BERLIN—Since December 2008, the Main Street district has
gained 62 new businesses and lost 27 due to closures. The impact has resulted
in bringing nearly 200 new jobs —
191.5 full-time equivalent positions — to the business sector while losing less
than 60 jobs —57.5 FTEs — to closed ventures over the five-year period, town
“The most exciting thing when it comes to openings and
closures is that when a business does unfortunately close in Berlin, another
one is waiting to take their space,” Economic and Community Development
Director Michael Day said.
Over the course of the business cycles, the local workforce
has experienced a two-thirds new job retention rate.
Nearly half of the jobs brought in by new businesses were at
Drummer Café (40), Si’Culi (20), Tex-Mex & Beyond (20), and Atlantic Hotel
(16), the report showed.
The largest job losses during that time were from the
closures of Solstice (15) and Goober’s (8), it showed.
The most active year for new business establishments in
Berlin was 2012, when 18 new companies set up shop in town, according to the
was followed closely by the total for 2011, when 17 businesses opened in town (one
was an expansion). The third most active year for business openings was 2009
when Berlin attracted 14 new ventures.
However, 2012 was also the year when the highest number of
businesses closed (seven), followed by 2011 and 2009, when the town lost six
new businesses each year.
A quick check of one new and one nearly year-old company
suggested that new owners give a lot of credit to the support they have been
receiving from town officials and the downtown business community.
Asked about her experience so far, one of the town’s newest
business owners, Laura Stearman, of Harmony Wellness Spa, said, “Personally for
me it has going very well. I think I have been seeing growth every week.”
She said she found the people of the town “extremely
supportive” and “welcoming with open arms.” Stearman said she was “Very glad I
listened to my intuition” and started her nail salon in Berlin, where she has
received good support from local government.
Stearman commended Day for keeping business owners informed
of any relevant issues that were going on and about new opportunities that
could help spur business.
“It is truly a blessing to have a shop in a town that
welcomes and supports new businesses,” Business owner Brenda Trice said. “I am
so pleased that we are creating community here at A Little Bit Sheepish through
the many groups and individuals who come to work on projects at different times
during the week.”
She commended Berlin’s town leadership for their willingness
to assist new businesses and called Maryland’s Small Business Development Staff
“The first year is proving to be a positive learning
experience and I look forward to what the future has in store for A Little Bit
Sheepish,” which opened in November 2012, Trice said.