Berlin’s five-year business cycle shows net gain
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 records show.
“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 report.
That statistic 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 invaluable.
“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.