Mission & History
The Laurel Board of Trade, Inc. is a local non-profit membership organization that has been bringing together Laurel merchants since the early 1960s. When it was first founded, The Laurel Board of Trade was known as The Main Street Merchants Association, and it represented small business owners throughout the Main Street and Laurel area. Over the years, the need for a bigger organization that worked with all Laurel businesses developed. The Board of Directors expanded membership to include all Laurel small businesses, and The Main Street Merchants Association became The Laurel Board of Trade.
The Laurel Board of Trade today includes over 100 small business members including retail merchants, restaurant owners and professional and B2B service providers. We work in direct partnership with the City of Laurel, Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland to help our local merchants work towards the common goal of keeping Laurel a hub of commerce.
Mission & Purpose Statements
- To create and promote better understanding and open relationships among the business community, citizens and government agencies and to help facilitate the interchange of business concerns, issues and potential solutions.
- To help local businesses, the City of Laurel and other government agencies in the interchange of business concerns, issues and potential solutions.
- To promote pride, esteem and self-respect in the Laurel Business community and to encourage and promote business, civic and community involvement in these areas to promote educational, civic, patriotic and social work in the community.
Join The Laurel Board of Trade
Over the years, our basic mission has not changed; to help members be their best through connections to knowledge, ideas, relationships with other small businesses in the area and educating the community on the importance of buying local and supporting your local small businesses.
We aim to provide programs to meet the business and professional needs of our members and contribute to the success of our small business community. We are in constant contact with our local officials and congressional delegates to ensure that the concerns of our members are heard. We take commitment to the quality of life within the Laurel area very seriously. By mixing small business and pleasure in many of its events, LBOT is involved in community improvement, civic support and public education as part of its business mission.
Board of Directors
In 2005 he joined his wife’s long-time profession and helped purchase an Insurance Agency here in Laurel where his wife worked for 18 years. John served as the company Accountant, IT, facilities and HR manager and performs home inspections for some of the older homes they insure. Running a small business you have to learn to do many different duties. Having sold the business in 2019 we are now employees of the new company. Having taken additional courses in the Certified Financial Planning curriculum, John has a passion for responsible fiscal principles, practices and effective company operations. He is married to Ginger, his wife and business partner of almost 39 years and has resided in Laurel since 1985. John has (3) incredible adult children living in the Washington/Baltimore area including (2) daughters and (1) son as well as (3) grandchildren.
Her hobbies include gardening, reading and going to fun places with her 2 grandsons, Josh and Nick. Jan was born and raised in Baltimore but also lived in upstate New York, Lexington, KY and West Chester, PA before moving back to Maryland in 1969. She attended the University of Kentucky.
Jim has held many volunteer positions including nine years as the elected Section Manager for the 3300 members of our National Association for Amateur Radio for the Maryland-DC Section; circulation manager and now vice president of the Baltimore County Genealogical Society; Coordinator of Main Street Festival parade and other city oriented parades; President of the PG Herb Society; Board of Directors of Ivy Hill Cemetery. Since Katrina he has gone to Mississippi and New Orleans each year to help repair and build homes with church groups and with Habitat for Humanity. He is currently the Chairman of the Laurel Board of Trade.
So yes, I am a lawyer, but I practice for three reasons: to love, to serve and to care. If you can get those three things right in any occupation you have, then everyone else wins. That’s the goal. And after all isn’t that what life is all about?
As the former President of The Parkville Carney Business Association, Inc. (PCBA), I had the privilege to help plan some of the larger community events, such as the Parkville Towne Center Fair and the Spring Concert Series. You can often find my wife and children tagging along at community events. My toddler had the honor of being my “judicial assistant” at her first Main Street Pup Crawl Costume Contest in 2013. My votes may have been swayed by her opinion.
In 2018, I was honored to be certified as a life member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The Million Dollar Advocates Forum is recognized as one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million-dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. The organization was founded in 1993 and there are approximately 3,000 members located throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
In 2021, I won Clio’s first ever Legal Impact Award! This is an international award that recognizes law firms making an impact in their local community.
Prior to establishing Pinder Plotkin, I spent two years investigating financial crimes and four years representing corporate clients. I am a former business law professor at Howard Community College and a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Stephen D. Gerling of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of New York..
Jody is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant and the sole owner of Social Tailwaggers, LLC, whose mission is to assist her clients in understanding there is a better way to work with their dogs to create a fun, loving, and humane bond with each other. She teaches group classes at the Knights of Pythias building and through Laurel Parks & Recreation. She also provides one-on-one/family in-home training.
Jody is a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, The Pet Professional Guild, and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Approved Evaluator and a Family Paws Parent Educator. In 2016 she became a member of the Laurel Board of Trade, and became a board member in 2019.
154 Lafayette Avenue, Unit K
Laurel, Maryland 20707
I have been sewing since I was seven and participated in a lot of amateur theater since high school. In 1998 I officially began “my sewing business” working from a home studio. Like so many others, I turned my hobbies into a business creating costumes for theater, creating custom wedding gowns and performing alterations.
As requests from clients became more complicated, I realized my self-taught skills weren’t enough to achieve the level of quality I wanted to maintain…so…I went back to college for another degree, this time in Fashion Design. I didn’t finish the degree program but I did take all the technical classes in the program and that was the goal.
My business kept growing, I added staff, we moved to a larger location. I was very involved in the business community. Because of our reputation and skill level we were asked to work on some really interesting projects. Working with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene I developed a safety jacket for a patient. We brought NIST comic book characters to life as part of their educational outreach program. We’ve created hundreds of costumes for the White House Historical Association for their educational programs. I created costumes for the Raven’s Mascot Poe (and Edgar and Allen). An intense and long-distance project was creating 400 costumes for Sight and Sound Theater’s production of Moses.
There are so many more “brag” projects but the real joy, the every day feeling of helping someone comes from encouraging my clients to feel confident and beautiful in the garments we create or alter for them. When a client stands in front of our mirrors and their face lights up and they say “I feel beautiful” I know I have done my job.
Mr. Leszcz came to Maryland in 1958, when his father (USAF) was assigned to the U.S. 2nd Army at Fort George G. Meade. Mr. Leszcz attended Maryland public schools. He graduated in 1964, from Arundel Senior High School in Anne Arundel County. Mr. Leszcz served two years in the U.S. Coast Guard in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a Weather High Endurance Cutter. Mr. Leszcz attended St. John’s University, Canal Zone College and Delaware State University, returning to Laurel in 1969. Mr. Leszcz was most recently employed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington DC, on a full-time collateral assignment as National President of the Professional Managers Association. Mr. Leszcz retired from the IRS in 2020, after 45+ years of service. Mr. Leszcz is married to the former Mary Eileen Morgans and they have three adult children; Michael (Heather), Katie (Eric), and Marianne (Brent). Mr. Leszcz is the proud grandfather of Aiden Michael McKnight.
Prior to serving as Mayor and on the City Council, Mr. Leszcz was a member of the City of Laurel Planning Commission for seventeen years, serving as its Chairman for eight years. During his tenure on the Laurel City Council, Mr. Leszcz has served several times on the Maryland Municipal League’s Convention Planning Committee and the League’s Legislative Committee. In 2004, Mr. Leszcz was appointed to the National League of Cities Transportation and Infrastructure Advocacy Committee (TIS) and served through 2010. He was reappointed to the TIS in 2013, where he currently serves. In 2005, Mr. Leszcz was appointed by Governor Ehrlich and reappointed in 2007 and 2013, by Governor O’Malley to the Patuxent River Commission where he currently serves as its Chair. In 2009, Mr. Leszcz was appointed to the Maryland Business Tax Reform Commission which issued its final report to Governor O’Malley in December 2010. In 2004, Mr. Leszcz was elected to the Board of Directors of the Prince George’s County Municipal Association and served for nine years. In addition, Mr. Leszcz recently served on the Board of Directors for the Laurel Regional Hospital Foundation, and also the Board of Directors of the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund (FEEA).
Mr. Leszcz is a member of St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church and the Laurel Board of Trade and is a Life Member of the American Legion Laurel Post #60, the National Eagle Scout Association, and the Laurel Historical Society.
Together with her husband, she has two wonderful sons. She gains her strength and motivation through her faith.
She and her husband own 1-800 Water Damage of Laurel. The company is a national emergency restoration franchise that provides 24/7 emergency services to residential and commercial properties. They specialize in emergency water mitigation, mold remediation, fire and smoke, and Sewage clean up. The company is also part of the national Hurricane emergency response to disaster-stricken zones.
Ronnie Clark and the mother of two children, Ashley and Tyler.
The eldest sibling, she is a natural leader who challenges herself to meet obstacles head on and to tackle each hurdle one by one.
The Montgomery County native determined to use her creative talents and business ingenuity to serve others early in her career as an HR Manager and as a lead project manager. And then later, she furthered her reach and assisted individual clients as a certified life and career coach.
Tabitha’s commitment to forward movement and service has pushed her to pursue an MBA, MLS and Ph. D in Management and to open her flagship coffee shop, More than Java Café, on Main Street in Laurel in June 2015. The café reflects Tabitha’s easy nature as it has quickly become the definitive neighborhood coffee house for creatives, professionals, and community leaders alike. Some say her skilled baking hands keep the crowds coming back again and again, while others ponder her impeccable taste in selecting the finest roasted coffees. Either way, all would agree that her warm smile, easy demeanor, and commitment to customer satisfaction has made More than Java Café a community staple.
Though as a successful business owner, along with the support of her family, Tabitha has surpassed many milestones, it appears that she is just warming up. She is putting the finished her first writing project, (Speak to Me) due to launch in 2022 and she has plans to create and facilitate a seminar series aimed at supporting young ladies continue in their academic and social development.
Tabitha Clark is a public speaker, author, entrepreneur, and student of life. One can only imagine the great heights she will reach in her lifetime!
Carla Conway was raised in Hyattsville, Maryland and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising Design from the University of Maryland. She has worked in the graphic design industry for over 35 years. She is the Creative Director/owner of Uncommon Design, LLC, a full-service graphic design studio specializing in logo and corporate identity work. She prides herself in taking the time to understand what your business is all about, who her customers are and what’s unique about the services they offer. She creates impactful design solutions that will break through the clutter and help you stand out.
She has been married to her husband, John for 35 years, and has resided in Laurel since 1992. Carla has two incredible adult children, Megan and Ryan who also live in Laurel.