West chamber head completes first week, anticipates...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 07, 2001

West chamber head completes first week, anticipates challenges

Terri Mohr has been living with west county development around her Harmans Woods home, about a mile from Arundel Mills. Now, she's also working for it.

Mohr, 44, has finished her first week as executive director of the West Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce. She replaced Marsha Hall, who had been with the chamber for 11 years.

"It's a big challenge - don't I know it," she said of managing the business association and playing a role in west county growth.

Mohr has some experience with growth challenges, though. In addition to living close to the mega-mall, she's also worked for the North Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce.

Most recently, she worked part time developing Anne Arundel Community College's school-to-work programs. Through that job, she contacted Hall about working full time for the chamber.

A selection committee tapped Mohr after Cathy Belcher, who was named to the post in late March, changed her mind because of personal commitments.

Before working with the college, Mohr managed a physician's practice at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore for three years. Before that, she spent a year with the North County Chamber of Commerce.

Agency to conduct tour of area business space

Over the next two years, almost 3 million square feet of commercial space will become available countywide, according to the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corp.

This week, those interested in filling the spots will be taking a tour.

AAEDC's annual VIP Tour of Anne Arundel County is sold out, with more than 80 brokers, developers and company executives signed up for the bus tour of business locations. The tour includes business parks near Baltimore-Washington International Airport as well as spots in Annapolis and west county.

The economic development agency is trying to attract "a high caliber of businesses that will produce a high caliber of family-supporting jobs," said Alexis Henderson, director of corporate communications. The agency is seeking high-tech companies, corporate headquarters and logistics companies that will support the airport.

Henderson said she isn't worried about the recent downturn in technology markets, and that the agency will recruit those companies despite the sector's mounting layoffs.

Nor is she worried about going begging for business.

"On a national level, this location is extremely desirable," she said. "We have not had to be as aggressive [in recruiting] as some of our counterparts. They [businesses] come to us."

Rita's Italian Ices to open third location in Arundel

Rita's Italian Ices, founded by a former Philadelphia firefighter as a porch-front business in 1984 and now a chain of more than 200 franchises, will have its third opening in Anne Arundel County on Saturday at 911 Bay Ridge Road in Annapolis.

The franchise owner is Brad Agerton, a resident of Annapolis who formerly held a produce management position with Giant Food.

Rita's is unusual in requiring its franchises to close for as long as five months during cold weather. All of them reopen on the first day of spring. The new store, with 14 to 16 employees, will have hours of noon to 9 p.m. until Memorial Day, then 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Other Rita's franchises are at 1394 Cape St. Clair Road in the Annapolis area and 2163 Defense Highway, Crofton.

News notes

Leases: Constellation Real Estate Inc., a subsidiary of Constellation Energy Group, has announced lease signings by two tenants for One Annapolis Exchange, a five-story, 120,000-square-foot office building off Jennifer Road: Nationwide Insurance, for 21,095 square feet to house its East Coast trial division and claims group; and AIRIA Inc., a London-based provider of live airline television entertainment, for 24,332 square feet for use as a corporate headquarters.

Rehired: BankAnnapolis has named Lee Smith vice president for customer development. Her 20 years of banking experience included a previous stint at BankAnnapolis that ended in 1997, when she left to become a vice president at Bank of Maryland. An Annapolis resident, Smith is a board member of the Chesapeake Community Foundation.

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