Client Spotlight

Mobtown Fermentation (Wild Kombucha)

In 2015, three friends started making a family kombucha recipe in a small room in a juice shop and selling it locally. Demand for the fermented drink was so great that they moved into a production facility in Baltimore County; when they outgrew that space, support from BBL helped Mobtown Fermentation move into a 13,000 square foot warehouse in Northwest Baltimore. Today, Mobtown Fermentation produces 10,000 bottles of kombucha and yerba mate per week. The drinks can be purchased in six states and Washington, D.C. in stores such as Giant, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and MOM’s Organic Market.

BCL-Mobtown-Fermentation Video

KWJW Distributors

While attending Morgan State University, Kevin Antoine was a manager at the largest East Coast facility of a national truck rental company. This experience provided him with the industry knowledge to start his own freight trucking company, KWJW Distributors, with support from BBL. As KWJW began fulfilling more and more contracts, Antoine realized the company needed to buy its own trucks rather than relying on rental trucks, and BBL was able to help. As KWJW continues to thrive, Antoine is pursuing an MBA at St. Mary’s University and gives back to his alma mater Morgan State as a peer coordinator mentor.

BCL-KWJW-Distributors Video

Lightning Electric

Lightning Electric is an MBE that provides a variety of low and high voltage electrical services to homeowners and real estate investors. Owner and Master Electrician Sekwan Merritt founded the business in 2017 with a mission to create economic opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals and at-risk youth living in Baltimore by teaching them job skills through employment. When Lightning Electric started experiencing a tremendous uptick in contracts in 2019, a loan from BBL allowed the business to obtain materials and cover payroll expenses to fulfill the contracts.

BCL-Lightning Electric-Video

Blank Slate Development

Established in 2015 by Alex Aaron, this MBE development and construction company specializes in revitalizing vacant historic properties and stabilizing distressed neighborhoods. The firm is committed to promoting economic development while preserving the existing community. Since 2016, Blank Slate has leveraged financing from BCL to develop and sell $2.7MM across Baltimore City neighborhoods including Broadway East, Greenmount West, Hollins Market, Oliver, Reservoir Hill, Roland Park, and Seton Hill.

Keller Professional Services

This staffing and management firm was established in 1997 by Debra Keller-Greene, a three-time recipient of the top 100 MBE Award, winner of the 2016 Mayor’s Woman-Owned Business Enterprise of the Year award, and Board Chair for the Greater Baltimore Black Chamber of Commerce. The firm specializes in workforce development and human resource consulting through subcontracting on statewide contracts. Support from BBL helped Keller Professional Services hire more staff and expand its subcontracting opportunities.

Benson Watch

This fashion accessory company was founded in 2016 by Barry Benson, who discovered his passion after receiving his first watch from his mother when he was seven years old. Benson worked hard to make this passion his lifework, quitting his job as a consultant to start Benson Watch Company in 2015. After Benson’s initial line of watches sold out, support from BBL allowed the company to purchase additional inventory. Watches and bracelets can be found on Benson Watch’s website, at, and at MGM International Resorts.

Baltimore Impact Properties

Martha Chapman, John Chapman, and Patrick Hudson, owners of Baltimore Impact Properties, renovate vacant properties in Baltimore City primarily for single family home development. They target neighborhoods offering potential opportunity of leveraging community and employer support such as Southwest Baltimore where the University of Maryland and Southwest Partnership are actively supporting development. Although Baltimore Impact Properties struggled to find funding elsewhere, BCL provided the funding needed to acquire and rehabilitate homes in low to moderate income neighborhoods.