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. 

3 Key Takeaways From the Frederick Retail Report

By Michelle Kershner

The City of Frederick recently released "The City of Frederick Retail Report." The report was completed in April 2016 by a retail consultant and is the first comprehensive retail study completed by the city. It will assist the Department of Economic Development in identifying best practices and retail brands that are currently missing in Frederick. The report can be used as a valuable tool for both existing retailers in Frederick and for businesses considering the Frederick area.

Retail is an important community attribute for residents, businesses, and visitors alike. Retailers and restaurants contribute to Frederick's quality of life, tax base, and provide employment opportunities for residents.  
The report’s executive summary stated that, “Frederick is the most unique and vibrant small city in the region in which to live and work. The City boasts low unemployment dominated by desirable and creative jobs in diverse industries with deep local roots offering family supporting wages and benefits.” 
There is a strong existing demand for retail and restaurants in Frederick, and opportunities remain to attract missing brands and to better understand the changing trends in consumer habits. 

The report contains relevant demographic, spending, and economic data and can be used by businesses seeking to prepare or update a business plan, for property owners seeking new tenants, and for existing retailers interested in learning more about the changing trends in the retail market.   

3 Key Takeaways

Frederick is Growing 
The city has enjoyed continuous residential growth while many other small towns are retracting. The estimated rate of growth from 2010 – 2015 is 4.7%, above the U.S. rate of 3.3% for the same period. Projections indicate that the population will continue to grow through 2020, though at a slightly slower rate of 4.25% for a similar period (2015-2020). As the population expands, it is also getting younger. The median age drops by several years the further from Downtown you travel.

Today, 68,347 people call Frederick home including 16,347 millennials who are entering their peak spending years. The diverse residential base is well employed and educated. Over forty-percent have at least a BS degree, more than sixty-five percent hold white-collar jobs. These empty-nesters, singles and families generate over $470 million of retail demand.

The 3,400 businesses located in Frederick provide employment for nearly 49,000 workers. There are over 90,000 workers within fifteen minutes of Downtown Frederick.

More Opportunities for Retail 
The city has over 650,000 square feet of gross leasable retail space, yet there are still gaps and opportunities to establish a more diverse merchandise mix. 

Specific retail opportunities include 
  • a grocer in Downtown Frederick
  • entertainment retail uses
  • general merchandise outside the core
  • the cottage food industry
This analysis suggests that there is an exceedingly strong market opportunity in the Downtown and primary trade area for specialty retail stores, entertainment, grocers and regional businesses. (see page 29)

The study also suggests Frederick should capitalize on its reputation as a food destination. “Leverage the strong food culture that already exists in the area including agriculture and promote related business opportunities. Pay particular attention to what is commonly referred to as the cottage food industry (those individuals producing food on small scale).” 

How Frederick Residents Buy by Geography (see pages 7-8)

The report analyzed spending and lifestyle trends of Frederick residents according to where they lived in reference to Downtown Frederick.

Households in the Core - Downtown Frederick (.5 miles from W. Patrick and Market Streets) 
  • Spend more on apparel and food away from home than other households
  • When they do eat out, it’s almost 3:1 at full service restaurants as opposed to limited service eateries
  • Shop at traditional grocery stores and prefer fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, and baked goods.
  • They tend to watch movies at home using streaming and renting of DVDs rather than at a theater 
Households in the Outer Ring - More than 2 miles from Downtown Frederick
  • Younger
  • Highest concentration of incomes over $100,000
  • Larger families with higher mortgage obligations and less overall disposable income
  • Spends more on kids apparel and menswear (work and sporting wear)
  • Spend more on food than Downtown Frederick
  • When go out, spend money at limited service restaurants and when patronize a full service restaurant, it tends to be family-style chains
Households in the Middle Ring – Between a 15 minute walk and a 1-mile ring from Downtown Frederick
  • Slightly older than the outer tier, but younger than the core 
  • Households are larger than the core, homes are less expensive than those in the core, incomes are slightly less, but disposable income about the same as households in the core
  • Well Connected – subscriptions for movies and TV, gadgets, technology
  • This category tends to spend the most on apparel, food, their mortgage, childcare and entertainment.
  • Prefer natural and organic products
  • Lifestyle: they work out, tend toward name brands, and happily spend money on clothes, jewelry and apparel 
  • Well educated and fairly well employed
View online: 

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