Stand back, Frederick. They’re under 40 and they’re on FIRE! If you’re looking for inspiration and the bywords of the young entrepreneurial spirit, look no further. All our Under 40s abound with creativity, leadership, commitment and a stellar work ethic.
Three and a half years ago, 34-year-old Rebekah Ontiveros left a 10-year position in private corporate education to launch a dream that became the Hive Bakeshop. The business has been featured by Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens, and Netflix, as well as appearing on season three of Sugar Rush, and Holiday Wars, 2021.
“It’s so incredible how food can transform lives. The Hive is about food art,” says Ontiveros, a previous Fulbright scholar who sees the downtown Brunswick shop as a hub for fostering creativity in her employees. “I wanted to create something special so everything we do fits our brand. We are completely different from a regular bakery.”
The Hive staff is empowered by Ontiveros to be part of the creative planning process. Besides making their own schedules, they have the ability to create food art themselves. Ontiveros does some training, but the Hive now attracts talented food artists that aspire to work with her. “If you don’t foster creativity, you won’t have a creative edge,” she says adamantly.
Ontiveros started her marketing on a shoestring budget. “We took advantage of whatever was free,” she admits. “And we learned the skills—we focused on all the social media tools and learned the importance of good photography.”
The future looks bright for this energetic entrepreneur, who dreams of expansion into a second location and partnering with culinary colleges to give classes. “We’re reaching out, looking for the ideal opportunities to grow,” Ontiveros says.
Focusing on building her brand and creating unique, top quality product for clients has given the Hive a global reach. “We received Best Cupcake and Best Confection on season three of Sugar Rush,” says Ontiveros, “And while we lost in the final cake round, we found many new clients and fans.”
Addressing life, business and baking, Ontiveros says, “At the end of the day, I wasn’t afraid to fail. Never be afraid of failure; you’ll never know what you would have missed out on.”
A confirmed whiskey lover and entrepreneurial spirit, 36-year-old Monica Pearce, founder of Tenth Ward Distilling Company, Frederick, saw an opening in the market during the craft beer boom, and took advantage of it. Tenth Ward was founded in 2016 and has already seen significant expansion from their existing facility on Church Street, their cocktail bar and event venue in Downtown Frederick, to an 8,000-square-foot production spot near the airport.
What started as only retail sales has grown into a thriving wholesale business, with product available in MD/DC/VA liquor stores. The addition of liqueurs and canned cocktails increased Tenth Ward’s revenue streams, and the addition of gin, seasonal liqueurs and Maryland’s first and only Absinthe, rounds out their offerings.
Covid provided the opportunity to introduce canned cocktails, a lower proof product that has seen a healthy increase in sales and that won Bronze in the 2021 American Craft Spirit Association ‘Ready to Drink’ category.
Pearce credits her past work experience as giving her a leg up in marketing. “I did a lot of training in branding, marketing, strategic planning and a lot of this helped launch my entrepreneurship.”
Along with holiday events that are based around new releases, Tenth Ward has their Bottle Club with exclusive releases, and their Canned Cocktail Club.
In business, Pearce fiercely believes in this philosophy for Tenth Ward Distillery. “We are proud to be a female-owned company in a primarily white, male dominated industry that can offer opportunities to women and minorities. For us, it’s important to be recognized as experts in this field.”
A year-and-a-half ago, Jay Jeffrey, owner of Lumber JAKKSS Millworks in Frederick, was the owner of an events business. Then he found his life upended by the COVID pandemic. Suddenly putting on beer festivals and mud runs came to a screeching halt, and Jeffrey, father of four, needed to pivot, and pivot fast.
As a passionate dabbler in woodworking, Jeffrey knew the goal of his new business needed to be one that incorporated his family lifestyle and was a full-time living, not a hobby. He believes so strongly in this that the JAKKSS part of his company name uses each family member. Jay, his partner and wife, Ashton, and their four children, Kiernan, Killian, Sloane and Shaye.
Lumber JAKKSS works with both corporations and residential clients, bringing the customer’s dream to fruition through custom made pieces using furniture grade woods, such as cherry, walnut, ash and exotic woods.
With a portable millworks, a solar kiln for drying, and the ability to laser engrave and include iron work in their pieces, Lumber JAKKSS is busier than ever.
Looking down the road, Jeffrey says, “I hope to continue making custom pieces. I have the desire to pass this onto my children, if they’re interested.”
It is obvious Jeffrey is passionate about his growing business and his life. “I wish I’d done this 10 years ago,” he says. “But I didn’t have the resources to pull it off back then. I now have membership in the Rotary, the relationships and business knowledge, and our farm where my shop is and where we live. The pieces weren’t in place yet.”
“We work with our client’s vision and goals to help develop a trademark analysis and strategy that includes all the protections needed,” explains Radiance Harris, founder and managing attorney for Radiance IP Law in Frederick, getting down to the nitty gritty of intellectual property law.
Radiance IP Law works with clients from business inception—logos and naming, how to protect content creator work, copyright law, and trademark prosecution. “We work with small boutique companies all the way up to companies with national locations,” says Harris. “And we have experience working with big corporations and emerging businesses.”
A whirlwind of energy, Harris is passionate about what she does. “All large and small companies have trademarks,” she says. “All big businesses protected their trademarks when they were small.”
Harris is a content creator herself, and a savvy marketer. In August 2020, she independently published Trademark Like A Boss: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide To Protecting Your Brand on Amazon, a how-to guide for business owners who understand the value of protecting a business with a trademark, but can’t afford an attorney. It immediately became a #1 Amazon Bestseller, and continues to sell well on a regular basis. Harris posts daily on Facebook, Insta-gram, and LinkedIn, writes a regular newsletter and this year started a weekly video podcast on YouTube. Harris gets a hefty 53 percent of her clients through other satisfied clients.
In looking at where to go from here, Harris envisions Radiance IP Law as a seven-figure firm in five years. “I love seeing brands we’ve helped launched out in the marketplace.”
After being told he needed surgery for a shoulder injured while playing collegiate sports, Josh Funk, CEO of Rehab2Perform, opted for specialized sports physical therapy that eradicated the need for surgery and changed his way of looking at sports medicine.
Now 35-years-old and recently married, Funk opened the first location of Rehab2Perform in Frederick in 2014 with the goal of providing everyone with the same depth and breadth of care that college athletes receive. With six locations in the Maryland area, and a seventh slated for early 2022, Funk has created a company with a commitment to both the highest level of patient care, to attracting the right staff and to creating an environment of growth and autonomy.
Rehab2Perform offers individualization and personalization to put together a physical therapy experience dedicated to a wide range of client’s success, offering a hybrid between traditional physical therapy and personal training. “Think of us as consultants, supporting you with plans and processes,” Funk says. “We help you learn what your body can and can’t do, and we want you to have fun doing it.”
Over the last two years, Rehab2Perform has hit the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list and achieved a whopping 339 percent three-year growth in 2021. Another aspect of Funk’s business success lies in his commitment to organizational leadership, branding and strategic development, which he passionately passes on to his 50-plus person staff.
Funk’s strategy to build his organization’s professional presence strategically includes a robust internship program, from high school, through college and physical therapy school, as well as continuing education, resulting in sup-porting the sports care industry by bringing more highly trained professionals into it.
Thirty-three-year-old Amber Seiss has her hands pretty full these days. The owner of Gateway Candyland, Gateway Liquors, and The Farmhouse Exchange manages her two small children and 47 employees across the burgeoning multiple business enterprise in Thurmont.
Seiss, who acquired the business four years ago, began implementing a growth plan that included adding to the product lines, expanding the candy business into private label and wholesale distribution, and the newest addition, the purchase of nearby 327-acre Lawyer’s Winterbrook Farm. While Seiss plans to continue with the farm’s traditional seasonal activities such as pumpkins and sunflowers, rebranding plans are in the works, as well as the opening of a new event venue and fall launch party.
The Farmhouse Exchange, which is in the same building as Gateway Candyland, has a deli, locally raised beef, poultry and pork, and breads, cupcakes, cookies, and pies from the in-house bakery. Farmhouse is a new venture opened by Seiss in early 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. The timing worked well for Seiss, who says, “Farmhouse is a super active store for us. It has turned into such an asset.”
Diversifying revenue streams is important for Seiss, and the standalone liquor store caters over 250 weddings and events every year.
Seiss likes the hands-on part of running her businesses and while involved in all the work-ing parts of the companies, believes in setting the stage for her staff. She sums it up this way, “I set expectations and my staff meets or exceeds them—that’s the best way for me to lead.”
For more information on starting your own business contact the Frederick County Office of Economic Development at email@example.com.