Shop Talk

Photo | Tracey McCabe

Deb Conroy and Christine Marquardt at the newly opened Serenity Treatment Center.

A Healing Place

You won’t find cold floors or plain white walls at the new Serenity Treatment Center in Frederick. Instead you’ll find an atmosphere that lives up to its name.

“It’s a warm and healing environment,” said co-owner and Villages of Urbana resident Christine Marquardt, who teamed up with fellow VOU resident Deb Conroy to open the substance abuse center on East Patrick Street in April. “It represents comfort and safety.”

Offering outpatient services for adults and adolescents in group and individual settings, Serenity also targets different needs with specialized groups especially for young adults ages 16 – 26, adolescents, executives and women, both for addiction and trauma.

“While the physiology of addiction treatment is the same, the psychology of recovery is different between different groups including men and women,” said Marquardt.

In addition, Serenity provides two DUI/DWI education programs for first-time and repeat offenders.

The business partners also plan to offer senior-focused group sessions in the near future, which will benefit aging baby boomers. As people age and regular medications become necessary, for some the combination of medicine and alcohol can become a problem, Marquardt explained. “We’d like to pilot this type of program because we think it will become popular.”

Because every client’s needs [is] different, every treatment plan is custom developed and is often a combination of group and individual sessions. “Peers offer suggestions that are good and productive, but most still need the one-on-one,” said Marquardt, noting the value of both.

Serenity is a state-approved outpatient drug and alcohol treatment center that is covered by Maryland state Medicaid, and the team is working toward approval with larger private commercial insurances for coverage for their clients. Still, Marquardt said they won’t turn anyone away.

The business partners have a mission to give back to the community. A 14-year nursing veteran, Marquardt was looking for a new career challenge, and at the same time Conroy wanted to pursue a longtime dream of giving back to men and women in this field.

“We started brainstorming, and it worked out quite well,” said Marquardt. “I can provide the clinicial view, and [Conroy] has a strong and heavy business background.” Conroy is the center’s president and CEO while Marquardt is vice president and COO.

“We’d like to think we’re a bright light to the Frederick community,” said Marquardt. “We’re doing the right thing.”

J & P New York Pizza Closes

Blame it on high rent. The Urbana location of J & P New York Pizza closed its doors in June after just three years in the Urbana Town Center.

Manager Amber Himes said J & P made several requests to Kimco, the center’s management company, for a rent reduction, but the company did not negotiate new terms. “We had meetings with Kimco for a rent reduction and got nowhere for a year,” she said.

Himes said all of the Urbana employees have been offered jobs at other J&P locations. “The majority are going to a new restaurant, the Mt.Airy Inn, opening in early July,” she said.

While there are no current plans to reopen in Urbana, Himes said anything is possible in the future.

“We are disappointed the location didn’t work out, but we enjoyed the three years we were there,” said Himes. “If the right space became available we would definitely look into it.”


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