Growing up in Delaware — about five minutes from the Maryland border — I am no stranger to what the state has to offer. My childhood memories include strolling on the boardwalk during the summer, heading west to the mountains in the winter for family ski trips and driving up to the mall in Annapolis for back-to-school shopping. Maryland has always been like my next-door neighbor. When the Retail Across America crew visited the state, we met with retailers who were friendly, warm and welcoming. From small business owners in Frederick to local experts like Maryland Retailers Association President Cailey Locklair Tolle, Governor Larry Hogan and Speaker Michael Busch, everyone made us feel like part of the neighborhood. This open-armed attitude is what impressed me the most, and it was easy to tell that the people we met were proud to serve their community and even prouder to show it off.
Maryland is sometimes referred to as “America in Miniature” — as Governor Larry Hogan puts it, the state “has a little something for everybody.” Marylanders take this to heart, and nowhere was it more prominent than in Downtown Frederick where we met with two couples, Tom and Marlene England and Hallie and Mark Burrier, who both run multiple retail shops in the historic neighborhood. The Englands own independent bookshop Curious Iguana and toy and games store Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts; the Burriers run kitchen and housewares store Relish Décor, baby boutique Kindred and modern gift store Treaty General Store.
“It’s nice to see when people have a good camaraderie and are kind to one another.”Hallie Burrier
The stresses of running more than one business could not be seen on the faces of either couple. It was clear that they had passion for not only their businesses, but also the community that surrounds them. It seemed like Frederick is a town where everyone truly knows your name, and these retailers play a big part in that. “It's like everyone feels very comfortable — they come in and they just hang out,” Marlene says.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that an industry filled with so much dedication and spirit makes a big impact. In Maryland, retail supports more than 750,000 jobs and contributes more than $46 billion to the state’s economy. Those numbers are a testament to the hardworking people of the industry and the businesses they operate.
Witnessing that passion in person and hearing their stories, I left Maryland knowing that I can always count on my neighbors for great shopping experiences and inspiring stories.
Video of Retail Across America: Maryland