Baltimore County News
By Bryan Dunn, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development
Inside the factory, sewing machines line up in rows, sounding like newsroom typewriters clacking in pre-computer days. Workers perform traditional operations, individually marking, cutting and sewing each piece with a master’s touch.
The classic shape of the sewing machines sit naturally on the historic factory floor in Essex. The owner of the Aetna Shirt Company points to a portion of the building that was once a dance hall and men’s club circa 1922. Some of the original floor is still intact.
A century of craftsmanship
Aetna Shirt was founded in Baltimore in 1916. In contrast to its historic setting in eastern Baltimore County, Aetna Shirt combines traditional techniques with digitized marking and cutting technology and computerized machinery to ensure a consistent, yet customized, product. A new 21st century venture, Urban Design, manufactures shirts for retail stores in Japan.
Dr. Daniel Kohn, owner of Aetna Shirt, describes the company’s focus, “Aetna offers diverse types of shirts including oxford buttons downs, Italian style formals, military formals and lab coats for clients ranging from the U.S. Army and Air Force to Johns Hopkins University.”
Watch the video below to get an inside look at a lost manufacturing art, alive and well in Baltimore County.
The next generation of shirt-making
Aetna offers tutorials for aspiring designers and shirt-makers. Participants study the shirt-making process to better understand the challenges and advantages of making shirts domestically. Visit aetnashirt.com to learn more.
Baltimore County is home to 492 manufacturing companies and 13,800 manufacturing jobs that generate $948 million in total annual wages.
By Bryan Dunn, Department of Economic & Workforce Development
Heard of a “stick doctor”? If you’re from Baltimore and LAX country, you know that a “stick doctor” has mastered the art of stringing lacrosse sticks. With US Lacrosse headquarters now in Baltimore County, what better place for a “stick doctor” to launch a business dedicated to improving the sport he loves?
Baltimore County native Greg Kenneally took the art of the stick doctor to a new level by developing and manufacturing a perfected wax mesh material called East Coast Mesh. Today, East Coast Dyes has 25 employees and a range of products sold through major sports retailers around the world.
Take a video tour of East Coast Dyes and learn how the Baltimore County Boost Fund is helping this entrepreneurial company grow in Towson.
A YouTube sensation
Greg started the company by selling his mesh on E-bay. He then became a social media sensation, going viral with lacrosse videos reaching tens of thousands of players, coaches and fans around the world. Greg was completing a graduate degree in accounting at Towson University just as product demand went through the roof. Partnering with twin brother Mike, the duo combined their knowledge of the sport, social media savvy and impeccable work ethic to take the company to the next level.
Boosting out of the basement
A flexible loan from the Baltimore County Boost Fund helped East Coast Dyes get the working capital they needed. They moved out of Greg’s basement into a 9,000 square foot space in Towson. The company now has 25 employees, with plans to add more.
Baltimore County’s stick doctor is now a CEO, leading a company that is adding innovative products to the East Coast Dyes enterprise.
The company motto says it all: Hard Work Pays Off.
The Baltimore County Boost Fund is a flexible financing resource for small, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in the region. For more information or to apply for a loan, visit the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at www.BCBoostFund.com or call 410-887-8000.
Baltimore County is making local shopping easier this holiday season with two hours of free meter parking. Parking will be free at 1,735 meters throughout Baltimore County Thanksgiving weekend, November 24-27. For last-minute shoppers, there also will be free meter parking December 21-25, just before Christmas and the start of Chanukah.
Meters will be decorated with red “Seasons Greetings” bags in Catonsville, Towson, Parkville, Essex, Overlea, Pikesville, Arbutus, Stoneleigh, and Dundalk.
"A little relief at the parking meter during the busiest days of the holiday season makes it easier to support locally owned shops and restaurants,” said Kamenetz. “These small businesses help support the neighborhood economy. We encourage everyone to shop local on Small Business Saturday, November 26, and throughout the holiday season.”
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz encouraged local shopping in a video recorded along the Frederick Road shopping district in Catonsville.
Revised September 26, 2016