The brass rail gets a face lift

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This past weekend hilltop graphics installed three new sets of channel letters at the brass rail in callaway, md. Stop in have a beer and check out the new signs!

November Banner Sale

Our banner sale back in July and August was such a great hit and help out so many of our customers – we are going to do it again !  During the month of November – say you saw this ad here on our website and receive your custom banner for $4.75 per square foot.  In order to receive this special discount, you must provide your own artwork/design/graphics.  If we design your banner – the cost will be our regular price of $6.50 a square foot.

In The News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 05, 2007

Leading Edge Awards Celebrate Southern Maryland’s Individuals, Businesses Who Spur Growth in Region

The Small Business Development Center awarded the 2007 Leading Edge Award of Small Business of the Year to Hilltop Graphics during ceremonies June 20. “We’ll do whatever it takes, together” are the words engraved on a locket Tom Davis, left, gave his wife, Carol Davis,right, almost 14 years ago. Their dreams became reality last year when they moved their company, Hilltop Graphics, from their home to a storefront in downtown Leonardtown. Hilltop Graphics is more than a printing company, providing design work and creativity that transforms customers’ promotional needs into works of art and delivering visual masterpieces. As their business continues to grow and expand, this couple also maintains a customer service outlook that is based in a strong attachment to the community.

Company working to scale mountain of business success

Friday, June 15, 2007

By Carrie Lovejoy
Staff Writer


Photo by Carrie Lovejoy of Southern MD News

Carol Davis is the owner of Hilltop Graphics in Leonardtown, which has been named the 2007 Small Business of the Year. The Leading Edge Awards ceremony will be at 6 p.m. on June 20 at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center in Waldorf.

Carol Davis has some great support.She has people she can count on to help her with her business, fill in extra hours and work on some of the systems she uses.

And the best thing about it: they live right in her own house.

Davis said her two children, 17-year-old Michael and 14-year-old Emily, can be counted on to do all sorts of work at Hilltop Graphics. And her husband, Tom, has been behind her since she first started the business in their home and now that Hilltop is in a storefront in downtown Leonardtown.

This month, the business is being honored by the College of Southern Maryland Small Business Development Center as a winner of a Leading Edge Award. Hilltop is the 2007 Small Business of the Year.

Linda Craven, a counselor for the Small Business Development Center at CSM, said she nominated Hilltop for the award. Craven said she has been impressed because the business has kept on top of technology and continued to serve clients no matter what they ask for.

‘‘They’re a well-rounded business,” Craven said. ‘‘They’ve continuously expanded their capabilities. They don’t limit themselves, yet they haven’t overextended themselves.”

Davis said she became interested in the printing business, more or less, in middle school, when she was a photographer for the school’s yearbook. Tom was a photographer for the newspaper, and the two of them started working together then.

After graduation, Davis worked for the federal government for 13 years, and then left and went to work for a contractor. That move is probably what eventually brought her to her own business, she said, because if she had stayed with the government, she might not have been motivated to work for herself.

‘‘We got out of school, got jobs, got married,” she said. ‘‘Before you know it, you’re not necessarily doing everything that you want to do.”

Davis worked for a contractor who did graphic design and was lucky to have a mentor willing to share his knowledge of design. Later, she took another contracting job but was not satisfied just working to fix computer problems — she wanted to keep designing.

Davis and her husband started doing wedding invitations in their home and then expanded to larger projects. They bought more equipment as their client base grew, and by 2002 had to add 1,100 square feet to their Clements home to house the business. In 2003, Davis quit working outside Hilltop altogether and started printing full time.

Eventually, though, even that was not enough.

The Davises acquired the property in downtown Leonardtown in January 2006 and opened for business that April.

And now, they have again run out of room.

Davis hopes for even more expansion in their location in the next few months, although nothing is final.

The current shop’s front section offers dozens, if not hundreds, of items that can be used to display photographs. There are clocks, ceramic tiles, lampshades and of course the usual mouse pads and coffee cups.

‘‘If we can get it digitally, we can put it on just about anything,” Davis said.

Take a few steps into the back end of the store and there are enormous printers that can make storefront banners and laminate them. Davis can print banners in vinyl, canvas and flag material.

On a recent afternoon, Davis’ son Michael was working on a large vinyl banner advertising a concert. The banner included a photograph of the singer and colorful graphics and lettering.

Davis said when she is not in school, Emily works in the store, doing clerical duties and working on various projects. Davis said Emily likes to arrange the display window at the front of the store, showing her creative side. Emily has won awards for her artwork, and Davis said the 14-year-old is interested in photography and painting.

Michael graduated from high school in May and plans to attend the College of Southern Maryland while living at home and working at the store.

Davis said she thinks the experience has been good, although trying at times, for her family. ‘‘They’ve put up with a lot,” she said.

E-mail Carrie Lovejoy at c lovejoy@somdnews.com .

Chamber honors those who ‘understand the importance of giving back’

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

By Carrie Lovejoy
Staff Writer

Photo by Enterprise photographer Reid Silverman

Local businesses were honored at the fifth annual Business Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce. Standing from left are Scott and Karin Raley of Innovative Technical Consulting and Tom and Carol Davis of Hilltop Graphics. Seated from left are Karen Garner of Research and Engineering Development , Phil Riehl, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, and John K. Parlett Jr. of CMI General Contractors Inc.

Karen Garner had no idea when she and her partner started their business that it would be so successful. In fact, she seems quite casual about the whole thing.Garner and her partner, Art Weaver, started Research and Engineering Development Inc. in 1998 after they retired from the federal government. Last week, the company was honored along with four others by the St. Mary’s Chamber of Commerce during the fifth annual Business Awards Luncheon.

RED received the Lighthouse Award for large businesses. The Beacon Award for small business was given to Hilltop Graphics. The Emerging Business Award was given to Innovative Technical Consulting LLC and the Community Service Award was given to CMI General Contractors.

Garner’s business has grown from herself and her partner to a current 56 employees. A recent government contract will bring the business up to nearly 100 employees in the next few months.

‘‘It’s fun,” Garner said. ‘‘It really is still fun to get up and go to work in the morning.”

She said managing so many employees is a challenge, but that’s one of the things she loves about her job.

‘‘It’s very much like raising a family,” she said. ‘‘They all have different needs and requirements. They’re all motivated by different things. Some are self-starters … and some need more guidance.”

Garner said her business is an industrial engineering firm and they do government contracts for aircraft and sometimes marine craft.

After receiving the award from the chamber, Garner said the recognition felt wonderful.

‘‘It puts you on cloud nine,” she said.

John K. Parlett is the president of CMI General Contractors and said he believes his business received the award because it has been involved in the community since its inception in 1974.

“We’ve been very blessed by this community and we feel we need to give something back,“ he said.

CMI was instrumental in starting Christmas in April in both St. Mary’s and Charles counties, and has had a hand in it since it began. CMI hosts an annual golf tournament that has raised thousands of dollars for Christmas in April over the years. The business also contributed materials, supplies, labor and cash to the Farm-Life Festival and acts as landlord for numerous nonprofits, including Alternatives for Youth and Families, Walden/Sierra and several more. Parlett said his business offers below-rate rent to the nonprofits and then sponsors those charities in other ways. He said CMI gives financial help to various other charities, like the Alzheimer’s Association, the Three Oaks Shelter and the American Cancer Society. He said he and his employees also serve with several civic organizations.

“We have a lot of folks that understand the importance of giving back,“ he said. He also serves on several boards and task forces in the community, “… and I still manage to eke out a living here.“

Scott Raley is the vice president of Innovative Technical Consulting LLC and said he has worked in the computer industry since 1993. He said he worked for a contract at Patuxent River Naval Air Station before he and his wife, Karin, who is also the owner of the business, incorporated their business in 2003.

Raley said over the years he has worked in various aspects of the information technology world, so he has been able to make the business what he called a “one-stop shop“ for people who need help with everything from computers to phone systems.

The company depends on advertising by word of mouth, but has been able to build a healthy client base just from that. Since 2003, the number of customers has tripled.

When it comes to winning the Emerging Business Award from the chamber, Raley said “It’s wonderful. It’ll be even more wonderful if more people call us.“

Also, winning the award made Scott and Karin Raley look at the last four years with open eyes.

“It made us realize what we’ve accomplished,“ he said.

Carol Davis started Hilltop Graphics in her home as a way to make money and still be at home with her children.

That part time money-making venture has turned into a full-time business complete with a Leonardtown storefront.

The business does everything from creating logos for small start-up businesses to printing enormous wraps for vehicles that want to loudly advertise their wares.

“We do a lot in marketing and branding,“ she said. Davis had a list of the printing equipment the business uses, from machines to make business cards to laser printers that can make five-foot-wide murals. There is even a machine to laminate those car wraps so the colors don’t fade.

Davis said she is able to put personal photos or names on “just about anything,“ but her favorite part of the business is working with small start-ups. She said sometimes new business owners have not yet decided on a logo. “We can help you develop your logo, and from there we do business cards and then on to vehicles,“ she said. “We try to help out businesses that are just starting out.“

E-mail Carrie Lovejoy at clovejoy@somdnews.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2007

Top Southern Maryland Businesses

Southern Maryland’s leading businesses and executives will be honored at the seventh Leading Edge Awards ceremony, June 20. The annual event brings together government leaders, corporate executives, business owners and technology experts who celebrate those individuals and businesses that spur economic growth within the region.

This year’s honorees will be celebrated for qualities that are synonymous with business success: performance excellence, innovation and an unwavering dedication to customers and staff.

“We have an exceptional slate of winners among this year’s Leading Edge Award recipients who exemplify the excellence of Southern Maryland’s business community,” said Alan Kutz, vice president of the Corporate and Community Training Institute at the College of Southern Maryland.

Co-hosting this year’s Leading Edge Awards with CSM are the Calvert County Department of Economic and Community Development, the Charles County Technology Council, the Patuxent Partnership, and the Small Business Development Center for the Southern Region of Maryland (SBDC).

This year’s CEO of the Year, presented by CSM’s Corporate Center, is R. Gore Bolton of Bolton & Associates, LLC, Southern Maryland’s largest civil engineering, land planning and surveying firm. Bolton will be recognized for his ability to transition from an innovator to a self-starter to a manager and, eventually, to a great motivator and leader. Rated as one of the 50 Best Places to Work among civil engineering firms in America, Bolton invests in career development and letting employees do what they do well and be accountable for it.

The Calvert County Department of Economic Development has selected GlassLock as Calvert County Technology Company of the Year. GlassLock specializes in customized window film and glazing options for blast, security and environmental protection. Scott Haddock started the company in 1994 with a patented Fragment Retention Window Film (FRF) used for controlling glass failure caused by bomb blasts, windstorms, earthquakes, spontaneous glass failure and forced entry. Serving a diverse client base from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to National Gallery of Art to Apple Computers, Inc, GlassLock is recognized for providing customers all the glory and panoramic view a window offers while maintaining safety and environmental protection.

The Charles County Technology Council’s award for Technology Company of the Year is MorganFranklin. Since inception seven years ago, MorganFranklin Corporation combines business and technology expertise to deliver a unique blend of professional services and IT solutions for business and government leaders navigating high-stakes financial, operational and IT challenges. With high-profile clients ranging from fortune 500 companies to the White House, MorganFranklin is listed on Washington Technology’s Fast 50 and SmartCEO’s Future 50. The company’s recent efforts to develop one of the most advanced mobile emergency communication solutions in the country exemplifies its broad experience helping business and government leaders navigate high-stakes challenges.

The Patuxent Partnership has selected Research and Engineering Development, Inc. (RED-INC) as the Patuxent Partnership Member Firm of the Year. Founded in 1998 by Karen Garner and Art Weaver, RED-INC provides research, development, testing and evaluation of military weapons systems, specifically cockpits and crew stations, as well as all the aircraft systems that support crew-systems interfaces. This woman and veteran–owned small business aligns human capabilities to optimize the total performance of technical systems. From psychological applications to industrial engineering, every aspect of human interaction needs to be considered for Naval war fighters because performance drives the mission. Starting from just a two-person team in 1998 and growing to a 56-employee organization today, RED-INC has a well-established reputation in the defense industry for leading edge innovative solutions, successful system and process engineering development, and business integrity.

Recipient of the CSM Partnership in Education Award is Community Bank of Tri-County. Founded in October 1950 with a mission to provide home financing for the community in Southern Maryland, Community Bank of Tri-County has become an integral part of the economic stability and progress of citizens and businesses throughout the area. This community bank is a philanthropic leader for many activities and groups. For CSM, the bank helped establish the Louis P. Jenkins Sr. Endowment Fund and is a generous sponsor of the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center, the Center for Business and Industry, the Leading Edge Awards and activities that support college athletic programs. Community Bank of Tri-County will also be honored as a true believer in education and training, providing management and supervisory training to many of its employees through the Corporate Center at CSM. Through this training and with the encouragement of the bank’s officers, its employees are known for the highest levels of customer service.

The Small Business Development Center awards the 2007 Small Business of the Year to Hilltop Graphics. “We’ll do whatever it takes, together” are the words engraved on a locket Tom Davis gave his wife, Carol Davis, almost 14 years ago. Their dreams became reality last year when they moved their company, Hilltop Graphics, from their home to a storefront in downtown Leonardtown. Hilltop Graphics is more than a printing company, providing design work and creativity that transforms customers’ promotional needs into works of art and delivering visual masterpieces. As their business continues to grow and expand, this couple also maintains a customer service outlook that is based in a strong attachment to the community.

Platinum sponsors for this year’s Leading Edge Awards are Comcast, Chaney Enterprises, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Mercantile Southern Maryland Bank and Southern Maryland Newspapers.

Gold sponsors are Civista Medical Center, Facchina Group, Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, The ShowPlace Arena and Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.

The Leading Edge Awards program will include a reception and banquet, 6 to 9:30 p.m., June 20, at the Greater Waldorf Jaycee Community Center, Waldorf. Keynote speaker is James Dinegar, president and CEO for the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

For ticket or sponsorship information, call 301-934-7655, 301-870-3008, ext. 7655 or visit http://www.corporatecenter.csmd.edu/

The College of Southern Maryland is a regionally accredited community college that provides programs and services with a special focus on local workforce development to maintain and grow a healthy economy and community. CSM is the 2006 recipient of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce Partner in Business Award. For information call 301-934-7766 or 301-870-3008, Ext. 7766 or visitwww.csmd.edu .

Library hits road to serve youngest patrons

Friday, March 2, 2007
By Jesse Yeatman
Staff Writer
Photo by Jesse Yeatman of Southern MD News
Carla Tomaszewski, a graphic artist from BAE Systems who works with the library, points to the new WoW! van that will travel to child care providers and other stops to promote early literacy. Kathleen Reif, director of St. Mary’s County Library, Jacqueline Mervine, Joseph Bush and Joan Marsh, library trustees, admire the new vehicle.

The library is taking its show on the road with a flashy new minivan intended to wow the kids.Thanks to a large grant the St. Mary’s Library was able to stock a van with reading materials to travel to child-care providers and other spots to help preschoolers prepare for kindergarten.

A local graphics design artist wrapped the van in an eye-catching design complete with the library’s new logo.

‘‘The kids all love it,” said Paige Painter-Boyer, the new Words on Wheels! (WoW!) coordinator. Painter-Boyer will work from the Lexington Park library, where the van will be kept, and will cover the entire county.

Painter-Boyer will visit 22 licensed child-care providers each month delivering books and materials.

‘‘We’re also visit different community stops along the way,” including churches, Three Oaks Center, St. Clement’s Family Center and other places, Painter-Boyer said.

Themed backpacks will be handed out during the visits to children ages 2 to 4. The next time the van stops the children return those and receive new backpacks with a different theme.

‘‘I’m really excited about the program,” she said.

St. Mary’s Library received a grant for nearly $52,000 to fund WoW!. The new service will allow the library to grow its literacy outreach by assisting child-care providers and parents of young children ready to read when they start school.

The federal grant comes from funds provided by the Library Services and Technology Act and was awarded to St. Mary’s by the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Library Development and Services.

The state education department reported that 44 percent of St. Mary’s County children are not ready in language and literacy when they enter kindergarten.

Some of these children will be the targets of the WoW! van to help improve their reading and language skills, Painter-Boyer said.

Stocking the van with reading materials was only part of the project.

Decorating the exterior to make it more exciting was a key factor in the program, and thanks to a donation by BAE Systems the library was able to hire a local graphic designer to complete the van.

‘‘I met with Marilyn [Nash, library publicity specialist] and Kathleen [Reif] to find out exactly what they wanted,” Carol Davis of Hilltop Graphics said.

After numerous drafts they settled on a design, which Davis printed on special vinyl and laminated to make it waterproof. Davis then applied the vinyl through a painstakingly slow process (about 14 hours).

‘‘It’s like applying a huge bumper sticker,” she said. ‘‘We went to a wrapping academy to learn how to do it.”

The decorations should last about five years before the weather will begin to take its toll; a garage-kept vehicle would last longer. The WoW! van was the first ‘‘full wrap” that Davis did; however, she also wrapped Joe St. Clair’s high-profile Humvee the decorated for his unsuccessful campaign for county commissioner, as well as the Chopticon High School marching band trailer.

‘‘The giggle factor is high on this one. You just stand there and giggle,” Davis said. ‘‘It makes you smile. It’s fun.”

‘‘It is exciting to be expanding our outreach services to more children with this research-based program,” Reif said. ‘‘It’s important for caregivers and parents to know how to help their children be ready to learn to read. With our new WoW! service, we will play a significant role in this process.”

E-mail Jesse Yeatman at jyeatman@somdnews.com .

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding our products or services, please contact us by calling or e-mailing us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.

23905 Mervell Dean Road
Hollywood, MD  20636
301-373-7878
hilltopsigns@gmail.com

About

Mike Davis

Mike, the oldest of Carol and Tom’s children, has been with Hilltop since the very beginning.  GrowMike Davising up in the trade has taught many valuable lessons and given Mike much insight.  In 2008 Mike came on board full-time and has taken on a large part of the day-to-day operations at Hilltop.  Pleasant, patient and dedicated to customer service, Mike is the “go-to” man for your signage needs.

Tom and Carol Davis

Carol and Tom Davis

With a over 25 years experience in photography, computer technology and graphic design, Carol and Tom Davis are prepared to make your design experience an enjoyable one.

Complimenting each on various aspects of customer needs and expectations, what Tom doesn’t cover Carol does. Make Hilltop Graphics your one stop shopping for all of your printing and design needs.


History
Tom and Carol Davis were first introduced by Karl Pence, the ICON newspaper sponsor at Chopticon High School in 1980. Tom was a photographer/reporter for the school newspaper and Carol was a photographer for the school yearbook. It didn’t take long to realize they had a lot in common. Dating throughout high school and thereafter, the two were married in April 1986. By 1993, they were the proud parents of Mike and Emily and knew they wanted a way for Carol to be able to work from home.

Through the guidance of Tom’s mom, Zora, and her husband, Harry (Owners of Kennesaw Graphics in Kennesaw, GA) Hilltop Graphics was born. Initially, as a printing brokerage offering wedding invitations, it didn’t take long for it to grow into much more.

Two thousand three marked the completion of a 1100 square foot addition to their home to accomodate the business and a letter of resignation to Carols full time job. After ten years of working a regular full time job during the day and concentrating on Hilltop in the evening, Carol quit the full time job and dedicated her efforts to building Hilltop. June 2005 marked the purchase of their largest piece of equipment… a 48 inch large format printer. This purchase made a major impact on production. In December 2005 it was obvious a retail area was needed. Displaying product from business to business from a cardboard box was no longer an option.

Ironically, a vacant space in Leonardtown became available – a little smaller than the home addition, it proved to be an ideal location to start. December 2005 marked the signing of a lease in Leonardtown and in April 2006 Carol and Tom celebrated their grand opening of Hilltop Graphics in a retail space.

Life in Leonardtown moved FAST. The business has grew and blossomed creativly and continued with every new idea that walked in. The year 2007  marked the awarding of The Beacon Award from the Chamber of Commerce and June celebrated the awarding of the Leading Edge Small Business of the Year from the College of Southern Maryland. In the spring of 2009 the business was moved to Hollywood, MD on Mervell Dean Road to a larger building, parking and more accessible to our customers.

Hilltop Graphics IS the extension of your imagination.