Made-in-Maryland label shines at Owings Mills Macy's boutique

October 31, 1990|By Cindy Harper-Evans

Two years ago, Barbara Gambrill cooked up a business from her grandmother's tasty mustard recipe with the help of her longtime friend Marti Sandler.

Through their Columbia-based Barmar of Columbia Inc., Ms. Gambrill and Ms. Sandler are now distributing their signature Hot & Sassy gourmet mustard sauce in several locations and had sales of about $50,000 last year.

Roughly 30 other Maryland companies -- often young and small like Barmar -- are sharing a special boutique on the third floor of Macy's at Owings Mills as part of the first Maryland With Pride Week.

The boutique stems from a program created by the state in 1987 to boost Maryland businesses by enhancing consumer awareness of products made in Maryland and giving local retailers access to large companies willing to sell their products.

The boutique display ends Sunday. Yesterday, Gov. William Donald Schaefer paid a visit to the boutique and made a speech praising the program.

For sale is a wide variety of items made in the state, including pencils with crabs stenciled on them, Pompeian Oil made in Baltimore, Wye River Tortilla Chips, Chesapeake Chutney and teas from Eastern Shore Tea Co.

A study by the state Department of Economic and Employment Development and Department of Agriculture showed that everything else being equal, if Maryland consumers know a product is made in the state they will choose to buy it over one that is not, said Robert L. Link of Image Dynamics, which is helping promote Maryland With Pride Week.

About 1,000 companies are involved in the Maryland With Pride program. Their products carry a logo sticker or emblem with the Maryland flag.

"I have a store down at the harbor, and people don't realize that all my things are made right here in the state," said Vern Stilson, who has a booth at the Macy's boutique and is the owner of 6-year-old MP USA Inc., which makes fragrant pottery and oils. "But I think if people knew, it might make a difference."

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