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Megan Doolittle

Elower-Sicilia Productions (ESP) of Dance and Music in Thurmont is celebrating its 50th year in business, and the dancers continue to work hard and diligently on their new choreography. They had a great time performing some of their new dances at the Thurmont Colorfest. The rain didn’t hold them back!

ESP would like to thank all who came out and participated in the 8th Annual ESP 5K “Tutu Cute Edition.” A portion of the proceeds went to help support Maggie Kudirka (aka “The Bald Ballerina”).

Maggie is a Maryland native who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer at the age of twenty-three, while she was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet Company in New York.  Maggie has been a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. The money raised will help with the cost of Maggie’s increasingly large medical bills.

ESP will be holding a Bingo event at the Thurmont Carnival Grounds Activity Building on Sunday, November 4, 2018. Doors will open at 2:00 p.m. The cost is $10.00 admission for a 6-pack of regular games, specials, and jackpot. Early birds, 50/50, and additional cards are also available for purchase. Games are being played for restaurant and business gift card prizes. Early birds and 50/50 are monetary prizes, including a $200 jackpot. Delicious homemade food and baked goods will be available for purchase.

ESP is currently accepting sponsors for the 2018-2019 year. There are a lot of perks to sponsoring. Please contact the office if you are interested in becoming a sponsor. Please help our dancers make their way to the Nationals competition in June 2019.

The dancers have been hard at work with choreography and training for the new dance season. They will be traveling for regional and national dance conventions and competitions throughout the season, including Baltimore;  Norfolk, Virginia; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The dancers love to travel and work with master teachers from all over the world, but their favorite place to perform is for their home community. Other local performances for the season will include Thurmont Main Street’s Arts and Wine Stroll on November 9, 2018 (dancers will be performing between 6:00-7:00 p.m.); the ESP Showcase is scheduled for February 23, 2019, at Mount Saint Mary’s Knott Auditorium; and Frederick’s Festival of The Arts will be held in June 2019. The dancers are also excited to be performing at the Mount Saint Mary’s halftime show on December 8.

ESP specializes in all types of dance, including tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, acro, lyrical, and pointe. Classes are currently enrolling for the fall season.  For more information, contact the studio at 301-271-7458 or register online at Be sure to check them out on Facebook. ESP would like to give a special “Thank You” to the Thurmont community, The Catoctin Banner, and The Frederick Arts Council for all of their continued support.


Deb Abraham Spalding

It’s becoming an epidemic. People either don’t have health insurance or they can’t afford to use the insurance they do have. Whether needing basic health care from time-to-time, a sick visit, or suspecting a bigger health problem, the new Franklin Family Medicine Direct Primary Care (FFM) in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania—located in the shopping center near the Blue Ridge Summit Post Office—offers services that can help.

FFM founders, Dr. Gary Gallo and his wife Margie, a registered nurse, are the first in our area to offer Direct Primary Care (DPC) services. At the suggestion of their daughter, Jacki, a physician in the Family Medicine Residency program at UPMC St. Margaret’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, the family researched the DPC concept and took a year to set it up. The FFM DPC opportunity is new. “It’s all about good patient care and getting back to good service,”Dr. Gallo said.

FFM gives us an opportunity for primary health care that we can afford. Now, those who have no insurance, those who have insurance with high deductibles, and employers who want to offer their employees a healthy benefit, have an option that works.

FFM is a family medical practice where an affordable monthly membership fee pays for all of your primary care, routine, and sick visit health needs, plus 24-hour access by phone with Dr. Gallo for any medical question or concern. Dr. Gallo’s DPC services are affordable so that those with no insurance will have these basic health services covered, and those with high deductibles can opt to use DPC rather than pay the high price out-of-pocket for their sick visits and routine medical care (thus the advantage of offering this perk by an employer).

Basically, by cutting out the middleman (the insurance companies), the office staff who make the calls to haggle with insurance companies are no longer needed, thus reducing the overall inflation within the health care system. DPC membership is affordable and smart.  Membership is just $70.00 per month per adult, plus just $10.00 per month for each child under the age of twenty-six. Dr. Gallo serves people of all ages, regardless of where the patient resides—Maryland, Pennsylvania, or any other state if in the area for a long-term temporary assignment. Please note that, at this time, Medicare patients are not eligible for membership in FFM.

With FFM membership, here’s what you get for NO ADDITIONAL FEE: a yearly physical with routine bloodwork (FFM has its own lab in-house, so standard blood work is included in DPC); yearly well-child checks; health maintenance visits; sick visits with in-house testing (if needed for strep, mono, flu, etc., plus no additional fee for antibiotics if needed); recommended vaccinations; and 24-hour access by phone to your doctor for any medical question or concern. Those suffering from—or suspecting they may have—diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, COPD, and/or asthma may find that FFM is an affordable way to manage their care with this opportunity. FFM uses prescription drug affiliates that cost less than even our cheapest pharmacy. Prescriptions are either picked up locally or mailed directly to your home.

When needing specialist visits, radiologic diagnostic studies, therapy, and non-routine labs and testing, FFM has established, and continues to expand upon, a local-area network of providers who will offer these services at discount pricing. Does this mean we should all start to opt out of our high-priced, high-deductible insurance? Firmly, No! But, DPC services are just beginning and the future is bright with alternatives to the costly practices currently faced in our insurance-based health care system.

Dr. Gallo explained that FFM club members rarely have to wait to be seen, and they receive more time with the doctor for more thorough care. Hundreds of DPC practices have opened around the country, and the concept is revolutionizing our nation’s broken healthcare system.

Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Dr. Gallo, Margie, their son Marcus, and daughter Jacki moved to the area in 1999. Dr. Gallo earned a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a law degree at Georgetown University Law School before pursuing a career in medicine. He graduated from East Tennessee State University’s Quillen School of Medicine, then completed the Family Practice Residency Program at Latrobe Hospital in Pittsburgh. He has been Board Certified in the specialty of Family Medicine since 1999, and he is a member of the American Academy of Family Practice Physicians, as well as the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

It is a bonus that while operating FFM, Dr. Gallo is the managing partner physician with Waynesboro Family Medical Associates (WFMA) in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Thus, there is a flow of service that can transition beyond basic and sick services to either the traditional care at WFMA or the local-area providers through FFM. Please note that the two practices, FFM and WFMA, are separate entities.

If you think FFM may serve your needs, call 717-785-1151 to learn more and to set up a free get-to-know-us introductory visit. The address of the office is 14961 Buchanan Trail East, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Visit for more information and see their ad on page 31.

Margie Gallo, Registered Nurse, and Dr. Gary Gallo, are shown outside the Franklin Family Medicine offices in Blue Ridge Summit.

Have you noticed the renovations and construction that have taken place recently at the Emmitsburg and Thurmont McDonald’s locations? According to Thurmont McDonald’s Manager Rohan Seopaul, the work has been completed in Thurmont and continues in Emmitsburg. The construction included a change to the entire façade of the building, lobby area, bathrooms, and roof at each facility. In meeting ADA requirements, diners lost 25 percent of seating area, but the space is much more accommodating and modern. The dining area features game tables for adults and children. The ordering counter has an express lane for pick-up of in-store orders and internet orders that are placed through an app.

The owner of these McDonald’s locations owns a total of eight stores, including the McDonald’s in Walkersville, Taneytown, and others in the metro area.

A later second phase will address renovations in the kitchen and back of the restaurants.

Thurmont McDonald’s renovations are now complete.

Emmitsburg McDonald’s renovations will soon be complete.

Elizabeth Swindells

Chris Mills has been “in the biz,” the plumbing business, for twenty-seven years. He started working with his father after he graduated high school. Over the years, he has worked for multiple plumbing companies and gained valuable experience. Six months ago, he took that experience and opened his own plumbing company, Precision Plumbing, serving Maryland and Pennsylvania.

“I got to the point that I was tired of making other people money, and I decided it was time to start making my own,” said Chris.

Chris is keeping up the tradition of a “family business.” His only other employee is his son, Indy. Indy, a college student and a wrestling coach, works part-time with Chris. Chris’ intention is to keep his business small and focused on serving the community on a smaller scale. Being just a two-man business, customer service is a major point of interest for Precision Plumbing.

As a small company, with lower overhead, he is able to offer fair rates and 24/7 service. If there is a plumbing emergency, he is available at all hours of the day and night to control the situation. Chris also offers a 10 percent discount to both seniors and active military personnel. Chris genuinely cares to serve and give back to his community.

Although he prefers residential service, he also has extensive experience in commercial plumbing. He offers all general plumbing, but specializes in water treatment. “I enjoy doing neutralizers and water softeners.”

Chris explained that water treatment involves, “Filtering the water to take out any calcium and neutralizing the acidity in the water.” You’ll notice calcium as a crusty build-up on your drains. With this build up, your clothes may be “hard” and your skin and hair may be dry.

If you’re in need of water treatment, give Chris a call! He will be happy to help. He also does the repair, replacement, and installation of faucets, toilets, water lines, well pumps, and so much more. Contact Chris at 717-778-8429 or by email: Check out Precision Plumbing’s advertisement on page 4.

Pictured is Chris Mills, owner of Precision Plumbing.

Blair Garrett

A breath of fresh air has blown in to Emmitsburg’s Quality Tire and Auto, where new owner Ron Walter has continued to push consistency in a business that has been running for over forty years.

Former owner Bob Mort left big shoes to fill, but Ron and his wife, Maureen, have hit the ground running after taking over ownership in June 2018.

“There’re lots of people who come in and wonder where Bob went,” Walter said. “It’s good to let them know we’re going to help them and keep it a tire business.”

In a small town, it can be difficult to find a knowledgeable mechanic that people trust who will offer them good service and a fair deal. Choosing the right auto mechanic can often be a life-long professional relationship. Walter has managed to calm speculation that Quality Tire might close down, offering locals who have been serviced at the company prior to his arrival the quality they have come to expect.

“Everyone was afraid it was just going to close down, and all the local people were going to be without someone to help them,” Walter said. “So, we’ve been able to take over that and hopefully be able to continue the same thing Bob was doing.”

While the business is still brand new for the Walter family, the two have big plans for Quality Tire and Auto in the near future. “We haven’t gotten into auto repairs yet; we are waiting to get more organized and clean up to make more room. Once we do, we’re probably going to get into auto repairs.”

Walter spent the past thirty-five years as a mechanic, honing his skills that ultimately led him to take the reins as owner of his own business. But, even though Walter boasts a lifetime of experience, the transition to becoming a first-time business owner can be tough to adjust to without a solid support system.

Fortunately for Ron and Maureen, who are Thurmont residents, business has been steady enough to grease the wheels heading into the family’s new role. “It’s been so busy, we haven’t really had a lot of time to think about it,” said Walter.

As the two begin to settle into being first-time business owners, and as customers continue lining up for all of their tire services, the move has inspired a bit of confidence about the future of Quality Tire and Auto.

“I was a little worried about the transition, but everything went really smoothly, and Ron has picked up on everything so well,” said Maureen Walter.

Despite the whirlwind of changes over the past two months, all signs point to Quality Tire and Auto keeping the local tire business thriving for years to come. Call Quality Tire for more information at 301-447-2909 or visit the station at 17650 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

Pictured is Ron Walter, new owner of Quality Tire and Auto in Emmitsburg.

Blair Garrett

Tucked away in the mountains of northern Maryland lies a hidden gem not visible to the naked eye.

A combination of fine attention to detail and a deep appreciation of outer space has Yugen Tribe of Emmitsburg creating intricate keepsakes and jewelry for people around the world.

While the company’s reach has expanded to nearly every country on the planet, the business originally started on the shoulders of one woman, Lauren Beacham. “It started almost eleven years ago,” she said. “I was working as a gallery director in Frederick. I started making jewelry out of my own photographs, and it just started getting more and more popular. Eventually, I was able to quit my job and do it full time.”

Beacham’s artistic background paired beautifully with her scientific interests, building the foundation for her business to become what it is today. “I started designing jewelry about outer space, which was very niche, and I had no idea how it was going to go, but it really took off.”

Yugen Tribe’s variety of space-inspired jewelry has been featured in magazines, catalogs, and science-dedicated websites, catapulting its popularity into the stratosphere. “We started getting attention from very big catalogs, museums, companies, internet phenomenon, and it totally took off.”

With the ever-growing influx of business opportunities and demand of production, Beacham decided to branch out. She put the fourteen-hour workdays behind her, bringing in fellow science enthusiast Brittany Elbourn to help balance the vast needs of the business.

“It’s a combination of production, design, marketing, and customer service,” explained Beacham. “It’s just us two and we do everything.”

Between handling personal items for customers and the nearly six-month-long production boom for the holidays, the women of Yugen Tribe continue to find time to design new and interesting pieces for jewelry lovers everywhere.

In addition to the space-themed necklaces and bracelets, Yugen Tribe has worked on a line of heirloom pieces that provide special memories for their customers.

“We take customer photographs and put them into our jewelry, which tends to be more on the vintage side of things,” Beacham said. “We also do memorial stuff. A really popular seller is a bouquet charm. If a bride’s father passed away, she’ll send us his photograph; we’ll set it into this brooch (shown above), which she can attach to her bouquet, so he can still walk her down the aisle.”

The personal touch of these items seems to be the catalyst for the Tribe’s online success. The stories from customers behind personalized pieces give meaning to the work Yugen Tribe does. This builds a relationship that would normally be lost through a large corporation. “They share personal stories about who these people were to them,” Elbourn said. “It makes you feel connected to people.”

Despite all of the personal success for the duo, there has always been a major focus on giving back to the community and growing businesses. “One of the other things I really like doing is supporting other small businesses, especially women-owned businesses,” Beacham said. Yugen Tribe gives back quarterly, donating money to various organizations, including The Planetary Society, The Nature Conservancy, and The National Humane Society.

Developing a new business and taking the plunge to put all efforts into a new business can be a daunting task. For Beacham, her skill set gave her a unique talent that turned her ideas and creativity into a profession. Space-inspired jewelry is a hard market to crack, but fortunately, she has learned quite a bit along the way.

“It could turn out to be a total failure or it could be really amazing,” said Beacham. “But it turns out, the world is a whole lot nerdier than we thought.”

For more information about Yugen Tribe, please call 240-415-8137 or email

Pictured is Lauren Beachman, Yugen Tribe creater and owner.

A bouquet charm, one of the many unique keepsakes and jewelry designed and created at Yugen Tribe.

Photos Courtesy of Yugen Tribe

Since 2003, Baker Tree Services has operated out of Lewistown, but they recently relocated to 147 Water Street in Thurmont and celebrated their grand re-opening at their new home.

“We were getting a little too big to operate out of our home in Lewistown,” said Carolyn Baker. “We also wanted to be able to separate our business and home life better.”

She and her husband, Glen “Eric” Baker, originally started as landscapers, but they started working exclusively with trees in 2003.

“It has more profit, and we liked the work better,” said Carolyn.

Baker Tree Services can do tree removal, tree pruning, stump grinding, and lot clearing. The work is done by trained experts. Eric is a Maryland Tree Expert, an ISA Certified Arborist, and holds the CTSP (Certified Tree Care Safety Professional) certification. Additional employees are licensed as well.

Carolyn says their employees are professionals who take pride in their work and do a great clean-up of their work sites. The crews follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards practices for proper pruning, which insures that only proper cuts will be made.

Baker Tree Services employs eighteen people and runs three to five crews, depending on the need. They work primarily in Frederick County but will also go into any of the surrounding counties if needed.

On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, the Town of Thurmont held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Baker Tree Services, Inc. to welcome Carolyn and Eric Baker to the Thurmont business community.

They can be reached at 800-383-4595 or Check out their advertisement on page 19.

The Town of Thurmont welcomes Baker Tree Services, Inc. to its new location on 147 Water Street in Thurmont with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 6, 2018. Owners, Carolyn and Eric Baker are pictured next to Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird (holding the certificate) to his left.

James Rada, Jr.

Thurmont’s business community put its best foot forward on Saturday, April 28, 2018, with its annual Thurmont Business Showcase. Forty local businesses and nonprofits set up tables in the Thurmont Ambulance Events Complex to introduce members of the community to what they each offer.

Brittney Rebert of Sabillasville said, “I like to come and look at new businesses I didn’t know about.”

She was one of the many attendees who steadily streamed into the event complex and wandered around the room, table to table. They could view veterinarians, artisans, restaurants, home businesses, and funeral homes.

This year was the first time that Michele Maze set up a table at the Showcase. She moved to Thurmont in 2016, and she supported the Showcase to be a part of the community. It also gave her the opportunity to show her business,  Seven Dragonflies Studio, to the community.

“I like to paint and personalize glassware,” Maze said. “I’ll paint anything. It’s a challenge.”

Many of the businesses were also handing out samples or swag, which the children enjoyed. The Thurmont Ambulance Company offered food and drink.

Pansy Stottlemyer of Sabillasville came to the show with her family. She particularly enjoyed looking at the samples from one of the jewelry vendors. “I love coming to this thing every year,” she said. “I like to see the businesses, but I also get to see people who I haven’t seen in a while.”

This is the Showcase’s second year at the Event Complex, and it is one of the oldest events that Thurmont Main Street sponsors. It was an event that helped Thurmont get its Main Street designation. The designation opens Thurmont up to getting help to improve its economy and the appearance of the business district.

For more information about Thurmont Main Street, visit

Seton Center, Inc.’s Outreach Office and Seton Family Store are scheduled to open their new facility at 226 East Lincoln Avenue in Emmitsburg on Monday, June 11, 2018. Founded in 1969, Seton Center was established in the former Mother Seton School by the Daughters of Charity at the request of the three mothers in the Emmitsburg area. These hard-working women faced a need for quality daycare, which could enable them to work and support their families while their children received safe, adequate care and developmental enrichment. In 1970, the licensed Seton Day Care was opened, followed by the addition of social and nationally-recognized educational services. The Thrift Store also opened in 1970, which is now called Seton Family Store.

The original building at 16840 South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg was constructed in 1956. It has long outlasted its predicted life span of ten years. Seton Center is excited to begin using its new facility, an environmentally- and user-friendly space from which it will continue to serve Northern Frederick County.

The Daughters of Charity and Seton Center are grateful for all the firms and trades who worked to complete construction of the new building in record time: Morgan-Keller Construction, CJL Engineering, Frederick, Seibert & Associates, Inc., MSB Architects of Hagerstown and their interior designer, Raquel Orsini. The project produced a new 13,000-square-foot building that will house the Outreach Office, Seton Family Store, and a large meeting room for presentations of all kinds. All those visiting Seton Center will enter through the main front entrance. Once inside the building, Outreach Office visitors will enter a door on the left. The interior entrance to the Seton Family Store will be straight ahead.

Today, Seton Center’s Outreach Office continues to offer hope to under-resourced neighbors by offering a wide range of services and programs, from short-term assistance with financial needs to life-changing programs for long-term success. Emergency material assistance, referrals, Build Your Resource workshops, and the Getting Ahead and DePaul Dental programs all offer temporary relief and substantial opportunities for systemic change. The Outreach Office hours will remain the same: Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., closing for lunch daily from noon-1:00 p.m.

Seton Family Store will also continue to offer a reputable place to donate pre-loved items that are then sold at low-cost to the community. Because the Daughters of Charity provide for the operational costs of Seton Center, 100 percent of Family Store sale proceeds directly fund the Outreach Office programs and services. In the new location, the Family Store will no longer be separated into multiple rooms, but will offer one bright, open and updated space to shop for bargains. The schedule for retail sales will remain the same as well, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Donations are no longer accepted at the South Seton Avenue location. Beginning June 12, the community is welcomed to bring donations of good, clean clothing, household goods, and collectibles to the 226 Lincoln Avenue site, Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. When coming to donate items, donors will enter the new driveway, bear right, then follow the signs along the driveway around to the left, to the back of the building. Donors will stop under a covered drop-off area and ring the doorbell for a staff person or volunteer to greet them and accept their items.

For more information or to support their mission, visit Seton Center’s website at, follow them on Facebook at Seton Family Store and Seton Center Outreach Office, send an e-mail to, or call 301-447-6102.

Elizabeth Swindells

Rhonda Brown grew up in a hair salon. Her mother is a retired hairdresser, so she and her sister spent a lot of time watching their mother do hair. After Rhonda graduated from beauty school and received her license, she assisted her mother in her salon.

Rhonda then moved around a bit, but after settling down in Maryland, she went back to school to become licensed in this state.

She worked at a few mom-and-pop salons and rented a booth at other salons, but she felt something was missing. Something was not right. She saw how others ran their salon, but with the precedent her mother set on how to best manage a salon, she decided she wanted to open her own. Rhonda’s focus for her salon is the “entire experience.”

“You don’t just go into the salon to get your hair done. You go into the salon…and sometimes we are the [client’s] therapist. We listen to them. We don’t talk over them. We are there to pamper them; this may be the only time that they have,” expressed Rhonda.

Rhonda loves what she does. She loves to make women feel pampered and beautiful. Her motto is “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good!” Her goal is to ensure the entire experience is enjoyable.

Images of U Hair Studio offers men’s and women’s hair cuts, hair color, nail care, perms, shaves, and so much more. Her shop is open Tuesday through Thursday, 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Images of U Hair Studio is located at 224 N. Church Street in Thurmont. Check out her website at for more information and for specials. To make your salon appointment today for the “entire experience,” call 240- 288-1847.

The Town of Thurmont held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 27, 2018, to welcome new business, Images of U Hair Studio, to Thurmont.

Elizabeth Swindells

Danny Hanagan of Spike’s Auto Care & Tire is a Mt. Airy, Maryland native. He moved to Emmitsburg to be closer to the second Spike’s Auto Care location that he has recently opened on North Seton Avenue.

He purchased the current property about a year and a half ago and has been steadily working on it. Danny’s dad, Spike, owns the original Spike’s Auto Care in Mt. Airy. However, the original location is managed by Danny’s brother. Spike’s is a very close-knit, family-oriented business. One could say that auto maintenance and mechanics runs in the family.

Danny grew up working on vehicles, and quickly became an important part of “the family business.” Both locations offer air-conditioning repair; batteries; air filters; belts and hoses; brake repair; cooling system repair; driveline repair; electrical systems; engine diagnostics; fluid inspection; headlight restoration; lift kits; muffler repair; oil changes; preventative maintenance; suspension repair; tire balancing; installation; rotation and repair; transmission care; tune-ups; and windshield wiper blade installation. Spike’s is also a certified Maryland inspection site. They literally do it all!

Danny’s location currently consists of two bays, but he intends to expand in the future. As a local-oriented small-business owner, Danny is adamant about supporting local businesses and the community in which he serves. For the remainder of the year, Danny is offering $25.00 standard oil changes to Mount St. Mary’s students, with I.D. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Spike’s Auto Care & Tire is located at 17307 North Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg. Spike’s is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.; Saturday, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Spike’s is closed on Sundays.

Check out for additional information or give them a call at 301-447-4734.

Photo by Elizabeth Swindells

Elizabeth Swindells

Megan Purtell has been a business-savvy dog-lover since she started her own dog-walking business at just eight years old. As a dog lover, Megan started fostering dogs out of the Washington, D.C. area about five years ago. In that time, she has fostered over one hundred dogs!

After those dogs found their “forever homes,” the current owners would frequently ask Megan to look after the dogs when they went on vacation. They trusted Megan, and the dogs were familiar and comfortable with her. Word spread like wild fire that Megan was keeping dogs, and after two years, it became a full-time job, thus “Beagle Bed & Breakfast” was born.

Megan quit her full-time job as an executive assistant, and originally purchased property in Frederick to house all of the dogs, to provide doggie day-care services, as well as overnight boarding. After only a year in business at the Frederick location, she was already searching for another, larger property. At the beginning of April 2018, she relocated her business on 15.5 acres in Emmitsburg to accommodate her ever-growing “clientail.” The property has enough acreage, and then some, to house two large-gated dog runs—one for smaller dogs, and one for larger dogs. To accommodate her guests that live in Frederick and the surrounding areas, a shuttle goes out every morning to pick them up and take them back for a small fee. There are four pick-up and drop-off locations on weekdays. However, they will “go the extra mile” and pick up any dog, anywhere, for a small mileage fee all seven days a week.

Megan calls this new location “Freedom Farm” for a few reasons. First, because there are no kennels or crates. The dogs are FREE to roam wherever they wish—inside or out. The dogs are free to sleep wherever they get comfortable, whether that be a couch, a dog bed, a mattress, and so on.

“Freedom Farm” also represents a second chance and a fresh start for the dogs that she continues to foster. She works with a few great rescue organizations out of the D.C. area that pull dogs from kill shelters all around the tri-state area. Megan and Beagle Bed & Breakfast show no discrimination whatsoever when it comes to boarders. They are accepting of all breeds, ages, ailments, or disabilities. The only requirements to stay are up-to-date vaccines and a temperament test to assure that the boarder is not aggressive.

Megan and her staff of “dog wranglers” are dog first-aid and CPR certified. They have all had extensive training in dog safety and behavior management.

An average day at the Beagle Bed & Breakfast starts out with breakfast for overnight guests. All dogs are fed separately. Then they begin the day by greeting daycare dogs. The dogs have free time for a few hours between the backyard and indoor areas, depending on the weather. The dogs are able to play with staff, toys, pools, playhouse equipment, and each other. A snack or lunch is served to those who have brought their own. Dogs who are not participating in lunch continue to play. Beagle Bed & Breakfast requires guests to bring their own food, so as to not upset any tummies by switching food. After lunchtime, the dogs settle down for an afternoon nap. Following some quiet time, play continues while the daycare dogs begin to go home.

Dinner is then served for those guests staying the night and to the daycare dogs that brought their own dinner. Dinner is followed by some more play time and free time to do whatever it is they wish to do. There is one more potty break before bed time. Dogs are free to sleep wherever they wish. Then the day starts all over again!

Dog parents are able to view a live video stream and the staff at Beagle Bed & Breakfast take frequent pictures throughout the day to post on Facebook and Instagram. Those photos are uploaded into each individual dogs’ Facebook folder. Owners are able to access the folder and webcam footage to see what their “babies” have been up to throughout the day.

Beagle Bed & Breakfast is a great facility for dogs living in apartments, dogs with disabilities, dogs who have separation anxiety, dogs with ailments that require daily medication and supervision, dogs that have extensive energy, and dogs who otherwise would spend a long time at home alone. The dogs are always having a good time, and staff members genuinely love their jobs. All questions, contact information, and rates, as well as shuttle times and locations, can be found at or check out their advertisement on page 12.

Beagle Bed & Breakfast owner, Megan Purtell, enjoys some outside porch time with her beagle “buddies.”

Photo by Valyrie Ellis of The BaileyGroup Maryland Realty, LLC

For years, Cindy Zeller traveled to Frederick and Columbia to help provide quality healthcare to people in those communities. That all changed this year, when she opened Brighter Futures Pediatric and Lactation Services in Woodsboro.

“I wanted to provide pediatric care in the northern part of the county, because we don’t have pediatricians up here,” Zeller said.

Zeller is a licensed nurse practitioner, who found her calling in pediatric care. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with training in sick care, plus advanced training and education in the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.

“We have different credentials, but we can do pretty much everything doctors do,” Zeller said.

Indeed, some studies have shown that nurse practitioners can do about 80 percent of what doctors do.

Zeller became a nurse in 1983, and when she got a job in a Frederick pediatric practice, she realized that was what she wanted to specialize in. She became a nurse practitioner in 1994, working first in Frederick and then in Columbia, but she always wanted to provide pediatric care closer to her home. “I’d much rather come here to work, where the services are needed, than travel somewhere else.”

A big hold up was that Maryland used to require a nurse practitioner to have physician oversight in order to see patients. The state changed the law in 2015, allowing nurse practitioners to operate independently.

In her new practice, Zeller sees patients up to twenty-one years old. She offers primary care, prevention and wellness, school/sports physicals, immunizations, newborn exams, lactation consultations, and consultations on other medical conditions.

“I want to be able to give my patients more personal care,” expressed Zeller.

Zeller started work on creating her own practice last June. One of the time-consuming tasks was making sure she was credentialed to work with different insurance companies.

Brighter Futures offers walk-in hours for acutely sick patients, but everyone else should call for an appointment.

Brighter Futures Pediatrics and Lactation Services is located at 10200 Coppermine Road, Suite 101, Woodsboro, MD. For more information, call 301-304-9390 or visit

Examination room at Cindy Zeller’s new practice, Brighter Futures.

Courtesy Photo

Elizabeth Swindells

In honor of its 30th anniversary, we visited Total Vac in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. Total Vac’s owner, Sam Long, shared some insight about how he got started and how he has continued to stay in business, despite the changing buying habits of customers.

Sam is a Waynesboro-native. Back in the seventies, he worked for Grove Cranes. When the recession hit in the early eighties, he was laid off from the crane company. In May of 1983, he answered a help wanted ad. It turned out to be a sales position for Kirby Vacuums. He described himself as a blue jean, t-shirt farm boy, who never dreamed of selling vacuums. However, out of necessity, he gave it a go. He went door-to-door selling Kirby Vacuums for five years prior to opening Total Vac. To date, he has a total of thirty-five years in the vacuum business.

When Walmart opened, many businesses closed. Small business owners were afraid that they would succumb to the retail giant. With Walmart and Lowes within walking distance of his shop, you know that there has to be something special that sets Sam apart from the big superstores. That something is the personalized experience. Sam genuinely cares about his customers. “You’ve just got to talk to people, like I’m talking to you. The biggest thing is you need to be honest about things. I never believed in the high pressure ‘you gotta sell it to sell it’ approach. I was raised that you just don’t cheat people and take advantage of them. If people like you and trust you, they will believe you and you will sell your product,” said Sam. “It’s not just about making a buck. I care about my people. That’s just how I run my business.”

Sam goes above and beyond to ensure his customers are not only satisfied, but happy with the product. He wants to make sure that they can use it and that the product is doing a good job. There is no such thing as a dumb question to Sam. He is happy to help, and expressed that he “has always believed in helping people.”

Total Vac carries a very large selection of vacuums from various manufactures, including Titan, Simplicity, Carpet Pros, Hoover, Eureka, Bissell, and Miele. Among those brands are more than fifty models from which to choose.

Total Vac repairs and services vacuums. In doing so, Sam houses an eclectic inventory of repair parts for different brands and models. Total Vac doesn’t just sell and service vacuums, they also sell carpet extractors, hand vacs, carpet cleaners, pet stain remover, and pet hair lifters. Carpet shampoo units are available for rental; central vacuum systems are sold, installed, and serviced by Total Vac.

In closing, we asked Sam what his most memorable encounter was. He couldn’t just pinpoint one single moment. To him, great moments happen daily. “What makes me happy, what makes me feel good, is helping people. I know I’m achieving my goal of taking care of people. That’s what makes the memorable experience. Any time a customer leaves happy and satisfied, it is a memorable experience for all parties involved.”

Total Vac is located at 11113 Buchanan Trail East in Waynesboro. Store hours are Mondays through Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. You can reach Total Vac at 717-765-4615.

Owner Sam Long, is shown in Total Vac, located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.