Water is just the beginning for Dorchester’s economic profile

By Laura Walter
Posted 2/20/22

Dorchester County is a beautiful area with deep historical significance and growing economic opportunities. The 2022 “Water Moves Us” economic profile was released this month, a glossy …

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Water is just the beginning for Dorchester’s economic profile


Dorchester County is a beautiful area with deep historical significance and growing economic opportunities. The 2022 “Water Moves Us” economic profile was released this month, a glossy magazine that highlights why businesses want to invest, and why employees want to live here.

Readers will learn about businesses that are doing unexpected work; economic opportunities and assistance; and some of the restaurants and amenities that the general public enjoys. The goal is to help businesses in their decision to build or expand in Dorchester, and also for the community to learn what fascinating industries operate locally.

“Water Moves Us” was unveiled at a Feb. 9 luncheon at Suicide Bridge Restaurant in Hurlock. The magazine is written and published by Dorchester Banner, in cooperation with the Dorchester County Economic Development Office.

The “Water Moves Us” slogan refers to Dorchester’s “unparalleled natural beauty and signature waterfront (which) attracts people who want to live, work and play in the heart of Chesapeake country,” wrote Economic Director Susan Banks. Her office is “committed to building a strong infrastructure for businesses and entrepreneurs to thrive (in) a welcoming community (and) offer a helping hand to businesses that are looking to locate or grow here.”

The profile includes regional statistics, plus details about Dorchester Regional Technology Park — a full-service business enterprise zone. The magazine bears witness to the Packing House, a 100-year-old factory that is being renovated with a modern vision of its agricultural roots. Then, the family behind Fairchild Properties shares their personal and professional perspectives on land development.

Mandala Pies is the cover story, explaining how a young couple, both military veterans, opened a sweet shop in Vienna and have dedicated themselves to serving their new community.

Dorchester’s food culture ranges from gourmet cuisine to beloved hole-in-the-wall sandwich shops. The magazine also includes a near-comprehensive list of about 50 independent restaurants across the county. There is also a listing of local marinas, with amenities and contact information for each.

Although the maritime industry is integral to Dorchester’s history, it almost belies the wide-ranging industries in the area in technology, real estate, health care, manufacturing and other professions.

Publisher Darel La Prade was especially struck by one of the magazine quotes: “‘It’s not about bringing outside things (to Dorchester), it’s about nurturing what’s there.’”

“As someone who’s been working in this community for 25 years, that struck me as being very apparent,” he said at the February luncheon. “There is so much here that we can talk about. I’m thankful that the Dorchester Banner is here and that we can help tell that story.”

Susan Banks announced two recent initiatives her office has partnered on: the Eastern Shore Economic Recovery Project (which has begun conducting surveys toward creating tools for business recovery and future resiliency) and the Mid-Shore Hires website (giving employers tools to enhance attraction and retention efforts — especially as employees evaluate their own work-life balance).

The luncheon’s guest speaker was National Retail Federation Foundation Vice President Adam Lukoskie, sharing opportunities for job training. The nonprofit arm of NRF has training programs in retail, business operations, entrepreneurship, supply chain/logistics and customer service (which translates to almost every career, from health care to libraries).

Employee training is made available through trade organizations, school districts, businesses or even directly to individuals. Classes can be online, in-person, in Spanish or closed-captioned.

The free “Water Moves Us” magazine is available individually or by the stack through the Dorchester Banner and the Dorchester Economic Development Office. Read it online at www.BaytoBayNews.com/dorchester/specialsections.