Looking to join a gym? Need a salon to try out a new hairstyle? What about a place to upgrade your home furniture?
The Best of Howard County can help. More than 53,000 votes were cast in this year’s readers’ poll, culling a list of the 75 top people to know, places to go and things to do.
Profiles by Mike Klingaman, Edward Lee and Mary Carole McCauley
Editor’s note: Winners and honorable mentions were determined by popular vote. Readers were invited to nominate and vote online in August and September.
Food & drink
Beer, wine and/or liquor store: Pine Orchard Liquors
The Perfect Pour
The Wine Bin
Caterer: Putting on the Ritz
Farmers market/stand: Jenny’s Market
Frank’s Produce & Greenhouses
Baugher’s Fruits & Vegetables
Clark’s Farm Stand
Health food/supplement store: David’s Natural Market
Sprouts Farmers Market
My Organic Market
Place to buy seafood: Today’s Catch
10451 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia. 410-730-6600. facebook.com/TodaysCatchWildeLake/
Jim Miller is awake and on the phone at 3:30 a.m. five times a week hunting top-quality seafood for Today’s Catch, which he and his brother, Bill, have run together since 1985. As the operation’s primary buyer and general manager, Jim Miller said he and his brother have high standards for seafood. “We’re very picky,” he said. “I like to say — and I really do mean this — I won’t present anything for sale that I wouldn’t take home to have myself.”
Miller said he usually buys seafood from three wholesalers in Jessup and Elkridge, loads them in his truck and returns to the store in the Wilde Lake neighborhood to cut and prepare them for sale. Miller said he has accommodated special requests. “I’m not particularly concerned about price,” he said. “My customers over the years have become accustomed to nothing but the best. So that’s what I give them.”
Health & wellness
Alternative wellness center: Morrison Chiropractic
Haven on the Lake
Audiologist/hearing repair: The Kaplan Hearing Center
Diana Wagner, Audiology First
Chiropractor: Morrison Chiropractic
Howard County Chiropractic
Dr Larry Plotkin, Elkridge Chiropractic Center
Elkridge Chiropractic Center
Day spa: Mason & Friends Salon
The Pearl Spa
The Spa at Turf Valley
The Face Place
Dental practice: Roschella & Zinger Dental Group
Columbia Smiles Family Dentistry
Dobbin Dental Suite
Howard County Smiles
Eye care: Physicians Eye Care Center
Wilmer Eye Institute
Columbia Family Eye Care
Medispa: Doctor K MediSpa
Between the Lines Medispa
Medical Skin Therapeutics
Bolus Med Spa
OB/GYN: Capital Women’s Care
Saint Agnes Medical Group: Women’s OB/GYN Group
Jeri Shuster, M.D., P.A, and Women’s Center Inc.
Orthodontist: OX Orthodontix
Dr. Victoria M. Switzer, Ellicott City Orthodontics
Baltimore Orthodontic Group
Pediatric practice: Dr. Zaneb Beams, Johns Hopkins Medicine
10794 Hickory Ridge Road, Columbia. 443-832-9260.
Her name can befuddle young patients who swear by Dr. Zaneb Beams, a Columbia pediatrician. To them, she is simply “Dr. Z” or maybe “Dr. Beans.”
“I roll with it,” says Beams, whose familial style, medical savvy and accessibility have made her a favorite in Central Maryland. Call her after hours and you get her cellphone; send a text and her response can be swift.
“It’s important to be available, so that young parents don’t go to Google and get [a wrong diagnosis],” says Beams, 47, of Ellicott City.
A mother of four, she’ll speak directly to her “kiddos,” as she calls her clients, because “it’s viscerally apparent to me how much young people aren’t listened to.” The welcoming vibe in her office is genuine, says Beams, whose parents emigrated from Pakistan.
“I come from a culture that values hospitality where, if someone comes to your house, you are focused 100 percent on their comfort and well-being,” she says. “I aim for that in my office because, frankly, I spend more time there than at home.”
Howard County Pediatrics
Kenneth K. Klebanow and Associates
The Pediatric Center
Physical therapist: Performance Physical Therapy and Sports
Revive Physical Therapy
Howard County Physical Therapy
Plastic surgeon: Dr. William Kanter, Kanter Plastic Surgery
Dr. Eric Chang, Columbia Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Dr. Brian Lee, Maryland Oculoplastic Surgery
Therapist/counselor: Anchor Counseling Centers
Stanton Psychotherapy (tie)
Together Couples Counseling (tie)
National Family Resiliency Center
Dr. Greenberger, Collaborative Counseling Center
Urgent care: Patient First, Columbia
Ouch! Urgent Care
Righttime Medical Care
Veterinary practice: Countryside Veterinary Clinic
Triadelphia Veterinary Clinic
Cat and Dog Hospital of Columbia
Flooring and carpeting: Bode Floors
A Plus Carpet and Flooring
Vertical Connection Carpet One Floor & Home
Garden center/nursery: Frank’s Produce and Greenhouses
6686 Old Waterloo Road, Elkridge. 410-799-4566. franksproducegreenhouses.com.
On a recent fall day at Frank’s Produce and Greenhouses in Elkridge, the red peppers were as eye-catching as the chrysanthemums. There were cauliflowers the size of the average human brain and ghostly white pumpkins that practically begged to be carved into the shape of a skull.
That’s why this open-air market, selling produce and flowers grown in eight greenhouses sprawling over 34,000 square feet, has been a hit with customers since it opened in 1975.
Frank’s is open daily from April through December. In addition to the produce that the staff grows, the market sells locally sourced honey, cheeses, jellies, eggs and meats.
“We’re a family-run business” said Taylor Rhodes, Frank’s manager. “We’re constantly doing our best to improve and expand our offerings and to keep our prices low.”
Lauren’s Garden Service & Native Plant Nursery
Heating/air conditioning repair: Environmental Systems Associates
Ron Air Heating & Air Conditioning
ASC Heating & Air
Homebuilder: Columbia Builders
Kogut Architects LLC
Housecleaners: The Neat Nest Maids
Good Life Custom Cleaners
Sara’s Cleaning Service
Home Sweet Home Cleaning
Landscaper: Sun Nurseries
Absolute Landscape & Turf Services Inc.
Lauren’s Garden Service & Native Plant Nursery
Plumber: Ken Griffin Plumbing Services Inc.
Ehrhardt Brothers Quality Plumbing Inc.
JA Smith & Co.
Zepp Plumbing & Heating
Real estate agent: Bob Lucido, Bob Lucido Team of Keller Williams
Dalia Bracy, The Wendy Slaughter Team of Elevate Real Estate Brokerage
Maria Weaver, Re/max Advantage Realty
Donna Weaver, The Wendy Slaughter Team of Elevate Real Estate Brokerage
Remodeler: Bill’s Handyman & Home Improvement LLC
Senior housing community: The Lutheran Village at Miller’s Grant
Kenwood Care Glen Hill
Winter Growth Howard Center
Heartlands Senior Living Village at Ellicott City
Out & about
Annual festival/event: Howard County Fair
Wine in the Woods
Columbia Festival of the Arts
Columbia Lakefront Summer Festival
Art gallery: HorseSpirit Arts Gallery
Columbia Art Center
Board & Brush Creative Studio, Columbia
Kids’ activities: Clark’s Elioak Farm
Howard County Parks and Recreation
Howard County Fair
Howard County Conservancy
Performing arts group: Columbia Orchestra
When the COVID-19 pandemic descended on Maryland in March, the Columbia Orchestra had approximately 11,000 reasons to figure out how to keep the music coming.
That’s roughly how many audience members each year attend concerts put on by the community orchestra founded in 1977.
“When it became impossible to perform live, the Orchestra pivoted quickly to make our past performances and some new material available online for people who were quarantining at home and eager for music to lift their spirits,” executive director Katherine Keefe wrote in an email.
In September, the orchestra performed its first in-person concert in seven months for a small, socially distanced audience — Camille Saint-Saens' “Carnival of the Animals” with performers from Dance Connections.
The orchestra, composed of 80 to 100 musicians, is known for juxtaposing historic masterpieces with compositions by new voices outside the traditional canon. When the musicians can return to the concert hall, they’ll begin rehearsing a flute concerto that the orchestra commissioned from Morgan State University composer James Lee III, which was inspired by Native American stories.
David Bach Trio
Special event venue: Merriweather Post Pavilion
Howard County Conservancy
The Great Room at Historic Savage Mill
Volunteer organization: Columbia Community Care
Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center
Success in Style
Ellicott City Volunteer Fire Department
Accountant: Dembo Jones
A & B Solutions
Bowman and Company LLC
Jennifer Perlin CPA
Auto repair: British American Auto Care
Hillmuth Certified Automotive
Bank/credit union: APL Federal Credit Union
Tower Federal Credit Union
Barbershop: Floyd’s 99 Barbershop
9050 Baltimore National Pike, Suite 102, Ellicott City. 410-313-8420. floydsbarbershop.com.
The walls are plastered with posters of rock stars from the Beatles to Beyoncé. Music plays nonstop, blaring out Stevie Wonder one minute and Taylor Swift the next. Clearly, this is a barbershop where people can let their hair down.
“Our atmosphere is fun, welcoming and high energy,” says Lisa Campbell, manager of Floyd’s 99, one in a national chain named for the folksy small-town barber on “The Andy Griffifth Show” in the early 1960s. The resemblance ends there.
Regulars come here for $26 haircuts, beard trims, skin fades and (before the pandemic) a 14-step shave using hot towels and cocoa butter. While face masks are now required, stylists neatly work around them in the 12-chair shop that seems to rock around the clock.
Besides the loud decor, customers create lasting bonds with their barbers.
“We’re not just stylists; we’re therapists,” the manager says. “People walk in off the street and tell us their whole life story, then come back next time and give us updates.”
In that way, at least, Floyd’s mirrors its namesake.
Columbia Barber Shop
Sal’s Barber Shop
Rob’s Barber Shop
Child care: Bet Yeladim Preschool
Kid’s Time Out
Kiddie Academy of Ellicott City
Okinawan Karate Dojo
Computer repair: Hackers Ink
ScottE Software Development
Computer Installations Highland
Doggie day care: Camp Bow Wow
Pinkie’s Play Place
The Coventry School for Dogs and Their People
Family lawyer: Mulinazzi Law Office
Weinberg & Schwartz LLC
Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny
Financial adviser: Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors
Michael D. Heigh Jr., Edward Jones
Geier Asset Management (tie)
Michael Havlik, Tide Creek Financial Group (tie)
Florist: Wilhide’s Unique Flowers & Gifts
The Flower Basket Ltd.
Clarksville Flower Station
Interior decorator/designer: LS Interior Design Group
Bonnie Leyh, Interior Stylings LLC
Natalie Jobity, Elan Image Management
Pet groomer: K-9 Design
The Dog Wash
Pinkie’s Play Place
Salon: Mason & Friends Salon
Gloss Hair Studio
Travel agent: Magical Vacation Planner by Christina Lepre
Blog: Scott E’s Blog
HoCo Progress Report
Just in Weather, Justin Berk
The Merriweather Post
Clergyperson: The Rev. Paige Getty, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia
Dr. David Anderson, Bridgeway Community Church
The Rev. Gerald Bowen, St. John’s Catholic Church
Monsignor Joseph Luca, St. Louis Church
Elected official: County Executive Calvin Ball
Gov. Larry Hogan
Christina Delmont-Small, Howard County Board of Education
State Del. Vanessa Atterbeary
Pandemic Public Hero: Columbia Community Care
Personal Trainer: Chris Miller, MaxxFit Sports Performance
6120 Shaded Leaf Court, Columbia. 443-864-7236. maxxfitsportsperformance.com
Despite shuttering MaxxFit Sports Performance on Aug. 28, Chris Miller and co-coaches Jill Fininzio and Tre Aikens have continued to train 30 clients — mostly high school and college athletes — in a gym in the garage of his home in Columbia. And 12 more are on a waitlist.
Miller tailors exercise regimens for his clients, concentrating on explosive power for athletes and flexibility for others looking to lose weight or build strength. “For the everyday client, my philosophy is to get up and move,” the 1989 Oakland Mills graduate said. “As we start to age, it’s all about moving and getting that person to function more freely. So as we age, we don’t want to be stiff and have arthritis kick in and so forth. So for me, I want to get you moving and get you feeling good internally, mentally, physically. That’s huge.”
Bonnie Pace, Columbia Association
Campanaro Strength & Conditioning
Dennis Albright, Performance Private Training
Police officer: Chief Lisa Myers
Principal: Marcy Leonard, Wilde Lake High School
David Burton, Glenelg High School
Nancy Thompson, Talbott Springs Elementary School
Edward Cosentino, Clemens Crossing Elementary School
CrossFit box: CrossFit ReVamped
Dance lessons: Dance Connections
B Funk dance studio
Kinetics Dance Theatre
Golf course: Hobbit’s Glen Golf Course
The Timbers at Troy
Waverly Woods Golf Course
Gym: Miss FIT
8225 Main St., Ellicott City. 410-461-8225. missfitstrong.com.
Here, amid the barbells, benches and bicycles, the mantra is a simple one: We empower women. Women learn to power up from head to toe. Fitness is as much a state of mind as it is of matter, says gym owner Shelley Sharkey:
"We tell them, ‘Love who you are in your skin right now and your possibilities are endless.’ "
Group workouts are the rule at Miss FIT, where members embrace a sense of community from 10 instructors and are welcomed by their peers from the start. One doesn’t feel judged in this gym, which opened in 2013 and has withstood a flood, which forced it to move last year, and the pandemic to cater to mask-wearing clients from 18 to 80 years old. How popular are classes? One starts at 5:15 a.m.
More often than not, members leave sessions self-assured, says Sharkey, 38 and a mother of two:
“A woman comes here, conquers physical challenges and walks out the door with her head held higher and a smile on her face, ready to take on whatever life throws at her.”
Columbia Gym, Clarksville
Fitness Together, Ellicott City
Martial arts classes: Okinawan Karate Dojo
Klotz Institute of Karate
Maryland Jeet Kune Do
Krav Maga Maryland
Music lessons: Mike’s Music
Damon Foreman Music Academy
Red Bridge Studios
Pool for kids: Forest Hill Swim & Tennis Club
Hammond Park Pool
North Saint John’s Swim & Tennis Club
Watermont Swim Club
Yoga studio: The Yoga Center of Columbia
Haven on the Lake
Yoga Love Clarksville
Antique shop: The Antique Center at Historic Savage Mill
Caplan’s Auction & Appraisal Company
Retropolitan Fine Antiques and Vintage
Bike shop: Race Pace Bicycles
Bookstore: Barnes & Noble
Books With a Past
Second Edition Books
Bridal shop: Cherie Amour
Car dealership: Apple Ford
Jim Coleman Honda
Clothing boutique: Sweet Elizabeth Jane
Lee Andersen Art Clothing Boutique
Consignment/resale shop: 2nd Ave Value Store
Success in Style
Once Upon a Child
Furniture store: Shoemaker Country
8334 Main St., Ellicott City. 410-461-5552. shoemakercountry.net.
Tailor-made wood furniture is their forte. There’s little that Shoemaker Country can’t make for their clients, who treasure the craftsmanship of this family-owned shop. For 19 years, Tom and Susan Shoemaker (and their sons, Michael and John) have been turning out handmade tables, entertainment cabinets and kitchen islands made of walnut, cherry and maple, despite recurring floods that have forced them to twice move their store.
“There’s a need for custom-made furniture, and we seem to fill it,” Michael Shoemaker says. “When someone brought in a sentimental piece of wood from a fallen tree that their grandfather had planted, we sat down to brainstorm ideas and came up with something cool.” It became a wine rack.
“We have the flexibility to make a lot of one-offs,” says Shoemaker. “People are tired of buying mass-produced stuff. They want something more tailored to their needs.”
Jeweler: Everett Designers of Fine Jewelry
St. John’s Jewelers
Howard County Times: Top stories
Sergio’s Fine Jewelers
HorseSpirit Arts Gallery
Pet supplies store: PetSmart
My Pet Store and More
Clipper’s Canine Cafe