Top 50x2: Mount Airy Ace Hardware and Mount St. Mary's University

In this year’s special edition of Frederick Top 50x2, we are recognizing Frederick County’s most resilient businesses that have been serving our community for 20 years or more.  Each week we will be highlighting businesses and organizations that were selected for the publication.  These are the companies that prove that Frederick County is a great place to do business. 

Mount Airy Ace Hardware
1312 S. Main St. | Mount Airy
Established: 1992

Founders: Greg and Patricia Phelps

Our mission at Mt. Airy Ace is to be the best, most helpful hardware store on the planet. In our store, the customer is our number one priority. We strive to provide a welcoming atmosphere where they are greeted with a friendly and knowledgeable team-member who is ready to assist them with all of their needs. Our customers are our neighbors, friends and members of the area we serve. We have deep family roots here and are dedicated to making a difference in our community, supporting local causes that benefit those in need. 

What is your advice to a young company?

Everything you do will make an impact on your business. Be well informed. Search out advice. Sleep on big decisions. Where will I be in 10 years? But remember the most important often overlooked item on your list. Your employees...people. You are nothing without them.

Mount St. Mary's University
16300 Old Emmitsburg Road | Emmitsburg
Established: 1808

Founder: The Rev. John Dubois

Mount St. Mary’s University is a private, liberal arts, Catholic university in the Catoctin Mountains near historic Emmitsburg, with a satellite campus in Frederick. The university offers more than 80 majors, minors, concentrations and special programs for traditional undergraduate students, and in excess of 20 adult undergraduate and graduate level programs, as well as 24 NCAA Division I athletic programs.

Why is Frederick County a great place to do business?

Frederick County is strengthened by the partnerships between colleges and universities, businesses and nonprofit organizations, stimulated by the Office of Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce. These partnerships spark innovation and opportunities.

Frederick County is very fortunate to have an amazing business community, especially those that have been in business for over 20 years.  We understand that there are more than 100 legacy businesses in Frederick County, but unfortunately, we were not able to include all these businesses in the Top 50x2.  The businesses included were selected from responses submitted to a business survey.  OED staff verified the responses and then selected the businesses on a first come first serve basis.  If your business would like to be included in future opportunities, please email

Some photographs included in the publication were taken pre-COVID.  OED encourages everyone to follow precautionary guidelines set forth by the Frederick County Health Department.