Smoothie King opening in Columbia, franchisees looking to open 15-20 more

A local father and son duo is looking to open 15-20 Smoothie King restaurants around Greater Baltimore over the next couple of years, starting with a location opening the second week of April in Columbia. Jon Avalos opened his first Smoothie King in Bel Air 17 years ago and followed up recently with a location in Gambrills, which his son Chris Avalos runs. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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New tech on display during Demo Day

The newest apps and technologies created by Carroll entrepreneurs were on display at the first-ever Demo Day on Wednesday at the Community Media Center in Westminster. The demonstrations were put together by the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, a Carroll group designed to bring tech innovations to the county. According to MAGIC board member Jason Stambaugh, the event was designed to introduce these creators not only to the public at large, but to each other as well. (Carr. Co. Times)

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March 22 // Historic Recreation Pier reopens as Sagamore Pendry Hotel

Lisa DeSantis remembers parking her car inside Recreation Pier, which for years stood rotting at the foot of Fells Point. There was no room for that on Tuesday. A crowd of people jammed into the building, mounting red-carpeted stairs to celebrate its reopening as a $350-plus-a-night hotel, with a whiskey bar, ballroom and interior garden. Broad-shouldered security guards scanned the street, black SUVs slid into parking slots and passersby gawked at the affair. "It's just amazing to watch it from the beginning until now," said DeSantis, a manager at the Waterfront Hotel restaurant and bar located across Thames Street. (Balt. Sun)

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Company facing ouster from Anne Arundel incubator gets $350K in state loans

Just days after Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh announced he would shut down the county business incubator, one of the center's tenants has been awarded $350,000 in state backing. SecuLore Solutions was one of three companies awarded $250,000 from the state's VOLT Fund for small, minority and tech business loans, administered in part by the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp. SecuLore also received $100,000 from TEDCO, a state economic development agency. (Capital)

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BWI neighbors form group in fight against plane noise

BWI-Marshall Airport neighbors and their political representatives met Tuesday with aviation authorities as they continued a bid to end lower flight paths that they say have created too much noise over their homes. "This is our opportunity to make something that works for us," said Lance Brasher of Crownsville, who was elected chair of a roundtable group to submit the neighbors' recommendations to federal officials. (Balt. Sun)

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Columbia-based Department 13 develops software to thwart drone threats

Drones have carried explosives for terrorists overseas, dropped contraband into prisons and even landed on the White House lawn. As the use of drones becomes more pervasive with businesses and hobbyists, the safety and security challenges associated with the unmanned aerial vehicles are on the rise. Even as drone-related businesses mushroom, another cottage industry is emerging to offer protection against unwanted drones. One of the early entrants in the drone defense business is a Columbia-based company known as Department 13. (Balt. Sun)

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This Bethesda firm wants to raise $116M with a 'blank check' company

The Bethesda-based Global Environment Fund, an investment firm focused on energy, environmental and natural resource sectors with about $1 billion in assets under management, hopes to raise up to $116.15 million to buy a company. While the GEF Acquisition Corp. will offer 10 million shares at $10 apiece, the company can raise up to $116.15 million if the underwriters exercise all their options to purchase additional shares, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Maryland coffee roasters and alcohol producers join forces for booze-coffee combos

Like a double shot of the finest espresso, the marriage of coffee and alcohol is strong — perhaps stronger than ever. Recently in Baltimore, these increasingly intricate worlds have grown more sophisticated and experimental. In pursuit of new ways to enjoy coffee and alcohol together, local brewers and a distillery have collaborated with nearby coffee roasters, and the small-batch, handcrafted results are finding audiences throughout the city and beyond. (Balt. Sun)

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