BALTIMORE, MD (June 15, 2018) – Major Gene Hogg provides keynote address at BGE’s Energizing Business Growth Breakfast (Photo by: Donovan Eaton)

Back in 1816, ​BGE (Baltimore Gas & Electric Company) became the first gas utility in the United States when Rembrandt Peale lit the first gas lamp in Baltimore. 75 years later, Salvation Army founder William Booth changed the match making industry in 1891, by switching to red phosphorus, instead of the previously used white phosphorus, ultimately providing a cleaner and healthier work environment for factory workers.

In 2018, BGE partnered with The Salvation Army and helped strike the match to change the grocery industry with DMG Foods.

DMG Foods is The Salvation Army’s first non-profit grocery store. This store aims to provide an affordable place for the local community to purchase fresh and healthy food while expanding their cash and food stamp dollars through nutrition and shopping education, social services, and complimentary supplemental food items.

BGE’s Chief Executive Officer, Calvin Butler, extended an invitation to Central Maryland Area Commander Major Gene Hogg as the keynote speaker at BGE’s Energizing Business Growth Breakfast last week. More than 150 people tuned in to Central Maryland Area Commander Major Gene Hogg’s keynote address at BGE’s Energizing Business Growth Breakfast, highlighting The Salvation Army’s partnership with BGE.

Through BGE’s Smart Energy Economic Development (SEED) program, DMG Foods received economic development incentives in the form of reduced billing and using energy more efficiently. Additionally, DMG Foods’ service fees were reduced by 75%, as well as a 25% reduction on electric and natural gas distribution for the next five years.

Effective lighting supports the grocery store in a variety of ways, including improving retails sales and maintaining the quality of fresh and frozen inventory.

Other speakers at the business breakfast included BGE Regulatory and External Affairs Senior Vice President, Alexander Núñez, who was also one of the notable speakers at the DMG Foods grand opening on March 7.

“Every year, we find non-profits that align with our values and the needs of our customers. This year, our cause initiative was to help The Salvation Army to innovate DMG Foods because it was in a food desert. DMG Foods is not just a grocery store, but a true salvation for people in the community,” said Núñez.

As defined by Baltimore City, a food desert or “healthy food priority area” is located more than ¼ mile away from other supermarkets.

According to a recent study at the Tulane School of Social Work, 2.3 million Americans lived more than one mile away from a supermarket and did not own a car. These individuals have limited access to healthy food and often resorting to getting groceries from convenience stores. The study also showed that residents living in food desert areas have a positive correlation with poor-quality diets, diabetes, and weight gain.

Research shows that the potential economic impact of a new grocery store in a food desert includes creating jobs, increasing local income, and improves the residential and commercial real estate. Since opening its doors just three months prior, DMG Foods has opened 15 permanent jobs and provided affordable, healthy food products to more than 2,000 customers.

BGE’s economic incentives has supported more 37,500 businesses throughout Maryland, including DMG Foods.

“On behalf of the thousands of people that are benefiting from the DMG Foods grocery store, I’m only one, but I stand here to say thank you to BGE for making healing possible in our community,” said Major Hogg.

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