June 24, 2024
Annapolis, US 86 F

Stock Up / Stock Down – Anne Arundel Business Report Q1 2022

Diagrams Charts

Diagrams Charts
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

The business landscape is constantly changing, including here in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Based on the feedback I am receiving from the local business community, I want to talk briefly about what businesses I am seeing the most interest in, which industries I’m excited for, and where I see the market heading next.

Sailing On A Run

I believe the following businesses and industries will see a strong 2022.

Trade Industries

Hands down, the business I get the most calls about is the HVAC business I have listed. The thing is, on paper, the owner makes very little money. But two things are leading to the calls:

  • The owner has a lot of desirable licenses, and
  • Owners in other industries see this business as being complimentary

It is not HVAC business owners calling about it. It is General Contractors and other companies in the broader construction-based industry. If you are in a similar situation and have licenses, patents, or other unique value propositions that other companies could benefit from, the market for your business could be broader than you anticipate. If you are curious if you qualify, set up a time to discuss over Zoom.

Ground-based Transportation

I know COVID is still around and we keep encountering new variants. But the world is generally, slowly, re-emerging from its locked-down state. And with it, travel is beginning to bounce back; although, anyone that has flown recently knows how bad the airports continue to be.

So, I am expecting people to look at other methods of travel. Enter a Charter Bus Service I’m working to sell. They have been around for 25 years. They have their services, sales pitch, and value proposition down to a science. And now I think they are perfectly positioned to capture that rebound traffic too.

In general, I am very bullish about both that business and that industry.

Dry Cleaning / Laundromat Services

I am actually NOT working with a dry cleaner to sell their business right now. This is a bit of a preposterous statement because Transworld has sold 54 since 2014 alone – meaning we sell about 7 a year. But many of them folded early in the pandemic when it became obvious that offices were shut down and dry cleaning would not be needed.

As people begin to start heading back to the office, expect a resurgence here. If I were to make a prediction, I would say dry cleaning owners who survived the pandemic will start to open additional drop locations by summer. But, there is an opportunity for new competition too!

Sailing On a Beat

While I believe there are certain industries poised to make a run, or continue a run, there are other industries that I am less optimistic about.


I have a great restaurant for sale. I love everything about it. I love the owners. I love the location, the business plan, and the growth opportunities. AND, financially, they had their best month EVER last August.

But I can not get anyone to go see it. It does not make sense to me. But, it does align with other evidence we are seeing – such as Fado and Sam’s on the Waterfront closing.

Everyone needs to eat. And the world is waking up. However, evidently, restaurants are still recovering.

Downtown Annapolis Businesses (and Lifestyle)

With the closing of the Hillman Garage, it is going to be more difficult to get people downtown. As a general rule of business, you want to remove as much friction from the buying process as possible. That’s why Apple Podcasts is the dominant podcasting platform. They make it easy for iOS users to use their homegrown apps.

Tearing down the Hillman Garage, while necessary, is going to greatly increase the friction for people to get downtown to shop, eat, and generally hang out. Having spoken to people like Mark Kleinschmidt of the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, he has expressed optimism that this will provide an opportunity for an entrepreneurial-minded resident to fill a void. However, adding any friction to any transaction is a bad thing. And this is going to be particularly bad for businesses that are still attempting to recover from the pandemic.

Businesses Refusing to Raise Prices

I love and appreciate any business owner out there who is trying to hold their pricing steady. I do. However, stop it. It is hurting your business.

Inflation is driving up costs. Insurance costs are always going up. Hopefully, salaries for your employees are going up. If you do not raise prices, you are going to put yourself into a tough situation. Or out of business.

Nobody wants to. But sometimes you need to. Do not be afraid to do it. But do not take it from me as there are a lot of good local business coaches who can explain why much better than I can.

Three that immediately come to mind are:

Have a Question That You Would Like an Opinion On?

Do you have a question regarding the current state of the Annapolis business environment that you would like to get my take on? Send me an email and I would be happy to address it. If we get enough, I will talk to John and see if we can get some time on an upcoming Local Business Spotlight or Daily News Brief to address them.

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