A responsibility to give back
Amie McCaslin knows firsthand what it is like to be down on your luck. The co-owner of Salt & Co. in Ocean City, Maryland, along with her husband Chris, has been operating retail stores since 2011 and lost two stores two years apart to major flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland.
It was after that second flood that the family decided they wanted a fresh start and moved to Ocean City, Maryland, where they already had a condo, to set up shop.
“And we found so much healing here on the beach like a lot of people do on the coast,” she says. “We rebranded our store and decided to call it Salt & Co. Salt is an essential element for healing, and we found so much healing here.”
“As a business you have to be involved in the community.
I feel like it is part of our responsibility.” — Amie McCaslin
Community outreach. Salt & Co. opened in 2021 offering clothing, gifts and jewelry. Even three hours away from their hometown of Ellicott City, the McCaslins found there were a lot of people in Ocean City who knew their story and sought out their store to show their support. “Because of that, we try so much to give back to the community,” says Amie.
In 2022 alone, the store gave back more than $24,000 to various local charities. In the spring and fall, Salt & Co. hosts a trade-in event where customers are encouraged to donate gently used items in exchange for 25% off their purchase. The last event resulted in a donation of four truckloads of items that were donated to Open Hand Thrift, a local thrift store that also helps families in crisis at no charge. Amie also helps the thrift store with its social media marketing and merchandising. Chris, meanwhile, is involved with a local ministry that delivers food to the local public schools and puts food in the backpacks of kids who are in need.
Gifts that give. In May 2023, Salt & Co. opened a second store in the same shopping center called Salt & Co. Home, dedicated to all things home. Among items sold in the new store are wood ornaments and jewelry created by engineering students at the local Worcester Technical High School. Proceeds from those sales go back to the school and even helped the program make a $10,000 equipment purchase recently.
“We are giving back to the school directly. It is just a partnership I am super proud of,” says Amie. “We really believe as a business that it’s so important to be involved in the community because small businesses can really make a huge difference.”
Starfish Awards recognize companies in our industry that are making a difference through charitable donations and efforts. Know of a company that is deserving of an award? Submit a nomination at www.seasideretailer.com/starfish-award.