Accounting; Becky Herd, Accounting; David Tulloch, Accounts Payables;  Morgan Brown, Maryland Transaction Coordinator; and Josephine Sipler, Delaware and Maryland Marketing Coordinator.

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Auction Sale Planned

OCEAN CITY — Satellite Restaurants Inc., longtime owner of The Original Crabcake Factory in Ocean City, filed for bankruptcy protection last October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the past seven months, it has tried to establish a reorganization plan to emerge from Chapter 11. Multiple legal obstacles have delayed this process and has caused the restaurant to evaluate other options for keeping the Original Crabcake Factory operating uninterrupted for the 2021 season and beyond.

“We have considered all options and our most prudent choice given the situation is to proceed with a sale of the brand,” said CEO Johnny Brooks. “I have put my heart and soul into Crabcake Factory for 25 Years of my life. I feel at this point the only way to continue at this location is to maximize a sale and allow someone else take over the reins.”

Qualified potential buyers can obtain more information by contacting Alex Cooper Auctioneers at www.AlexCooper.com.

Potential purchasers will need to contact Alex Cooper in order to enter into a non-disclosure agreement for further information and to participate in the sale and receive information on the leases and contracts that may be assumed by the buyer as part of the purchase. The required opening bid starts at $325,000.

It is unclear at this time whether Brooks intends to stay with the Crabcake Factory after the sale. In this sale format, any purchaser has the option to negotiate the options of the sale including employment of Brooks, who is the general manager and executive chef, and other staff members.

“Mr. Brooks has spent the last year year fighting the pandemic crisis coupled with multiple legal actions which, to his credit have not forced the location to close at any time,” said bankruptcy counsel Paul Sweeney. “As a result of Mr. Brooks’ hard work, the Crabcake Factory has been open seven days per week during the proceedings. The restaurant business is hard enough but this year has really tested the meddle of even the most seasoned professionals.”

Brooks founded Crabcake Factory in 1996 after moving to Ocean City from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Crabcake Factory Bayside in Fenwick Island was built and owned by Brooks until it was franchised and sold in 2018.

“I have had several discussions with potential buyers about staying on. That remains to be seen,” said Brooks. “Crabcake Factory is in my DNA so we will entertain reasonable offers, but my main concern is to maximize the sale price of my brand and help any buyer with a smooth transition without any interruption in service.”

Brooks hopes to conclude the bankruptcy court supervised sale prior to Memorial Day weekend to allow the new owners the prime tourism season.