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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: small business

Sara Trenery, Baltimore County Department of Economic & Workforce Development

On July 10, 1964, Alan and Lois Elkin opened a small business selling copying supplies, ribbons, carbons and duplicators in 1,200 square feet of space. Little did they know at the time that one day this small business would become Maryland’s largest independent document management company, Advance –The Document Specialists, employing over 180 people at four locations.

It took just three years before Advance outgrew its space and moved its eight employees to Timonium.  In an effort to demonstrate their copier products to the customer, Advance created the “Curbside Copier Showroom,” a modified Winnebago equipped with copy machines for mobile demonstrations.

With business booming, Advance moved to its current headquarters in Cockeysville.  In 1990 Jeff Elkin joined his parents in the business and in 2000 was named CEO of the company.

With annual revenues approaching $40 million, Advance continues to receive national recognition and awards for their commitment to providing outstanding service-not just during “normal business hours” but during evenings, weekends and holidays. Advance is also a manufacturer’s certified service training center, one of the few in the entire U.S.

In 2006, 2008 and 2009, Advance’s employees rated the company one of the best places to work, making Advance a finalist for Baltimore Business Journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Alan Elkin describes his philosophy this way: “Advance is not just a job. Advance is our life. We love what we do. It is what defines us. “We Live and Breathe This Stuff” is not just the tagline for our commercials; it is our culture.”

 As Advance celebrates 50 years in business, Baltimore County salutes the Elkin family for their commitment to their customers and their community.


pen and ink drawing of Milton InnTeri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning

Did you know that several of the restaurants participating in Baltimore County’s Summer Restaurant Week are also serving up a helping of Baltimore area history? From Reisterstown’s historic Main Street to the country splendor of My Lady’s Manor, these historic restaurants provide a unique dining experience to go along with their special summer menus: 

The Grill at the Harryman House  - 340 Main St, Reisterstown, MD

Located within the National Register Historic District of Reisterstown, The Grill at the Harryman House has been a longtime favorite.  Situated among the many historic structures that line Main Street, The Grill at the Harryman House is one of the oldest structures in Reisterstown.  Built by Samuel Harryman ca. 1800 on land originally owned by John Reister, the Harryman family lived and worked on the property while operating a saddlery, harness shop, and grocery.  The building’s many historic details provide a cozy and inviting setting to all that visit.

The Manor Tavern- 15819 Old York Rd, Monkton, MD

The scenic countryside of My Lady’s Manor provides a beautiful setting for visitors traveling to the historic Manor Tavern.  Now a designated National Register Historic District, My Lady’s Manor was established in 1713 by the third Lord Baltimore as a gift for his bride.  The district is home to many historic sites and farms that represent multiple centuries of Baltimore County history.  The Manor Tavern, which is located at the prominent crossroads of Monkton Road and Old York Road, had humble beginnings as a stable and has survived to become a well known dining and special event destination. 

 The Milton Inn - 14833 York Rd, Sparks, MD

Inside this restored stone building, you will find one of Baltimore County’s most unique landmarks.  Originally known as the Milton Academy, boys, and later girls, traveled from all over the United States to attend this prestigious school.  First appearing on the Baltimore County Tax List in 1823, the building started as a tavern and became a well known boy’s boarding school operated by John Emerson Lamb.  One of its most well known former students is John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.   After serving as a school for many years, the building housed several businesses until it finally became a restaurant in 1946. 

 The Oregon Grille- 1201 Shawan Rd, Cockeysville, MD

Once home to the Oregon Furnace Store, this well known Baltimore County restaurant and landmark sits at the edge of the former Oregon Iron Furnace and company town that is now Oregon Ridge Park.  After the furnace operation ended at the close of the 19th century, Thomas Kurtz, the last Oregon Ore foreman, purchased the building and continued to operate a store and post office out of the location.  A careful restoration in the 1980s preserved the historic stone and frame building while retaining the wonderful historic architectural details which provide a lovely setting for a special meal.


photo of a business corridorCarla Tucker
Minority & Small Business Marketing Manager
Purchasing Division

How do you say small business? As the Minority and Small Business Marketing Manager for the Baltimore County Office of Budget and Finance Purchasing Division, I’m often struck by the huge range of small businesses that are integral to our local economy. Our small businesses include painters, counseling services, accounting/auditing services, workforce development contractors, landscaping services, carpenters, plumbers, manufacturers, retailers, pest control services, janitorial services, hauling contractors, flooring contractors, electricians, printers -  just to touch on a tiny fraction.   

This week is National Small Business Week, a good time to reflect on the importance of these small but mighty drivers of our nation’s economy. There’s a reason that small business is often described as the backbone of our local, state and national economy. Did you know that Baltimore County is home to 19,508 small businesses and that those small businesses (firms with between 20 and 499 employees) are responsible for the vast majority of employment?

My job is to help these smaller firms compete in a business environment that often tends to favor the larger national and multi-national entities. Since Baltimore County Government is a large purchaser of goods and services, I work to help smaller local firms be better positioned to take advantage of County procurements.

Did you know that one of the criteria for becoming a certified Minority (including Women-owned) business with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Minority Business Enterprise Office is, the company must meet the SBA’s size standards based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)?  The SBA size standards for principal NAICS sectors  vary by industry. By including MDOT certified firms in the Baltimore County procurement process through the Minority Business Enterprise Program, the County supports small and disadvantaged businesses throughout the year. 

We post potential bidding opportunities online in the areas of health services, human services (training), construction trades, construction (road/highway, building), architect and engineering services, consulting and other professional services, goods,  building services and more.  Small businesses are encouraged to subscribe to the weekly solicitation notifications.  



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