In the summer of 2014, Kevin Ames and Mathew Wilmer decided to start a landscaping business to earn some extra cash. The twenty-year-olds were each headed into their junior years of college (Loyola for Wilmer, Towson University for Ames), and after their first venture paid off, they wondered what else they might team up on. They had enjoyed working and solving problems together and received a great reception as newly minted businessmen. Rather than wait to finish school, they dove right into their next idea: an apparel line celebrating the Chesapeake Bay, where they both grew up vacationing and exploring. Chesapeake Collection features a casual, self-described “Mid-Atlantic preppy” offering of hats, t-shirts and long sleeve tees. Chesapeake Collection reads as a familiar nod to established nautical-preppy brands like Vineyard Vines, but in this case, with the inclusion of locally based talent.
To add to their allure, Ames and Wilmer decided right away that if they were going to create a business surrounding a natural resource as volatile as the Bay, it was only right to help preserve it. They vowed to donate a portion of annual sales to The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a non-profit which serves to protect and recover the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding watershed. Chesapeake Collection donated an initial $2500 to the non-profit in 2016, to demonstrate a long-term commitment to the cause, and Ames and Wilmer — now 23-year-old college graduates and fully absorbed by the business — say they hope to give more each year, as their business grows.
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