By Erika Riley
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot brought his shop-local message to Frederick on Wednesday during a stop at Brick and Mortar Mercantile, a new shop downtown.
The brief Wednesday event was a part of the kickoff for this year’s Shop Maryland for the Holidays campaign.
“We’re here to start off the shop local [campaign], and we couldn’t be in a better store because the whole point here is to urge Marylanders to get off the internet, such a convenient source of shopping, and come down and frequent and patronize wonderful brick-and-mortar stores,” Franchot said.
The shop recently opened only five months after its first location debuted in Leesburg, Virginia. It specializes in goods made in the United States, mostly gifts, cards and clothing accessories such as ponchos and scarves.
According to state Sen. Ron Young, a former Frederick mayor, the store at 29 E. Patrick St. was formerly a card shop whose owners retired, and later a frame shop that expanded.
“So hopefully you’ll have the same kind of success that they had,” Young said. “And contribute to the town and to the whole atmosphere of what’s going on, and we just continue to wish you the best.”
In his remarks, Franchot said that while Amazon.com is convenient, it’s better to shop local and support independent businesses during the holiday season.
“Here we’ve got a store that’s brick and mortar, and they represent something very special, because they’re innovative, they’re entrepreneurial, and stores this size make up about 70 percent of our state’s GDP,” Franchot said.
Earlier in the day, Franchot stopped in Flintstone at the annual Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit. He discussed the importance of tourism to Maryland’s economy, as well as the benefit of starting school after Labor Day.
His second stop was in Cumberland, at Cumberland Trail Connections, a bicycle shop that also specializes in outdoor gear. Frederick was the final stop in the Shop Maryland for the Holidays kickoff.
Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, also welcomed the new retailer to downtown.
“We’re thrilled of course to have Brick and Mortar here, they’re one in 285 retailers we have in our downtown and we have seen incredible growth over the past 15 years,” Norman said. “We’ve seen a net increase of about 100 more retail stores, so we’ve certainly seen positive change in our downtown.”
Franchot presented a certificate of recognition on behalf of the state to Christen Morehead, sales associate. He and others present noted that they have always loved downtown Frederick.
“This is the best main street in Maryland,” Franchot said.
Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley.