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Town's first business expo attracts large crowd, deemed success

Chris Patterson

Aside from the amazement about how many people came to Thurmont's first Business Expo last week, the most common comment by attendees was: "We need a bigger building for the next one."

That comment said two things. The first was that the crowd was huge, and the second is that both business owners and guests thought there ought to be another one.

The Thurmont Business Expo, held at the American Legion on Friday, was sponsored by the Thurmont Economic Development Committee under the leadership of chair Vickie Grinder of the Cozy Restaurant and vice chair John Kinnaird of Kinnaird Memorials.

The expo was the brainchild of Town Commissioner Bill Blakeslee, liaison to the committee.

After observing the success of the Taste of Emmitsburg event featuring Emmitsburg restaurants in July, Blakeslee and the committee decided a similar event for Thurmont businesses would be good for the community. The actual planning took about two months.

Kinnaird said in an interview after the event that even though the business community in Thurmont is strong, the event provided a good opportunity for businesses and their customer base to get connected.

Several people at the event said they learned about businesses they didn't know existed in town. Even Mayor Martin Burns said Tuesday that he learned at the event about a local business where he can board his dog, so he doesn't have to take him to Frederick anymore.

Annual events such as this will be planned in the future, Kinnaird said, but the committee may also plan more seasonal events as well, such as a home and garden show in spring, for example.

Blakeslee said the committee hoped between 200 and 300 people would attend the event but the final count was actually about 650.

Businesses and visitors participated in the event for free.

As guests entered the second floor of the Legion, they were handed a plastic bag. They then proceeded through the aisles filling it with information materials and assorted gifts from each of the vendors.

Pens, pencils and rulers were popular gifts at tables throughout the event, but many more things were available, including free chances for gifts, samples of dog food and plenty of people food.

Located next to the door, Cozy Restaurant brought an assortment of food such as Honey Barbecue Wings, warm Crab Dip, spare ribs and more. The table was a popular starting place.

Creekside Café and the Shamrock Restaurant offered tasty treats. The Shamrock's Irish toffee custard was popular among guests.

Diana Stull, owner of The Beauty Shop, gave visitors a chance to win a large basket of beauty items.

Stull also gave away beauty care samples as well as candies made from white chocolate and formed into the shape of curlers and hair dryers with molds from Gateway Farm Market and Candyland.

Center of Life Chiropractic offered healing massages, as one person after another walked away with a peaceful smile on his or her face.

Julie Mackley, a 30-year resident of the town, was one of those smiling folks. She said her impressions of the event were positive and it was good to learn about some of the new businesses in town.

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