Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman joined local elected officials to formally open Little Treasury Jewelers’ new watch and jewelry showroom, event space, and online marketing studio called The Escapement. The expansion was made possible by Project Restore, an innovative statewide program that provides grants to fill Maryland’s vacant commercial and retail properties. The program is funded through and managed by Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in partnership with the Office of the Comptroller.
Lierman said, “I was intrigued by the chance to join Little Treasury, as I spend every day running Maryland’s Big Treasury.”
Lierman, Senator Dawn Gile, the Maryland 33rd House Delegation, and the County Executive’s office all presented citations honoring the store’s successful growth in its 25 years in Anne Arundel County. Carol Gilbert, the Assistant Secretary for the DHCD’s Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, congratulated Little Treasury, and spoke about their participation in Project Restore. Lierman also emphasized the importance of small businesses to all of Maryland and highlighted her office’s move to strengthen its services to the State’s key economic driver.
Little Treasury participated in Project Restore in order to adapt the 2400ft2 vacant property and outfit it with space for a live-streaming studio; event space with bar, fireplace, and display cases; and meeting rooms and office space for website support and telemarketing.
The Maryland DHCD incentive program Project Restore offers two grant opportunities, both of which Little Treasury Jewelers received. The first, a Property Assistance Grant, provided a maximum of $30,000 awarded for one year to assist with rent and property improvement costs.
The second, a Business Operations Grant, provides additional support for businesses that generate sales and use taxes, with a maximum of $250,000. This second grant goes towards operations costs in the vacant property, such as staff salaries, equipment, and property improvements.
Owners Steve and Linda Hammalian kicked off the event with a short show of photographs documenting the store’s history and its beginning in a small booth in a North County mall to its current location(s) in The Village at Waugh Chapel. Little Treasury Jewelers has since grown over the last two decades into a popular store for watch enthusiasts from Richmond to Pennsylvania. It has established a strong reputation for quality service for customers of luxury watches and jewelry, including custom design and in-house repair. The Maryland store now serves customers in all 50 states and over 15 countries through its online and over the phone marketing. The new space, The Escapement, is just across the parking lot from their main store in The Village at Waugh Chapel.
Little Treasury Jewelers has been in Gambrills since 2001, and the opening of The Escapement is evidence of how the store’s marketing and service has innovated to grow more rapidly in today’s increasingly online economy. “With the growing importance of the store’s online presence and our high touch/high service we offer to our loyal customers, the new studio in the Escapement gives us a real advantage in a very competitive national and global market,” Steve Hammalian says. “Thanks to Project ReStore we have doubled the square feet of our business and will accordingly increase the number of people we can employ.”
His co-owner, wife, and founder Linda agrees, “We sell to customers in all fifty states and globally; much of it driven by our team’s reputation for high service complemented by our YouTube channel and Instagram site, as well as phone calls from loyal repeat customers. Many of them have become personal clients for years or decades.”
What started as Linda Hammalian’s tiny jewelry kiosk in 1996, has grown into a nationwide and international business. “Project Restore has given Little Treasury Jewelers a boost to reach its next chapter at The Village at Waugh Chapel, turning a vacant building into a business for today’s economy,” Linda says.
Photos credit to Jordan Drumm