Baltimore brand consultant is changing the entrepreneurship game

As businesses rethink their strategies and entrepreneurs continue to scramble to maintain successful businesses during a global pandemic Raven Paris, a Baltimore based brand consultant and multi- media strategist who has freelanced and served as a radio host for local and national platforms like 92Q and nationally for Def Jam, DTLR, TMZ & BET, has come to change the entrepreneurship game with her debut book, “The Game Changer: Start-Up Kit to Become or Sustain Entrepreneurship.”

Raven Paris, author, “The Game Changer”

Mia Greene

Raven Paris, author, “The Game Changer”

The 51-page guidebook addresses the concerns of new and aspiring entrepreneurs during this time when it may be necessary but difficult pivot because of COVID-19 related revenue changes for businesses. Even though we are living in the digital age and connection might be at our fingertips, support is often not. “The Game Changer” is a guidebook that supports a demographic of specifically Black entrepreneurs and is tailor-made to hold their hands through goal setting, sales and even advertising.

“If we’re able to spend in our community, we’ll keep the dollars in our community,” Paris said when asked why newly established or seasoned black dream chasers should invest in buying “The Game Changer.”

Paris says she is no stranger to dropping off copies of her new guidebook in-person. “I love for people to be able to relate to me, so whether I’m having a good or bad day I hop in my car with my mask for folks that support me, You can’t always touch or reach people that you meet on social media, I like to show love to the people who show love to me,” she said.

Paris naturally guides her peers and clients step-by- step through their initial jump into the entrepreneurship game based on her experiences. “I’m not a graduate of any formal communications program. I went to school for Social Work at Morgan State University so I’m driven to think about people first,” she said.

The plight of entrepreneurs is something the new author understands personally as she remembers vividly quitting her job at a local mobile-phone store in 2017 in order to pursue her dream of expanding her voice in entertainment full-time.

“Entertainment is a male-dominated world and doesn’t come without its challenges. And being an attractive woman, you have to work even harder for men in the industry to take you seriously because they feel like you’re going to sell your soul in order for doors to open for you,” Paris noted.

Throughout her new book, Raven urges early-stage entrepreneurs both men and women not to immediately quit their jobs but to first strategize and prepare spiritually, emotionally and financially for what she describes as a time when things don’t always go as planned.

“It can be uncomfortable to follow your dreams and in that first year especially, it gets lonely as you’re spending an increased amount of time on your new- found passion,” Paris said.

Space for journaling and prompts to help are laced throughout the start-up kit to become or sustain entrepreneurship because while this is a guidebook rich in resources Paris wanted it to be personal.

“I want entrepreneurs to analyze themselves by asking themselves certain questions based on their own industry [to] find their niche and what makes them unique,” she said.

As a self proclaimed seasoned social media mogul Paris has amassed 35.7k followers on her Instagram alone; and is no stranger to the online game that we are all playing as entrepreneurs in 2020. However, it’s not about the followers, according to Paris who reminds entrepreneurs: “Don’t be driven by the followers but be driven by the intention of what your goals are and gaining believers. Is your intention to inspire? Is it to motivate others? You definitely want to reach as many peoples you can but set bigger intentions than just having a lot of followers.”

Paris is well known in some circles for her local or national notoriety and successes with those aforementioned organizations and following on Instagram, but she hasn’t forgotten fellow entrepreneurs, mentors and friends who have supported her along the way so she has included a guide to Black Businesses in the DMV, New York, and even Atlanta throughout “The Game Changer.”

“I just see myself as someone who is trying to change the game and be an example to entrepreneurs that I didn’t have when I came to the game. No one gave me the resources or the tools to be able to thrive as an entrepreneur,” said Raven.

Paris believes her best tool is the ability of her spirit being able to lead her to make certain decisions or not make them. She credits her intimate relationship with God as being what allows her to keep herself away from the distractions and anything else that does not feed her spirit in a positive way. She fasts intermittently and abstains from any lifestyle habits that may take her focus off her new entrepreneurial journey.

“I feel like when you have that relationship with God, it just helps to make things clearer— hard work paired with faith are driving forces in my life,”Paris said. “I’m being used as a vessel by God to be able to allow my community to build their own tables and open their own doors to be able to thrive as entrepreneurs or to just pursue their passion.”

Economy, race relations seen as growing concerns ahead of election

As President Donald Trump flip-flops on whether he would back a new stimulus proposal to help stabilize America’s increasingly fragile financial, consumer and business markets— and provide a lifeline to struggling Americans— the latest Gallup poll reveals that the economy remains a major concern among voters ahead of the November 3 election. Nine in ten respondents identified the economy as extremely or very important to their vote

The poll, released on October 5, listed national security and terrorism as the next biggest concern (83 percent), followed by education (82 percent), healthcare (80 percent), crime (79 percent), the COVID-19 response (77 percent), and race relations (76 percent).

Gallup has surveyed Americans’ “most important concerns” since 1939. The survey became monthly in 2001.

“It is not surprising that voters overall rate the economy as the most important issue impacting their vote for president this year given the fragile state of the U.S. economy and their tendency historically to prioritize it and other issues such as national security and education,” Gallup pollsters observed.

In an earlier June 4 Gallup survey, 19 percent of Americans named race relations as the nation’s top problem in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

At just below 20 percent, Gallop’s June 4 demarcation of the nation’s pulse on the state of race and race relations in America reflects the largest number of Americans sharing concerns over the racial divide since the height of the civil rights struggle in July 1968. The July 1968 survey results reported was less than 90 days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th of the same year.

“Everything else being equal; however, the historical record predicts that race will eventually fall back into its latent status, scoring relatively few mentions as a top-of-mind issue,” Dr. Frank Newport, a Gallup senior scientist, wrote. “This exemplifies the substantial challenge facing leaders who are seeking significant and lasting change in the nation’s race situation. The less top of mind race is as a major problem; presumably, the less likely politicians are going to feel pressure to take action.”

A separate poll conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based financial website, WalletHub, took a deep dive into which political party is best for the country. The poll revealed that overall the economy had performed best under a Democratic presidency and Republican Congress.

In the past 70 years, the real Gross Domestic Product has grown fastest under Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches of government, at an average of 4.22 percent per year, and most slowly under a Democratic presidency and divided Congress, at an average of 2.04 percent per year, the WalletHub survey found.

Despite Trump’s seeming obsession with the stock market, Wall Street has performed best under a Democratic presidency and Republican Congress. The S&P 500 produced an average annual return of 16.22 percent, and worst under a Republican presidency and Democratic Congress, with an average yearly return of 4.51 percent.

Further, as stimulus talks stall and Trump throws cold water on negotiations, the annual unemployment rate change has had the highest decrease (0.85 percent, on average) under a Democratic presidency and divided Congress.

It had the highest increase (0.26 percent, on average) under a Republican presidency and Democratic Congress.

According to the survey, the annual poverty rate change has had the highest decrease (0.66 percent, on average) under a Democratic presidency and Republican Congress and the highest increase (0.05 percent, on average) under a Republican presidency and Democratic Congress.

The survey also found that the change in annual national debt as a percentage of GDP (adjusted for inflation) has had the highest decrease (0.76 percent, on average) under a Democratic presidency and Republican Congress and the highest increase (2.82 percent) under a Democratic presidency and divided Congress.

“I think [Democratic Presidential nominee] Joe Biden will be better for the economy for two reasons. First, he is actually listening to real economists, as far as policymaking is concerned,” said Shantanu Bagchi, a WalletHub expert and associate professor in the Department of Economics at Towson University in Maryland. “He understands the key issues why so many Americans have been cut out from their fair share of economic prosperity and the promise of hard work as a means to a better life.

“Second, he is predictable and has a comprehensive vision of how to move the economy forward for everyone. Trump, unfortunately, is more concerned with personal wealth accumulation using the Presidency as a tool. He lacks a basic understanding of economics, does not listen to experts, and has no vision of the economy apart from how he and others like him can personally benefit from it.”

MACY’S HOLDS NATIONAL HIRING EVENT ON OCTOBER 22

WHAT: Macy’s is holding a National Holiday Hiring event on Thursday, October 22, to fill seasonal positions at stores, call centers and distribution and fulfillment centers, including more than 700 holiday opportunities in Maryland. A variety of opportunities are available with competitive pay, access to flexible scheduling, bilingual work environment, merchandise discount and the opportunity to earn additional bonuses.

New this year to provide a safe and convenient hiring experience, Macy’s will conduct all interviews for in-store opportunities by phone. The quick and convenient process allows seasonal candidates tointerview from wherever. To support Macy’s convenient shopping experience, stores will also offer a new, versatile role focused on picking and packing contact-free curbside pickup and same-day delivery orders.

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 22 (local time)

HOW: Prior to the national hiring event, candidates are encouraged to submit applications online to receive a response via email. Candidates can apply online 24/7 nationwide. Open positions and additional information are available at macysjobs.com.

MORE: Macy’s strives to be an employer of choice in every location it does business. Some highlights of Macy’s seasonal hiring program include:

Applicants often receive an offer the same day they apply.

Macy’s migrated approximately 1,000 seasonal positions from 2019 to permanent positions.

Approximately one third of Macy’s store leadership colleagues started their careers at Macy’s during the holiday season.

The average length of service among Macy’s, Inc. professional and hourly colleagues is 10 years and 7 years, respectively.

Macy’s is strongest when it represents the many communities it serves. Macy’s is committed to providing a safe and inclusive workplace by embedding diversity and inclusion into how colleagues think, act and operate. More information about Macy’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives is available at macysinc.com.

The health and safety of Macy’s colleagues and customers is always our top priority. Macy’s has implemented enhanced safety and wellness procedures to help alleviate any potential health concerns, following the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended protocol. This includes enhanced cleaning of heavily touched surfaces such as equipment, countertops, break rooms, restrooms, vertical transportation, entrances and colleague work areas. Additionally, Macy’s provides colleagues with face masks to help prevent the spread of the COVID19 virus and conducts daily wellness checks which include asking a series of recommended questions and temperature checks to support a safe working environment. Macy’s encourages colleagues to continue to follow the CDC recommended everyday measures and will remain vigilant and partner with local and state officials.

CONTACT: Jacqueline King, Macy’s Media Relations – Jacqueline.King@macys.com

Morgan State University designated as new historic site

Baltimore— The American Physical Society (APS) has designated Morgan State University and the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota as Historic Sites. Each site will receive a plaque acknowledging its exemplary contributions to physics.

“As an institution rooted in the marvels of discovery and enlightenment, Morgan State University has long served as a haven for the nation’s Black scientific community—as well as a top producer of African-American graduates with degrees in STEM,” said David K.Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “We are truly honored to be designated an Historic Site by the American Physical Society. This notable distinction not only acknowledges Morgan’s early contributions to modern physics, but also our unrelenting commitment as an R2 classified doctoral research institution to cultivating tomorrow’s STEM leaders.”

The APS citation reads: “On April 28, 1977, Morgan State University became the birthplace of the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). Its founders sought to promote the professional well being of African American physicists within society at large and within the international scientific community. They have successfully mentored young Black students to increase their representation in physics and technology. Their persistent professional devotion to inclusion has produced the largest national organization that actively supports African American physicists.”

In 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation today named Morgan State University a National Treasure, the only such honor for a college or university campus in the United States.

The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents over 55,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, Maryland (Headquarters), Ridge, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Annapolis March underscores importance of showing up at polls, correction of racial injustices

Although the coronavirus has often brought the issue of isolation to the forefront because of need to social distance and quarantine, there have also been remarkable moments when the power of unity has proved to be unstoppable.

Saturday, September 19, 2020 marked one of those unprecedented times in Annapolis’s rich history, when over a 1,000 men, women, children, community leaders and elected officials participated in a peaceful 1,000 Men March. A sea of masked faces began to fill the streets from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to Annapolis City Dock. Participants commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Million Man March held in the District of Columbia on October 16, 1995, while highlighting issues ranging from ending police brutality to the importance of voting in the upcoming presidential election on November 3, 2020.

The event drew a crowd of diverse ages, including young children. Over 1,000 people reportedly attended the event.

Joyce Images

The event drew a crowd of diverse ages, including young children. Over 1,000 people reportedly attended the event.

Randy Curtis, 33, a resident of Severn played a major role in organizing the largest event of this kind in Annapolis. His father, Bishop Antonio Palmer of the Kingdom Celebration Center and the United Black Clergy along with Carl Snowden, longtime civil rights activist and convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders, were also instrumental in organizing the event.

Curtis says he has worked with conscious leaders in other locations and wanted to do something for his home city of Annapolis. Holding police and citizens who are engaging in detrimental activities accountable, cleaning up the community, improving housing and addressing educational issues are among his noted concerns. He further said that related policies and procedures need to be changed; and he feels that officials such as Gavin Buckley, Mayor of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman are approachable officials who also want to see positive change occur in the Black community. “My idea is to go to them (Buckley and Pittman) with strategic changes for policies and procedures, and fight all the way through, until we see change in the books,” said Curtis while mentioning his follow up plan. “And, I’ve learned enough to be humble to my elders. I’m actually having a meeting with all of the leadership that we have in the Black community and saying ‘let’s agree on three things that we want to see change in the immediate future and tackle those three issues up front.’”

Curtis led the charge to bring individuals and leaders together but he says he wants a collective voice to be heard. He added that he believes that participation by the younger generation in the event helped to dismantle the belief that the older and younger generation don’t see eye-to-eye on issues. The older generation was able to show by example how to come together for the sake of freedom, justice and equality for Blacks in America, including in Anne Arundel County.

Carl Snowden also pointed out that he believes that Curtis senses the need for more overall civic engagement and participation from African American males. “The major goal (of the march) was to demonstrate the need for people of color— in particular— to participate in another march that is going to take place. And that march is going to take place on November 3, when we march to the ballot box, hopefully in unprecedented numbers, to use our vote to become our voice. And so there is going to be a concerted effort by all of the organizations that were involved to energize, organize and mobilize African American voters to go to the polls in great numbers,” Snowden said. “As you know, African American men vote in less numbers than African American women. An idea here is to get African American men to follow the leadership of women who have used the vote very strategically to bring about our change. And so we hope to emulate our black women in terms of going to the polls in the numbers proportionate to our goal.”

Darius A. Stanton— founder of the Annapolis Arts, Sports and Leadership Academy— added that day’s mood sent a message of unity to over 10 statewide politicians. Voter registration was underway from the top of the March route all the way to the City Dock.

“I think the 1,000 Man March built a unified force to push the changes needed in our own communities to seek mental health, bring our family units together, to ensure we build our own economic base, make the needed reform and investments in education and the justice system, by voting and holding elected officials accountable,” said Stanton. “We are much stronger coming out of the march!

Maryland State Board of Elections started mailing ballots to voters

Annapolis— The Maryland State Board of Elections announced that it has started sending ballots to Maryland voters for the 2020 Presidential General Election. Almost 800,000 ballot packets were shipped to voters in Maryland over a five day period.

The first set of emails to domestic voters who requested a ballot via web delivery were also sent today. The Board will send ballots to these voters from an email address with the prefix “absentee” and the suffix “@marylandelections.us.” For example, if a voter receives an email from absentee3.sbe@marylandelections.u s, that is a legitimate email from the Maryland State Board of Elections. Voters who requested that their ballots be emailed are encouraged to look for emails from a “@marylandelection.us” address and to add it to their contact list.

The first phase of ballot drop boxes have been delivered. Boxes for local boards of elections’ offices, early voting locations, and additional locations in the most populous counties were delivered. The next delivery phase will be October 15 through 17 and the final phase will be October 22 through 24.

The complete list of ballot drop box locations and their anticipated opening dates is available at: https://elections.maryland.gov/electio ns/2020/PG20_Drop%20Box%20Locati ons.xlsx

Each Maryland jurisdiction will have at least two ballot drop box locations available to voters. Voters can submit their completed mail-in ballots in any drop box located in their jurisdiction of residence.

Once open, drop boxes will remain open until Election Day, November 3 at 8 p.m. In all, 282 ballot drop boxes will be available at 281 locations around the state. Two ballot drop boxes will be available at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board is encouraging voters to cast their ballots by mail. Applications for mail-in ballots have been sent via first-class U.S. Mail to eligible Maryland voters. Applications must be received by October 20, 2020.

Annapolis Town Center to host Fright Nights: A Drive-Through Event This Oct.

(October 1, 2020) Annapolis, MD – Committed to the continued growth of their property as a com- munity epicenter, Annapolis Town Center announces their first annual Fright Nights. A total of five evenings in October will provide a full schedule of Halloween-themed fun for the entire family to enjoy. Promising a safe environment for mesmerizing, interactive, and nostalgic experiences.

With two accommodated time slots per night for arrival, guests will check-in at The Haunted House located next to The Green to receive their complimentary concessions and pre-filled trick-or-treatbags for the kids. Cars will then follow, one-by-one, through the fog filled path leading to the interactive Haunted Alleyway Experience and end at the drive-in movie lot for a thrilling featured film. A total of six movies will be shown across the five evenings, providing an even balance of family friendly and adults only nights. Experience a mix of classics and newer favorites like: The Ring, Casper, US, Hocus Pocus, Hotel Transylvania, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the many dining options on property during their time at Fright Nights. Order before the film and pick-up your meal for a one-of- a-kind dinner and a movie experience at the Center. Adult-only showings will also feature a beer garden with live music by DJ Craw dads and beverages provided by Vintage Views: A Wandering Bar prior to the start of the featured film.

Given the ongoing concern for public health and safety, the Town Center remains committed to providing the community with opportunities to safely gather and make lasting memories. All guests are required to wear masks anytime they exit their vehicle and continue to practice proper physical distancing. In order to uphold proper safety protocol, tickets will be limited and guests are required to pre- purchase them online.

For a full calendar of upcoming events, check out VisitATC.com. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates.

First Presidential Debate an Embarrassment for America

American politics nose-dived spiraled and crashed and burned during what masqueraded as the first 2020 presidential debate.

“You’re a clown!” “Would you shut up, man!” “Everything you say is a lie.” Those were just some of the barbs from Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden who grew irritated by repeated interruptions by President Donald Trump at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Trump, who received a regular rebuke from moderator Chris Wallace, claimed Biden was weak and unintelligent. “Don’t ever use the word smart with me,” Trump railed at Biden.

“There’s nothing smart about you, Joe.” The president sunk even lower, making accusations that Biden’s son, Hunter, was “kicked out of the military dishonorably discharged because of drugs.” Biden reminded the audience of a little more than 100 people down from an anticipated 900 because of the pandemic that Trump called fallen military members “losers and suckers.”

While Trump dared Biden to say, “Law and order,” Wallace opened discussions on race. “Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?” the moderator asked Trump.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump reluctantly said in a declara- tion that fell well short of condemnation. “But,” Trump insisted, “I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”

Biden also blasted Trump’s handling of the coronavirus. The former vice president said more than 200,000 people have died, and some 40,000 people are still contracting COVID each day. “The President has no plan. He hasn’t laid out anything,” Biden charged.

Trump responded that a vaccine and life-saving treatments might come before the election. The president again hit out at China, blaming the Far East nation for the virus.“It’s China’s fault. It never should have happened,” Trump contended. “We’ve done a great job,” Trump added, accusing the “fake news” of distorting his record on the virus. Trump claimed a Biden administration would have “lost far more people.”

Biden responded: “Get out of your bunker and get out of the sand trap and your golf course.” Later, Trump again refused to say whether he’d leave office peacefully if Biden wins the election. The ugly match further denigrated when the topic turned to Trump’s in- come taxes, which he has refused to re- lease them publicly.

A New York Times investigation re- vealed that Trump had gone 10 of the past 15 years without paying any income taxes, and in 2017 and 2018, he paid just $750.

The president disputed the report but evaded Wallace’s questions about specifics. As a successful businessman, Trump offered that he understands the tax code, and others who don’t take advantage of it are inept. Biden’s campaign released the former vice president’s 2019 tax returns before the debate, which showed he paid nearly $300,000 in federal income tax last year. “You are the worse president America has ever had,” Biden told Trump.

HTP Homes, Inc. announce ‘Building Second Chances’ crowdfunding campaign for at-risk youth

It’s estimated to cost about $38,000 per year to incarcerate an individual in America, a sum that includes a cell, three meals per day, perhaps a work assignment behind bars but no educational or life skills training to prepare prisoners for successful reentry.

Further, young people of color tend to receive longer prison sentences, which effectively wipes out a large portion of their lives, meaning they’ll receive little to no job training and education.

One organization is seeking to change the narrative. HTP Homes, Inc., a minority and woman owned tax exempt entity, provide skills-based on the job training in construction trades for jobless young adults from 17 to 24. Those include formerly incarcerated returning citizens.

The nonprofit began a crowdfunding campaign to help secure grant money from the USA Today/Gannett A Community Thrives program, which supports projects that contribute to community building with a preference for those impacting historically underserved individuals and groups.

The more than $2 million initiative allows organizations to apply to raise money for a specific project. Those chosen, work to raise money through a crowdfunding campaign, making them eligible for more than 100 grants.

More than a dozen grants are set for distribution ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. With support from donors, HTP Homes seek to raise the $64,500 needed to launch its skills training initiative in Baltimore. The “Building Second Chances” fundraiser will close on Oct. 16, 2020.

“Here people can make a difference. It may sound small to people, but it’s something that can grow; each one, teach one,” said Raymond P. Lewis, the principal at RP Lewis & Associates.

“We have a goal of $64,000, but think of what they can do with $164,000,” Lewis noted. “We are the richest country in the world with the largest number of inmates, and most are of color, and they never get a chance at an education or to vote.

HTP Homes, Inc., founder Claudia Jones

HTP Homes, Inc., founder Claudia Jones

HTP Homes, Inc., founder Claudia Jones

HTP Homes, Inc., founder Aaron Thompson

Courtesy photo

HTP Homes, Inc., founder Aaron Thompson

M&T Bank Shines Spotlight on Local businesses

Melody McCrea has worked at M&T Bank for nearly eight years, and her passion for helping customers has never waned. As a relationship manager with M&T Bank’s Women & Minority Owned Business Banking group, McCrae said she thrives on providing opportunities that bolster targeted businesses. “I love my role so much because it’s like that thing where your passion meets your everyday job,” McCrae told the Baltimore Times.

“My group focuses primarily on women and minority owned businesses, so we provide resources for them. We’re just really intentional about seeking out and providing resources for them.”

Among the new initiatives is the M&T Bank Spotlight Shop, where some of the bank’s Baltimore-based small business clients are featured.

In 2019, the pop-up shop proved successful, welcoming almost 174,000 visitors and boosting participants’ sales and clientele. Since then, officials at the bank have noted that 2020 has brought its own set of challenges, and COVID- 19 has significantly impacted small businesses.

While M&T provided capital through PPP loans, the bank committed to an in- novative approach to boosting small business beyond providing capital.

This year, the Spotlight Shop moved online, and more than a dozen of the state’s small businesses are featured on M&T Bank’s Virtual Spotlight Shop on a rotating basis. Currently, Hersh’s of South Baltimore is featured.

Shoppers are driven to the website through digital advertising to generate more revenue and strengthen the vitality of the participating businesses. M&T also plans to live virtual stream concerts, featuring homegrown musicians to attract visitors.

“This year has been really tough because you know the pandemic and these circumstances, so what we did was we made the Spotlight Shop, virtual,” McCrae stated.

“Not only do these businesses have so much exposure through the Baltimore area but throughout our entire footprint,” she said.

“They are really exposed to new potential customers, which is really, really cool. It’s just another way that M&T can support our businesses during these difficult times.”

The Spotlight Shop’s mission is to shine a spotlight on Baltimore’s local businesses and create a space for the community. The shop was open for six months, and every two weeks, a new small business would take over the shop to sell their products and promote their brand. While things looked a little different this year, M&T Bank officials said they are proud to continue that mission virtually and highlight even more of some of the best businesses that Baltimore has to offer.

“I was just so excited to hear that we were able to pivot this and make it virtual because last year was such a great ooyear for so many small businesses,” McCrae proclaimed.

“To get so much more exposure and to be able to do that again this year virtually I feel like we’re impacting even a larger portion of the community that is so, so important to me, and I’m grateful and happy to work for organizations who care about what’s important.”

Visit the virtual spotlight shop at https://www3.mtb.com/spotlightshop.