Update (February 9, 2017) from FrostburgFirst:
I want to thank everyone again for their support of this amazing opportunity for Frostburg. Unfortunately, we were not selected as a finalist. We have released an official media release, which you are welcome to share in any capacity. Here is a link to the release on our blog: http://www.downtownfrostburg.com/newsfeed/frostburgpositive/ and you will find a word file attached with the same release. Let me know if you have any questions.
All the Best,
Have you heard that the City of Frostburg, one of the jewels of Mountain Maryland, has made the shortlist of eight finalists from across the U.S. for Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution on Main Street contest? The top five finalists will be announced on Thursday, February 9, posted on their Facebook. Then the nation will have one week to vote through February 16. This is a great opportunity for one of the state’s great small towns – read below to find out how you can participate by voting for Frostburg when the voting opens later this week –by visiting smallbusinessrevolution.org.
The Small Business Revolution on Main Street awards the winning town with a $500,000 revitalization package and will document the transformation in an eight-episode series. Americans were asked to nominate small towns for this contest and they received 14,000 nominations, from which eight finalists were determined: alongside Frostburg are Georgetown, SC, Marietta, OH, Bristol Borough, PA, Woodland Park, CO, Red Wing, MN, North Adams, MA, and Kingsburg CA. The first winner of the Small Business Revolution on Main Street was Wabash, IN, in 2016. Watch the season one documentary series to see what’s at stake for Frostburg in season two.
So, How Can I Help #MyFrostburg Win the Small Business Revolution?
That brings us back to the Small Business Revolution on Main Street contest.
The top five finalists (from the eight on the shortlist) will be announced on February 9, 2017. If Frostburg is announced as a top 5 finalist, people will have one week to vote. This is where you come in! For Frostburg to win this competition it will take a true community effort. FrostburgFirst is asking for the help of every Marylander to share the voting information and to vote for Frostburg from February 9 through 16. Each person can vote once on each of their devices each day – that is once on your computer, your phone and your tablet. You do NOT have to live in Frostburg, be from Frostburg, or have anything to do with Frostburg to vote for Frostburg. Share this information far and wide! Think of the broader network we share outside of our community. Tag as many influential people you know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The town with the most votes will win the competition. Dream big. Use the hashtag #MyFrostburg and the MyFrostburg graphics in this blog (make sure to also tag Small Business revolution @smallbizrev on Facebook, @smbizrevolution on Twitter).
If Frostburg wins the Small Business Revolution, Amanda Brinkman from Deluxe Corporation and entrepreneur Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank will choose six businesses in the Main Street district to consult with during their time here. For the six businesses they choose to work with, Small Business Revolution will offer the professional services of their expert team at Deluxe to include help with marketing, design, branding, accounting/financial consulting, etc. In addition to choosing six businesses, they will work with city leaders to find aesthetic projects to complete around town to spruce the town up. Small Business Revolution will also create an eight-episode documentary series to be aired on Hulu and on their website smallbusinessrevolution.org.
How Did Frostburg Make It On This List?
Last October, Katie Morgan, an alumnus of Frostburg State University currently living in Southern Maryland, contacted the City of Frostburg to say she had submitted a nomination for Frostburg – a town she instantly grew to love as a student. The nomination caught the eye of Small Business Revolution. Katie says about her nomination, “I loved the small town feel and the beauty of the mountains surrounding us, so when the opportunity presented itself to give back to Frostburg and help renovate the beloved Main Street, I jumped at the chance.” Deluxe Corporation, a small business growth engine and sponsor of the Small Business Revolution, then contacted the city for a phone interview and, shortly thereafter, received a call to say they had been put on the finalist shortlist.
History of Frostburg in Brief
Incorporated in 1812, the City of Frostburg owes its beginnings to the National Road. Coal mining and the establishment of rail connections making large quantity shipments of coal possible established the town as a commercial center for mining for many years. The town gets its name from the family of Josiah Frost that first settled in the area – and not because of its cold winters, contrary to popular belief. In 1902, Maryland Normal School #2 was built in Frostburg, creating a state teacher college with 57 students that first year which has since undergone transformation in its 100-year plus history to become Frostburg State University with more 5,300 students.
The thriving small business community, the partnership with the university and the unique tourism attractions in Western Maryland – most notable the Great Allegheny Passage and the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad that intersect with the town– have created economic development opportunities for Frostburg.
Frostburg, A Thriving Small Town In The Mountains
Jessica Palumbo, Main Street Manager for Frostburg’s Main Street Program, FrostburgFirst, talked with us about what makes the city, with a population of 9,000, and its downtown a front runner and obvious choice for the Small Business Revolution.
With U.S. Route 40 (the Historic National Road) running right through town and located just off of Interstate 68, Frostburg is just a day trip from Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Morgantown, WV, and Pittsburgh, PA. for those who wanting to discover a small-town Main Street with historic homes, friendly residents, a vibrant arts scene, and four-season beauty.
When the city received the official designation as Maryland’s 18th Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District in 2009, it cemented its place as destination for history, culture and modern performance and local art. Over the past two years, 10 new small businesses have been opened in Frostburg. Between 2015 and 2016, Frostburg completed 3 Public Arts projects in downtown.
The City of Frostburg, as well as FrostburgFirst, has established essential partnerships with the Frostburg State University (FSU) Student Government Association and many university stakeholders to promote downtown Frostburg to the student population. With more than 5,000 students in town, many coming from urbanized areas with Big Box shopping, the appeal of small town “mom and pop” businesses were unfamiliar to many. One example of partnership was “Frostburg 101: A Taste of the City,” a successful event that engaged students with Main Street merchants.
The Main Street program recently completed a strategic plan with goals focused on leveraging its vibrant Arts and Entertainment District. FrostburgFirst is completing marketing plans and goals to synergize the hiking traffic on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and riders of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad with the town. Through a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Recreational Trails Program, the city is installing pedestrian and bicycle wayfinding signage from the
Frostburg Trail Head on the Great Allegheny Passage and from the Frostburg Depot (destination for the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad) to guide tourists to Main Street’s amenities.
The City of Frostburg recently completed a Targeted Industry Analysis and Frostburg State University is completing a new, very comprehensive strategic plan driven by the new president Dr. Ronald Nowaczyk. The shared vision is that that these two initiatives will harmonize into a plan for regional economic development.
On January 9, the Small Business Revolution series hosts and film crew visited Frostburg to get a taste of the town and its small business and main street community. During this visit, they were impressed with the amount of women business owners and the amount of next generation business owners. See the Cumberland Times article, Small Business Revolution impressed with Frostburg’s ‘awesome women,’ about the visit and Revolution’s discovery of Frostburg’s “young female entrepreneurs.”
FrostburgFirst has published a Q&A Page on their website about the Small Business Revolution and Also, the official voting link will not be known until next Thursday, February 9, when the top 5 finalists are announced, but voting information can be found at smallbusinessrevolution.org.