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Small Business RevolutionBlog

Town Spotlights

June 1, 2017

Checking in with Frostburg

The following post was written by Jessica Palumbo, Main Street Manager of FrostburgFirst, as part of our weeklong focus on Frostburg, Maryland.

From the moment Amanda Brinkman held up a white cue card with Frostburg, MD proudly displayed, an enormous wave of excitement and energy began flowing through our little Mountain City. Within minutes of the Facebook Live announcement of the Top 8 semi-finalists, our phone began ringing off the hook: calls from local business owners, the mayor, residents of neighboring counties.  The word spread like wildfire!

Through the #MyFrostburg campaign, people who hold Frostburg dear to their hearts were able to share old photos and stories of days gone by.  Some fondly remembered the old trolley cars that used to cart residents up and down Main Street.  Others shared memories from TeenTown, a popular hangout spot for youths in the ‘50s and ‘60s.  Many Frostburg State alumni wrote that they still pine for a local watering hole’s “Frostburg famous” chili.  Scrolling through the hashtag posts, one thing was clear: people were falling in love with Frostburg, whether for the first or five-hundredth time.

Much of Frostburg’s small-town charm lies in its history. As an Appalachian town built and sustained by coal miners and educators, Frostburg has always been resilient. From devastating fires to the loss of industry, and even a tornado twisting down Main Street, Frostburg has come to view change as a chance for reinvention, an opportunity to instill age-old community values into fresh ventures. In the past two years alone, Frostburg has cut ribbons for over 15 new businesses, while also celebrating 10-, 25-, and 30-year anniversaries for some of Main Street’s staple businesses.  This second wave of Main Street business owners allows the older and younger generations to learn from one another.  Older generations can offer time-tested advice on small-town business practices, while the younger, more tech-savvy generation gives a fresher perspective on what appeals to millennials – important knowledge in a college town!

This mix of both old and new businesses is a prime example of what Frostburg is all about: people coming together to work toward a common cause. Almost immediately after the nomination announcement, we began holding brainstorming sessions on how we could spread the word about our nomination.  Each session saw a growing number of participants with wide and diverse skill sets; attendees included local business owners, representatives from Frostburg State University, non-profit directors, and community members.  Through these workshops, we were reminded that our community’s greatest asset is its people, and when people come together to complete a task, a revolution will begin.

And a revolution has begun in Frostburg! Our Top 8 nomination was like stepping on to a moving sidewalk (like the ones you see at the airport) along the way on our journey towards the economic revitalization of our downtown.  Business owners are energized and motivated to step up their marketing strategies, and community members and out-of-town visitors alike are more excited than ever to patronize the small businesses on Main Street.  In the midst of lively times on Main Street Frostburg, even greater opportunities can be seen on the path ahead.

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