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Bail bondsmen find prime location

September 22, 2000

Bail bondsmen find prime location



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Location, location, location.

The rule to live by for many successful businesses is no exception for bail bondsmen who have flocked to the buildings across from the new District Court building in downtown Hagerstown.

"We have Bail Bondsmen's Row there," said Jim Watson, the Hagerstown bondsmen for Xpress Bail Bonds, one of four bail bond companies with, or soon to have, offices on the first block of West Antietam Street.

Being close to the court building will mean being close to the court commissioners, whose office is in the court building. The court commissioners are the ones who set bonds for those arrested.

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"All they have to do is look across the street and pick a bondsman," said Watson, who plans to move into the new office when the courthouse opens.

"It's well known that the bail bondsman next to the court does well," he said.

Tanya Bare, who runs Al Bare Bail Bonds, said about 50 percent of their business comes from walk-ins. Their office is now two doors up from the existing district court building on the first block of West Washington Street.

They, too, plan to move when the new courthouse opens, which is expected by the end of November.

Dean Salter, office manager at the Jim Frank Bail Bonds office opening soon and directly across from the new court building, said about 80 percent of bond companies' new business comes by phone call or "who they see first."

"You want something right near the courthouse to make it convenient for everyone," said Greg Toms, operator of A-Above Average Bail Bonds, already open at 23 W. Antietam St.

The owners of the bar and barber shop on the block said they liked getting the new neighbors.

"I'd rather have them in there than empty (storefronts)," said LeRoy Baker, owner of the barbershop on that block for 36 years.

"I don't see how it could do anything but improve the neighborhood," said Mary Ellen Pryor, owner of the Short Stop Tavern at 17 W. Antietam St.

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