2021 marked the 21st year of the Frederick County Office of Economic Development (OED)’s annual Business Appreciation Week (BAW). For more than two decades, OED has used the week as a chance to visit with businesses throughout the county to answer questions, provide resources, and most of all, to thank them for choosing Frederick County. This year’s theme, “Going the Distance,” celebrated businesses who expanded, located or started a business in Frederick County in 2020 and 2021. These businesses have truly “Gone the Distance” and they are being recognized for their perseverance and dedication, especially during these challenging years.
From October 25th through the 29th, 22 teams of ambassadors virtually visited 102 businesses from a variety of industries. These 100+ businesses made big moves over the past 2 years including 51 expansions, 47 locations, and 4 start-ups. This year’s BAW business represented:
- $88 million in additional capital investment
- 842,000 in additional square feet properties
- +34 agricultural acres in leased or owned land
- 1,094 additional jobs
“Our businesses are booming because of Frederick County’s outstanding quality of life, growth opportunities, and our excellent workforce,” Executive Gardner said. “Frederick County is a great place to do business!”
These virtual visits provide an opportunity for business owners to learn more about resources offered at the city, county, and state levels. Any businesses who request additional information or connections are followed up with by the appropriate source. From this year’s visits, about half of the businesses requested follow-up services:
- 44% requested assistance with workforce services to meet workforce demands
- 42% requested marketing assistance
- 29% are looking for opportunities to network with other businesses and community members (Chamber, EmPOWER, Small Business Development Center and/or the Maryland Women’s Business Center)
- 20% are seeking funding resources
- 11% requested assistance with locating additional commercial space
- 7% requested Local, State and Federal permitting/zoning/regulatory assistance
The 2021 BAW businesses added a total of 1,094 new jobs during 2020 and 2021 and 66% of them plan to hire additional employees. The companies that added the most jobs during 2020 and 2021 are:
- Cian Diagnostics added 200+ employees
- YMCA of Frederick County added 86 employees
- The Common Market added 70 employees
The largest employers visited this year included YMCA of Frederick County, Cian Diagnostics, The Common Market, ProList, and Pediatric Movement Center. The two largest industry clusters visited were Service and Retail, followed by Restaurant, Agriculture, Craft Beverage, Bio/Technology, and Manufacturing. 41% of the businesses visited for BAW were in the Service industry.
During Business Appreciation Week 2021, many businesses mentioned the reasons they choose to do business in Frederick County. The items mentioned included:
- Quality of Life and Community – 75%
- Location –41%
- Growth – 24%
- Business Support – 18%
- Quality of Workforce – 10%
- Permitting- 6%
- Traffic/Transportation– 2%
- Parking – 2%
- Housing – 2%
Around 80% of businesses who mentioned their experience expanding, locating or starting in Frederick County during 2020 and 2021 said they had a positive experience.
“Frederick County is fortunate to have business growth in 2020 and 2021,” says Helen Propheter, Frederick County Economic and Workforce Development Executive Director. “We heard from our visits that workforce is the highest need, as this is a local, state and national concern. We are currently working to assist our businesses with workforce recruitment. Overall, we heard that businesses are confident that they made the right decision when they selected Frederick County to begin or expand their businesses.”
Many of the businesses visited during BAW offered advice for those who might be looking to start, expand or locate to Frederick County in the future.
“Use the county resources - Frederick County is really supportive of businesses; Small Business Development; Workforce Services; Don't do it alone - these organizations are enthusiastic to help you.” -The Sweet Farm
“Gather information and resources. Planning and permitting departments will never be 100%, but comparatively from other counties Frederick’s is through the roof.” -Woodsboro Bank
“If you really want to start a business, this is the town to do it. You have to be persistent. The wise learn from experience.” -Toniq
This year OED partnered with Manning Media to offer participating businesses free extensive marketing exposure. This included ads in various publications, website listings, marketing videos, podcasts and more. One BAW business was even randomly selected to receive a personalized marketing package from Manning Media worth $5,000! Peace, a shop located on East Patrick Street in downtown Frederick received the grand prize.
Number of businesses we visited in our municipalities:
- Brunswick – 2
- Frederick – 81
- Middletown – 2
- Mount Airy – 1
- Myersville – 1
- New Market – 2
- Thurmont – 7
- Walkersville – 1
- Woodsboro – 3
- Other (Rocky Ridge) – 1
For the full list of 2021 BAW participating companies, visit https://www.discoverfrederickmd.com/baw.