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Partner Announced

SALISBURY – PKS Investment Advisors LLC, is pleased to announce that Gigi G. LeKites, CFP, CRPC, has been admitted as a partner with the firm.

Gigi LeKites

Her admission is a direct result of her continued commitment to client service, business acumen and technical proficiency.

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Dan O’Connell, managing partner of PKS, is proud to have LeKites join the partner team.

“It’s a privilege to recognize Gigi on this important and well-deserved career milestone,” O’Connell said. “She’s an invaluable member of our firm, consistently providing exceptional service to our clients and sharing her knowledge and experience with our team. We look forward to continuing to work with Gigi as she takes on these expanded leadership roles at the firm.”

With more than 20 years of professional experience, Gigi is a certified financial planner professional through the CFP Board of Standards, a chartered retirement planning counselor through the College for Financial Planning and a graduate of Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Arts concentrating in economics.

As an advisor with PKS Investment Advisors, LeKites facilitates comprehensive retirement planning for all stages of life comprised of a prudent approach while remaining consistent with the needs, goals and recourses set forth by the client.

In addition, LeKites specializes in 401(k) planning for businesses to ensure companies offer the most appropriate retirement plans for their employees. She holds a FINRA series 65 securities license and insurance licenses in life and health.

LeKites is active in the community, serving on the AGH Foundation and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s Women United Committee. She resides in Bishopville with her husband Todd and has two children, Coleen and Sam.


Workers Unionize

SALISBURY – Workers at the South Salisbury Starbucks in Salisbury, Md., have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to unionize with Starbucks Workers United.

The Salisbury partners (employees) are joining a nationwide movement of hundreds of stores and over 7,000 baristas organizing for better working conditions.

Workers sent a letter to Starbucks Interim CEO Howard Schultz to announce their organizing campaign. In the letter, workers explained that they are organizing as “partners want to be treated like people” but the company has overemphasized profits at the expense of its employees.

“We have been organizing for some time now, it’s been a bit tough and nerve wrecking,” said Brianna Hurst, a barista with Starbucks since June of last year. “In the end, I’ll feel so relieved with all the support the Union has provided for us. We are excited to have this be set and stone. I can’t wait to finalize this election. The union won’t be just best for us partners, it’ll be best for the store too.”

Starbucks has launched a ruthless union-busting campaign that includes firing nearly 200 union leaders across the country and shuttering union stores.

The NLRB has issued 60 official complaints against the company, encompassing over 1,200 violations of federal labor law.

Starbucks Workers United is the union drive that has taken the labor movement by storm, with more new unions formed in 12 months than any U.S. company in the last 20 years. There are now over 270 Starbucks stores in 36 states that have successfully unionized and over 315 stores that have filed for union elections.


New Location

MILLSBORO – CFS, Inc. (Comprehensive Financial Solutions) has announced a second branch office in Millsboro, Del.

With recent growth over the past five years, CFS decided to restructure to enhance its service to clients, continuance of growth, and invest in the professional development of those looking to enter the finance industry.

With the main office in Salisbury, Md., CFS will open its second branch office in Millsboro, Del. Their new office will be located at 28485 Dupont Blvd., Bldg. 2, Millsboro, Del.

The firm chose Millsboro as a second location because of its growth and the town’s business-friendly mindset. With renovations underway, the Millsboro office is set to open early spring.

“The Town of Millsboro is excited to welcome Comprehensive Financial Solutions to Millsboro,” said Town Manager Jamie Burk. “We appreciate their investment into the town and considering Millboro for expansion.”

President JD Schroen added, “To say we are excited about the growth we’ve seen would be an understatement. We have had key new hires over the past six years who have been instrumental in our firm’s growth, culture and vision. In addition to what our founders started over 35 years ago and what our new hires have brought to the firm, I cannot wait to see what the next 35 years bring to our team and clients!”

CFS provides personalized solutions to its clients across Delmarva and throughout the United States, including financial planning, small business retirement plans, tax, insurance, and wealth management.

Church is a lifelong Worcester County, Md., resident and business owner. As a real estate broker with Bud Church Realty, he has consistently been in the top 1% of both commercial and residential sales over the last several years.

He has personally completed the sales of many historic properties, located in Worcester County.

Church is a graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and holds a degree in government and finance from East Carolina University.

In the community, Church and his family have spent many years of active participation in local youth sports. They have contributed in many ways, to the local community and look forward to continuing that tradition for many more years to come.

Reid Tingle, president and CEO of Bank of Ocean City commented, “I would like to personally welcome Ken to the Board of Directors for Bank of Ocean City. His knowledge of the local real estate market, business experience and commitment to our community continues the tradition of BOC directors being part of the fabric of the communities we serve.”

Bank of Ocean City is a locally owned, independent community bank. Established in 1916 and headquartered in West Ocean City, the bank has five offices: two in Ocean City; one in Ocean Pines; one in Berlin; and one in Fenwick Island, Del.

Look for our sixth office in Selbyville opening this spring.

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How to Use the 5 Senses — Plus a Secret 6th One — to Catapult Your Brand Experience

mortar presence. Without a strong and consistent brand experience, it would be difficult to attract customers. So what are the individual building blocks of brand experience?

Let’s zoom out for a moment to consider what “experience” actually means. We humans “experience” life through our five senses. Right. Duh. But here’s the catch: Many brands fail to capitalize on all five.

As someone curating the physical experience of your brand, you can more powerfully impact customers by appealing to all five of their senses in your brand strategy. This multi-sensory approach to brand marketing and brand execution is referred to as “sensory branding.”

Let’s take a tour of the five senses from a branding perspective, and look at some ways that brands can expand their use of sensory branding in their brick-and-mortar locations which are, in truth, their theaters of brand experience.

Related: In the Age of Sensory Overload, How Can Brands Define Their Identity?,

Of all the senses, sight gets the most press, but typically the spotlight shines on imagery and iconography. The golden arches of McDonald’s. The green silhouette of the Starbucks mermaid. The kind visage of Colonel Sanders on a bucket of KFC fried chicken. These icons are so indelibly linked to these brands that they’ve permeated our collective imagination.

Let’s instead open up the hood and peek at the color psychology that turns this engine. Just as soft lighting or harsh lighting can drastically alter the mood of a room, colors set the tempo of a branded environment.

The ubiquitous presence of yellow in McDonald’s branding conjures notions of sunshine, warmth and joy, making you think of childhood and smiley faces. The green of Starbucks and Whole Foods suggests robust health and a oneness with nature.

Recommendation: Use color theory to your advantage. Understand what feelings your brand intends to evoke, then deploy colors in your environments like secret agents, tasked with covertly pacing the moods and emotions of yor

The sense of smell — the “emotional sense” — travels a unique pathway into the human brain which connects it deeply to memory. Brands that are successfully married to pleasant scents within their customers’ memories have an added layer of seductive ability.

Consider Abercrombie & Fitch. The garments that fill its stores are drenched in its signature fragrances, creating powerful associations between these fierce, outdoorsy scents and the brand, as well as the lifestyle that’s suggested by the brand.

Upon your escape from the Abercrombie store in the mall, you may be subsequently lured by another powerful scent emanating from Cinnabon. The aroma of cinnamon just happens to be associated with warmth, comfort and perhaps guilty pleasure.

Fitness brands — to be certain — lack this kind of natural olfactory advantage, but there are preemptive measures that can be taken to offset this. For example, a scent diffuser can be employed to pump the energizing smell of eucalyptus into a gym or the relaxing scent of lavender into a spa.

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Want to sound smarter at work? Avoid these 10 pretentious phrases

We all want to seem smart and confident in the workplace, especially when talking to a colleague or boss. But sometimes, the office jargon we use to sound intelligent can come across as showy and annoying.

One in five professionals say they dislike corporate jargon, according to the e-learning platform Preply, which surveyed 1,551 Americans working in-office or remotely. What’s more, the use of business jargon can even be off-putting on a job posting, with 70% of respondents saying seeing it in a job description influences their decision to apply and 20% of professionals saying that jargon in a job description is a red flag.

John Bowe, a public speaking expert, says that professionals can speak with greater impact by avoiding office lingo and other terms which aim to make themselves sound smart.

“The single biggest driver of bad public speaking is the desire to seem smart,” he tells CNBC Make It. “When you make yourself harder to understand, you’re making your listener’s mind work harder. Use simpler words and you’ll have greater impact.”

According to Bowe, here are 10 “puffery” words and phrases to avoid in the workplace.

These phrases can seem pretentious because they aren’t clear and concise — they dance around the real message a professional is trying to get across and can sometimes be misinterpreted.

Take “at this point in time” for example: Bowe says the extra words in this phrase draw attention away from your point. Instead, professionals should opt for brief and straight to the point words, such as “now” or “currently.”

“When time is money, extra words aren’t kind or pleasing — they’re distracting. Nothing shows respect like clarity,” Bowe said in a CNBC Make It article. “Don’t beat around the bush. People will appreciate you more when you say what you have to say.”

Phrases like “30,000 foot view” and “out of pocket” can also be confusing, according to Bowe.

″[Saying] ‘I’ll be out of pocket next week’ instead of saying ‘I’m unavailable’” can be puzzling, he explains. “My understanding is out of pocket is used to refer to expenses that you pay outside of your expense account.”

Ultimately, Bowe says using simple and easy-to-understand jargon will take you much further when it comes to sounding smart at work.

“There’s a great quote from Confucius about clever talk. And he said, basically, smart people don’t indulge in clever talk. They just are brief and to the point.

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Wholesale prices rose 0.7% in January, more than expected, fueling inflation increase

Inflation rebounded in January at the wholesale level, as producer prices rose more than expected to start the year, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The producer price index, a measure of what raw goods fetch on the open market, rose 0.7% for the month, the biggest increase since June. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a rise of 0.4% after a decline of 0.2% in December.

Excluding food and energy, the core PPI increased 0.5%, compared with expectations for a 0.3% increase. Core excluding trade services climbed 0.6%, against the estimate for a 0.2% rise.

On a 12-month basis, headline PPI increased 6%, still elevated but well off its 11.6% peak in March 2022.

Markets fell following the release, with futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average down about 200 points.

While the PPI isn’t as closely followed as some other inflation metrics, it can be a leading indicator as it measures the first price producers get on the open market.

The PPI increase coincided with a 0.5% jump in the January consumer price index, which measures the prices consumers pay for goods and services. Together, the metrics show that while inflation appeared to be subsiding as 2022 came to a close, it started the year off with a pop.

Economists are attributing the January inflation increase primarily to some seasonal factors as well as payback from previous months that showed more muted price rises. An unseasonably warm winter may have played some part as well, while fuel prices, which are volatile, also jumped during the month.

A report Wednesday showed that consumer spending more than kept pace with inflation, as retail sales increased 3% for the month and were up 6.4% from a year ago.

In other economic data Thursday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims edged lower to 194,000, a decline of 1,000 and below the Dow Jones estimate for 200,000. Also, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index for February plunged to -24.3, well below the -7.8 estimate.

Fed policymakers are focusing intently on inflation, so the January numbers are unlikely to sway them from their stance that while progress is being made, no letup is likely.

“My expectation is that we will see a meaningful improvement in inflation this year and further improvement over the following year, with inflation reaching our 2% goal in 2025,” Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said in a speech Thursday morning. “But my outlook is contingent on appropriate monetary policy.”

Markets expect the Fed to increase interest rates a few more times this year, according to CME Group data, with the final, or “terminal,” rate ending around a range of 5.25%-5.5%, from its current 4.5%-4.75%.

The PPI increase came amid a 5% rise in energy costs but a 1% decline in food. The final demand index for goods climbed 1.2%, the biggest one-month increase since June. About one-third of that rise came from a 6.2% increase in the gasoline index.

The services index rose 0.4%, pushed by a 0.6% increase in prices for final demand services less trade, transportation and warehousing. Another big factor came from a 1.4% increase in the index for hospital outpatient care.

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