Author: Reporter

Calm Castle Home Staging Review

Calm Castle Home Staging and Design is one of the top home staging companies operating across Baltimore, Washington D.C and central Maryland since the year 2015. They offer different professional services including but not limited to vacant as well as occupied staging and interior design as well. Importantly, they are certified and insured. In addition, they have their own supply of classy furniture for vacant staging jobs or to fill in here and there for furnished staging.

They offer their services to clients in the Washington D.C, Howard County, Annapolis, Baltimore and the eight different surrounding counties in their 60-mile operating area. They will do a free initial phone consultation and estimate.

Staging is an Investment Not an Expense!

Calm Castle’s goal is to provide personalized and profitable service. Both from the founder’s experience and data from the National Association of Realtors statistics, proper staging will help sell a home faster and for more money. In fact, Calm Castle expects their staging to increase the selling price enough to cover the cost of the staging by several times!

Once they have committed to a job, their estimates are guaranteed. They have a variety of options to fit a range of personal budgets. They will also tell you if something doesn’t make sense or isn’t worth spending the money on.

The Founder’s Vision

The founder (Tenay Benes) a disabled veteran is an enthusiastic person whose aim not only lies in home staging and interior design but also to prove to the whole world disability is not inability. She is passionate about creating a workplace that is more flexible and understanding than the typical one. One that will accommodate full-time and part-time, disabled, students, under-employed and house-parents

Common Mistakes to Avoid According to Calm Castle

Educating their clients is one of their biggest pleasures. This is aimed at ensuring they do not make the mistake common mistakes associated with interior design and home staging.

Under or Light Home Staging

Calm Castle does not offer light home staging services in the name of cutting costs.  This is because light staging doesn’t allow for showing the function of the room; it does not demonstrate the full potential, neither does it provide the clear scale of the room. If done correctly, home staging will pay for itself several to many times over. It makes no sense to do a minimal job that doesn’t provide the benefits. That said, Calm Castle does have options for different budgets.

Over-staging

They offer this service even though it is not generally recommended. However, they recommend staging the most important rooms like the living room, kitchen, master bedroom and the dining room. They also recommend staging for weird spaces like a nook in the hallway or a basement bedroom which can need accenting or a demonstration of how the space can be used.

Mismatched Staging

This happens when the furniture inventory of a home stager doesn’t match what is needed for a particular house. A good home staging company like Calm Castle will tell you that what they have doesn’t make sense and that it might be better to rent furniture from a furniture rental company like Cort. Unfortunately, that is usually more expensive but can be the difference between a good and a bad staging job.

Virtual Staging

Virtual staging is cheaper compared to vacant spacing since it only takes a few man-hours to complete. However, the person doing it never goes to the house and can choose furnishing images to overlay on the room image that don’t match its actual function. When potential buyers see that and then go to the house, they get confused and typically don’t make an offer.

Service Price List

They offer a simple price list of their different services which can be accessed on their website but below is a brief overview.

For occupied staging, the goal is to have a budget of $0 for decoration because the idea is to use and optimize the client’s own décor and furniture. Depending on the needs, there are Staged to Sell Plans, Rehab Additions, Move-in Plans, and Staging Implementations.

They also offer services for vacant staging. This can be done by Calm Castle in what they call their White Glove Service or for a lower price a Do-It-Yourself option where you implement the plan and includes 30 days of rental for the furniture you will need from Calm Castle. For this there is an initial Consultation and Scheduling meeting fee. Then there is a fee for mileage for the White Glove service and individual fees for each room so you can pick and choose which rooms will be done.

Their interior design rates are very competitive and can be accessed on their website. They also strive to offer a personal touch. An area that they specialize in is staging / interior design for model homes.

Their customer service team is very friendly, honest and professional. We highly recommend Calm Castle.

The Charmery – The best in Baltimore for handcrafted quirky ice-creams

The Charmery, one of Baltimore’s most popular and loved ice-cream companies has been in the business of churning out super-premium, hand-crafted, made-in-house ice-creams since 2013.  Established by the husband-wife duo, David Alima and Laura Alima, Charmery’s first ice-cream outlet opened at Hampden, specialized in out-of-the-box unique flavors that became a hit with the locals. In 2018, the Alimas got the opportunity to open their own ice cream factory at Union Collective at Midfield. This was quickly followed by the opening of another outlet in Rogers Forge near Towson. The Alimas are looking at opening their fourth location in Federal Hill.

Charmery

The Alimas and The Birth of The Charmery:

David and Laura, the couple behind The Charmery met in the year 1998 during the summer, when both of them were working at Camp Moshava as counselors. At the time Laura was studying restaurant and hotel management. The meeting turned into a long term association. David with his creative mindset and Laura with her marketing brains worked on putting together a plan to start a new venture. They traveled and researched extensively for nearly a decade before opening the first Charmery ice-cream shop.

David, fondly known as Willy Wonka, put all his creativity and love for adventure into churning out specially flavored ice-creams. Laura with her management background took care of running the ice-cream outlet. The pairing became an instant success. They made an unbeatable team and the outlet got popular quickly with ice cream lovers.

The year 2018 proved to be a lucky year for this duo. They got an opportunity to open The Charmery Ice Cream Factory, a massive 5,500 sq. ft facility as a part of the Union Craft Project. The Ice cream factory became The Charmery’s retail and production space with 2000 sq ft of the area being allotted for retail space, catering, events and seating. The rest of the area houses space for production activities as well as an area for David’s crazy ice-cream experiments and innovations.

The Ice Cream Factory provided enough space for the Alimas to scale up their production numbers and provided an opportunity to expand their business. They opened the third store in Towson.

David and Laura attribute their success to the people of Baltimore who have always encouraged local talent and business establishments, as well as the local establishments who have been supportive and encouraging of each other through their respective journeys.

The Charmery – Flavors:

David Alima is a master craftsman when it comes to churning out exciting and adventurous flavors. The Ice Cream Factory doubles up as a lab space where David and his staff experiment with flavors and introduce innovative icecreams at all the creamery outlets.

Some of the most popular Charmery ice cream favors are Old Bay Caramel, Chocolate Peppermint, Pure Vanilla, Maryland Mud, Lemon Stick, Summer Strawberry, Otterbein Sugar Cookie and tell tale chocolate. All the Charmery outlets rotate all their flavors on a regular basis. The Charmery also sells waffle cones, sugar cones, ice cream pints for take-aways and milkshakes. The Charmery sees a year-round demand for their excellent ice-creams and quirky flavors. David has been credited with churning out weird flavors- some of them were a hit, like chicken n waffles and corn n parmesan cheese while others like cheesesteak flavor didn’t really click with the ice cream lovers. David and Laura, the brains behind The Charmery have been able to create a successful business model for ice-cream only stores. Their creativity, attention to detail and business mindset have helped them set up a well-loved ice cream company. David has made sure to introduce options for ice-cream lovers with special dietary requirements too. This level of dedication from the Alimas has helped them turn The Charmery into a successful business venture.

The success story of Kevin Plank’s dream child – Under Armour

Under Armour Inc., considered a pioneer in the field of sportswear and sports apparel was founded by Kevin Plank in the year 1996. Baltimore, Maryland is where the company was founded and is the current global headquarters of Under Armour.  It has branches located all across the world. Today Under Armour is considered a leader and innovator in sports apparel and accessories with its product profile that includes – sporting shirts, jerseys, hoodies, sporting pants, shoes, bags, protective gear, etc.

Under Armour – The birth of the Brand

Kevin Plank, the founder of the brand, an athlete himself, was the Specials Team Captain of the Maryland University Football Team. As a player, he realized that the T-shirts that he wore under his jersey got sweaty very quickly and he had to keep changing them very frequently, while the specially designed shorts that he wore continued to stay dry. This gave him the idea that t-shirts designed using synthetic material and moisture-wicking technology would be much more convenient for an athlete. Plank put his idea to work and created the first set of t-shirts and gifted them to his team-mates on the Maryland Football team as well as his friends who went on to play in the NFL. Soon his product became extremely popular, leading to a lot of agreements and major contracts being signed.

Under Armour – The Success Story

Kevin Plank and his brand Under Amour saw the first taste of success with Warner Brother approaching Plank to design outfits for two of their movies- “Any Given Sunday” and “Replacements”

This was followed by  Kevin Plank signing a contract with the management of the football league named “XFL”, to provide outfits for the team.  From here, there was no looking back for Kevin Plank.

In the year 2007, Kevin Plank opened his first store at the Westfield Annapolis Mall that was located in Annapolis, Maryland. Subsequently, stores and retail outlets were opened all over the US and also in countries like China and Canada.

Under Armour – Agreements and Sponsorships:

Kevin Plank and his brand became so popular that, after his work with Warner Brothers and the XFL football league, a number of other contracts followed.

  • In 2009, he tied up with the Baseball Hall of Fame member Cal Ripken Jr., ensuring the brand’s presence and coverage at a number of major and minor league teams.
  • Under Armour was also one of the major sponsors for a reality TV show named “Duck Dynasty”
  • 2014 Winter Olympics saw athletes wearing outfits from the house of Under Armour.
  • In its biggest deal yet, Under Armour signed a 10 year deal with the University of Notre Dame to outfit all its athletic teams
  • This was followed by various major long term deals which aided in popularizing the brand even further all over the world.
  • Stephen Curry, NBA athlete, Jordan Smith, PGA golfer and Philadelphia 76ers are the major brand spokespersons representing Under Armour.
  • Currently, the company supplies official footwear for NFL, MLB and NBA.

Kevin Plank – The Philanthropist:

Plank has been very active in the field of philanthropy.

  • He made a donation of $1 million to “Baltimore Based College Bound” – foundation supporting students,  though his foundation “The Cupid Foundation”.
  • Through his foundation, he also donated $5 million to create a community center at East Baltimore Centre, named “The UA House at Fayette”

Plank is also an active member in a number of committees and non-profit organizations, including the “Greater Baltimore Committee”, the “Greater Washington Partnership”, and “Living Classrooms”

Welcome to Our Maryland Business Reviews

We hope you like this website and our various reviews of different companies. There are so many wonderful companies to celebrate in Maryland. We will also tell you when we don’t think they are doing well.

Large Companies Headquartered in Maryland

Here are a few that you might know the names of:

  • Black and Decker (subsidiary of Stanley)
  • Blackstreet Capital Management
  • Carefirst
  • Choice Hotels
  • Constellation Energy Group
  • Discovery Communications (i.e. The Discovery Channel)
  • GEICO
  • Giant Food
  • Goodwill Industries
  • Greater Baltimore Medical Center
  • Host Hotels and Resorts
  • Jerry’s Subs and Pizzas
  • JoS. A. Bank Clothiers
  • Legg Mason
  • Lockheed Martin
  • London Fog
  • Marriot International (Hotels)
  • McCormick & Company (yes, spices)
  • Medstar Health
  • Perdue Farms (chickens)
  • Piedmont Airlines
  • Roy Rogers Restaurants
  • Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • T. Rowe Price Group
  • Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
  • The Rouse Co.
  • Total Wine and More
  • Under Armour
  • University of Maryland Medical System
  • W.R. Grace and Co.

Best Mid-Sized Companies in MD to Work For

Some of the above companies employ over 20,000 people in Maryland. Many companies here are great places to work. Forbes magazine picked 500 companies that are the best mid-sized places to work in the US. They had to have at least 1,000 employees. We don’t know what the upside limit was because some of these companies are pretty large. Here they are and their rank in the 500 companies

  • #12 Johns Hopkins University
  • #29 Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • #40 T. Rowe Price
  • #288 Carefirst Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • #299 Mercy Medical Center
  • #303 Clark Construction
  • #325 Whiting-Turner Contracting
  • #365 Royal Farms
  • #434 Westat
  • #444 Choce Hotels International
  • #451 Abt Associates, Inc.

Smaller Companies

Then there are just so many smaller companies. Everything from towing companies, to plumbing companies, roofing companies, contractors, dental practices, law firms, accountants, shipping companies, funeral homes, tugboat companies, limousine companies, and transportation companies just to name a few. It is amazing how many niches and types of business there are. Even odd little companies like companies that polish brass and other metals, companies that strip paint, companies that put gold leaf back on buildings, and companies that suck out used grease from restaurants. Things you would never think of.

We hope you will find the reviews of all these companies interesting.