Caroline County Chamber honors business community
PRESTON — The Caroline County Chamber of Commerce honored businesses and community leaders at its annual awards banquet Thursday, Jan. 26, at Preston Fire Hall.
The celebration recognized the accomplishments and successes of the businesses and community members. Teressa Simmons of Blue Pearl Picture Framing in Greensboro received Entrepreneur of the Year. The chamber presented Walter Palmer III with the Community Service award. Katie Thomason of Parlour 7 Salon in Denton received Businesswoman of the Year and Roland Holsinger and Patricia Higgins received Business Couple of the Year.
Walmart in Denton was named Large Business of the Year, with Accounting Strategies Group receiving Mid-Sized Business of the Year and Moore Funeral Home being named Small Business of the Year.
The Caroline County Public Library was named Caroline’s Best Nonprofit, and Compass Regional Hospice received the Humanitarian Award. Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder received the Agriculture award.
The event also featured a dinner catered by the Chesapeake Culinary Center, last year’s Caroline’s Best Nonprofit.
Entrepreneur of the Year: Teressa Simmons
Blue Pearl Picture Framing opened in 2015 at 610 West Sunset Avenue in Greensboro. The business is family owned by Simmons and her husband Colin Jones.
Blue Pearl Picture Framing offers custom picture framing, custom mat cutting, custom glass cutting, fitting services, frame repairs, special event framing, bulk framing and commercial framing.
Simmons and Jones have live in Greensboro for about 16 years. She has more than 23 years of experience in the picture framing industry, starting in a private picture framing studio in Baltimore to now running Blue Pearl Picture Framing.
“Teressa took the leap and started her own business,” said Steve Konopelski. “It grew from the basement of their home, to an extra bedroom, and finally to the Frame Shop on Sunset Avenue in Greensboro. Colin transformed the building from the old Mr. D’s pizza carry out into a large woodworking shop.
“In fact, the history of the building has become a local topic, with community members providing stories of its many businesses and expressing gratitude over its refurbishment,” he said. “It has been rewarding for both Teressa and Colin to receive such a positive response.
“Blue Pearl provides quality custom picture framing,” he said. “It works to preserve, protect, and enhance their client’s items. It aims to provide personalized and experienced attention. Teressa strives to go above and beyond for the customer, whether that be after hour appointments, delivering to a customer’s home when necessary, or just enjoying a relaxed friendly experience.
“Many customers leave the Frame Shop pleasantly surprised at how much fun they had during the selection process, which is a key goal at the Frame Shop… unintimidating framing,” he said. “Both Teressa Simmons and Colin Jones aspire to have Blue Pearl Picture Framing be a resource and an asset to the community.”
Community Ser vice: Walter Palmer III
Palmer grew up in Caroline County and graduated from North Caroline High School in 1972. He graduated from Gettysburg College in 1976, and from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in 1979. He has practiced law in Denton since 1979.
He joined the Boy Scout Troop 165 in Denton in 1965 and earned the Eagle rank in 1972. He has served in a leadership position with the Boy Scouts for many years. He also was elected to the Caroline County Board of Education.
Palmer is a life-long member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Denton where he has taught Sunday School and sung in the adult choir since 1979, as well as playing in the handbell choir for a number of years. He also has held a number of church offices, and currently is the chair of the church’s Council on Ministries.
“Fifty Scouts from the Troop have earned the Eagle rank while Palmer was scoutmaster,” said Carville Leaf. “Palmer served on the Caroline County Board of Education from 2011 to 2016. He declined to seek reappointment, as he thought someone younger should serve, and as he was missing too much time with the Boy Scout Troop.
“He is a member of the Denton Rotar y Club, with 22 years’ perfect attendance,” he said. “Palmer served a number of years on the Board of Trustees of the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center in Chestertown, and was president of that board during the unsuccessful fight to keep that mental hospital open during the O’Malley administration.
“Over the years he has served on additional nonprofit and charitable boards in Caroline County,” he said. “We are honored to present the Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award to Walt Palmer.”
Businesswoman of the Year: Katie Thomason
Katie Thomason, who owns Parlour 7 Salon in Denton, participated in the 2016 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Eastern Shore’s 2016 Man and Woman of the Year campaign. She, along with eight other candidates each began raising money April 1, 2016, for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society blood cancer research, with the titles “Man and Woman of the Year” up for grabs. Every dollar raised counted as one vote, and the titles were awarded to the man and woman with the most votes at the end of 10 weeks.
She and her team, Crafting a Cure for LLS, raised more than $80,00 and finished third overall. The efforts of all the candidates set a Maryland record by raising $476,859 by the end of the LLS of the Eastern Shore Gala in Cambridge on June 11, 2016, nearly doubling the 2015 total.
At last June’s gala in Cambridge, LLS of the Eastern Shore honored Thomason as the 2016 recipient of the Angela M. Bullock Citizenship Award, given to the candidate who most exemplifies the mission of the LLS in his or her campaign.
Gov. Larry Hogan honored Thomason during a visit to downtown Denton at the end of June.
“It is people like Katie Thomason and all the people who work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of the Eastern Shore that kept me alive when I was battling lymphoma,” said Hogan, who was diagnosed in June 2015 and now is in remission. “Congratulations on setting the state record.
“Katie, thank you so much. God bless you for what you did. It is incredible with all the hard work you did to raise that amount in such a short period of time.
“I went from being focused on how to grow our economy and how to put people back to work to hearing three doctors I just met tell me I had an advanced and aggressive cancer. I’ll tell you, the prayers and well wishes from people here and all the way across the state were incredible. It means so much to me.
“I had some great doctors at the University of Maryland and great nurses. I’m so thankful to be here with you 100 percent cancer free and in complete remission and feeling strong. Thank you again, Katie.”
Business Couple of the Year: Roland Holsinger and Patricia Higgins
Roland Holsinger and Patricia Higgins opened the Denton dental office Smiles by Holsinger & Higgins in February 1986.
“We have bee committed to keeping current with dental technology and constantly continuing education for us and our team,” said Holsinger and Higgins. “We were one of the first practices in Maryland to start using digital x-rays, offer Cerec (same-day crowns) and oral conscious sedation. We love doing all aspects of dentistry and as general practitioners, we can can and do implants, orthodontics, endodontics, oral surgery, fillings and cosmetic dentistry along with other services.”
Smiles by Holsinger & Higgins support the Tuchahoe Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Church of Brethren, drama clubs, Rotary, Camp Mardela, Board of Zoning Appeals, Human Services Council and Mental Health Advisory Board. They currently focus on the Eastern Shore Mission of Mercy, which every two years since 2013 provides free dental care to about 1,000 adults at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbur y.
Caroline’s Best Nonprofit: Caroline County Public Librar y
The Caroline County Commissioners created the Caroline County Public Library in 1961. The library system currently includes the Central Library in Denton and branches in Federalsburg and Greensboro. The library operates its three facilities with 16 full-time and seven part-time employees. The current Director is Debby Bennett. Board members, representing all areas of the county, are Dr. Caroll Visintainer, Steve Fleegle, Terenda Thomas, Wayne Dhue, Gale Nashold, Amy Brandt and Bart Johnson.
“Throughout decades of service to the county, the library has grown to fill many roles — community center, career center, cultural and information center, and lifelong learning center,” said Caroline County Public Schools Supervisor of Food Services Beth Brewster. “The librar y continually challenges itself to provide excellent customer service and innovative programs and technology. In the spirit of collaboration which Caroline County is known for, the library often partners with other agencies to offer additional ser vices to meet the needs of the local citizens.
“The librar y is committed to seeing every child in this county reach their potential and emphasizes early childhood reading and education,” she said. “Storytimes, puppet shows, reading programs, interactive games, educational tools and a variety of entertaining programming help children explore their world, learn and grow.
“Older students have access to computer resources, homework help, reading and research assistance, study rooms, and exciting programs designed to help them navigate their world throughout the teen years,” she said. “The library offers a dedicated Teen Zone space which gives students a safe environment to learn, play and interact.
“Adults find technology assistance, job resources, cultural programs of music and live performance, genealogy research, GED classes and AARP tax assistance,” she said. “The librar y connects those who need help with those that can help. And let’s not forget about all the great books. From our newborns to our retired residents; from students to job seekers; from community groups and
agencies to businesses; the library has something for everyone.”
Agriculture Award: Joe Bartenfelder
Joe Bartenfelder, of Preston, serves as the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture for Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration. He grew up on a farm, and for more than 35 years has been a full-time farmer and small businessman. His family lives on the home farm in Caroline County, and also owns and operates two other farms in Dorchester County. The Bartenfelder family sells produce at the Baltimore City Farmers’ Market and wholesale, raises poultry, and grows wheat, beans, and corn.
In addition to farming, Bartenfelder spent nearly 30 years in elected office. From 1983 to 1994, he served as a member of the Mar yland House of Delegates, representing District 8 in Baltimore County. From 1994 to 2010, he ser ved as a member of the Baltimore County Council, including chairman in 1997, 2000, 2005 and 2009.
“Bartenfelder Farms donates regularly to the Mar yland Food Bank,” said last year’s Agriculture Aware recipient Amy Cawley. “They host an annual three-day fall festival on the farm that is free and open to the public, including haunted hayrides, for kids and families to come out and experience life on a farm. Mr. Bartenfelder personally provided hayrides for Preston Elementary School’s Fall Festival.
“He also hosted the statewide Farm to School kick-off event at Preston Elementary in 2015,” she said. “He participates in the Preston Volunteer Fire Department Parade and is very supportive of the Caroline County High School Culinary Arts Program and Chesapeake Culinary Center.”
Large Business of the Year: Walmart
“I am writing to you to tell you about the impact that our local Denton Walmart has had on a tremendous amount of students,” said North Caroline High School coach Jody Ward. “First and foremost Walmart has provided meals for hundreds of student athletes, whom otherwise may not have been able to get the sustenance and nutrients they needed while participating in their athletic events. (Store Manager) Bill Duffy and his associates at Walmart have never failed to provide these meals for us, even on short notice.
“Walmart has also helped our children in countless other ways,” he said. “Mr. Duffy himself has spoken with our teams in regard to the importance of education, work ethic and integrity. Our local Walmart has provided incentives to our students for academic success, helped with fundraisers for equipment and other necessities, as well as spear headed community service and outreach programs to help people, outside of our local community that were in need. Mr. Duffy has created an awareness amongst our students of expectations and standards that are necessary for successes in life; even resulting in employment at our Denton Walmart.
“The generosity shown from Mr. Duffy and his entire staff have been invaluable and have benefited our students in school and in the community in countless ways,” he said. “We are extremely grateful for Mr. Duffy and our local Denton Walmart.”
Small Business of the Year: Moore Funeral Home
Moore Funeral Home was founded in 1909 by J. Virgil Moore. His son, Charles V. Moore, joined him in 1936 when the firm became known as J.V. Moore and Son. After serving in Europe during World War II, Charles again joined his father. In 1971, Charles Moore’s son, Randy Moore, joined the firm as a licensed funeral director and he continues in that capacity today. In 1976, the funeral home became known as Moore Funeral Home, P.A.
“They are located in the original home of J.V. Moore and is where Charles V. Moore was born on the second floor,” said last year’s Small Business Award recipient Laura Harris of Rowe Insurance. “They represent three generations and 108 years of continuous ownership and dedication to the Caroline County community.”
Mid-Size Business of the Year: Accounting Strategies Group
Accounting Strategies Group, LLC is a Certified Public Accounting firm with offices in Preston and Centreville. The firm is managed by its five Members, Lisa Durham, Amy Brandt, Sam Sauca, Kitzy Smith and Chuck Ireland. With more than 20 staff members, the staff includes six Certified Public Accountants and two Enrolled Agents. Mike Connolly, a retired Member, remains as a key staff member in the Centreville office.
“ASG serves clients in the MidShore area, as well as the surrounding states,” said Anthony Casey, of Shoreline Vinyl Systems who won last year’s Mid-Size Business of the Yeard award. “The company specializes in working with closely held businesses and their owners. In addition, the firm’s client base includes not-for-profit entities, government entities and has experience with public companies and SEC filing requirements.
“Their group of professionals is experienced in tax preparation for federal returns as well as most states and works with several clients on their international business and tax issues,” he said. “The firm also offers a full array of financial statement ser vices including audit and review of financial statements.
“Nearly every member of the staff has experience with QuickBooks accounting software products and several are members of the QuickBooks Pro Advisor Program,” he said. “The professional staff strives to be an integral part of each client’s advisory team, interacting with other advisors such as attorneys, bankers, insurance professionals and investment managers.”
Humanitarian Award: Compass Regional Hospice
Since 1985, Hospice of Queen Anne’s has been providing hospice services to residents of Queen Anne’s County. In 2014, based on the needs of the community and requests from the health care systems, Hospice of Queen Anne’s rebranded itself as Compass Regional Hospice and expanded their services to the residents of Caroline and Kent counties.
This transition allowed Compass Regional Hospice to become the sole provider of hospice services, meeting the underser ved hospice and grief support needs in Caroline County. In 2015, the Caroline Hospice Foundation partnered with Compass Regional Hospice to reopen the Caroline Hospice House in Denton, once again having a physical presence for hospice services in Caroline County.
Through this collaboration, Compass Regional Hospice continues to provide all hospice services to patients in their homes, as well as assisted living and skilled nursing facilities throughout Caroline County. Compass Regional Hospice staffs the Caroline Hospice Home.
Funds raised by the Caroline Hospice Foundation help offset the cost of hospice care for Caroline County residents. The partnership has allowed Compass Regional Hospice to provide hospice services to more than 272 Caroline County residents. No one is ever denied hospice care due to the inability to pay. To support hospice services in Caroline County, contact the Caroline Hospice Foundation.
A fully licensed, independent, community-based nonprofit organization, Compass Regional Hospice is certified by Medicare and the State of Maryland, and accredited by the Joint Commission. It is affiliated with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Hospice and Palliative Care Network of Maryland.
The Caroline County Chamber of Commerce honor its annual business award winners during its 2017 banquet on Jan. 26.