Monday, March 25, 2013

Seeing Clearly on Patrick Street

After a long hunt for a new city in which to reside, Dr. Maria Higgins found her answer rather unexpectedly. Thanks to a recommendation made by a 16-year old kid in a bike store, Higgins, owner of Unique Optique, landed in Downtown Frederick nearly 2 years ago.  Struck by downtown’s unique character, walkability, and the support available for local businesses, Higgins sold her optometry practice in Pittsburgh and opened up shop on West Patrick Street.

At Unique Optique, Higgins aims to create an experience that’s more fun, comfortable and happy than your average eye exam.  Her storefront is optometry meets creativity and style; where works of local artists hang among displays of eye glasses and customers are encouraged to step into the shop’s photo booth after picking out their new specs. What does Dr. Maria find most rewarding about her job?  “I love the moment when someone puts on their new glasses and finally sees what they've been missing.”

Frederick Faces

Get it Downtown - Frederick Faces

There’s no doubt about it—Downtown Frederick is a special place. We are known for our picturesque streets, robust arts community and eclectic mix of shops and restaurants.  Most recently, Downtown Frederick was named a “Best Small Town Comeback in America” by CNN and one of the “Prettiest Painted Places in America."   Behind all of this are the dedicated, passionate and unique people who tirelessly contribute to the success of Downtown Frederick. 

As a tribute to the community that we are lucky enough to work with on a daily basis, we bring you Get it Downtown - Frederick Faces, a weekly series of merchant profiles.  These people—whether they stand behind the counter at the boutique down the street, manage your favorite restaurant or own your go-to gift shop—truly make Downtown Frederick special. We hope you enjoy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Time

As all of us begin our annual pining for spring and warm weather and long lunches outside, I am reminded of one of my favorite new spring time events – Bring a Broom Saturday.  Last year, we (the Partnership and NAC 11) organized our first ever Downtown Frederick cleanup.  We all had a fantastic time picking up trash.  Yes, as crazy as that sounds, picking up garbage can be great fun.  At the post event pizza party (go Brewer’s Alley for the generous donation last year and again this year), the 100+ volunteers all were sharing the stories of the work they had completed and their pride in their accomplishments.  While we organizers were feeling a bit winded by a busy morning, the buzz in the room had us rejuvenated and ready for more.  And boy did Downtown Frederick look good!  It was the perfect kick off to a great spring in Downtown Frederick.  Sound like fun?  Join us this year on April 27 and do good.

Monday, March 4, 2013

City Visit: Lancaster

Last Monday, a small group of adventurous souls headed out for City Visit: Lancaster with an eye towards learning something new.  The Partnership leads an excursion to a new locale each year.  Typically held in the winter months, the tour gets merchants and Business Development Committee members out of the store/office and into a new community.  The trip always is rejuvenating and great ideas are sparked – either from the community we visit or from the conversation in the van.  This year proved to be no different. 

Our day began with a visit to the new Marriott hotel in Downtown Lancaster.  We had a great tour and all were drooling over the potential impact of even a much smaller facility in Downtown Frederick.  In addition to the tour, our kind host, Marshall Snively, gave us a great overview of the area and his organization - the James Street Business Improvement District. Marshall also served as our tour guide throughout the afternoon.  

Post lunch, we visited David at Carmen and David’s Creamery – where the ice cream is made on site and is quite yummy.  David generously treated the crew to ice cream and shared with us the story of his business and his involvement in Downtown Lancaster.

From ice cream, we headed to Tellus 360 – a business that currently includes retail (great looking wood tables +), art gallery, clothing and more.  The business owner – Joe Devoy – gave us a tour of the unfinished space and a look at his green roof.  The plans for his space are truly inspiring – adding food, drink and live performance space to the first floor, additional retail sales to the second floor and that green roof.  The building size is so much larger than any footprint we have in Downtown Frederick – we all were feeling a bit green with envy at this resource.  Plus the green roof views were quite something .