Frostburg, Maryland was recently named one of eight communities out of 14,000 nominations nationwide selected for Deluxe Corporation’s Small Business Revolution project, with a grand prize of a $500,000 Main Street Makeover and Hulu documentary series co-hosted by Robert Herjavec of ABC’s Shark Tank. Unfortunately, on February 9, Frostburg was not announced a top-five finalist for the competition. While we are disappointed that we are not finalists, our momentum does not stop here.
FrostburgFirst and the City of Frostburg are so proud of the community for rallying behind the Small Business Revolution. Main Street Manager Jessica Palumbo says, “We’ve been able to pull together as a community to rally behind a common goal, and that type of momentum is invaluable. I am inspired every day by the passionate and hardworking people of this community. This is just the beginning.”
Although Frostburg was not named a finalist, the nomination alone provided a huge burst of energy from business owners, FSU students and alumni, and community members. “We learned something about Frostburg businesses from the process,” says Andrea De Palatis, owner of Spectrum Design Services. “With 8-10 new businesses opening in the last 2 years, Frostburg is experiencing a shift to the next generation of entrepreneurs who bring fresh and exciting energy to our town.” Another Frostburg business owner, Diana Iman of Funky Repurps & More says, “Even though our beautiful town was not a finalist, I am excited about the momentum that has started.”
This nomination has instilled, not only a sense of community pride, but also a sense of state pride. Coverage on Frostburg’s nomination has been featured by the Maryland Department of Planning, Main Street Maryland, and the Maryland Department of Commerce. Support has come from across the state and beyond. In fact, Katie Morgan, an FSU alumna from southern Maryland, submitted the original nomination for Frostburg to the Small Business Revolution contest! Katie says she nominated Frostburg because, “This small town quickly became my home away from home. I loved the small town feel and the beauty of the mountains surrounding us.”
The online #MyFrostburg campaign led up to the finalist announcement on February 9. Social media users were asked to post about their love and memories of Frostburg using the hashtag. Posts were tracked diligently by Deluxe, the sponsoring organization of the Small Business Revolution competition. The hashtag campaign allowed Frostburg to connect with a much broader network of communities via social media engagement. Stories poured in from former Frostburg residents, Frostburg State University graduates, and out-of-state citizens with family ties to the area. Common themes throughout the posts were the beautiful scenery of Mountain Maryland, tales of local folklore, and the past and present small business community.
While our journey with the Small Business Revolution has come to an end, we view this only as the beginning of a new journey. “Frostburg is a very resilient town,” says Frostburg Mayor Robert Flanigan. “We’re going to keep moving forward, because that’s what we do. We’re tough, we’re hardworking, and we’re always looking to the future.”
Follow along with Frostburg on our journey on social media, and keep the Frostburg love going using #OurFrostburg. Find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @FrostburgFirst. For more information on how we got this far, visit www.downtownfrostburg.com.