There are 20,000 businesses located in Anne Arundel County, and 93% of them have less than 20 employees, and collectively employ over 200,000 people. Since small business is such a BIG part of the County, the Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce is hosting an awards breakfast to celebrate their contribution to our local community and economy at the Crowne Plaza in Annapolis on February 23. Click here to register.
Small Business of the Year
This award is presented to the Anne Arundel County business that has demonstrated outstanding skills in meeting business objectives, experienced substantial growth, provided outstanding customer service and has a quality work environment for their employees.
Founded in 2008, Humdinger Productions creates turnkey events, concerts, and festivals. Humdinger Productions is an innovative, certified small business homegrown in Crofton. In the last fifteen years, they have evolved into a tribe of artists, designers, live event production managers, fabricators and carpenters, A/V engineers, production managers, and creative marketing coordinators with passion and enthusiasm for live events, a shared sense of community, and a goal of expansion.
Starting as a small husband and wife operation, Humdinger has grown into a booming production company creating more than 30 full and part-time jobs. Humdinger specializes in all aspects of concert touring, production management, festival production management, décor, event planning, and music venue management. Their clients range from large national corporations to local non-profit organizations.
Humdinger can take care of all event needs: audio, lighting, staging, fabrication, entertainment booking, rentals, and unique displays. In 2022, Humdinger partnered with Rams Head to produce the first annual Annapolis Songwriters Festival, helped former Governor Hogan go out in style at Maryland Live Casino and Hotel, and broke new ground with Visit Annapolis and Anne Arundel County’s annual event.
Don Riddle Corporate Citizenship Award
Named after the Don Riddle, founder of Homestead Gardens and respected community and business leader, the award is presented to recognize a business for its philanthropic contributions and strong commitment to public service. The award celebrates the company’s dedication to giving back to the community.
Watermark has been an integral part of the Annapolis tourism, hospitality, and maritime industries for over 50 years. They are immersed in the community, in the history and the culture of the Chesapeake Bay. In 2022, Watermark had a change in ownership, yet stayed true to its roots and remained a family-owned and locally-owned-and-operated business with deep ties to the community.
Each year, Watermark partners with many local organizations to help with their fund-raising efforts. In 2022 they brought members of the Annapolis community together at the Paca House to celebrate their 50th anniversary and raised nearly $20,000 to benefit Historic Annapolis. They also partnered with the SPCA of Anne Arundel County for its 8th annual Dog Days of Summer Cruise and the Anne Arundel County Food Bank for their Queen of all Food Drives.
Watermark has worked with the City of Annapolis on critical environmental initiatives and been active in the plans to redevelop City Dock. Watermark has hosted thousands of school children for field trips aboard the Harbor Queen to learn about the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland’s rich history. They keep history alive by offering a wide range of guided walking tours featuring tour guides dressed in Colonial attire.
Watermark’s success is built upon four pillars: 1) safety first, 2) youth education, 3) employing its community, and 4) going green. Watermark is making its mark on Anne Arundel County.
Non-Profit of the Year
Heart Health Foundation
This award is presented to an Anne Arundel County organization that has demonstrated strong efforts to successfully pursue its mission and improve the quality of life in Anne Arundel County. The selected organization will show superior commitment to working closely with the business community.
Dr. John Martin was inspired to start Heart Health Foundation in 2000 after a particularly hard day at the hospital seeing three patients die from complications due to cardiovascular disease. Each of the individual’s lives could have been saved had their conditions been found and treated BEFORE the emergency that brought them to the hospital. On his drive home, Dr. Martin decided to do something about it and the Heart Health Foundation and the Dare to CARE initiative was born. In the 22 years since, nearly 70,000 Anne Arundel County residents have been screened for risks of cardiovascular disease.
The Heart Health Foundation is dedicated to saving lives through education, early detection and prevention of heart and vascular diseases. With a focus on at-risk and underserved communities, the Foundation provides free screenings and educational programs to help reduce heart disease’s impact, promote healthy behavior and increase awareness. Of the nearly 70,000 Anne Arundel County residents that have participated in Dare to CARE screenings, 48% were detected with a cardiovascular issue, and 2/3 of those were eligible for simple medications that would reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Four percent had critical findings that potentially required lifesaving procedures to prevent serious complications—about 1,300 lives that were likely saved because of the screening.
Heart Health Foundation is saving lives. Those individuals are grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, caregivers, and friends. They are community members who will have the opportunity to make a bigger impact on our County because they’re still here.
Emerging Business of the Year
Wildberry Farms + Market
This award recognizes an early-stage business located in Anne Arundel County that is less than two years old and has demonstrated the potential for growth and has a unique business model. The owner or founder must have the entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to achieve long-term success and create jobs here Anne Arundel County.
Matt and Bridget Jones are the definition of grass roots; they created Wildberry Farm + Market from what they had on the farm and their love for the local community. Wildberry started with zero money behind them, zero grants, loans or capital, just a dream of two people who love one another and love their farm.
Wildberry’s first “season” was in 2020 with a twice-weekly roadside stand where they sold flowers and produce. In June of 2020, during the pandemic, they hosted several vendor friends for a free morning “pop up,” and before they knew it, other small businesses started asking to come and the Field Market was born. Since then, they have offered an outdoor space to sell farm goods and support the local economy by hosting local small businesses for a morning of shopping small on the farm! Other farm events include farm-to-table dinners, workshops, and the Vintage Christmas Market in December.
Matt and Bridget are faithful supporters of shopping small and locally. They have created a community around their farm, educating their audience about sustainable agricultural techniques and why it is important to buy from local farms. They truly are innovators and have really changed the way the local community views farms and farming. Wildberry is a grassroots farming operation changing how agritourism is perceived in our local community. It is more than just a fall festival; they are a young company actively giving back to their community and uplifting the small business community in Anne Arundel County.
Tickets and sponsorship information can be found by clicking HERE. Additional information about the award winners is below.