“Baltimore Small Business Stories” is an independently produced media platform built to amplify Baltimore’s thriving and diverse small business and nonprofit community.
By doing in-depth photo essays, we connect audiences with incredible small businesses and nonprofits by showing their human side. The behind-the-scenes. The origin stories, struggles and triumphs.
We do not charge small businesses for our services.
The thought here is simple. Most of us believe in supporting small businesses, but so often we default to the Amazon order or Target trip. Why? Oftentimes it’s because we don’t have a tangible relationship, or human connection, with the businesses in our community. Our goal is to change that.
We also embrace partnerships with community developers, marketing firms, and corporations that are seeking new ways to spotlight the efforts of small businesses and nonprofits. Our platform welcomes sponsorships.
Founders Jon Bregel
and Rocco Campanelli
met in 2015 while working in the advertising business. While their friendship has remained strong, it's their own unique connections to small businesses, nonprofits, and Baltimore that inspired Baltimore Small Business Stories.
At 22, Jon and a couple of friends were met with success after founding a commercial advertising company in New York City. Jon traveled worldwide creating, filming, and producing advertising campaigns for big brand products (Nike, National Geographic, Audi, Cadillac, ACLU, Tiffany & Co., to name a few.) After eight years of leading an exciting yet grueling lifestyle that left very little time for anything but work, he chose to part ways with his company and became intentional about developing a healthy work/life balance for him and his new wife in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
Having been back in Baltimore for over two years, Jon has enjoyed building a sense of home and community in-between directing and filming freelance jobs. When Covid-19 hit in March of 2020, he was left feeling unsettled, staring in the face of his local community and surroundings in upheaval. His wife works at Federal Hill Main Street (a nonprofit that supports small businesses in Federal Hill) and every day she shared stories about how much the local business owners were struggling. Having been a small business owner for his entire adulthood, Jon couldn’t help but feel for the city's local businesses. Through his wife’s stories and his interactions with neighborhood small business owners, there was no denying that the local economy was going to take a big hit. He wondered what he could do to help. How could he use his experiences in advertising and storytelling to support his hometown's small businesses?
With an idea in mind, Jon called Rocco Campanelli, who immediately jumped on board to figure out how he could bring the idea to life. With his own work as a commercial producer and creative directly impacted by Covid-19, he too was seeking a way to create community while self-isolating. From day one, Rocco utilized his experience in fostering authentic relationships, community-building, and leading brands to make the project a reality.
What started as a few photoshoots and interviews with small business owners and not-for-profit founders quickly turned into a full-on passion project. The courage and resilience of these owners and founders has been always palpable, inspiring, and worth sharing with the world.
The result is Baltimore Small Business Stories.