Happening this week around the county …

With 150 new products added to its shelves, Aldi reopened its doors Friday to an excited crowd of shoppers. The store at 98 Chesapeake Blvd. in Elkton had been closed for about a month to add 12,000 square feet to the building and revamp the interior at the same time.

”We missed it very much,” said Kay Schneider, of Newark, Del., adding she was there to shop and also to see what was new.

Matt Baker, store manager, said customers would enjoy seeing the new location of the produce department and the expanded organic offerings there.

”A family of five can get a ton of produce, high-quality and a low price,” Baker said, adding Aldi caters to families, college students and anyone else interested in saving money without sacrificing quality.

”I especially like their iced tea. It’s better than Snapple,” said Dot Popplewell from Newark.

She waited outside for the opening and to see what denomination of gift card she would get as she walked in the door after the ribbon cutting. She also got a key ring and an Aldi shopping tote.

”I hate shopping. Freebies, yes. Shopping no,” she said.

At least one shopper got a $100 gift card.

Kevin McGarrigle, district manager, said another improvement made during the renovation is the addition of an On The Go section of ready-to-eat foods.

”Someone could essentially come in and buy their lunch here,” he said.

But Dimitra Minter, of Elkton, was there to look for something other than food.

”I’m looking for some garden stuff ... rugs and flowers,” she said.

Minter was among Aldi fans who made the trip to Middletown, Del., while the Elkton store was closed. Gina Gills, also from Elkton, was happy with the reopening.

”I’ve been going to the one in Middletown since the remodel,” she said. “But this one’s closer. And I like their fresh produce.”

Baker said the store hours are the same, open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

”We have 25 employees and we are hiring,” Baker added.

•••

Down the road from Aldi, Walmart was also cutting a ribbon and celebrating the completion of a massive remodel of its Elkton super center at 1000 E. Pulaski Highway, the second remodel and the first full-scale overhaul since the store opened in 2005.

”Every counter was reset and updated,” said Alex Giustizia, district manager, adding that every wall inside and out was given a fresh coat of paint and every light fixture was updated to include LED bulbs.

Technology for the shopper was also added in the electronics department, along with a pickup kiosk for non-food items purchased online or with the Walmart app.

”It’s right by the entrance. Come right up, grab your stuff and go,” Giustizia said.

Unlike Aldi, Walmart stayed open during its remodel.

•••

Cakes By Mimi, a home-based bakery in Elkton, has partnered with Icing Smiles to bring birthday joy to the lives of local critically ill children and their families.

Kim Hearn, spokeswoman for the nonprofit organization headquartered in Ellicott City, said there are 10,000 bakers called Sugar Angels in the U.S. and other countries on call to make cakes for not only the child who is in medical crisis, but also any siblings.

”Bakers donate their time and talent,” Hearn said. “It can be a hobby baker or a professional.”

So far some 18,000 cakes have been baked, decorated and delivered.

Melissa Lawson, owner of Cakes By Mimi, has a June 8 birthday assignment for Jeremy Park of Elkton. Jeremy’s mother, Jessica, said the cake will celebrate his sixth birthday. He was born premature with a complicated set of heart issues that required multiple surgeries to correct.

“Jeremy is now an extremely active kindergartner who enjoys swimming, baseball, ninja warrior, and gymnastics,” Park said of her son. “He is developmentally advanced and extremely social. He will need lifelong care by a cardiologist, among other specialists.”

Hearn said the request can be a simple sheet cake, or something more elaborate to thrill the recipient.

”It can be tiered, sculpted, multi-layered,” she explained.

Lawson said she learned about Icing Smiles through various cake baking forums and decided to sign up.

”Many of the people talked about Icing Smiles and it being a great way to volunteer your skills and time to help children and their families dealing with illnesses,” Lawson said. “I thought it was a great way to give back using my talent and my love of baking.”

Icing Smiles turned 9 years old in January. It’s first cake went to an Ohio girl staying at a Ronald McDonald House. Hearn said that when a child is sick, being like other kids is so important.

”A birthday cake is something very normal that a lot of people take for granted,” she said.

Hearn said Icing Smiles flew under a lot of people’s radar until a well-known baker signed up and posted his creation on social media.

To find out more about how to become a baker or to get a cake for your child, go online to https://www.icingsmiles.org/

•••

Celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month by getting a free screening of that nagging sore knee or elbow from Pivot Physical Therapy in North East and Elkton. Both locations offer the complementary exam with no obligation.

The North East location, at 2540 W. Pulaski Highway next to Food Lion, opened earlier this year. The Elkton office opened several years ago at 801 Elkton Blvd.

”Pivot Physical Therapy is the fastest growing in the country,” said Michelle Thompson, clinic director.

Just over 5 years old, the company now boasts 270 locations in the Mid-Atlantic region through new openings and acquisitions, Thompson said.

Too many people ignore aches, pains or limitations that can be treated with physical therapy.

”There really isn’t too much out there that activity and exercise won’t make better,” Thompson said. “Movement is medicine.”

Pivot works with all insurance carriers, including Medicare, and she said their on-site occupational therapy also makes it the perfect place for worker’s compensation claim treatment.

”We do everything from student athletes to geriatrics,” she said, adding that certified personnel for dance-related injuries are coming soon.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 443-339-1960 or go online to PivotPhysicalTherapy.com

•••

Just in time to get the summer house ready, Gwendolyn’s Closet, located at 20 S. Main St. in downtown Port Deposit, is holding a Sidewalk Sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Shop decor, giftware, crafts and more at prices 30 to 50% off.

•••

Steve Blanken, a Rising Sun resident, is the newest technology consultant for Doceo, a Pennsylvania IT solutions and office equipment firm. It will be Blanken’s job to connect Cecil and Harford county businesses and nonprofits with the technology to succeed.

•••

Peter Gourlay, vice president of Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland, recently spoke to a group of Cecil County manufacturers about effective energy programs. He brought with him companies that have benefitted from RMI programs, including Neil Christopher who told the group that he learned about energy-saving programs that reduced costs 20%.

”We saved a lot and it didn’t cost us a penny. It was free to us,” Christopher said.

Gourlay said that a new round of $600,000 in grant funding will become available in June.

Business Beat is a weekly column on business happenings in and around Cecil County. If interested in having your business featured in this column, contact Jane Bellmyer at jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com or 443-245-5007.

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