Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Inspiring Office: Blue Pillar grows into its Downtown Frederick office




In The City of Frederick, business spaces go beyond basics. Here, unique offices allow businesses to cultivate creativity, express their company's culture, and create a work environment that inspires. From industrial to classic, artsy to funky, historic to high tech, spaces abound to meet a variety of needs.  

Inspiring Offices is a feature that highlights some of the creative and unique office spaces in Frederick.


Blue Pillar
IT company Blue Pillar is an energy management solutions firm that moved its headquarters to Frederick, Maryland in 2015. Originally launching in Maryland at FITCI, Frederick’s high tech business incubator, the company grew into a space in the heart of Downtown Frederick. Their third level office provides stunning views of the Square Corner, high ceilings, wood floors, and custom elements that give the space character. 



Blue Pillar's light-filled meeting room overlooks Downtown Frederick's Square Corner.  The lights and custom table add unique design elements.



This high top table provides a collaboration space in their open office environment.


Comfortable gathering spaces welcome visitors. Note the actual "blue pillar" in the background.
Blue Pillar's space provide rooms with some of the best views in town. 

A glass jar of candy in the reception area helps satisfy a sweet tooth.

Light filled offices have both historic and modern elements.

Blue Pillar is on the third floor of this iconic Downtown Frederick building. From dining to the arts, employees at Blue Pillar are steps from the city's best amenities.

Find Your Own Inspiring Office
If you are looking to open or expand a business in Frederick, we can help.  Contact us, and let us help you find your own inspiring office space so you can build your dream. 

If YOU know of any interesting office spaces, let us know and we will put them on our list to feature.
 
Michelle Kershner is the Business Development Specialist for the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development. 

3 Tools for Small Businesses at the Library


Did you know businesses have free access to specialized databases and resources from the Frederick County Public Library (FCPL) Business Library?  Whether a start-up business working on your first business plan or an established business researching new business opportunities, the data and tools available from the library will assist with your research.  Read on to learn about three tools for small businesses.

1. Reference USA - The Reference USA database is available free of charge to businesses and provides a directory of businesses locally and nationally. Users can refine their search by industry, size, location, etc. for conducting market research, sending direct mail, etc. You can access the database by visiting the FCPL website. Click on "Resources Guide" on the top right. Next, click on "Business" on the left side of the screen, and finally click on the "Reference USA" link at the top of the page to access the database from your home or office. A library card is required in order to access this database remotely.

2. Business Reference eBooks - The Business Reference eBook feature provides businesses with multiple reference materials including business term encyclopedias, social media management, and business plan handbooks. The handbooks provide sample business plans for several industries, including restaurants, retail, services, and manufacturing. You can access the database by visiting the FCPL website. Click on "Resources Guide" on the top right. Next, click on "Business" on the left side of the screen, and finally click on the "Business Reference eBooks" link at the top of the page to access the database from your home or office. A library card is required in order to access this database remotely.

3. Print Resources - The C Burr Artz Library in Downtown Frederick features numerous reference print materials with specialized business and industry data that can be reviewed in-person at the branch. Industry data includes information and financial data for comparatives to competitors and other similarly-sized companies.

Questions & Additional Information

For more information on the resources available to businesses through FCPL or for assistance, please contact Terri Klco at the C Burr Artz Library at tklco@frederickcountymd.gov or call 301-600-1630.

For more information on starting a business, contact the City of Frederick's Department of Economic Development.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brewing Up Business: Frederick Changes Code to Allow Breweries to Host Food Trucks, Vendors, and Events


The craft brewing industry contributes $55.7 billion to the U.S. economy and Frederick is well-positioned to attract and support this rapidly expanding industry. On August 4, 2016, The City of Frederick amended City code to allow breweries, farm breweries, and wineries to hold special events, including the ability to host events with food trucks and vendors. This newest legislation proactively addresses the changing nature of breweries and wineries, and allows them to host complementary activities for visitors such as festivals, concerts, and special events.

The legislative changes have the potential to expand and diversify the City's economy by opening up additional opportunities for this industry. Frederick continues to receive national and international recognition for its thriving brewing industry, including an accolade from Matador naming Frederick among 17 of the Worlds' Best Cities for Craft Beer (#16) and inclusion in Livability.com's listing of the 99 Best Beers in 99 Best Beer Cities (#35).

Brewery patrons frequently visit the surrounding area, leading to increased spending at local restaurants, shops, and hotels. New breweries will further bolster Frederick County's 1.7 million annual visitors and related $380.5 million in visitor spending (2014 Tourism Council of Frederick County study).

The brewery/winery legislation is the latest example of the City's proactive approach to supporting manufacturing, and specifically, the craft beverage industry. In 2014, the City adopted legislation to allow craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries to locate in Downtown Frederick. Additionally, the City of Frederick enacted a 10-year phase-out of the business personal property tax, including a 100% tax credit for manufacturers.  

For more information on starting a business in Frederick, contact the City of Frederick's Department of Economic Development.

5 Office Spaces That Inspire Every Day

Throughout the year, Inspiring Offices showcases unique, beautiful, and collaborative office spaces in Frederick. From standing desks to snack bars, these spaces stretch beyond the imagination to ignite creativity and spark innovation. Frederick's stock of historic and industrial buildings provide opportunities for businesses to express themselves through unique spaces. 

Here are five unique spaces that inspire employees every day in Frederick.
1.  Mosaic Power
Mosaic Power’s office space offers staff flexible space, outdoor retreats, and an industrial vibe. CEO Laurie Vaudreuil wanted the space to feel comfortable, like home.  And it does.  A shared kitchen, couches, and even a hammock allow staff to take a break without leaving the office. 



2.  Welocalize
Welocalize's office is located within the Glass Factory, a 17,000-square-foot structure that was built as a cannery in the early 1900s. It was previously a tailor company and also a window factory. Today, the renovated warehouse space is home to a variety of companies in Downtown Frederick. 



3.  Someone With
Someone With began as an online marketplace for breast cancer products, and expanded to include membership based financial service for those suffering from a chronic condition. The company's mission has inspired its office design. Pink is the classic awareness color for breast cancer, and it can be found infused into all aspects of the office's design. 



4.  En-Net
Located along East Street, En-Net's office served as a former torpedo factory and gym.Today, corrugated metal and bright colors make the space pop, while nooks and crannies create spaces to work and play. 



5.  Warner Commercial and Gallagher Design
These offices share an eclectic and rustic attic space in the heart of Downtown Frederick. On the corner of West Church and North Court Streets, the offices have high ceilings, wooden beams, and natural light.

Find Your Own Inspiring Office
If you are looking to open or expand a business in Frederick, we can help.  Contact us, and let us help you find your own inspiring office space so you can build your dream. 


Grants Give Downtown Businesses a Facelift

In collaboration with The City of Frederick, Downtown Frederick Partnership, and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), nearly 100 businesses in historic Downtown Frederick have received matching grant funds to enhance their facades since 2004The Facade Improvement Program is funded through DHCD's Community Legacy program and is targeted at strengthening the community through commercial revitalization, business retention, and attraction

Take a look at some of the most recently completed facade improvement projects within Downtown Frederick:



10 S. Bentz Street 
629 N. Market Street

35 N. Market Street

31 West Patrick Street


Interested in Applying?
Business owners along the Patrick Street Corridor may be eligible for a matching grant under the Facade Improvement Program.  The Program is administered jointly by the City of Frederick’s Department of Economic Development and its partners - the Downtown Frederick Partnership, the Golden Mile Alliance, and East Frederick Rising.

Details on each grant opportunity is provided below:
 
Downtown Frederick
  • Facade Improvement Program - Eligible businesses may receive a 1:1 match on qualified exterior facade improvements up to $10,000. For details, contact the Downtown Frederick Partnership at 301-698-8118 or download the application.  Applications are accepted on a first-come, first served basis.

East Frederick

  • Facade Improvement Program - Eligible businesses may receive a 1:1 match on qualified exterior facade improvements up to $10,000. For details, contact the Department of Economic Development at 301-600-6360 or download the application.  Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Golden Mile

  • Facade Improvement Program - Eligible businesses may receive a 1:1 match on qualified exterior facade improvements of up to $22,000. For details, contact the Golden Mile Alliance at goldenmilealliance@gmail.com or download the application.  Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

7 Ways to Participate in the Buy Local Challenge


By Michelle Kershner

The annual Buy Local Challenge encourages participants to make a personal commitment to eat local during Buy Local Week, July 23 - July 31, 2016. It's easy to sign up ttake the challenge.   

Residents can easily step up to the challenge any time of the year, not just during the Buy Local Challenge week. Here are some tips to get started.

7 Ways to Participate in the Buy Local Challenge 
Seasonal pick-your-own options at Glade Link Farms.

1.  Shop at one of the 8 Farmers Markets located in The City of Frederick or at a county market.


2.  Sip and sample at a local winery, brewery, or distillery.

3.  Visit a farm and take home some locally grown treats. Hours vary, so verify hours in advance.

4.  Visit one of Frederick County's two creameries, Rocky Point Creamery and South Mountain Creamery, for a farm-fresh treat.

5.  Dine at one of Frederick's many restaurants that source their products locally.
   
6.  Discover what is in season and plan a pick-your-own trip to a local farm.

7.  Visit the new Homegrown Frederick website to learn more about products grown right in your back yard!  



Michelle Kershner is the Business Development Specialist for the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development. 

Made in Frederick: Uncle Ralph's Not Yet Famous Cookies




By Michelle Kershner

In The City of Frederick, many local businesses make and manufacture their own products. From popcorn and coffee to dog treats, many businesses are choosing Frederick as a place to make their products and to do business.

Made in Frederick is a feature that showcases these businesses and their products. 
  
Made in Frederick: Uncle Ralph's Not Yet Famous Cookies
Located on Frederick's east side, Uncle Ralph's has been offering their baked goods for over three decades. Their sweets and cookies more closely resemble home-baked goods than factory-baked desserts. Anne-Margaret Denlinger, Sales and Marketing Specialist and daughter of owners Margaret and Ralph Wight, answered a few questions about Uncle Ralph's and let us have a behind-the-scenes tour at how their products are made.



How long has your company been in business?

Last August we celebrated our 30 year anniversary!

What is your product/products?
Our trademark product is our frozen ready-to-bake cookie dough but we also have baked cookies, baked and unbaked brownies, crumb cakes, pound cakes, mini cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls and twists.  In recent years we have also begun making specialized proprietary products for certain customers including, Roy Roger’s and Elevation Burger Restaurants.  

What makes your product different?
We never skimp on the good stuff.  Since the beginning, chocolate chips have always been and will always be the number one ingredient in our chocolate chip cookies because what’s a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips?  This philosophy runs through all of our product lines from cookies to cupcakes.  We use top quality gourmet ingredients with no added artificial preservatives in any of our products.



What do you want your customers to know about your product?

As we have grown over the years, our processes have become more automated but each product is still made with some level of hands on labor from our dedicated employees. From measuring to mixing to scooping, our employees take immense pride in the products they make.  While it may not be made in our family kitchen anymore, we guarantee it will still taste like it was.
 

  
Products like cookies and zucchini breads are made from
scratch and require an element of hands-on labor.
Our size also gives us the unique ability to make custom products.  We welcome the challenge of taking a customer’s recipes or ideas and figuring how to produce and distribute them on a larger scale.   

Why are you located in Frederick?
At the core of it, we are located in Frederick because it is home. The business was started in our family home right here in the city of Frederick.  As the business grew, there was never any question that it would always stay in Frederick. Its central location close to Baltimore and DC with easy highway access has helped the business grow and thrive.  Its location allows us the ability to deliver to our wholesale customers throughout the mid Atlantic region.


What does Frederick offer a company like yours?
Frederick offers a great sense of community and loyalty.  Despite not having a recognizable storefront on Market St., we have loyal retail customers who make sure to visit our Sweet Shoppe regularly for all of their sweet treat needs.  We also have many local wholesale customers who have been with us for years.  In turn, we make every effort to support the community with donations of cookies to local charities and events.  Our business has grown right along with the city and despite Frederick’s growth, it still has the wonderful small town charm that makes it a great place to live and do business.  

Sweet Shoppe Information



Hours:  Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00 (Open Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas from 10:00-2:00).
 

Directions: We are in the large brown building (old Frederick Trading Company) across from the Family Meal and Pit Crew on East Street.  However, our Sweet Shoppe entrance can be accessed from 8th Street.  

Products Available: In the store you will find a freezer stuffed full of 2-pound bags of ready to bake frozen cookie dough, baked brownies, crumb cakes, pound cakes, and mini cupcakes.  We also have a limited selection of already baked cookies available.  If you want specific baked cookies, you can order them ahead of time to ensure you get just the flavor you want.  We also have cookie and brownie platters for order, which are great for gatherings and get-togethers, or even customer appreciation gifts.  

  
Connect with Uncle Ralph's Not Yet Famous Cookies






Michelle Kershner is the Business Development Specialist for the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development.