Happening this week around the county …

Circle Back Ranch in Rising Sun is in the business of turning cast-off furniture into treasured pieces.

”I’ve always been into furniture,” said Carrie Qualls, owner of Circle Back Ranch. “My mom and I would go to antique malls and I’d buy the $25 wooden tool box.”

A lover of solid wood furniture from days gone by, Qualls can usually see what that scuffed nightstand or stained table can become in her hands.

”I love taking old stuff and making it new. It’s my passion,” she said.

When she retired from graphic design this repurposing started as a hobby. Soon her pieces started to get attention as she would post them to her Facebook page. Or people would be looking to unload furniture and offer it to her.

”This person would tell that person and they’d tell 10 people and now here I am with a trailer full,” Qualls said. “It just snowballed.”

With the trailer full, and pieces lined up in her workshop, Qualls doesn’t dare bring home anything she may see if she’s traveling with her husband.

”I don’t even ask to stop. He rolls his eyes,” she said.

However she can also restore that family heirloom furniture. She recently transformed a dining room set, taking it into the modern era to the delight of its owner.

She scrapes and sands and primes each piece, sometimes removing parts, other times adding something new. Loose wood is tightened, scratches are filled. The hardware comes off for an intense cleaning too. Then comes the creative side with fresh paint, accent colors and gleaming drawer pulls and hinges.

”I make sure they left me better than how they came in,” she said of each piece.

You can see her finished pieces and learn more about Circle Back Ranch on Facebook.


Sincerely Sawyer Photography wants to help those whose jobs were lost in the pandemic.

”So many families are being forced back into the job market,” said Jennifer Sawyer, who runs the Darlington, Md. photography studio with her sister Jessica.

Job seekers will need a fresh resume but also a quality headshot of themselves to get the attention of employers and human resources staff.

”I know a professional headshot made me feel better about my chances,” Sawyer said. “If I can help one person feel good about themselves and find a new job it’s worth it.”

Absolutely free of charge Sincerely Sawyer will provide studio time and high quality headshots that can be sent electronically, or printed for hand delivery or mail.

”There’s no catch to it,” she added.

For those who may be entering the job market after a long period of employment, Sawyer is offering to do a branding session. This will help clean up social media accounts to improve your appearance to potential employers, and also teach you how to use social media.

”We want to make you as competitive as you can be,” Sawyer said.

The branding session is being offered on a “pay what you can afford” scale.

Sincerely Sawyer is also available for event photography and portraiture. For more information on their services go the their Facebook page, send an email to sincerelysawyer@gmail.com or call 443-866-2316.


KVIS & Coe Insurance and Chiropractic Services, P.A. of Oxford will be celebrating summer July 31 with free Kona Ice from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in their shared parking lot at 21 North Third St. in Oxford. Lisa Brown’s Kona Ice truck will be on site with free kid sized cups of the signature cold treat, one per person.

Staff from both companies will be on hand to discuss insurance and chiropractic care while you snack.


Tracy Mitchell Griggs knows oysters and the Earleville resident plans to use her two companies — Mason Dixon Adventures and Mason Dixon Media — to support oyster farmers and conservation.

”Aquaculture is important and oysters are a very important environmental species,” Griggs said. Where oyster populations are healthy and abundant they clean the water.

”Not only are they great dustbusters but they are immune boosters as a food source,” she said, adding oysters are dense in zinc.

Griggs is looking for restaurants and oyster farmers interested in partnering with her to host “My Oyster Fest,” a global event set for late September.

”With My Oyster Fest you create your own experience; buy local oysters and throw your own party,” she said. Griggs figures these smaller gatherings will be held in keeping with social-distance guidelines while proving fans of the popular bivalve their favorite food and fun.

Griggs will help with the promotion and social media. At each fest participants are invited to join in the fun with photo contests built in to the event.

”There will be a “Best Shellfie,” she said, adding, “Pun intended.” Call it a “shellabration.” She did.

Griggs has groups in Chile and Spain interested, and a farm in New South Wales, Australia is already registered. So is Orchard Point Farms in Stevensville, Md., True Chesapeake Oysters Co. in Baltimore and Mera Brothers Oysters in Davis N.C.

”It’s going to be a global event,” Griggs said. Oysters will be served fried, broiled and raw along with music and information on behalf of oyster growing and conservation efforts toward that end.

”Education raises all hope. Providing educational opportunities goes a long way toward parity,” Griggs said.

According to Griggs as much as 98% of the oyster farms in the world are family owned and operated. She wants to encourage more to pursue the field of aquaculture by providing support to women, minorities and veterans interested in their own oyster farming operation.

To learn more about hosting a “My Oyster Fest” go online to Facebook and search for either Mason Dixon Adventures or My Oyster Fest.


The Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce and Oxford Main Street Inc. announced this week that all downtown events have been canceled through the end of the year thanks to the pandemic.

This includes First Fridays, the Halloween Parade, Car Show and Movies in the Park.

In a letter to members Christine Grove, chamber executive director, and Christianna Hannum, executive director of Oxford Main Street shared in the disappointment.

”We know these are much loved events, and we love hosting them! We would like nothing more than to welcome the community downtown en masse,” the letter reads. “However, the safety of our residents and the fragile balance of our business openings, is of utmost importance.”

Although the events are canceled, the ladies insisted that the businesses remain open and encouraged everyone to continue to “love local.”

”Shop downtown, dine inside, outside or take out, and support our service members and non profits. The majority of our small business owners are our friends and neighbors. Your support means everything!”


Dr. Mariana Izraelson has stepped down from La Comunidad Hispana in Oxford, Pa. where she had served as chief executive officer since December. In a letter from Jeanne Casner, board chairwoman, it was announced that Izraelson “has made the painful decision to return to Baltimore.”

Her last day at LCH was July 20.

Two women, Margarita Garay-Zarco and Barbara Mansill, will act as co-CEOs in the interim. The board of directors will search again for a new CEO.


Do you have an employee who has been working remotely and is doing a stellar job? Or an employee that has gone above and beyond in the front lines?

The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce is suggesting a webinar called ”Out of Sight, But Not Out of Mind: Recognition for Remote Workers” July 30 at 11 a.m.

It’s estimated that even after the pandemic has waned 74% of business will continue to operate with remote employees. This TerryBerry webinar will give you ideas on how to honor these employees.

The webinar is free but spaces are limited. Go to terryberry.com for details and registration.

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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