Politics & Business

The Fetish King: Managing Chained Desires

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Name: Christopher King
Occupation: Fetish Boutique Manager
Neighborhood: Gardenville
Years in Baltimore: 8

If you’re the kind of person for whom leather whips, switches and harnesses count as “lifestyle essentials,” you may already be acquainted with Christopher King, the friendly manager of Chained Desires on Mount Vernon’s picturesque Read Street. For those less familiar with the local bondage scene, despite the shop’s exterior, Chained Desires contains nothing to be scared of. Although to the casual observer, the basement level storefront with its rows of whips and chains might seem slightly intimidating, thanks to Christopher King, Chained Desires is about as friendly as a bondage boutique can get.
   
King, a Gardenville resident, has always had a strong interest in sexual subcultures, especially the world of drag. Before moving to Baltimore, he worked for MAC cosmetics as a makeup artist in the boutique he managed on Philadelphia’s South Street, Trixie L’Amour. Here, he advised aspiring drag queens and female impersonators on makeup to match their wigs, stilettos and feather boas—or to clash with them, depending on personal taste. When Trixie L’Amour closed down three years ago, King continued to work for MAC another five years, then moved to Baltimore and trained in leatherwork as part of his internship at Chained Desires (the boutique has an on-site custom workshop where harnesses, saddles and bustiers are made-to-measure).

The store also sells costumes, whips, shoes, gags and what King describes as “high-end inflatables.” “It’s the only store of its kind in the city”, he informs me, proudly. “And Mount Vernon is the gayborhood. Sure, there are other adult stores that sell novelties, like Sugar in Hampden, but this is the only store that specializes in real custom leatherwork.”

The leather workshop is a hangover from the store’s previous identity. Eight years ago, the space that now houses Chained Desires was home to the Leather Underground, a venue that catered more specifically to gay men. Chained Desires, on the other hand, has a more diverse clientele: straight, gay, queer and trans. “We sell everything that’s needed for bondage, scene play, pony play, you name it” said King. “We have harnesses, bits and bridles, and all alterations are done free of charge on-site.” What kind of costumes is he asked to create? “Anything you can imagine,” he laughs. “Recently I had a special request from a stripper who wanted a squirrel tail made from fake fur. Not just a little thing, either—I mean, she wanted a gigantic tail, proportionate to her body, that plugged into her b(ottom).”

Behind the shop counter in his Read Street basement, King gets the chance to meet a fascinating cross-section of Baltimore’s residents. “My customers are doctors, lawyers, Hopkins professors, as well as just regular people,” he tells me. “A city court judge comes in here a lot, and a private chef.” Their common denominator is an interest in BDSM (bondage, domination, submission and masochism). “The doms and subs have an interesting dynamic,” said King. “The doms will come in and choose what they want, and the subs will pay for it. Under the counter, we keep a Gift Registry especially for doms, with a wish list of all the things they want. Then when they feel like it, they’ll send their subs in to buy them something special from the list. Sometimes they’ll get here in wrist or leg manacles. That can make it difficult coming down the front steps. Sometimes I have to go and help them out.”

Since he’s started working there, King feels, Chained Desires has taken on the shape of his own quirky personality. He oversees two assistants, both female, who, like himself, are relaxed and outgoing—a vital attribute, since those visiting the store for the first time can be nervous and tongue-tied. King likes them anyway. “I love working with all the different people that come in, helping regular customers find the special things they want,” he says. “I also like helping new people, those who’ve never tried anything like this before. I like suggesting new things for them, helping them to experiment and broaden their tastes a little.” Are there any drawbacks to the job? “Not really. Sometimes people just drop in looking for a novelty toy for a bridal shower or something like that, and I have to explain to them we’re not an adult toy store, we’re a fetish boutique. Then there are people who just come in to try things on and don’t want to buy anything. That can be a little annoying.”

What’s his favorite thing about his job? “Everything,” says King. “I love it here. I’m a pervert!”

Grand Prix Sponsor Launches $1.5 Million Offering

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By Brian Wolak

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Racing Development has made a new $1.5 million offering to existing members, raising $423,000 from eight investors to date.

The sponsor of the well-received Baltimore Grand Prix – the three-day event featuring IndyCar and Le Mans style street races – took in $1.83 million from its former $2.75 million offering.

Grand Prix CEO Jay Davidson is named in a regulatory filing along with Walker Mygatt, managing director at Constellation Energy David Rather, owner of Mother’s Federal Hill Grille; Peter Collier, former deputy director of the city’s parking; Kenneth Banks, developer; Jerry Gottlieb, organizer; and William White. Read more at citybizlist.com.

Can You Say President O’Malley?

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While the Democratic Party devotes its immediate attention to re-electing President Barack Obama in 2012, the Dems also are engaged in long-term strategizing regarding potential presidential candidates for the 2016 race. How else to explain the marquee positioning (see photo) of a beaming Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley during Obama’s recent $447 billion jobs initiative speech before a joint session of Congress. You can bet that MOM’s spotlighted placement directly behind First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden did not occur randomly.

Even before the 2010 midterm election that heralded the wholesale repudiation of Democrats in Congress, governors’ mansions, and state legislatures nationwide, Dem Party apparatchiks openly bandied around O’Malley’s name as a post-Obama presidential possibility. That election merely served to burnish his golden-boy status. Not only did O’Malley emerge as one of the Democrats’ few 2010 winners, he trounced his Republican opponent, former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich, by 14 percentage points.

Young (now 48), conventionally handsome, and just a hair left-of-center politically, with an attractive wife and a brood of wholesome-looking kids, O’Malley possesses a peck of the attributes that Democrats cherish in a White House hopeful. Already, he commanded national media coverage and party prestige as chair of the Democratic Governors Association – his ascent to that post seemed carefully choreographed – and now comes his gilded televised moment within hugging distance of Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden. Expect continued high-visibility sightings in the ensuing years leading up to the 2016 campaign. Could MOM be Dems’ anointed one?

Big Fish Q&A with Baltimore Novelist Laura Lippman

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Laura Lippman knows “The Streets of Baltimore,” to cop the title of the mournful 1960s country song. She knows them from growing up/attending grade school here, from reporting about them at The Sun, and from walking/driving/shopping them as a longtime resident.

That municipal intimacy flows through Lippman’s 11 best-selling Tess Monaghan mystery novels, as her fictional detective makes pit stops at Jimmy’s and Bertha’s (Fell’s Point), the Helmand and Penn Station (midtown), the Domino Sugar sign and Cross St. Market (South Baltimore), and Video Americain and Eddie’s (Roland Park), among dozens and dozens of other local name-checks. The city also plays a role in some of her six non-Tess crime fiction novels, particularly the just published The Most Dangerous Thing, set in Dickeyville, Lippman’s girlhood West Baltimore neighborhood — not forgetting her 2009 short-story collection Hardly Knew Her and 2006’s Baltimore Noir, a collection by local authors, including Lippman, which she edited. That output has resulted in Lippman winning the Edgar, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, the Gumshoe, and the Barry writing awards, which, collectively, sound like the crime fiction prize equivalent of the Seven Dwarves.

Lippman’s DNA brims with books and journalism: Her mother, Madeline, worked as a city school librarian, while her father, Theo Jr., made his rep as a respected Sun editorial writer. After graduating from Columbia’s Wilde Lake High School, Lippman earned a journalism degree from Northwestern University in 1981, and then wrote for newspapers in Waco and San Antonio before joining The Sun in 1989. Starting with Baltimore Blues in 1997, she knocked out seven Tess Monaghan novels while working full-time at the newspaper, which she left in 2001 to concentrate on fiction.

Now 52, she lives in South Federal Hill with her husband, David Simon – a former Sun reporter, author (Homicide, The Corner), and creator of TV’s “Homicide,” “The Wire,” and “Treme” – and their toddler daughter.

One last thing: Don’t conflate Lippman with Monaghan, even though both are ex-newspaperwomen. “The relationship is more like Patty and Cathy on the old ‘Patty Duke Show,’” Lippman explains on her website. “I’m Cathy, the cultured one who has traveled widely, while Tess has only seen the sights a girl can see from O’Donnell Heights.”

Sum up your life philosophy in one sentence.

Maybe I should really stop brooding so much.

When did you define your most important goals, and what are they?

Goals are a work in progress. Fifteen years ago, I wanted to be a full-time novelist. Ten years ago, I wanted to be a New York Times bestseller. Now, I want to be a really good parent — who still works full-time as a novelist.

 

What is the best advice you ever got that you followed?
 
Start your second book now. (This was from my mentor, Michele Slung, who had read a manuscript of my first novel. The result was that I had almost finished my second novel by the time I sold the first.)

 

The worst advice, and did you follow it? Or how did you muffle it?
 
I never ask for advice unless I really want it, in which case I find it’s almost always valuable, even if I decide not to follow it. So the worst advice had to be unsolicited, which means I tuned it out.

 

What are the three most surprising truths you’ve discovered in your lifetime?

1) Nobody really notices or cares what I wear.

2) You can’t expect anyone else to value your time.

3) Almost no one has a good memory, and the people who are insistent that they have great memories probably have the worst memories of all.

What is the best moment of the day? 

Morning. The first part, which I have all to myself, but also the ensuing hour in which everyone else in the house begins waking up.

What is on your bedside table?

I don’t really have one, so there’s a pile of books on the floor. For a while, my bedside table was a pile of art books.

 

What is your favorite local charity?

Four-way tie: Viva House, Health Care for the Homeless, Greyhound Pets of America-MD chapter, and the Enoch Pratt.

 

What advice would you give a young person who aspires to do what you are doing?

Focus on writing, not publishing.

 

Why are you successful?

I never claim to be, but to the extent that I am, it’s because I’m enormously lucky. But also because I did the work. Because all the luck in the world won’t help you if you haven’t done anything. Nobody knocks on your door and says, “Hey, I’m from the sweepstakes that wants to publish the novel you’ve yet to write.”
 
Of which of your books are you most proud? Why? And why do you think that some literary fiction readers — and writers — cop a condescending attitude toward the mystery genre?

I’m proud of every book I’ve written, although the reasons vary. I’m proud I managed to write the first one, win a big prize for the second one, that I tackled the issue of race in the third one — so on and so forth. Mainly, I’m proud that I’ve written almost two million words of fiction in less than two decades.

As for the condescending attitude — it just comes from unfamiliarity, as does much bigotry.
 
You grew up in Dickeyville, live in South Federal Hill, reported on Baltimore for The Sun, and have written about the city repeatedly as a novelist. By now, you must possess a strong sense of the citizenry’s psyche and idiosyncrasies. Cite Baltimoreans’ most endearing general characteristic — and their most unappealing one.

I love the fact that true Baltimoreans don’t look outside the city for validation — don’t care how it’s done/said/worn in New York or D.C.

I worry that our nostalgia allows us not to confront some of the ugliness in our past and that we can be incurious about newcomers.  
 
Are you aware of the fact that your name qualifies you to be an officially sanctioned Superman love interest, as in Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris, Luma Lynai, et al.? How does this make you feel?

Very aware! And very proud. I used to play at being Lois Lane when I was very small. Then one day it occurred to me that she spent a lot of time bound and gagged, waiting for Superman, and I decided I’d rather be Supergirl.

Potential Under Armour Buyout

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The world’s leading footwear designer, Nike (NKE), has been rumored by the London Times to be reviewing an acquisition ofUnder Armour (UA). Nike currently has over $4.5B in cash with $663B in debt while the enterprise value of Under Armour is currently trading at $3.6B, or a pricey 22.8x EBITDA.

Since September 15 of last year, UA has gone up 88.6% and has strong growth prospects. Consensus estimates for EPS growth for the possible target are 34.3% to $1.80 in 2011 and 25.6% and 28.3% for the following two years. Read the rest of the story at Citybizlist.

Four Seasons Hotel to Boost Baltimore’s Scene-Esteem

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You know how the story goes, Baltimore. The news gets out that an expensive, chic store, hotel or restaurant is coming to town. It’s a place we could take our fancy Manhattanite friends without having to pull out the defensive “Baltimore has such an underestimated artscene” spiel. The buzz is loud because we are luxury-starved and ready to gorge. And then, just as we are all revved up, our collective lack of confidence kicks in. “It will never make it in Baltimore,” we say, and the self-fulfilling prophecy is soon fulfilled.

Theories abound about why something upscale won’t work here. “New Baltimore money spends in D.C.”  some say. Then there’s, “Old Baltimore money just doesn’t spend.” The fears are not altogether irrational, after all, many luxury stores and restaurants have failed here. Back in the ‘90s, acclaimed chef Michel Richard couldn’t find an audience for his high-end restaurant Citronelle, and there was once a Saks at the Owings Mills Mall for heaven’s sake!  

So it was no surprise when, after the economic downturn of 2008, plans to build the much anticipated Four Seasons hotel in Harbor East came to a halt. The skeptics thought it would never happen, then word came that construction had resumed and the hotel was on track to open in 2011. Would it be a dumbed-down version of the venerable brand? 

Clearly this is not the most important problem facing our city. Hell, it doesn’t even make the list.  But are we to be the town with bad taste forever? Haven’t we evolved? John Waters be damned, we like Heirloom tomatoes and Hermes too!

The reality is Baltimore has changed. While some may be reluctant to see it, one savvy real estate development company seems clued in to the change. H & S Properties has developed Harbor East to satisfy the demand for a more refined urban experience. I have liked most of its efforts. (Did you know that you can get drunk while watching a movie at the Landmark?) But I’ve sometimes doubted its ability to really “bring-it.”  It seemed to fall just short of the mark. So when I had the opportunity to tour the almost completed Baltimore Four Seasons (due to open in November), I had preconceived notions of my own. I expected it would be perfectly adequate. I mean it is the Four Seasons, so I knew it wasn’t going to suck, but I thought it was going to be more of a business hotel that rested on its name, a place where secretaries could confidently book bosses without much homework: nice hotel, great conference rooms, comfortable beds, done. 

I was wrong.

The Four Seasons pulls out all stops. Baltimore, we have arrived.

Despite its location in the center of Harbor East, the hotel is discreetly tucked away, owing to its snug home on the water’s edge. Once inside I realized its International Drive address is the primo spot on the entire harbor and the hotel’s architects have wisely ensured spectacular views throughout. The docked boats look charming, the buildings sleek, and the beloved Domino Sugar sign glows graphic and hip. (H&S owes a special thanks to the Ritz Carlton for the view.) It’s a welcome new iteration of Baltimore.

The building has a total of 42 floors. The hotel, and its 256 rooms, will occupy the first 18 and residences, as yet to be completed, will make up the rest. Although the lobby was still in progress during my tour, I got the vibe that things were going to be very minimalist, using quality materials. Think loads of ivory marble with greige accents — a subtle backdrop for the bright art collection from the “Washington Color School” that will decorate the common areas.  

Judith Dumrauf, director of marketing and our guide that day, explained that the owners (the Four Seasons is just a management company) had exceeded the required spend per square foot of the contract with the Four Seasons and it is evident. The halls and rooms, by San Francisco-based interior design firm BraytonHughes, are dark and swank with attention to detail: sparkling wall panels, gleaming walnut doors and contemporary light fixtures “exclusively designed” for the Baltimore Four Seasons (so don’t be thinking you can get them at West Elm, kids). The rooms feel large (the smallest is just over 500 square feet) and are all designed with a shielded entryway/dressing area plus a place to stow luggage out of sight, a feature most appreciated since I find seeing my husband’s dirty laundry spilling out of his duffel can turn any hotel room very motel. The light, neutral decor is elegant and stylish: mod with just enough creamy luxe to round out the edges, avoiding that “operating room modern” look that so many hotels seem to exude. And of course the view becomes an omnipresent design feature, staring at you through the floor to ceiling glass.

The indoor meeting and function spaces were not the most interesting part of the tour for me. The conference rooms seemed suitably powerful and had the cool effect of making you feel like you were suspended over the harbor. The ballrooms were all done up in taupe shantung panels and dark wood that made the 5,300 square foot hall feel warm and rich. It was when I was shown the outdoor function space that I started planning my daughter’s wedding — she is six. (The wedding business will be a boon to the Four Seasons — Dumrauf tells us ten weddings are already booked.) More on that later.

The dining areas were the most “unconstructed” part of the hotel when I visited, but I got a sense of the space and general direction they were headed. The two-time James Beard Award winner Michael Mina is the concept man behind all three of the hotel’s restaurants which are all fairly casual. First there is Pabu, a Japanese restaurant that is described as an “updated Izakaya-style restaurant that inspires guests to drink and eat casually from the small plate, sushi and robata menus.” It will be open for dinner only. Its extensive cocktail list and repertoire of 100-plus sakes make me think the space will function as the hotel’s primary bar. Next up is Wit & Wisdom, which will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Described as a “tavern,” Wit & Wisdom will feature a live fire grill and a large outdoor patio that looks out on the marina. The menu will focus on “comfort food with Eastern Seaboard sensibilities.” On the tour, there was talk of a huge hand-hammered copper bell that would serve as the visual centerpiece for Wit & Wisdom. I picture a cozy, yummy, fire-lit vibe. Love it. Finally there is LAMILL COFFEE which is a take on the European cafe with counter service and communal tables. Perhaps a much needed casual lunch spot for Harbor East working stiffs? Interestingly, all the restaurant spaces were somewhat open to one another which I think will create a bustling vibe. It all takes full advantage of the waterfront position, which is appropriate. Haven’t we all had that awkward moment when a houseguest expectantly suggests eating on the water and we then have to explain that there is really no great place to do that? Problem solved.

Okay, so let’s get to the superlative stuff, the bells and whistles, the stuff that made me feel like this was less of a Four Seasons hotel and more of a Four Seasons resort.

My dear friends, on the fourth floor there is a spa, a jaw-dropping, transporting, other-worldly spa.  Find men’s and women’s tea lounges, saunas, relaxation rooms and soaking tubs, in addition to 11 treatment rooms. There is also a fitness center if you care for that sort of thing. Everything is well-appointed with finishes as rich looking as any I have ever seen. This is a place where giving into indulgence would feel worth it. This is also a place that will separate me from my money at Warp speed. Of course the success will depend greatly on the talent of the technicians, but the place itself is exquisite.

On the fourth floor, the show-stopper of the tour: a chic rooftop deck with a pool and surrounding bar. I know that sounds like some cheesy Sandal’s ad from the ‘90s but just go with me here: Imagine an infinity pool, alluring but minimal, maybe even a little understated, stone outdoor fireplaces, all kinds of comfy lounge spots and a see-and-be-seen-type of vibe. A canopy would have probably been a smart move (don’t they know Baltimore summers?), but it’s an easy addition once they realize how much more business they’ll get with one.

It all reads so fun and sexy. It almost looked like our cityscape was green-screened behind some trendy Miami hotel, make it Saint Tropez, and yet I was in Baltimore. My Baltimore. I was getting giddy.

The bar will serve some light food and cocktails — I can’t imagine this is not being a huge hit with downtown singles. There was some talk of a private club option on the horizon, which made me wonder what kind of crowd the place will attract. Business women and men? Professional athletes? Valley types? The Four Seasons would do well to think that through. It will probably dictate the long-term success of the bar. 

So Baltimore, what does all of this mean for us? They have built it. Will we come?  I call shotgun and I don’t want to hear any trash talk on the drive downtown.

 

Homeless Dog Becomes Drug-Sniffing Super Hero!

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This dog’s life sounds like a screenplay pitch: Homeless pup becomes professional drug-sniffing canine! Or: From homeless and hopeless to Humane Society resident to Maryland Division of Correction dog-in-training.

Fade in: Last Friday afternoon — rain coming down. Bruiser, a one-year-old labrador-pit-bull mix leapt and barked and feasted and snoozed and leapt some more at Humane Society headquarters. His brother Teardrop having been adopted first, easily, Bruiser wondered if his extra extroverted personality might not be too much for the typical rescuer to abide. Rain got worse, yet it was this steamy gray Friday, last Friday, when Bruiser was happily adopted by the Maryland Division of Correction Canine Unit. From here, bright, high-energy, 75-pound Bruiser will not only have a warm home with an active routine and kind, familiar faces, he’ll have a job to perform, perfectly suited to his ultra-active, highly inquisitive nature. The unit meanwhile earns a smart sniffer.

In act two, Bruiser’s set to enter a 10-week program, the Narcotic Detection Dog Academy. Many shelter dogs have come through this program with flying (or wagging) colors, according to Captain Mark Flynn of the Correction Canine Unit. According the the Humane Society press release, Flynn’s own backyard dog is a unit retiree, who spent years in service until he started suffering from hip dysplasia. 

“We like to take our dogs from shelters,” Flynn said in the release. “First, it saves lives.  Second, it saves the state a lot of money. It cost us thousands of dollars for one dog from a breeder. A labrador, for instance, can cost between $1500 to $3000 – and that’s untrained. If the dog is pre-trained by a breeder it can cost the state $6000!”

Upon graduation from the academy, Bruiser and his human partner will patrol statewide detecting drug odors and halting contraband from entering the state prison system.  Bruiser’s sniffing gift will enable him to identify a wide range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, and ecstasy. That’s act three. But Bruiser’s so cute, and eager to please, we’re already hoping for a sequel.

MICA Student Runs for City Council (Not as Performance Art)

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We all like to see someone who deserves success get it. An art school senior, De’Von Brown is the first MICA student to run for a district seat on the Baltimore City Council. We’re assuming he’s got a killer creative portfolio, he’s also Governor Martin O’Malley’s endorsement. Over the last year, we’ve seen Brown’s adventures played out in the local media: his story of returning to the States from the inspirational Baraka School in Kenya; his graduation from the Academy for College and Career Exploration in Hampden. Now we watch with great interest as his journey takes him (possibly) toward the 12th district seat. Brown is a video and film arts major. I say let’s vote for him today! You can’t deny “Member of the Baltimore City Council” will look damn good on his visual-art-centric resume when he graduates.

Keep Your Shoes On, Baltimore! TSA to Cancel Stinky Rule

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Probably the most time-consuming/embarrassing part of passing through TSA is shoe-removal. Not only is the unlacing inefficient when you’re nearly late for boarding, it’s not the most hygienic-feeling step, especially when the guy in front of you forgot his socks, and his Odor Eaters. A shoe-removal-frustrated friend who wished to remain anonymous said, “Can we talk about how gross it is to see complete strangers’ feet? Or having that handsome stranger help you with your bags and then… Ugh! Off come the shoes and there’s your bunion like a sixth finger pointing at him and grossing him out! And how about never wearing boots or high heels or any shoe other than a flip-flop or slip-on on an airplane? That’s fun.”

Agreed. Soon, though, seems we’ll be able to skip the foot-baring burden, striding from home to airport to window seat without so much as loosening double-knots, thanks to better technology in the works–according to a Politico post this week. At a “Playbook Breakfast” forum at the Newseum, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Politico White House Correspondent Mike Allen, “We are moving towards an intelligence and risk-based approach to how we screen. I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on. One of the last things you will [see] is the reduction or limitation on liquids.”

No details released about the new scanning technology to make our stilettos and sneakers safer, or any real hints regarding when we can start keeping our shoes on. So, keep your shirts on, travelers, be patient and polite about pulling your wingtips off, and trust that in coming months–or possible several years–your TSA walk will move at a quicker, cushioned clip.

Citybizlist Rewards Launches in Baltimore

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In this day and age, it would be hard to find an internet user who doesn’t belong to a group deal site.  Most people belong to several; it’s easy to be lured in by their promises of grandeur and their seemingly insider info. We join because the concept is great and the potential deals are so tempting.  And yet, once you’ve joined, you realize that the deals are rarely applicable to you.  Yes, 50% off laser hair removal sounds great, but the drive back from York, PA sounds like it would be unpleasant.  Sure, that 50% off a bushel of crabs sounds nice, until you realize it’s only valid from November 30-January 30.  And, frankly, if we were going to skydive, we wouldn’t want to do it on the cheap.

Thankfully, an alternative to the woes of “horizontal” deals is coming to Baltimore.

Citybizlist, a site dedicated to bringing relevant local business news to business owners, executives, and professionals, is launching Citybizlist Rewards, a program that will offer deals their targeted demographic actually wants to use.

Edwin Warfield, CEO of Citybizlist, wrote in the launch email that the launch is “a tremendous step forward for readers and advertisers….Our fast-growing audience has demonstrated a passion for the quality business and financial content curated by our editorial team, and we believe they’ll be similarly excited by the deals we’re finding for them.” 

Warfield touches on a key point: the relationship between reader and advertiser is key in group sites.  With horizontal group sites, companies know that so many readers will see their offer and at least some of them will likely be interested.  The risk always looms that the deal won’t work.  Citybizlist solves this problem by offering relevant companies a pipeline to their target audience, and in doing so, offers its readers deals they actually want to use.  It’s a symbiotic relationship. 

“We’re offering a limited number of advertisers the chance to put their business in front of a very high profile audience of business executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals. We will be offering real rewards for our readers that you don’t see anywhere else; our philsophy is ‘you’ve worked hard, you’ve earned it, now enjoy yourself,’” says Warfield. 

Best of all, the program is launching in Baltimore, with additional cities to follow over the next year.  This month’s deals will include an overnight stay at The Inn at Black Olive in Fells Point, Custom-tailored suits by Victor Pascal, Easton’s Promise B&B, and more.  

The uncertain market for deal programs (local daily deals have had only modest success in Baltimore so far and Groupon is reevaluating the wisdom of preparing for its IPO), the new twist of Citybizlist Rewards could be just what we need.  Are you ready to make a deal?

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