On Monday, Sen. Ben Cardin joined Acting Mayor Rhonda Pindell Charles, Brian Cahalan from the Mayor’s office and City of Annapolis Economic Development Manager Stephen Rice on a tour of Chesapeake Light Craft. The tour is part of Sen. Cardin’s “Made in Maryland” tour. For several years, the Senator has traveled around the state highlighting successful Maryland businesses.
The owner of Chesapeake Light Craft, John C. Harris, was on hand to lead the tour and host a sit-down about the successes and challenges of owning a business. Harris said that Annapolis is the best business address for his business, which sells boat kits, kayak kits, boat plans and boatbuilding materials, because people can enjoy the city while spending time at Chesapeake Light Craft building their own boats.
“Annapolis is well-branded as a boating and sailing destination,” Harris said.
Harris also explained that the company interacts with the community by participating in youth camps and interacting with local children who don’t normally have a way to get out on the water. “We are here for people who like to work with their hands and build things,” Harris said.
Impacted by Global Policies
The company is a niche business, but it is impacted by global markets, including tariffs. Harris said that his business can be damaged by trade wars. He told Sen. Cardin that the business needs stability in the international marketplace to thrive.
Cardin agreed that predictability is important for businesses, but especially for small businesses.
Harris indicated that he has benefited from the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation loan programs, allowing for expansion and staff retention.
Sen. Cardin indicated that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Cardin have been having an ongoing debate about whether Newport or Annapolis is America’s sailing capital.
Pindell Charles, Cardin, Harris and the team on site for the tour were all in steady agreement: It’s Annapolis.
Photo attached: Chesapeake Light Craft owner John Harris talks on site with Sen. Ben Cardin and Acting Mayor Rhonda Pindell Charles.