J.C. Penney store closures include one in Maryland

One Maryland store is among the 138 locations J.C. Penney Co. will close as the department store chain battles declining foot traffic to its brick-and-mortars A J.C. Penney in Easton was on the list released Friday. The chain has six stores across the Baltimore area, none of which are slated to close. The Easton store is located about two miles of Route 50 in a strip mall at 219 Marlboro Ave. Approximately 5,000 jobs will be cut as part of the closures, most of which will occur in June. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Trader Joe's opens at The Shops at Kenilworth

The Trader Joe's location at The Shops at Kenilworth, in Towson, officially opened Friday morning at 8 a.m. after more than a year of planning. Customers filed into the new grocery store to the sound of bagpipes on St. Patrick's Day, and were greeted by staff members who offered them leis to match the new store's Hawaiian-inspired decor. The California-based grocer announced that it would move from a location near downtown Towson's traffic circle to the Kenilworth Avenue spot in December 2015. (Balt. Sun)

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March 17 // Despite Hogan veto threat, Maryland Senate approves paid sick time proposal

A day after Gov. Larry Hogan promised to veto it, the Maryland Senate approved a mandatory paid sick time bill by a veto-proof margin. The margin of passage sets up another political confrontation with the Republican governor, who on Wednesday described the Senate's plan as "terrible" and said it and a similar proposal advanced by House of Delegates were "dead on arrival." The Senate proposal, passed Thursday with only Democrats voting in favor, would require companies with more than 15 workers to offer five days of paid sick leave per year, with an exception for seasonal employees. Smaller firms must offer the same amount of leave, but unpaid. (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland attorney general settles with debt settlement firms

The Maryland attorney general's office said Thursday it had reached a settlement with five California law firms and their owner after allegations related to the companies' debt settlement services. The attorney general's office alleged that the companies failed to settle most consumers' debts though customers were charged in full, and that the companies collected illegal advance fees. The owner of the companies, Mandip Purewal, did not respond to a request for comment. The companies were identified as National Consumer Law Group, U.S. Legal Services Group, Imperial Law Group, Apex Legal Group, and Regis Law Group. (Balt. Sun)

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Warschawski launches marketing educational series

Warschawski, a full-service branding, marketing, public relations, advertising and digital agency based in Baltimore, announced Thursday the launch of two new educational series to help the Baltimore business community improve marketing skills and accomplish business goals – “Wednesdays at the W” and “Stand Out Series.” (Daily Record)

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Blue Ocean pursues apartments in North Roland Park

Blue Ocean Realty is looking to build an apartment complex with more than 130 units behind the Belvedere Towers in North Roland Park. The firm owns hundreds of apartments in the area, including Belvedere Towers. This would be its first new-apartment project in Baltimore. The firm has the 12-acre site, located on a plateau on a steep hill at the junction of Falls Road and Northern Parkway, under contract. (Balt. Sun)

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Resort Officials Lukewarm On Proposed Room Tax Hike

Ocean City tourism officials this week began a preliminary debate about hiking the room tax rate to increase revenue and offset the city’s costs, which spurred a larger debate about the potential for pricing the resort out of the market. During Monday’s Tourism Committee meeting, Council Secretary and committee chair Mary Knight broached the subject of possible raising the room tax in Ocean City by a half a percent from the current 4.5 percent to 5 percent for the summer of 2018. (O.C. Md. News)

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Metro West's massive parking garage design rejected by city panel

A design unveiled Thursday for a 2,200-car parking garage next to the vacant Metro West office complex on Baltimore's west side was rejected by a city design panel Thursday. The size, scope, function and design of the garage was deemed problematic by members of the Urban Design and Architecture Review Panel during its regular meeting at City Hall. An executive of one of the partners in the venture, Larry Boltansky, of Greene Street Ventures LLC, said a new design would be forthcoming. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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