Shoppers to shut down all pharmacies

Shoppers grocery stores will shutter all of their Washington, D.C., and Baltimore-area pharmacies, starting with some closures this week, as its parent company prepares to divest itself of the retail grocery business.  Shoppers parent UNFI Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) told the local grocery employees union April 11 that the pharmacies would begin closing April 23, confirmed Jonathan Williams, spokesman for the United Food Commercial Workers Local 400. They will not all close at once.  The inventory and prescriptions from the 30 Shoppers pharmacies were purchased by CVS and Walgreens, according to Local 400, though exactly which stores bought which prescriptions was not immediately clear. (Balt. Bus. Journal) 

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Washington Gas wants Maryland rate increase

Washington Gas has filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission to increase base rates and charges for its natural gas customers in Maryland. If approved, it would be the second Maryland rate increase in a year. Washington Gas raised residential rates for Virginia customers in January. In its most recent filing, Washington Gas says the rate increase is necessary to cover operational costs and to allow the company to earn its allowed rate of return. (WTOP)

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Lockheed Martin's first-quarter earnings swell

The first quarter of 2019 struck a welcome note for Lockheed Martin Corp. The Bethesda defense contractor reported $14.3 billion in net sales for the quarter Tuesday — a 23 percent gain over its first-quarter earnings from the prior year, backed by strong returns in both its contract backlog and sales of its missiles and fire control systems. “These strong results in sales and earnings and our focus on maximizing cash returns also allowed us to increase our full year outlook for cash from operations,” Lockheed CEO Marilyn Hewson said on the company's earnings call. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Bank of America hires thousands in low- to middle-income areas

Bank of America Corp. says it is on track to surpass its hiring goals in low- to middle-income communities. The bank said it has hired about 4,700 employees from these areas over the last year and a half to work in its consumer and small-business division. The hiring initiative is part of Bank of America's Pathways program, which works with nonprofits in various locations to determine those best suited to participate in this latest jobs push. Eligible employees are determined by ZIP code, rather than an income-based threshold. Last summer, the bank pledged to hire 10,000 employees in low- to middle-income areas by 2023. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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California’s Kite Pharma will create more than 400 jobs in Md.

Los Angeles-based Kite Pharma, which develops personalized T-cell cancer therapies, will build a biologics manufacturing facility on a 20-acre site in Urbana, Maryland, and will create hundreds of jobs in exchange for state incentives. Kite Pharma was acquired by Foster City, California-based Gilead Sciences in 2017 in a deal that was valued at $11.9 billion. Kite currently has about 700 employees at facilities in California and The Netherlands. (WTOP)

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Business that calls itself Baltimore's first hemp dispensary opens in Upper Fells Point

Charmed Hemp, which claims to be Baltimore’s first hemp dispensary, is now open after it held its grand opening this weekend. The Upper Fells Point business wrote on social media that it officially opened April 20, known as a sort of celebratory holiday among the cannabis community. The state’s cannabis industry has continued to grow ever since 2017, after the state’s Medical Cannabis Commission authorized several marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries to operate in the state. (Balt. Sun)

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ABC, involved in Healthy Holly sales, set to receive $14 million in city contracts

Associated Black Charities, under scrutiny after acknowledging it helped organizations donate nearly $80,000 to buy Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Healthy Holly books, is poised to receive contracts to distribute more than $14 million for organizations to provide HIV treatment in Baltimore. The Board of Estimates is set to award two contracts tomorrow to ABC as part of the federal Ryan White Part-A and Minority AIDS Initiative programs. (Balt. Brew)

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Vegan carryout, 'monster slices' and cocktails coming to Baltimore's Cross Street Market

A vegan takeout spot, a cocktail bar and a pizza spot are three of the new tenants coming to Cross Street Market, developers announced Tuesday. Gangster Vegan Organics, Old Line Cocktail and Wine Bar and Pizza di Joey will open at the historic Federal Hill market this summer, according to a release. (Balt. Sun)

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