It was a routine Sunday afternoon in 2012 for Margaret Goldsborough in her Kensington Antique Row shop, when Hollywood set decorator Douglas Mowat walked in.
He was looking for furnishings for the Netflix political thriller series “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey. Goldsborough, who owns Goldsborough Glynn Antiques & Decorative Arts with her sister, Susan Goldsborough Glynn, showed Mowat around the store and introduced him to some fellow antique shop owners.
Mowat liked Goldsborough Glynn’s “federal-looking” style of furniture. Over the last two years, he and a Maryland subcontracting team have purchased numerous pieces, including cherry and mahogany desks, tables and chairs, along with lamps and desk accessories, from Goldsborough’s store.
“House of Cards” is in its second season and has been renewed for a third. Maryland legislators are debating now on how much in tax credits to allow such productions that film in the state.
The production is looking at moving the third season’s filming to another state if its investors don’t get millions of dollars more in tax credits, an executive with the show’s production company wrote in a recent letter to state officials. Last week, Spacey lobbied legislators in a special Annapolis reception.
“They’ve been one of our better customers over the last two years,” Goldsborough said. “I have my fingers crossed that they will stay in Maryland. Their business really helps small businesses like ours.”
The first season of “House of Cards” completed 139 days of filming, mostly in Baltimore, Annapolis and Harford County, in 2012, and employees made purchases of goods and services at more than 1,800 Maryland businesses, according to a Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development report. Production expenses totaled $63.7 million, with an economic impact of $138.2 million, and investors in the first season received $11.7 million in state tax credits.
Investors in House of Cards’ second season are projected to receive another $15 million in tax credits and $4 million for the third season, though they qualify for $15 million, according to the state report. The economic impact of the second season is projected to be about $120.6 million, with a similar amount for the third season if it is filmed in Maryland.
Representatives of “House of Cards” also purchased several period pieces of furniture from other Kensington Antique Row shops, including Antiques & Uniques.
“They know what they want,” said John Booker, proprietor of Antiques & Uniques. “Absolutely, it was worthwhile to us.”
The “House of Cards” purchases include not just furniture but cigars from a Frederick shop, paint from a Rockville business, leather products from a Bethesda store and shaving items from a Bethesda business, according to the state report. Most businesses on the list were from the Baltimore area, where the majority of filming was done.
Silver Spring-based Positive Dog Training and Animal Actors located guinea pigs to play the “House of Cards” animal character, Cashew. Owner Carol Rosen, a certified professional dog trainer, worked with the guinea pigs on the set.
Rosen also received business from the recently released movie “Better Living Through Chemistry,” starring Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde, which filmed in Maryland in 2012. That production bought products and services from almost 600 Maryland businesses, including a Silver Spring lighting company, and had an impact of $6.1 million, according to the state report.
Sometimes, Goldsborough recognizes pieces sold from her Kensington shop on “House of Cards” shows, she said. Her store purchases its inventory through auctions, estates, other dealers and individuals.
“House of Cards” has been the only film production the shop has done business with, although representatives from area theater companies and President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C., have purchased items, she said.
“We’re hoping to get some more business and even referrals from this,” Goldsborough said.