CUMBERLAND — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot urged citizens to “shop local” during a visit to Cumberland Thursday where he purchased gifts at several downtown businesses.
For the last few years, Franchot has been visiting numerous towns across Maryland during December to promote shopping at small local businesses.
“Amazon is OK once in awhile,” said Franchot. “But, in December, I’m urging everyone to come down and shop local.”
Franchot’s first stop Thursday was at Caporale’s Bakery, 151 N. Mechanic St. The bakery is a fourth generation family-operated business that opened in 1906.
Several members of the Caporale family were present at the gathering, including patriarch Gus and his wife Cindy, their son City Councilman Dave Caporale, and several members of their extended family.
Numerous elected officials were on hand, including Sen. George Edwards, Del. Jason Buckel, Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson, Cumberland Mayor Brian Grim, City Council members Eugene Frazier and Rock Cioni, and Jake Shade, Allegany County commissioner.
“The comptroller started this process several years ago and I think it is a great idea,” Edwards said. “He goes all over the state and recognizes small businesses, which is very helpful.”
During his stop in Cumberland, Franchot also visited Ristorante Ottaviani, The Tea Cupboard, Downtown Dollar, Hobbies Plus and the Western Maryland Music Center.
While at the bakery, Franchot gave a citation to the Caporale family recognizing their contribution to the economy and the community.
“What you represent, I’m happy to be here saluting you,” the comptroller said. “I happen to think stores like this are the backbone of the state’s economy. The employment and the wages and the philanthropic work you do, it’s why people think the world of you.
“We have a $350 billion economy in the state and 70 percent comes from businesses like this. It is rare to find third or fourth generations these days, but small business is where it’s at.”
Grim also thanked the Caporale family.
“Caporale’s Bakery is as much of a foundation to Cumberland as anyone is,” he said. “This is a family-owned business that is synonymous with Cumberland. Everyone who knows Cumberland knows Caporale’s Bakery.”
Franchot made stops in Hagerstown following his Cumberland trip.
“The state of Maryland is doing well, but we all ought to pitch in and shop local,” he said. “We hope our citizens get out and support what is underappreciated, I think, and that is how important these small businesses are to the economy of state.”
Follow staff writer Greg Larry on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.