This February we are celebrating the heritage and achievements of African Americans and we’re honored to spotlight some of the men and women in our community who make Frederick an amazing community. Passion, innovation and vision exude from these business leaders as they share why they love doing business in Frederick.
@VR Virtual Reality
After watching the science-fiction adventure film Ready Player One, Shantay DeMar was inspired to explore and test virtual reality gaming rooms and create @VR Virtual Reality. Born and raised in Frederick, Shantay wanted to bring something new and different to his community.
“I love that I’m from the community and that I’m able to help influence the youth and other entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams of starting a business. I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship, and I love interacting and communicating with people. I also enjoy helping people become the best that they can be!”
Located on the Golden Mile, @VR celebrated two years in November 2021. @VR is a virtual reality gaming room with over 70 games, including: sports, multiplayer, musical, horror and destination. Instead of watching a screen, players are immersed in the game itself.
“My business is pretty much for all ages and we really take pride in providing great customer service!” AtVirtualReality.com
Wayne & Ashley Norris
Honey Doers, LLC
Wayne and Ashley Norris launched Honey Doers, LLC in January 2020, to create a legacy for their children. This elite delivery company offers personalized laundry services for residential and commercial clients. Ashley is from Brunswick and Wayne made Frederick his home over ten years ago.
It only made sense to start their venture in Frederick, because “it’s always been a hot spot and will always be our home…This pandemic has shown us how much the Frederick community can come together to support local.”
It has mainly been a two-person show—the building, scaling, providing service and creating their “Laundry 4 Love” project, which provides free laundry to help community members without access to laundry facilities, elderly, low income, persons with disabilities and more. HoneyDoersMD.com
“This pandemic has shown us how much the Frederick community can really come together to support local.”
Brandon Chapman and De’von Wellesley
When the 2020 pandemic hit, and the lockdowns and curfews started putting stress on local businesses, Brandon Chapman and De’Von Wellesley decided to act. With De’von’s video production talent and Brandon’s network in the community ,it was clear that they could support the Frederick community through storytelling to promote these businesses and improve their engagement. With time on their hands, they began to produce short films, pro bono, for struggling establishments with the hope to keep them in business. This is how 88Visual was born.
Rooted in Frederick, these fathers appreciate the strong sense of community.
“We love creating an impact in our community and Frederick is the perfect place for that. It has the feel of a small town but the resources of a larger city…we can continue to tell stories for the people and organizations that we love and support right here in our town. We want to build opportunities for the next generation and are invested in giving back to our city. We provide internships for local students and have donated over 30 videos to different businesses and organizations over the past year and a half. That kind of give and take balance we see here in Frederick is what good community is made of.”
Brandon and De’Von are passionate about helping others succeed by providing internships, sharing their passion for storytelling with youth and working with local businesses to share their inspiring stories.
“Our passion to lift our community is just as strong as our ambition to become the best company we can.” 88Visual.com
“We want to build opportunities for the next generation and are invested in giving back to our city.”
MASAI Technologies Corp (MTC)
Masai Troutman brought MTC to Frederick when it was awarded its first multi-million dollar contract with the U.S. Army Medical Research & Material Command in 2003, in order to be closer to the customer, grow customer relations and improve service responsiveness.
Masai appreciates the supportive Office of Economic Development (OED) business and workforce development programs and has expanded MTC customers to include Health & Human Services, Navy, Intelligence and other Defense Agencies. MTC has provided technology and process integration solutions to mission critical U.S. Defense operations world-wide, for over 25-years.
“I am a servant leader, and I apply servant leadership to all aspects of my life, such as with my family and friends, community, customers, employees, and business partners. Enhancing others and seeing them grow, enhances me.”
After hours, you can find Masai and his family playing basketball, strength training and doing cardio activities at local fitness centers. “Frederick is family and fitness oriented, which I greatly value.” Masai-Tech.com
Two Sweet, LLC
A Downtown Frederick native, Katrice dreamed of starting a business with her twin sister, Two Sweet, when they were just kids. They took a leap of faith in 2017.
“Frederick is what made me into the person I am today! My grandmother worked at Winchester Hall for over 15 years… my grandfather, Mr. William O. Lee, Jr. is embedded in Frederick’s history…honestly, I never want to leave.”
Prior to starting Two Sweet, Katrice had little experience baking. She baked her first dozen cookies as a favor to her sister who needed help to complete an order and hasn’t stopped since!
“I appreciate running my business in Frederick because of the support. My first business questions were answered at City Hall. My first sale was in Downtown Frederick. I work out of Maryland Bakes, a shared kitchen on Route 40. Not every city has the opportunity to work out of a shared kitchen.”
With only two years of experience she landed herself on the Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge.
“I am very passionate about baking because my journey started during one of my lowest points in life. I enjoy putting smiles on people’s faces. I refer to myself as an edible artist.” TwoSweetLlc.com
James & Danielle Smith
Jerk N Jive Bar & Kitchen
Jerk N Jive Caribbean Kitchen
James and Danielle Smith noticed that there were no restaurants offering Caribbean cuisine in Frederick, so they opened their first restaurant in November 2017, and their second location in August 2020.
“I love seeing the customers enjoy the food and atmosphere,” James shares. “We start most mornings before 8AM and when customers are in the restaurant at 7PM enjoying all the hard work of the day, it’s really satisfying.”
Those unfamiliar with Caribbean menu and cuisine tend to think the food is all spicy and the options are limited. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Says James, “I want people to know that we offer a full menu of food options with a full bar, happy hour specials and Maryland favorites…and we started a live music series on Saturday nights.” JerkNJiveBar.com
“We start most mornings before 8AM and when customers are in the restaurant at 7PM enjoying all the hard work of the day, it’s really satisfying.”