If you’ve ever even considered living or working in Baltimore City, Michael Evitts is your man. As vice president of communications at the Downtown Partnership, Baltimore is his business — and after chatting with him for a few minutes, you won’t know why you would go anywhere else.
“It’s incredibly affordable, incredibly walkable, and it’s really easy to make an impact here,” Evitts says. “It’s not as large or as formal a place as somewhere like Philadelphia or Washington. If you want to go to graduate school, advance your career or find a way to make a real difference, it’s the place to be.”
Other perks? It’s rated a top city for singles, has one of the country’s biggest walkable downtowns, is home to the region’s best restaurants and is a hub for creativity and innovation.
Evitts says that the bulk of the city’s new residents are millennials, which is beneficial not only to the city’s cultural scene, but also to its businesses.
“Major established companies are finding this is a place to find the best and brightest employees out there,” he says. “These are young, talented, creative people who don’t want to work in a boring office park.”
It’s not just a young person’s town, however. Evitts says the other trend Baltimore has seen is an increase in empty nesters moving into the city and taking advantage of its new construction, particularly around the Inner Harbor.
“You don’t have to maintain a home, take care of a yard or shovel show,” he says, “and you’re in the heart of the cultural district. And the waterfront views can’t be beat!”
A strong sense of community doesn’t hurt, either.
“It’s one of the friendliest places I’ve ever been,” Evitts says. “Whether you’re leaning across a bar stool to start a conversation, meeting new friends in a social sports league or connecting with your neighbors by hanging out in the common spaces of your apartment building, there are dozens of ways to get to know each other in Baltimore.”
Fin Fox, owner of Love That, says that a strong sense of community makes for a place where it’s great to own a business. Love That is located in Belvedere Square, which, she says, exemplifies the city’s positive qualities.
“Belvedere Square is like a little microcosm of the type of world I want to live in,” Fox says. “So many people here are gentle and kind and useful and willing to help and care for other people.”
While Belvedere Square has been a vibrant part of Govans for years, Fox is pleased to see how many neighborhoods throughout the city have created new places for business, including Hampden and Remington.
Angela Tandy, owner of Sassanova, a women’s clothing boutique in Harbor East, agrees that a strong sense of community in Baltimore makes it a great city for a business owner.
“While Baltimore feels small at times when you live here, it’s just such a vibrant city because of the different people that pass through it all the time,” she says.
Recently, for example, she assisted customers from Bermuda, Costa Rica, England and across the U.S., all brought to Baltimore by conventions, conferences or other business-related reasons. Tandy and her family like to travel, too, and Baltimore makes a great base camp; from here, they take the train to New York City or head to the beach.
“What stands out to me is that Baltimore, while I think it’s viewed as a pretty significant metropolitan city, is actually very small,” she says. “There’s kind of like two degrees of separation between people. While it has this small, home-town feel, it’s also unique in that it is a big city, and having a business allows us to see people from all over the world.”