"Shop Local" Group Supports Community Through Pandemic and Beyond

Early 2020 was a time of uncertainty for many businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic made itself known. Business owners and community members quickly stepped up in an effort to support the Frederick County business community. One of those people was Sharyn Volpe. Sharyn watched a local catering company lose business due to the pandemic and decided to start encouraging locals to dine with them via social media. Each week she did this promoting, the catering company saw more orders come through. After seeing how posting to social media could help one local business, Sharyn decided to create a place where many Frederick County businesses could advertise at no cost. As a business owner herself, (Sharyn and her husband Joe own Frederick Window Tinting), she is especially passionate about the small business community in Frederick. And in April of 2020, the “Shop Local Frederick Maryland” Facebook group was born.

With 27,000 group members, the Shop Local group provides a spot for Frederick area businesses to advertise their goods and services for free, and get those promotions in front of more eyes. Followers can share their experiences with local businesses and even ask for advice. Where can you get the best pizza? Who can make a specialty birthday cake? Those are the types of questions followers post in the group, and people are happy to provide feedback. Sharyn says the response to the Shop Local Frederick Maryland group has been great, and that is evident by taking a quick scroll through the many posts in the group each day. Thanks to a strict “no negativity” rule and the help of volunteer moderators, and Facebook group sticks to its original goals of remaining positive and helpful for both businesses and the community. Even in the pandemic, some local restaurants saw such an increase in sales thanks to word-of-mouth and reviews on social media pages that they were able to expand. Sharyn says stories like those are exactly why she loves running the Facebook group.

More than two years after its creation, the Shop Local Frederick Maryland group is still going strong. Sharyn says that while many aspects of life are now getting back to normal, it is still important for our community to shine a light on local small businesses, especially those in the service industry that are operating short-staffed. What does the future look like for this Shop Local Facebook group? Sharyn doesn’t plan on stepping away from the page anytime soon. In fact, she is currently working on an exciting project to help out busy families through an online ordering platform. So whether you are looking for local deals, need advice on who to hire, or just want to find really good pizza, Sharyn’s Facebook group has you covered.

You can find the Shop Local Frederick Maryland Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SupportFrederick.