Cake and Bake at Yia Yia’s

Word Count: 433

By Jimmy Rosier

Yia Yia’s Bakery is a small family-owned business that has made a name for itself when it comes to wedding cakes in the Baltimore area.

Yia Yia’s Bakery has been around for over 10 years, and is a popular spot for cakes, bread, and other desserts. Corky Mitsos, 72, is a general manager who has been with the bakery since its opening.

“Being here from the beginning and watching a small business take off is just an experience I will always be thankful to witness,” Mitsos said. “It’s great to see a small business with just one store to have the success that it has had over the years.”

This small business has expanded its impact beyond the Baltimore area, gaining popularity statewide and even into other states, like Pennsylvania. Word-of-mouth is what mainly caused the bakery to take off.

“All it took was a couple of weddings from local customers and we started getting busier and busier,” Mitsos said. “When your product is one of the center pieces of a big event…you always have people asking where they got the cake from. Once it got out that our cakes were very good and presented well, we started getting more calls to do weddings, birthday, retirement parties and other events.”

Like any business, things can become hectic as business picks up. Yia Yia’s is no exception. More workers were needed to help make all the desserts, as well as up front to assist customers.

“It started getting crazier in here in the mornings and I found myself working up front with customers by myself in cases when people would call out sick,” Mitsos said. “Before I became manager I was just like any regular worker who starts at the bottom of a company, and I just couldn’t do it all by myself and went to my manager a couple times and told them we need more people up front.”

The name Yia Yia means “grandmother” in Greek. The bakery’s previous owner named it after his mother, who was always baking Greek desserts. She came to work for him, and is still at the bakery today.

“We tend to cater to the Greek side since we are a Greek-owned bakery. The first owner was Greek, and the current owner is also a Greek gentleman,” Mitsos said.

The bakery has even attracted former Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith. Every year, Smith makes sure his son’s cake is from Yia Yia’s Bakery.

“I have always enjoyed working here and to be a part of the largest bakery in Maryland is very special,” Mitsos said.

Yia Yia’s Bakery- 9415 Philadelphia Rd, Rosedale, MD 21237                                      Phone: 410-238-2253

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Gianni’s Time With Under Armour

Word Count: 501

By Jimmy Rosier

Nicole Gianni was a member of the Under Armour team and helped it to grow into a nationwide brand.

Gianni had that opportunity, and she said it was a great experience. Gianni is a former employee of Under Armour, where she was a sports marketing manager.

“It was almost like being a sports agent for Under Armour,” Gianni said. “Myself and the people in my department had the chance to sit down with our marketing team at Under Armour and find ways that we could market our athletes to consumers.”

This comparison of Under Armour to a sports team, means that all of the different positions and areas of the company had to work together.  Each field of work is responsible for their part in contributing and making the product what it is.

“Another thing that I really enjoyed about Under Armour was that Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, he was very involved with the company and it really encouraged and motivated the workers there to get more experienced in other aspects of the company instead of just your specific job title.” Gianni said.

There were very busy work weeks at Under Armour, especially when certain project deadlines were upcoming. Gianni said that all the hard work didn’t go unnoticed. The boss would come in and tell her to go home and take a couple days off, since she had just finished doing a major project.

“There was a lot of traveling involved and it was great to get to go to certain areas of the country that not too many people can say they have been to,” Gianni said. “I mean how many people can say they have been to the Super Bowl?” We were there for the entire week before the Super Bowl to introduce some of our new products to kids and their families, and it was just really cool to give our products away and see people really appreciate it and get satisfaction from the free stuff.”

Under Armour employees attend many sporting events to introduce future products and give products away in order to get free marketing. Even the athletes and celebrities are involved in the marketing strategy for Under Armour: they will post images of themselves wearing Under Armour attire–as given to them by the company–on their social media sites.

“Being like an agent for the athletes and meeting celebrities was probably my favorite part about working for Under Armour,” Gianni said. “I got to meet celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, The Wayan Brothers, Taylor Lautner. On the athlete side I got to meet Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Tom Brady.”

Under Armour kept Gianni on her toes. For example, she would be told that she would have to go out of town the day before her flight would leave. There was always an opportunity arising for the company.

“It really was a great experience and I don’t think I will ever have another job like it,” Gianni said.

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Long Beach Marina Undergoing Major Renovations

Word Count: 418

By Jimmy Rosier

More changes are coming to the highly popular Long Beach Marina in Bowleys Quarters, Maryland.

“The new renovations that are taking place is a very exciting thing…it’s a real blast watching everything happen and being a part of what is taking place,” said John Henriques, 45, Director of Operations at Long Beach.

Henriques mentioned that the project will take some time, with an estimated time of up to three years. But he also said, “When everything is said and done this marina will be one of, if not the most modern marina in Maryland.”

Long Beach Marina has been under the new ownership of Dr. Sam Saiedy since March 2016. Saiedy is already making changes with the intent to further improve the already popular marina. There are plans for a multi-million dollar renovation project already in motion.

Long Beach is a family-oriented marina with many different features to engage in besides just boating. These features include Jet Ski rental, a swimming pool, exercise gym, a clubhouse for parties, a children’s playground and free Wi-Fi access. The atmosphere between all the staff and customers that make up the marina is very friendly and fun.

“I’ve been at this marina for many years now and it has always been a great place for me and my family to enjoy over the summer,”  said Tim Hayes, 48, a customer at Long Beach.

Hayes goes on to say, “There has been a smooth transition with new ownership taking over which is a relief, because you’re so use to the way things are you don’t want to see change, but at the same time if it’s going to make this marina better for me and my family than I’m all for it.”

The three year renovation plan is already underway. The first thing to be taken care of is the wooden piers, which will be taken out and replaced with concrete floating piers. These new piers have some advantages over the wooden piers, such as better strength, durability, wave resistance and protection to the boats.

Other renovations to take place will include new landscaping throughout the marina, new electric boat lifts, solar powered lights for the parking lot, a new restaurant with outside seating on large decks, an indoor storage & maintenance facility for boats and a variety of other improvements.

“I’m excited to see all the new changes take place over the next couple years and see how everything turns out,” said Larry Webster, 49, a dock service worker at Long Beach.

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