Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Roots and River Yoga

Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Roots and River Yoga

As part of our ongoing series concerning how downtown businesses are dealing with COVID-19, see what is happening at Roots and River Yoga.

Roots & River Yoga was established on August 10, 2016, by owner Machelle Lee, and will be celebrating their 4th anniversary this summer. Their mission is to foster class experiences that are physically and psychologically accessible and meaningful to those that take them. They offer a variety of products and services that are geared towards this goal. These include a range of yoga styles, meditation modalities for health and well-being, and selling yoga mats, bolsters, blocks, yoga clothing, and locally handmade jewelry and goods.

Machelle fell in love with Brunswick as a whole. The historic location, the charming architecture, the beautiful Potomac River, and the people themselves, make being here worthwhile. She loves to see the kindness that the people here show to one another and the investment they put into the lives of their neighbors. Being here allows Machelle to see Brunswick unfold and begin to realize its new potential as a community and business center.

Regarding the changes they made to work with the COVID-19 crisis, Machelle said, “We continue to provide classes, but the studio has had to go completely online. Our weekly class offerings are smaller than our normal in-studio schedule, but we are hosting a broad scope of meaningful classes that can be taken LIVE or participants can receive a recording to practice at their own convenience. This is what makes our online studio different from most other studios is that we are providing both LIVE classes and recordings of those classes so people can practice once or several times with a class over the course of a week.”

Typically, they offer weekly classes 7 days a week. These include specialty workshops and professional teacher training on the weekends. They normally do not have specific hours of operation as their schedule depends on the daily schedule of classes and workshops offered that day. However, due to the COVID-19 shutdown they are now offering a range of online classes and they are selling yoga props for home use by appointment.

If you are looking for a way to support them go to their website, www.RootsAndRiverYoga.com  and check out the classes they are currently offering or leave them a review on Yelp, Facebook, or Google. Roots & River Yoga can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. 

Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Towpath Creamery

Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Towpath Creamery

Towpath Creamery was established 2 years ago to offer delicious, high-quality, all-natural, hand-dipped ice cream in downtown Brunswick.  In addition to serving high-quality food, they also are dedicated to operating in an environmentally conscientious manner by using compostable to-go ware, hiring a local compost company, conserving water, and minimizing waste.  They currently offer 2 different brands of all-natural ice cream – South Mountain Creamery (Frederick County, MD) and Cold Run Creamery (Berk’s County, PA) – as well as sorbet and frozen yogurt from Giffords (Skowhegan, Maine).  Each brand includes wonderful flavors that are sure to make your taste buds happy!

Karin Tome, the owner of the creamery, had the desire to open her own small business for several reasons, one of which was understanding what small-business owners have to contend with in terms of government regulations, taxes, etc.  She had also noticed that as hikers and cyclists came off the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park towpath, they were often looking for ice cream to enjoy.   A final reason was that she had the experience of taking her kids to a local ice cream shop when they were younger (in the 1990’s, where the Hive Bakeshop is currently located); they loved this experience and the memories they created as a family.  She wanted to offer this opportunity to folks in the Brunswick and Lovettsville area.

Although she has never experienced running her own business previously, she has enjoyed the adventure. She took the time to research thoroughly before jumping straight into it. This was important because she has always wanted to run a business that is environmentally friendly. They are licensed as a Benefit LLC and they commit to recycling and composting (giving back to the environment) where possible. Karin has also taken many courses to help her to learn more about running a business. These course were provided by the Women’s Business Council, the Maryland Small Business Development Center, and Frederick County.

Karin takes her business very seriously and loves the City of Brunswick. It has always held a special place in her heart. The sense of community that exists among the community inspires her and the volunteer services that people provide around town is heart-warming, to say the least. During the summer, Brunswick acts as a hub of life, bringing in folks from all over the world to hike and cycle on the towpath and visit an authentic railroad boomtown.  Karin loves to meet all of those visiting and especially loves it when they can come in and enjoy some ice cream!

Towpath Creamery offers a wide variety of products for purchase. They sell hand-dipped ice cream, soft-serve ice cream (when the machine is up and running!), sundaes, cones, milkshakes, floats, local coffee and honey, as well as snacks and drinks. They are currently open Wednesday/Thursday from 5 pm – 8 pm and Friday – Sunday from 12 pm – 8 pm, but will extend their hours to 7 days when it gets warmer.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, their menu is currently limited. However, they are taking all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of their customers and staff. They have hired a couple of new staff members due to the pandemic, and they are working hard to provide quality service to all who visit. They are accepting online orders on their website at towpathcreamery.com and you can call to pick up at 301.969.6480.

Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Brunswick Sports and Apparel

COVID-19 Response of Brunswick Sports and Apparel

Brunswick Sports and Apparel officially opened its doors as a sporting goods store 2 years ago. Previously, the building had been predominately a hardware store for 45 years. Abbie Ricketts, the current owner, had moved to Brunswick with her family 47 years ago and it was her father that had established the original business. He had worked in a bank but had always dreamed of owning his own hardware store, and when they moved to town, he was able to make that dream into a reality.

Abbie had grown up in the store and eventually worked there and helped her father. Then, 2 years ago, her father decided it was time to retire. With his retirement came Abbie’s decision that it was time to do something a little different. That was when Abbie changed the hardware store to a sporting goods store. Although not the easiest decision, it allowed for the expansion of their business with additional products and services.

The hardware store already sold many things like sports equipment, fishing gear, and acted as a licensing agent for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Now as Brunswick Sports and Apparel, they offer many more products and services such as: custom embroidery and screen printing, heat press, custom decorative sewing, laser engraving, sports equipment, fishing, tackle, signs and banners, and they are a licensing agent for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Abbie puts her background in art, along with other skills gained through the years, to good use with the products and services currently offered.  She loves that Brunswick is right next to the C&O Canal and the Potomac River and it is her mission, and all those that work with her, to serve Brunswick and the surrounding areas by providing high quality custom merchandise and timely service.

During COVID-19 it has been a challenge, but somehow, they are managing to stay in strong spirits. Up until Saturday, April 26th they had been closed, but they are fortunate that they are now able to re-open for the time being. They are currently selling protective face masks which allows them to be open in a limited capacity and those that go inside can shop her other wares and obtain a fishing license. Their current operating hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stop in and pick up a Brunswick Railroaders mask, sports equipment and apparel, or a fishing license.  Discover what Brunswick Sports and Apparel has for you!

Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Beans in the Belfry

Dealing with COVID-19 in Downtown Brunswick: Beans in the Belfry

Brunswick Main Street will be bringing you weekly blog posts featuring a different downtown business.  Each business will share how they are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.  Statistics from Main Street America say that over 35% of Main Street businesses will have to permanently close if this crisis continues for 3-5 months. We know you love downtown, so let’s rally to support our downtown businesses throughout this crisis!

Our first blog post will feature a beloved downtown business which has become a true anchor for our downtown area: Beans in the Belfry.

Located in the historic 1910 church on W Potomac Street, Beans in the Belfry brings in people from all walks of life to participate in their many events and enjoy the variety of food they serve. Open seven days a week, they are known for having live music, an afternoon tea service, for the quality customer experience provided, , and for popular foods like their Turkey Panini and Bombay Chicken Salad. The eclectic atmosphere reminds guests of home with comfy couches, a children’s corner, board games, and even free wi-fi for folks to use.

The owners of Beans in the Belfry, Melanie DiPasquale and her parents Jim and Hanna Politis, love the opportunity to know, serve, and work with the people in the community. Hanna says that “Melanie’s vision was and still is to enhance downtown Brunswick with a place where people and families with kids can get together, drink coffee, socialize, get to know each other.  Since she is a fan of historic preservation, she picked the boarded-up church on 122 West Potomac Street to be that place.  Always 100% committed, she and family members bought that church in 2003 and after 14 months of hard work and considerable investment she turned it into an eclectic, comfortable and inviting Third Place for locals to hang out, and it soon became a destination for people in the tri-state area to visit and enjoy coffee, food, and since 2012 also beer and wine.  A coffee house is not complete without live music and right from the beginning we were approached by musicians to perform. It became a win-win situation where all weekend long our stage resounds with performers of Irish, Celtic and roots music, blues, old time, bluegrass, and amazing jazz groups.”

Hanna continued to say “Our products and services evolved by listening to our customers.  So, we soon added paninis, soups, chili, salads, cakes and other baked goods to our coffee, espresso and tea service.  We want ingredients to be high quality and insist on freshness. Therefore, as much as possible we choose locally sourced, organic and sustainable ingredients.  As our food service increased, so did our opportunity to hire local staff, and we pride ourselves to have filled positions with baristas whom we trained while they were still attending or had just graduated from the local high school, as well as staff from the local community with experience in food service. “

Hanna describes the impact of COVID-19, “With COVID-19, of course, the unthinkable happened when the Governor of Maryland imposed restrictions on table service in restaurants.  Since March 17 we have adapted to offering curbside service and had to reduce our staff to fewer hours.  It’s been a blow to us since our strength lies in the experience of our eclectic ambiance in the room.  We are using the down time for repair and maintenance of the century old building. We are ever so grateful to friends and supporters who place coffee and food orders and get gift cards to pay it forward.  We look forward to having the restrictions lifted and resuming normal service.  We really miss seeing the many friendly faces and engaging with people who make our running our business so rewarding.”

Beans in the Belfry DoorBeans in the Belfry has been serving our community for 16 years. Established in 2004, this family-owned business strives to bring good quality food to all those who walk through their doors. Each family member brings their strengths and prior knowledge to the business while at the same time they are each constantly learning new skills so that they can serve others to the best of their ability. Everyone at Beans in the Belfry wants you to know that they are here to serve the community alongside the other businesses located in our beloved downtown Brunswick. All establishments are counting on the support of the community at this time of need.

They are open 363 days of the year. Currently the hours are: Sunday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Support Beans in the Belfry by giving them a call at 301.834.7178 and placing an order TODAY! You can also leave them a review on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, or Facebook. Beans in the Belfry can also be found on several social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. The eclectic yet warm atmosphere in this historic building is welcoming and allows others to feel at home without having to be at home. Can’t wait until we can all gather there again for a great cup of coffee!

With mention of Brunswick Main Street, get a free coffee with your meal at Beans in the Belfry!

 

Supporting Brunswick Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Supporting Brunswick Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brunswick Main Street and the City of Brunswick’s Economic Development Commission have teamed up to keep the Brunswick community informed on how to support our local businesses in the upcoming weeks. First and foremost, we would like to reiterate that the safety of residents, workers and visitors in the Brunswick community is paramount and that patrons should take proper precautions when shopping and dining in Brunswick.  However, we encourage our community to find appropriate ways to support our small businesses and vulnerable community members during this challenging time. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on our social media regarding business activities and events. The following blog post will be continually updated to reflect all active recommendations provided by our local businesses, and City, County and State partners.

All of our businesses are taking extreme precautions to keep their facilities clean. If you are feeling ill or are a high risk for carrying COVID-19, we ask that you please avoid interacting with our businesses in person for the safety of their employees and to ultimately slow the dissemination of the virus.

THE GOOD NEWS: There are many ways in which you can support our Brunswick Businesses! Here are a few ways:

  1. Purchase a gift card. Many of our businesses have gift cards available for purchase – you can find specific information on which businesses below! Purchasing a gift card can help offset their current demands of operating a small business.
  2. Consider delivery or take out! Several of our local restaurants can deliver or provide carry out options. See the list below for more details. Pro tip: order a few meals and freeze them!
  3. Partake in online courses as they become available. Fun things to do from the comfort of your home! See below.
  4. Encourage your friends and family to support local. Share this post, business posts and other information widely so others know how to help!

 

Here is information on specific businesses (subject to change):

Business:  Contact Info: Gift Cards? Latest Information:
Adele’s Tex Mex

Facebook HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.3400

Yes! Call to order. Take out and delivery options are available!
Beans in the Belfry

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.7178

Yes! Order on website or call. Take out options are available starting March 17th, 2020! They are in the process of developping a smooth take out process: operating hours will remain the same, a carry out parking space is available outside their cafe, payment method is cash or credit card, and their menu is on their website. Curbside delivery available!
Boxcar Burgers

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.2612

Take out options available! Crubside assistance and delivery information pending. Operating with regular winter hours for now.
Brunswick Heritage Museum

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.7100

The Brunswick Heritage Museum is unfortunately closed until March 25th and will re-evaluate soon after.
Brunswick Sports and Apparel

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.8349207

Yes! Call to order Brunswick Sports and Apparel is working on extended hours. They encourage online and phone orders as the primary form of patronage. They meticulously clean all of their products.
CM Bloomers

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.8200

Yes! Call to order. CM Bloomers is still operating with shortened hours. Porch delivery options are available! However, they will not delivering to health care facilities, nursing homes, health care offices or FT. Detrick. Curbside assistance also available.
Corner Store

Facebook HERE

Phone Number: 301.658.4593

The Corner Store has a delivery service! Call to get some essential items delievered to your doorstep. Regular operating hours will occur for now. A take out parking space and crubside delivery are available!
Dollar General Phone Number: 301.969.2630 Dollar General in Brunswick will be open at 7 am to 8 am for seniors to shop 55 and up, after 8am it is normal shopping! 
Five Dances Wellness Center

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.7411

Yes – varying.

Currently operating regular business hours (open on a day to day basis). Connie Trica, LMT and Licensed Esthetician can issue gift cards here: https://www.chrysalisbody.com/ other consultants and personnel unable to at this time.

 

Stay tuned for some amazing online courses and opportunities!

Grasshopper Garden & Patio

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.432.5428

Grasshopper Garden & Patio are continuing their projects at this time and do not anticipate a delay in proress. They are taking all the recommended CDC precautions at this time.
The Hive Bakeshop

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.969.6506

Yes! Call to order.

The Hive is offering a shortened menu of family classics. They will do their best to support call ahead payments and curbside assistance. Check out their social media for their latest updates!

They also have initiated a “share a meal” service for families in need. Sponsor a family in your community with a $25 donation HERE

King’s Pizza

Facebook HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.9999

Yes! Call to order. Take out and delivery options are available!
The Own It Company

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.675.3098

The Own It Company has created a short term transitional membership for those who are newly teleworking. The space offers many ammenities that can assist teleworkers in optimizing their time out of the office. The membership is $1.00 for 14 days. The Own It Company will be keeping the same operating hours for now.
Potomac Street Grill

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.969.0548

Yes! Call to order. They will be offering take out and delivery options! New operating hours are as follows: Sunday through Thursday 12-6 and Friday and Saturday 12-7
Public Spectacle

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.6400

Operating hours have not changed! Clients will not interact intimately during their sessions. Public Spectacle is observing all of the recommended precautions for cleanliness at this time.
Roots & River Yoga

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 240.938.8622

Yes! Online ordering available. Roots & River Yoga is offering online yoga and meditation courses! They are no longer operating in person hours. To find out how you can participate, visit their website!
Smoketown Brewing Station

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.4828

Yes! Online or call to order. Take out options available from 12PM-5PM Thursday through Sunday (though not guarenteed). Please call ahead to order!
Stroker’s BBQ

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.712.4137

Yes! Call to order. Online processing available by phone. Stroker’s is keeping regular business hours and offer crubside assistance!
Three Points Cycles

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.7199

Yes! Call to order. Winter operational hours are still ongoing. Three Points Cycles can process online payments and curbside deliver upon request! Three Points Cycles are meticulously cleaning their shop on a regular basis. Bike tune-ups are still available!
Towpath Creamery

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.969.6480

Yes! Call to order Take out options available! Crubside assistance and delivery information pending. Operating with regular winter hours for now.
Weis Markets

Facebook HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.4800

Weis is currently suspending their curbside service and are focusing on meeting current demand.
Wing’n Pizza Shack

Facebook HERE

Website HERE

Phone Number: 301.834.5555

Wing’n Pizza Shack will operate normal business hours with take-out and delivery!
Are the existing buildings in the proposed Railroad Square Project historic?

Are the existing buildings in the proposed Railroad Square Project historic?

The “Railroad Square Project” is a proposed mixed-use (commercial and residential) project that would impact a critical section of downtown Brunswick. The project would create 46 affordable housing units and 15,000 square feet of retail/ office space along West Potomac Street. It is important to distinguish that there are two elements of the project: one element that will create affordable housing units and will be applying for low income housing credits through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) (find out more about the tax credits HERE), and a second element that would create retail space along West Potomac Street which will not be included in the tax credit proposal. To learn more about the project please refer to the web link HERE and continue to monitor it for any changes.

In this post, Brunswick Main Street will be focusing on the first element of the project (the properties included in the low income housing tax credit application). The current plan, would involve the restoration of 1 South Maple Ave (2-4 W Potomac Street) also known as the “Mommer’s building” and the removal/ demolition of the remaining buildings (5 S Maple Ave, 9 S Maple Ave, Karn’s Building on S Maryland Ave). Brunswick Main Street is not an authority on deeming properties to be historically significant or not. Therefore, we asked three relevant historical authorities for their expert opinions:

Local historian, author, and President of the Brunswick Potomac Foundation (operators of the Brunswick Heritage Museum) James Castle[1] finds that each of the properties in question bear historic merit. Castle supports his findings in a paper he has written in this document “RR Square“.

Maryland’s oldest preservation organization, Preservation Maryland[2], is dedicated to advocacy, outreach and education, and funding preservation efforts throughout the state. Preservation Maryland largely defines historically significant properties based upon their inclusion in the National Register (HERE and HERE). They believe in the purpose of historic districts; there is value in the collective presence of multiple buildings of historic nature which compose a historic streetscape. Preservation Maryland references the following studies: “Brunswick, Maryland Downtown Revitalization Study” (1985 Downtown Revitilization Study (1)) from the University of Maryland School of Architecture recommends the demolition of the Karn’s Building (located on S Maryland Ave) in favor of a new shopping complex, “The Historic Resource Study of Brunswick, Maryland” (brunswick-historic resource study (1)) by Edward D. Smith of the Historic Preservation Team of the National Park Services does not refer to any of the buildings in question, and finally the “ ‘Rooted deeply in our past’: A landscape history of Brunswick, Maryland” (Rooted deeply in our past_ A landscape history of Brunswick Ma (1)) by Alyssa R. Fisher of James Madison University does refer to the role of the Karn’s Building in Brunswick’s development but does not refer to any of the other buildings in question. These studies add additional context to the Railroad Square Project.

Finally, The Maryland Historical Trust (MHT)[3] is the state agency dedicated to preserving and interpreting the legacy of Maryland’s past. As Maryland state agencies, the MHT and the DHCD work closely together. To identify historically significant properties, MHT uses two main tools: the National Register (HERE and HERE), and the period of significance (which for Brunswick is 1890-1930). Using these tools, MHT finds the following:

  • 1 South Maple Ave – Listed on the National Register – therefore historically significant.
  • 5 South Maple Ave – Listed on the National Register, built in 1789 (not during the period of significance) – therefore historically significant.
  • 9 South Maple Ave – Listed on the National Register, built in 1787 (not during the period of significance) – therefore historically significant
  • Karn’s Building on South Maryland Ave – Listed on the National Register, built in 1787 (not during the period of significance) – therefore historically significant.

 

In summary, most historical authorities therefore find that the properties in question are historically significant to Brunswick.

However, this raises a few questions:

Can the low income tax credits be awarded to a project that includes an intention to demolish historically significant buildings?

Answer: Yes.

As earlier stated, the MHT and DHCD work very closely together. If the tax credits are awarded, the National Historic Preservation Act becomes applicable to the project. This Act, in section 106, is the primary federal law regarding review of federal projects for effects on historic preservation. The Maryland Historical Trust Act of 1985 as amended, State Finance and Procurement Article §§ 5A- 325 and 5A-326 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, is the applicable state law. You can find out more about these Acts HERE.

In short, a Section 106 review of the effects as they relate to historic preservation will occur. A Section 106 review ensures that preservation values are factored into federal/state agency planning and decisions. Because of Section 106, federal/state agencies must assume responsibility for the consequences of the projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties and be publicly accountable for their decisions.

A Section 106 review would require the developer (in this case Verdant Development Group) to make its case to MHT and the DHCD and consulting parties. It also requires that the public be given opportunities to share their view points on the historic merit of the properties in question. Consulting parties in this review can include local governments, advisory councils on historic preservation, state preservation officers, and other relevant organizations that the state agency approves. To learn more about Section 106 and the review, please click here: CitizenGuide2015v4-spreads layout

Ultimately, the Section 106 review outcome will be determined by the DHCD and the MHT. The outcome may still include the demolition of the properties in question or it may call for a new plan to be established. Mitigation will also be factored in to the outcome of the review.

Where does Brunswick Main Street stand with all of this?

Brunswick Main Street is part of the Maryland Main Street program, which is housed under the DHCD. Therefore, Brunswick Main Street supports all of the decisions made by the DHCD and MHT in regards to this project. Brunswick Main Street advocates for an early Section 106 review so that a meaningful review can occur. We believe in the power of development and in the merit of historic preservation. While this blog post addresses the historic value of the buildings involved in the Railroad Square Project, Brunswick Main Street will need to determine, as information becomes available, its stance on other aspects of this project

[1] This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Moreover, in referencing the works of James Castle, he is not agreeing to the views expressed by any other organization referenced in this text.

[2] This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Moreover, in referencing the works provided by Preservation Maryland, the organization is not agreeing to the views expressed by any other organization referenced in this text.

[3] This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. Moreover, in referencing the process of the Maryland Historical Trust, the organization is not agreeing to the views expressed by any other organization referenced in this text