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The Star Democrat: Franchot promotes Shop Maryland Energy initiative

CAMBRIDGE — Comptroller Peter Franchot visited Cambridge’s R. Brooks & Sons appliance store Wednesday, Feb. 13, to celebrate the store’s 50 years in business and promote the President’s Day weekend Shop Maryland Energy initiative.

Customers can enjoy a tax-free weekend, from Saturday, Feb. 16, through Monday, Feb. 18, for qualifying Energy Star-rated home appliances. Products included in the 6-percent sales tax-break are air conditioners, washers, dryers, furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, standard-sized refrigerators, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats and compact fluorescent light bulbs.

“It all adds up to significant savings for Maryland customers who buy these appliances,” Franchot said. “It is all good for the consumers. Give people an incentive to save a little money, and then they will spend more money.”

Franchot said the initiative comes with incentives from Easton Utilities and even from the manufacturers.

R. Brooks & Sons owner Kemp Brooks said the initiative helps drive sales, and leads people to also buy other appliances.

“February was always a slow month for demand, but with the state of Maryland behind this promotion, our sales are way up for the month,” he said. “We also sell more items that are not a part of the tax-free program so the state benefits with additional tax revenue.”

Brooks thanked Franchot for being a strong supporter for locally-owned businesses.

“We appreciate you promoting business,” he said. “You are a big promoter of Maryland. You work with everybody. You are a breathe of fresh air.”

Franchot called R. Brooks & Sons a great local landmark.

“We want to recognize this great family-owned business, R. Brooks & Sons, in recognition of successfully operating a family-owned appliance store for the past 50 years,” he said. “Your excellent quality service to customers reflects the care and commitment displayed by everyone throughout your business. Best wishes to continued growth, success and prosperity.

“Businesses like you are the heart and soul of the state’s economy,” he said. “These are folks you really trust. Thank you for representing the best of Maryland.”

Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley; city commissioners Steve Rideout and Robert Hansen; Downtown Cambridge Executive Director Katie Clendaniel; Kim Kratovil, a representative from Sen. Ben Cardin’s office; Bill Reddish, a representative from Rep. Andy Harris’ office; and Melissa Kelly, a representative from Sen. Chris Van Hollen's office, also joined Franchot on the visit.

“The part I really want to say from my heart is (R. Brooks & Sons) really care about their customers,” Jackson-Stanley said. “We know who to call to get good, quality service. That really makes a difference.”

The Energy Star, an EPA program, was established in 1992 to reduce levels of greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy. The Energy Star label assists consumers in identifying energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features or comfort.

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