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Blair Garrett

From humble beginnings to a 50-year business, Beard’s Trash Service in Thurmont celebrates a huge milestone.

The desire to make a successful business that your family can inherit is not uncommon. However, the ability to make it a reality is a whole different story.

Beard’s Trash Service is a family-owned business that epitomizes what it means to be hard-working, along with putting in the hours necessary to be successful.

Richard, Pam, and Luke Beard still run the day-to-day operations for Beard’s Trash, but it’s hard to forget their roots in the company.

“My mother-in-law, Ada Beard, started the company in 1972,” owner Pam Beard said. “She started it in a Ford F-150 pickup with wood sides.”

Starting off by herself, she soon needed help with the growing clientele base.

“She would pick up household trash, pick up papers, and all that for $3.00 a month,” Pam said. “She eventually started getting a lot more customers, so my husband started helping her on weekends.”

The world has changed a lot since 1972, but Beard’s Trash Service’s quality service is still a staple of the business.

Beard’s has seen significant growth from its Ford F-150 days, with a much-expanded team that still provides the same person-to-person service.

“Now we have three big garbage trucks, three employees on the trucks, and three people in the office,” Pam said.

The crew runs the routes solo and covers a tremendous area several times a week.

“We run the majority of Frederick County, and we run Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday,” Pam explained. “We help over 3,000 customers and have over 200 dumpsters we service in Frederick County.”

The hours are long, but sometimes that’s what it takes to push a family business to the next level. “They start running at 1:00 a.m. and pick up for residences and dumpsters until 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon,” Pam said.

It’s been a remarkable 50 years for the company, and the community support has kept them going for the past five decades.

“We just want to thank all our loyal customers who have been with us for years,” Richard said.

Local businesses have a way of giving back to the community in a way that huge corporations just can’t match. When customers keep supporting a business run by a family that lives within that community, a huge portion of their profits are re-invested back into that area. A community thrives when everyone succeeds.

Five decades of providing local trash pickup service is impressive, and Beard’s Trash Service keeping the business in the family for so long holds significant value to them.

“It means a lot to be around 50 years because it’s spanned three generations,” Pam said. “My mother-in-law started it, and then my husband has worked there for years, and then once he retires, my son will be taking it all over.”

There’s something special about passing your business down to your children, knowing they will keep it going with the same care and attention that was given to it when it was started.

The Beards are proud of their milestone, but Pam’s message to the community remains the same. “If anyone wants good family service, give us a call.”

Richard Beard and his son, Luke Beard, proudly show their American spirit with their newest truck and logo. You can’t miss a Beard’s Trash truck! Courtesy Photo

James Rada, Jr.

Catoctin High School (CHS) recognized its graduates who have gone on to find success post-high school during its 6th Annual Distinguished Graduates Induction Ceremony in November 2021.

Principal Jennifer Clements told the audience, “Catoctin High School is a place of deep roots and strong traditions. Our history is so rich because of the incredible staff and students who have walked these halls, making a positive impact on our school and our community.”

It is that tradition and those people that the school celebrates with its Distinguished Graduate Program. The Catoctin High School Distinguished Graduate Organization was formed in 2015 to honor alumni in the areas of academics, arts and humanities, athletics, business, and public service.

The 2021 program recognized alumni from the arts and humanities, academics, and public service sectors. It also recognized two former CHS staff members.

Former teacher, John Koepke, taught, coached, and advised students at CHS for 35 years. During the program, he passed on some advice from his father to the students in attendance. “Life is full of cool moments. Enjoy the cool moments.”

He also shared some advice from Dr. Jack Graham, a Texas pastor, and it was to PACE yourself through life. However, Koepke added his own words for the acronym.

Patience helps peace.

Acceptance helps attitude.

Confidence helps commitment.

Embrace encouragement.

Rebecca Chaney, Class of 1982, was the arts and entertainment inductee. She is an author, speaker, and livestock and dairy judging coach. Her twin daughters, Sheridan and Rianna Chaney, who are seniors at CHS introduced their mother.

“You need to remember to dream big,” Cheney told the students. “Never waver from your dream and goals. With hard work and determination, you can achieve incredible things in this life.”

Brian Haines, Class of 2000, was the academics inductee. He is currently an assistant principal scientist at Merck, working in regulatory affairs.

He told the students not to give up on their goals. However, you need to work to make them happen. “Dig in just a little harder and not give up after setting a goal,” Haines said.

Maria Smaldone, Class of 2010, was the public service inductee. Her professional career has been spent in social work, and she is currently the senior neighborhood resource coordinator at Neighborhood Housing Services in Baltimore. Her sister, Raphaela Smaldone, a CHS senior, introduced her.

She said, “My normal is probably not your normal…considering someone’s context (their normal) is critical to understanding their thoughts, their feelings, and their motivations.” She added that this understanding will help bridge “trust gaps” between people of different backgrounds. She urged the students to get to know someone with a different normal and listen to them and learn from them.

She also told students not to, “pigeonhole yourself too soon into what you think you’re good at or what you think is good for you. There are so many other things out there, and you are capable of so many other things than you can give yourself credit for.”

Curtis Howser, a former industrial arts teacher and school counselor for 44 years, was another former CHS staff inductee. He served as a counselor at CHS for 18 years.

He said. “Be part of the solution rather than someone who just talks about it.”

Pictured from left are: (standing) Curtis Howser, John Koepke, and Bryan Haines; (seated) Maria Smaldone and Rebecca Chaney.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Jim Adams (pictured right), Postmaster at the Thurmont Post Office, officially retires on November 30, 2021, after 22 years with the United States Postal Service.

While retirement will provide Jim with more time with family and opportunity for travel, that doesn’t mean he won’t miss the great team of postal workers at the Thurmont Post Office. About them he said, “I’ve been very blessed, and I will never ever take them for granted.”

He explained, “I don’t care what the challenge is from one day to the next, we all pull together and get the job done each and every day.”

With the cumulative goal for postal workers being to get a letter or a package from its point of origin to its destination as efficiently as possible, Jim said, “Our focus is to be fully engaged and providing nothing but outstanding service to our customers, and each and every member of our team has the same commitment and focus every day they come to work.”

Jim is one of six children and was raised in Elyria, Ohio. While working his way through college at Cleveland State University, Jim lost his job and moved in with his sister and brother-in-law in Baltimore, where work was plentiful.

With a fresh degree in psychology from UMBC, it was the degree, not the field of study that charted his postal career. “There wasn’t a tremendous amount of opportunity with that degree,” he explained.

While living in New Market, Maryland, he responded to a big “Help Wanted” banner in front of the post office and was hired as a rural carrier associate by Pat Sortino. Pat served as a mentor and nudged Jim along as he worked his way up towards management.

He rose within the profession, serving as the Retail and Bulk Mail Supervisor in Frederick, Officer in Charge of the Rocky Ridge Post Office, and then left there for an Associates Supervisor program where he received very extensive postal training.

He started his management career as a level 15 supervisor at the Hagerstown Post Office. After about seven years, opportunity knocked again, and Jim went to Frederick.

The piece that was missing in his career was retail, but his bulk mail experience in Frederick set a foundation for his move to Thurmont.

After 11 years at Thurmont, the step for retirement is now. “I have five grandchildren who have me wrapped,” Jim said.

Family is important to Jim, he’s very close with his brothers and sisters, and they are celebrating his decision to retire right along with him.

Jim and his wife, Ellen, have a blended family, with his daughter Jessica and her three children, Ashley Brianna, and Curtis. Truly one family.

Jim is ready to celebrate family and already has trips planned to spend quality time together.

The plan for Jim’s replacement had not been announced at the time of this interview, but Jim assures that there will be a seamless transition for a new postmaster.

He said, “I only hope that as the Postmaster that I have provided outstanding customer service to each and every individual that I was responsible for in Thurmont, and also the Rocky Ridge, Sabillasville, and Cascade zip codes. It’s my hope that whoever comes in behind me has that same passion and that same focus of providing nothing but outstanding service. That’s all that we have to offer.”

Jim has been very passionate about the postal service.

“I was raised in a family where it’s always important to show appreciation. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.”

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Deb Abraham Spalding

If you’ve lived in the Catoctin Region for any length of time, chances are high that you or one of your neighbors have used J&B Real Estate to buy or sell a home…maybe even more than once!

Through good economic times and bad, J&B Real Estate celebrates 40 years of service and a trusted reputation.

Bonita Smith, J&B’s founding Real Estate Broker, shared that while she and her husband Jim (late) were both raised in the Catoctin area (Jim was one of the Hillside Turkey Farm family), they moved back from Glen Burnie in 1981 and, soon after, started the firm. They operated the fledgling business out of their home on Emmitsburg Road in Thurmont. Though Bonita wanted the name to be “B&J Real Estate,” Jim suggested that “J&B Real Estate” would be more memorable because of “J&B Scotch.” The decision stuck.

The Smiths also had a seafood carryout business in Laurel that was operated with a partner. That business was sold a few years into the real estate venture, as the Smiths’ focus shifted to full-time real estate.

When they opened, Bonita was the broker and Jim was an agent. In the fall of 1981, J&B became incorporated, and in a few short years, the business was moved from their home to its current location in the former Weighbright Store at 13 ½ Water Street in Thurmont. In those days, Jim Bittner, Holly Clabaugh (late), and several other agents helped carve the solid foundation upon which J&B stands. Jim Bittner is still an active agent today.

In J&B’s tenure, locals have come to depend on J&B Real Estate’s vast experience to navigate the buying and selling process. Having roots, family, and heritage in Sabillasville, Emmitsburg, and Thurmont, the Smiths not only grew their business but also raised their daughters, Jennifer, Jamie, and Anne.

Bonita said that it was her plan to retire at age 50. At this 40th anniversary, she deserves some teasing since she still keeps a consistent part-time schedule as an active agent and Associate Broker, and she just might have passed the 50-year mark.

In January 2018, J&B was purchased by veteran J&B real estate agent, Cindy Grimes. Sadly, Jim Smith passed away on December 17, 2020.

Today, Cindy leads J&B’s continued success with 11 licensed agents, 9 of which are active. “We’re a hometown boutique brokerage,” she explained, “Though we’re not a big brand, we have just as much to offer.”

“I’ve been here for fifteen years and believe most of my success is because of her [Bonita]. They’ve [Jim and Bonita] always been good to me. I love it here. In the beginning, although I had a mortgage background, my knowledge of real estate was limited, and I was running Main Street Groomers [with her twin sister, Judy Cochran],” said Cindy.

“Holly [Clabaugh] was a great mentor, too,” Cindy added, “Though she passed away soon after I started, she was always very helpful and shared a ton of knowledge with me.”

Bonita laughed, remembering,  “Holly was in the office one day when Andy Rooney walked in to ask questions about Camp David. He wanted to know how much it was worth.”

Cindy shared that the J&B team has great camaraderie in the office. “You don’t feel competition, just support in the J&B office. It can be a very stressful career, but it’s very rewarding and it really helps when you work with such a great team of agents. It’s a customer-service job more than a sales job. We are most interested in what is best for our clients and doing the best job we can for them.”

A shared characteristic of J&B’s agents is that they know the area extremely well. Cindy said, “When someone calls, I typically know exactly what house they’re talking about if it is located in Northern Frederick County. We know so many people in the area. I think it makes people more comfortable.”

Cindy wants the community to know, “We’re not planning on going anywhere. We love this community and we’re here for you. As a small boutique brokerage, we try to offer a more personal experience for our clients.”

Today’s active agents include Cathi Miller, Diane Bowers, Bonita Smith, Cindy Grimes, Elle Smith, Beth Ohler, Vinny Testa, Jim Bittner, Deb Gartner (licensed in PA), and Vonnie Frazier. Most all of the agents are licensed in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Reach out directly to any of the J&B agents for more information or to buy or sell your home.

Standing from left are Judy Cochran, Cindy Grimes, Diane Bowers, Cathi Miller, Deb Gartner, Jennifer Phillips, Elle Smith, Beth Ohler, Vonnie Frazier, and Vinny Testa. Seated are Bonita Smith and Jim Bittner. Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Frederick Health is pleased to announce the groundbreaking of a new, cutting-edge healthcare facility in Emmitsburg. This facility—which will be built and operated in partnership with Mount St. Mary’s University—will provide award-winning local care to residents of the area, staff, and students.

This facility will provide a wide range of healthcare services, focusing on prevention, treatment, and the overall wellness of the community. The development and construction of this facility will continue to improve access to quality care in the northern parts of Frederick County.

“The construction of the new Emmitsburg facility is yet another way of increasing access to the award-winning care provided by Frederick Health. These kinds of improvements help our neighbors and community grow healthier together,” said Tom Kleinhanzl, president & CEO of Frederick Health.

The facility, which broke ground on October 15, 2021, is expected to open to the public in June 2022. It will be the 23rd facility within Frederick Health’s expanding network.

“Bringing care to residents of the northern part of Frederick County is extremely important. As our county continues to grow, we must ensure that all Frederick County residents can receive quality medical treatment,” added Kleinhanzl.

Frederick Health was pleased to partner with Mount St. Mary’s University, an institution with nearly 215 years of history in the Frederick community. Under this partnership, Mount St. Mary’s University graciously donated the land upon which the facility will be built. This facility, which will be open to the general public and operated by Frederick Health, will also serve as the university’s new student health center.

Mount St. Mary’s first entered into a strategic healthcare partnership with Frederick Health in 2018, allowing for expansion and improvement of health and wellness services for students and student-athletes. “We have been very pleased with our partnership, which has become even stronger during the pandemic and was a major factor in our ability to have students living and learning on campus last year,” said Mount St. Mary’s President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.

“As part of our commitment to our students’ and the local community’s health and well-being, the partnership has evolved to further improve services to our students and help bring needed healthcare services to Northern Frederick through this healthcare facility,” stated Trainor.

Mark Breeden, owner of Lawyer’s Automotive in Thurmont, has announced the name transition from Lawyer’s Automotive to Breeden Automotive. With the transition, the logo and signage has been updated, but the quality of service remains the same.

Stop by to see Mark and his right-hand mechanic, Caden, for your car care needs.

October is Brakes for Breast Cancer campaign, during which Breeden Automotive will match your donation. View the advertisement on page 41 to find out how. Breeden Automotive is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Call 301-271-2736 for more information.

Jayden Myers

With the current unemployment situation and local businesses closing, a lot of places are understaffed and feeling the fallout of hard times.

As kids graduated middle school, entered high school, and became of age, many were eager to work. Many places may not want to hire younger kids because of lack of experience, age, or even because of the limited hours they are allowed to work.

However, many kids in these younger generations are hungry for an opportunity to work right now. This generation often has more to offer than what we are held responsible for.

Starting out in the workforce as a teen is quite terrifying at first, but eventually, you get the hang of it. Expect to make mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes, and you will learn from them and be able to improve.

I work in a restaurant, and I know my first few weeks consisted of many mistakes, yet I learned from them and improved each week.

Communication is a big thing. If you don’t communicate with your coworkers or boss for help, or in general, it can be hard to adjust. Make sure that your boss knows ahead of time if you need days off.

When first starting out, working around the schedule can definitely be a tough one. Though eventually, you’ll get into a routine and it will get easier. It helps to know when the routine is going to change, so you don’t get too overwhelmed.

A routine helps organize your everyday life and often gives younger workers the structure they need to succeed inside the classroom, as well as in their personal endeavors.

Balancing work and school is definitely hard sometimes. This is why communication is a big one in the workplace. Make sure that you stay on top of school work, so you don’t fall behind. Also, make sure that your work doesn’t interfere with school-related activities. That balance is sometimes overlooked, but incredibly important.

Although this sometimes lack of flexibility can be hard for employers, hiring teenagers can be beneficial. It allows them to learn new responsibilities, expand their knowledge, and obtain better communication skills. This is important because it gives them a chance to experience the workforce and to grow. It gives them a start for future jobs as well.

Personally, working has given me a great opportunity to grow as a person. It has allowed me to become part of a team, to work with others, become more independent, and have more responsibility.

My coworkers have truly become like family as we’ve worked together, and they’ve taught me a lot of what I know now. This has allowed me to build my work ethic.

Young adults starting work can open many opportunities for them in their future as they continue growing and learning. That structure and camaraderie have been important for me and thousands of others who share that same drive.

Deb Abraham Spalding

The new and former owners at Hobbs Hardware and Lumber in Thurmont invite the general public and general contractors to, “Come on In!”

In a time where small businesses everywhere are struggling to maintain a grasp on viability, it’s even more rare to find a successful small hardware store that is still thriving in the face of big-box hardware store competition. Hobbs Hardware is THAT rarity!

Hobbs Hardware recently became Hobbs Hardware and Lumber when it was purchased by Structural LLC. Structural is a commercial business located in Thurmont, where they have 50 acres of lumber. Voila! With this transition, Scott Austin, CEO of Structural, accomplished several goals: He expanded the product line at Hobbs, he brought a backbone of contract business that allowed pricing to become competitive with the big-box hardware store pricing, and he proudly maintained the historical integrity of the business by continuing the name and employing its heritage with Eddie and Mike Hobbs manning the store. Austin said, “They [Eddie and Mike] are the brains, they have all of the experience.”

The Hobbs family has a deep history in the community. The family purchased the hardware store in 1942 from Sam Long, who had already logged 40 years in the Thurmont business. According to John Kinnaird and courtesy of, “The hardware store has been in the Hobbs family for four generations: Edward G. Hobbs and Louise F. Hobbs (Eddie and Mike’s dad and mom) had the hardware store and a grocery store, E. Guy Hobbs and Lillian Hobbs (Eddie and Mike’s grandparents who bought the grocery and hardware stores in 1942.) Eddie and Mike Hobbs stepped in in high school and have kept it going since.”

Hobbs Hardware has occupied other locations in Thurmont but has been in the current location at 15 E. Main Street since 1981.

Scott Austin is originally from Buffalo, New York, but lives in New Market, Maryland, now. He’s been the owner of Structural LLC since 2010. Structural Systems has been in business since 1992.

Austin eyed up the Hobbs Hardware business to complement a need within the Structural business to add residential products. They were getting a lot of requests for lumber and didn’t have a way of selling lumber because they are manufacturing it. The solution was to keep the hardware part at Hobbs and to merge the lumber there.

Austin said, “It is a partnership, and they work very well together. We are here to service the community through our hardware store, and we are continuing to grow the Hobbs tradition.”

Eddie and Mike Hobbs are joined by several new faces, General Manager Rob Baker and Chad Crane.

Hobbs Hardware and Lumber is a handyman’s playland with lumber, lots of power tools, and tons of contractor-friendly inventory. Residents, small builders, and contractors are welcome to shop at Hobbs to get lumber for basements, decks, additions, etc. Hobbs delivers as far as Northern Virginia, actually up to 100 miles away!

Hobbs is open 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Call 301-271-2233 for product inquiries and more information.

Pictured from left are Eddie Hobbs, Scott Austin,  Mike Hobbs, and Chad Crane at the new checkout counter at Hobbs Hardware and Lumber in Thurmont.

Hobbs Hardware store in 1980.

James Rada, Jr.

At a time when people are at their lowest because a loved one has died, Colt Black is there to help.

“I was always interested in a profession where I could help people, and a funeral director can help people when they most need it,” said Black, who owns Black’s Funeral Home in Thurmont.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because funeral services runs in Black’s blood. His great-great uncle, Elmer Black, owned Black’s Undertaking in Thurmont in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

After graduating Catoctin High School, Black enrolled in mortuary school at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. While studying in Pittsburgh, he also worked for a funeral home and a removal service. He transferred to the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service in New York City and graduated in 2009 with his degree in funeral service. He then served an apprenticeship in Western Maryland before getting licensed in 2010.

He wanted to stay in this area with his family, but he couldn’t find work as a funeral director.

“I wound up subcontracting with funeral homes to pick up bodies and embalm them,” Black said.

He also got licensed in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Washington D.C., and Delaware so that he could increase the area he serviced. He even leased a colleague’s facility in Westminster to offer cremation services.

Even with a place of business, he soon discovered that people didn’t consider it a “real” funeral home because there was no place for viewing or funerals.

“In 2016, an opportunity came up to allow me to start out on my own,” Black said. He rented out the old Woodsboro Bank space in the Thurmont Plaza on N. Church Street.

“It hadn’t been occupied in 10 years, and it was in bad shape,” Black said. “Dad and I did most of the demolition.”

The entire inside needed to be gutted and then remade into a place where families and friends could feel at peace when attending a viewing. Because of the thickness of the walls around the old vault, Black decided that instead of removing it, to take the door off and turn it into a nice waiting room.

“We have as nice a space now as any other funeral home in Northern Frederick County,” Black said. “We have everything we need to hold any service anyone needs.”

Besides typical funerals and viewings, they offer cremation, mortuary shipping, pet services, DNA recovery, pregnancy loss, and Jewish funeral services.

Although proud of his facility, Black said that isn’t what makes a funeral home stand out. “What really counts is the service you render and how the family is treated,” he said.

Black’s Funeral Home can create online memorials, tribute videos, flowers, grief-support emails, and more.

“We are personable, compassionate, and efficient,” Black said. “Families need that when they have had a family member die.”

Funeral service room in Black’s Funeral Home in Thurmont.

James Rada, Jr.

Ascension Living St. Joseph’s Place, located in the Daughters of Charity building on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg, will be closing its doors to residents who aren’t Catholic sisters on November 1, 2021. About half of the current 40 residents are Daughters of Charity in need of skilled care.

“After thoughtful and prayerful discernment and discussions with the Daughters of Charity, we have decided to close Ascension Living St. Joseph’s Place…,” Molly Gaus, Ascension Living vice president of marketing and communications wrote in a statement.

The process of finding a new place to live for residents has started, and Gaus believes that there are enough places within a short drive where they can be moved.

“As we go through this transition, our top priority will be taking care of our residents and their families, as well as our valued associates,” Gaus wrote. “Our team will coordinate the transition of all current non-Daughters skilled nursing residents to an appropriate community of their choice.”

While that may be, Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs said that having high-quality nursing care services in town was convenient for many people.

The St. Joseph’s Place website (which oddly still allows visitors to schedule tours) boasts of the “outdoor gardens complete with a fireplace and putting green, pleasant dining rooms, personalized service, and a feeling of family. Plus, you’ll benefit from an array of social, educational, wellness, and spiritual opportunities, and much more.”

Once the non-sister residents are moved out, the Daughters of Charity will take over the care of their older sisters.

“Along with our decision to close the community, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Province of St. Louise, have decided to explore alternative means to provide assisted living and skilled nursing arrangements for the Sisters who live at Ascension Living St. Joseph’s Place and transform the use of the campus, which is owned by Daughters of Charity Ministries, Inc.,” Gaus wrote.

St. Joseph’s Place employs 116 people, about half of which are expected to be retained once the Daughters of Charity take over the operation. Briggs also said that 10-15 percent of the employees live in the Emmitsburg region.

“While it is a disappointment to see it close, hopefully, it will open up opportunities for lots of other things in that space that will benefit the town,” Briggs said.

The building currently holds the National Shrine of Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Daughters of Charity archives. Another wing is Seton Village low-cost senior housing, run by Homes for America. Mount St. Mary’s University also rents storage space in one wing.

The annual Mount Tabor Church Big Picnic and Baby Show was held on Saturday, August 14, at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, after being canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. A total of 27 babies—18 girls and 9 boys—participated in the show. The youngest baby was nine-day-old Elijah Pescatore, son of Bryan and Brittany Pescatore of Keymar. Tylee and Leighton Kolb, twin daughters of Krista Kolb, traveled the farthest distance from Leesport, Pennsylvania.  Babies placed in three categories: prettiest girl, cutest boy, and chubbiest baby, in five age categories from 1 day to 24 months old.

There were five babies in the 1-day-to-3-month-old category. The prettiest girl was Saylor Gregory, six-week-old daughter of Danielle and Collin Gregory of Rocky Ridge. The cutest boy was Declan Green, one-month-old son of Travis and Elizabeth Green of Emmitsburg. The chubbiest baby was Kora Potts, three-month-old daughter of Kortney and Robert Potts of Fairfield, Pennsylvania. There was only one baby registered in the 4-to-6-month-old category. The cutest boy was Eli Myers, five-month-old son of Steve and Heidi Myers of Emmitsburg.

Of the six babies in the 7-to-12-month-old category, Addison Staub, 10-month-old daughter of Ashlea and Justin Staub of Thurmont, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Michael Patterson, 11-month-old son of Sandy and Michael Patterson from Sykesville. Jolene Brewster, 8-month-old daughter of Charlotte and Peter Brewster of Keymar, was named the chubbiest baby. In the 13-to-18-month-old category, there were 10 babies. June Muse, 16-month-old daughter of Reanna and Hunter Muse of Middletown, was judged the prettiest girl. The cutest boy was Jaxton Hanson of Keymar, 16-month-old son of Emily and Nick Hanson. The chubbiest baby was Grayce Stitely, 14-month-old daughter of Hannah and Cody Stitely of Thurmont.

In the 19-to-24-month-old category, there were five babies. Hailey Wagner, 19-month-old daughter of Tammy Stone and David Wagner of Hagerstown, was named the prettiest girl. Mason Robert Lee Baugher, 19-month-old son of Brandy Garner and Curtis Baugher of Frederick, was named the cutest boy. The chubbiest baby was Coleson Mortorff, 23-month-old son of Deana and George Mortorff of Abbottstown, Pennsylvania.

Please come out again next year on the second Saturday of August to Mt. Tabor Park. You may register your baby (or babies) who range in age from 1 day up to 24 months, 0 days.  Watch your local newspaper for more details, including registration time.

Blair Garrett

“We wanted to give the people around here something to talk about.”

Emmitsburg’s newest ice cream store, Ripleigh’s Eat It or Not Creamery, has been the talk of the town since its July grand opening.

“We didn’t know Emmitsburg needed an ice cream shop, but from what everyone has been telling us, they really did,” said Laura Maring, co-owner.

Amidst the sweltering heat, Ripleigh’s offers Marylanders a sweet retreat to cool off through the hotter months while shocking your taste buds in the best way.

The store’s variety of unique and outrageous flavors have people itching to try out Ripleigh’s ice cream. Maring’s 14-year-old daughter, Ripleigh, has been the mastermind behind the myriad of unusual pairings, spending much of her free time behind the scenes, creating the ice cream and italian ice offered to hungry guests six days a week.

The team has put together a menu, featuring common favorites like chocolate and vanilla, some more outside the box flavors like Oreo cheesecake and gumball blitz, and then some I-can’t-believe-this-is-so-good flavors like mango sriracha and spicy pineapple avocado.

The wide variety gives ice cream fanatics the opportunity to break out of their comfort zone to try something sure to change the way they view ice cream, or play it safe with the always delicious mint chocolate chip.

Flavors like everything bagel and old bay kettle corn are enough to pique your interest, and the surprisingly well-blended flavor is enough to keep you coming back for more.

Most of us think of ice cream as an after-meal dessert, but flavors like maple bacon caramel are a surefire way to kick your morning off right, without consuming 700 calories and feeling like you ate cement.

“I had the marketing and some of the business side of things down; we just needed to really learn how to make ice cream,” Maring said. “That’s where Ripleigh stepped up.”

Ripleigh poured hours into the kitchen, learning how to create a perfect balance of texture and taste with remarkable dedication. Her sometimes unconventional concoctions have hit the spot for customers daring to surprise their taste buds.

“Ripleigh has been super on top of things with being thorough with food safety and everything involved with that,” Maring said. “She’s really invested in this.”

The creamery has been officially open less than a month, but it already has the town buzzing to try out all the new flavors available.

Ripleigh’s features 30 flavors of ice cream, with an additional six flavors of Italian ice. The store also offers nine different flavors of alcoholic ice cream and Italian ice, including strawberry margarita, mojito mint, and lemon drop martini.

Their signature desserts with a kick are sure to be a big hit throughout the summer.

There’s something offered for the whole family, including your family pets. Ripleigh’s has peanut butter pup cups, so nobody in the family is left out from enjoying great ice cream. Through the summer, you can catch Ripleigh’s Tuesday through Sunday, serving your favorite ice cream with a smile. Ripleigh’s is located at 502 E. Main Street in Emmitsburg.

Masterchef Ripleigh Maring slices avocados for her popular Spicy Pineapple Avocado ice cream.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Billy Kuhn, the former owner of His Place Auto Repair in Emmitsburg, has a new gig! He once saw a drive-up coffee stand in St. Michaels, Maryland, and thought it was a good idea. Not long ago, he had a “wake up call” in the middle of the night with a plan that jolted him out of his sleep. In that early morning instant, at exactly 2:36 a.m., he knew the name of the company, the logo, and the slogan.

The Bear Bear Coffee venture has come to life, where customers “Don’t hibernate, they caffeinate!” A grand opening was held July 1, 2021.

Kuhn chose a location in Littlestown, Pennsylvania, at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Baltimore Street.

“The traffic is great here,” Billy said. The trailer is neighbors to an ice cream trailer and a Rutters. It’s a hit!

A full menu of products include Chesapeake Bay Roasting Co. coffees, iced coffees, espressos, lattés, as well as Two Leaves brand iced teas and hot teas, plus smoothies, and seasonal items.

Bear Bear’s caffeinated customer base is growing fast and showing their excitement on Facebook, with Bear Bear’s number of followers growing by leaps and bounds.

Check out BearBearCoffee on Facebook or BearBearCoffeeTrailer on Instagram to join the Bear Bear sleuth. Soon you can visit online (under development now) to see the menu. Drive up, walk up, or order online for Bear Bear Coffee!

in Littlestown

Billy Kuhn is shown at his new Bear Bear Coffee trailer in Littlestown, Pennsylvania.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Jeff Crum, Jason Boyer, and their families hosted an open house on July 10, 2021, for their new Woodsboro Craftsmen, LLC Cabinet Division Showroom at 3 West Main Street in Thurmont. The duo is proud to provide, “A place you can actually visit, touch, feel, and experience the quality of products that will become your new kitchen.” In the showroom, clients may explore Choice Cabinet, Fabuwood, and Legacy Crafted cabinet brands.

Updating your home is the easiest way to increase the beauty and value of your home. Woodsboro Craftsmen specializes in custom-made cabinets and kitchen and bathroom makeovers in residential and commercial spaces.

Boyer and Crum were both formerly in business separately. Woodsboro Craftsmen LLC was created when Jason Boyer of JSB Woodworking, Inc. and Jeff Crum of Crum Enterprise, Inc. made the decision to join forces. Together, they are able to offer full-service custom woodworking and home remodeling projects. Each with their own skill set and talents brings a combined 36 years of experience to the table. Since joining forces, Boyer stated, they “have been crazy busy and have grown!”

Woodsboro Craftsmen is a “family-owned, family-run, local operation that we’re proud of,” said Boyer. He added, “We’re so thankful for Thurmont. They do so much for new businesses.”

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird thanked the duo for investing in our community.

Call 301-304-0945, visit the showroom in person, or visit online for more information.

The showroom is open Mondays through Fridays, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Weekends by appointment.

Pictured from left are Thurmont Commissioners Bill Buehrer and Wayne Hooper, Dana and Jeff Crum, Ashley and Jason Boyer, Mayor John Kinnaird, and Thurmont’s CAO Jim Humerick.

James Rada, Jr.

You can indulge the kid in you with the new Emmitsburg business with a most-unique name: Wookiee Walkers. This new comic book store with comic-related merchandise is located in the Silo Hill Shopping Center.

The store is still filling up as more and more comics, graphic novels, and merchandise arrive. At the core of its offerings, Wookiee Walkers has thousands of new and old comic books. For youngsters who are looking to get into comic book collecting, they can purchase penny comics.

“We’re a niche market, but with our proximity to Gettysburg, college gamers, and the visitors Emmitsburg gets, we think we’re in a good location,” says Casey Myers, who co-owns the store with Amber Phillips.

Although the store has been open since May 22, 2021, owners Casey Myers and Amber Phillips are planning a grand opening celebration for July 17. The store should be easy to find on that day. Just look for the superheroes outside. Inside, Myers is hoping to have comic book artists and writers.

A comic book collector himself, Myers says, “This has been a dream of mine for a long time.”

This month, they also started game nights on Thursdays, from 8:00-9:30 p.m. If you like playing fantasy-inspired board games like Dungeons and Dragons, come in and compete or discover a new favorite game.

Myers said he would like to see the store expand eventually to include a lounge area where the gamers can compete. He is also slowly working sports collectibles and trading cards into the store’s offerings.

“This is our home. The community is so supportive of each other, we couldn’t imagine being someplace else,” said Myers.

You can visit Wookiee Walkers’ website at or give them a call at 443-794-8160.

The store is open Tuesday through Thursday: noon to 7:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; and Sunday: noon to 5:00 p.m.

Casey Myers in the new Wookiee Walkers comics and collectibles in Silo Hill Shopping Center.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.

Blair Garrett

Emmitsburg has a new face in town, with Mason Dixon Mixin shaking up how we see sweets.

Mason Dixon Mixin’s grand-opening weekend kicked off with a bang on Saturday, June 19, putting a new spin on healthy gourmet shakes.

Excited first-time customers packed the house, eager to try some of the team’s fun new drinks.

From energy teas to decadent red-velvet smoothies, the variety of options is vast and there is something for the whole family. With over 40 flavors to enjoy, you may never run out of sweet options to perk up your morning.

The group prides themselves on making picturesque smoothies and drinks with health-boosting effects, and Emmitsburg’s premier juice bar is ready to take off. All of their smoothies are under 250 calories, have 24g of plant-based protein, are low in sugar/carbs, and have 21 essential vitamins and minerals in them. They are nutritious and delicious!

Mason Dixon Mixin is located at 101 Silo Hill Road in Emmitsburg. You can catch them throughout the week, from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Mason Dixon Mixin has a hugely successful grand opening, giving Emmitsburg a much-needed sweet-treat shop. Pictured is owner Kelly Moreland (right) with Joyce Kidwell (left).

Photo by Blair Garrett

Courtesy Photos

(above) The Town of Thurmont welcomed KTS Mental Health Group to 5 B East Main Street, Thurmont on June 19 (from left): (front row) Thurmont Commissioner Bill Buehrer, Dr. Natasha Smith (Licensed Psychologist), Christian Adams, Caleb Adams, Olivia Adams, CEO Chris Adams, Chris’s wife Misty Adams, Chief Financial Officer Keith Boring; (back row) Thurmont Commissioner Wayne Hooper, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Chris Adams Jr., Chief Operating Office Cynthia Covington Boring, Licensed Counselor Cheryl Back, & Licensed Clinical Social Worker Montana Love. For more information on Key Therapeutic Solutions, visit

The Town of Thurmont welcomed Cuddles Cat Rescue to their new location at 3 East Main Street, Thurmont on June 19 (from left): Joan, Linda, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Thurmont Commissioners Wayne Hooper & Bill Buehrer; (center) President Michelle Shaw, and Founder, Karen Kinnaird;  (the right on sidewalk) Dawn and Kim. For more information on Cuddles Cat Rescue, visit

Deb Abraham Spalding

Dan and LuAnn Moser welcome your consignments at the D&L Auction Barn, located at 17319 North Seton Avenue in the former Emmitsburg Auction Service location. Formerly located in Mountaindale, the couple outgrew that location and fully moved to the new space at LuAnn’s parent’s former Emmitsburg Auction Service location.

D&L provides a walk-in consignment shop and online Facebook auction service. For consignment customers, drop your items during operating hours. You will be given a lot number, and D&L will sell the items for a 35 percent commission. After the items sell, D&L will mail you a check.

The shop is open Fridays and Mondays, from 12:00-6:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00-3:00 p.m.

“DnL Sale-Barn” is the Facebook page where the Mosers host three auctions per week: a main auction, a box-lot auction, and a coin auction.

What can you consign with D&L? Dan said, “Anything legal,” but further explained that VHS tapes, paints, chemicals, stuffed animals, some electronics, and other obviously non-transferrable items are not accepted.

D&L will even pick-up from your house! They provide estate clean-outs and estate auctions. Call now to talk to Dan at 301-788-9946 to form a consignment plan and visit for more information.

Courtesy Photo

Pictured are LuAnn and Dan Moser, proprietors of D&L Auction Barn in Emmitsburg.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Christy Hawkins and Damanda Forrest are in the shoe groove, and that’s why they’re the ShoeGurus! A grand opening was held on May 15, 2021, at their store located at 14961B East Buchanan Trail (directly behind the Blue Ridge Summit Post Office) in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

“It was always our dream to own a shoe store,” Christy said, “We both have a love for sneakers. There’s nothing with this variety in the area.”

ShoeGurus is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The duo plans a food truck once a month at the store to bring in people. In June, during store hours, stop by for Stillwood BBQ on the 19th and Antietam Dairy on the 26th.

ShoeGurus sells brand-new shoes with a limited supply of retail “resale” shoes. “Resale” shoes have been worn once or twice but are basically new. They sell at a cheaper price than the brand new version. Christy explained, “We’ll either pay you for your resale shoes or give you a discount off a pair of shoes in the store.”

ShoeGurus saves footwork for shoe customers by carrying work boots, Muck Boots, kid’s shoes, ladies casual,  sought-out-brand sneakers, and much more—in the store and online at

If you have a specific shoe you’re looking for, ShoeGurus will find it, and might even sell it to you for a better price than you’ll find online or elsewhere.

During this interview, a new release Nike Uptempo was in the store. It is in high demand and can be found online for $400. ShoeGurus has a $220 price tag on this sneaker in the store.

For your shoes that have been worn more repeatedly but still have some wear in them, ShoeGurus will clean them up and donate them to an appropriate charity.

Call 717-785-1189 for more information or with shoe questions. You’ll find ShoeGurus on Facebook (, on Instagram (, and online at

Christy said, “Come in and see what we have!”

Grace Eyler

We all have high hopes that retirement will one day bring us relaxation and more time with friends and family. Officially on June 1, 2021, Emmitsburg’s Jubilee Grocery Store’s long-time manager, Rich Boyd, will join the ranks of the retired and discover the truth or fallacy of that assumption.

Over the course of 40 years, Jubilee Foods (formerly known as SuperThrift until 1993) has been lucky enough to have Rich on the team as store manager. He’s seen many changes during his career, including the extension of store hours and the 12,000-square-foot expansion of the Emmitsburg store in 1998. Not long after, Steve Trout and Lorne Peters purchased the store in 2000.

Rich has many fond memories of his time with Jubliee. “I could write a book,” he said.

He has been a jack-of-all trades throughout the years, and he has been able to work wherever he’s needed and at any given time. Most people wouldn’t guess what his favorite part of the job is: stocking yogurt. Many of us passing through Jubilee would frequently see Rich alongside Margaret or Jeff, carefully stocking stacks of yogurt. As it turns out, Rich doesn’t only enjoy the challenge of perfectly stacked yogurt, but it’s been his favorite time to get out and chat with his customers as they strolled through the store.

A resident of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, he has been very involved in the Emmitsburg community throughout his employment with Jubilee by helping the Vigilant Hose Company, Catoctin’s Safe & Sane, Mother Seton School, our local 4-H groups during the Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, and various other groups and churches. Many may, or may not, know that Jubilee wasn’t Rich’s only job. You may have seen him bartending over at Carroll Valley Golf Club in the past. There he helped his fellow golfers have a good time for almost 10 years.

“It’s just been a pleasure working in such a fine community, with some of the best people,” he said.

Rich is extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to hire teenagers working their first job, with many of them branching into their own successful careers. Some of his former employees’ children work with him now.

“I am grateful and humbled at the many customers who have given me well-wishes and very kind words. I’ve been overcome with the amount of support and love I’ve been shown from the community.”

Rich plans to plunge into retired life by getting caught up on housework, visiting his three sons and his grandchildren, and enjoying lots of sunny days golfing.

Courtesy Photo

Rich Boyd is shown in the office of the former Emmitsburg SuperThrift.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

Jubilee’s assistant managers, Tim Ridenour and Gabe Baker, jokingly give store manager, Rich Boyd, the boot out the door to retirement.

Courtesy Photo

Pictured left to right are Sharen Cool, Michele Orndorff, Rich Boyd, grandson Tommy Boyd, Brandi Houck, Megan Cool.

James Rada Jr.

Thurmont is one of the leading business creators in Frederick County, according to the database used by the Frederick County Office of Economic Development.

Data Axle (formerly Reference USA) reports on businesses by zip code across the country. In the Thurmont zip code (21788), Data Axle reports there are 468 businesses, and second only to the Frederick zip codes in the county.

Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder said, “That sounds about right. Thurmont is pro-business. We promote our businesses, and more importantly, we retain our businesses.”

She said being pro-business is not always about attracting new businesses. You also need to retain them, which, in times like these, can mean helping them stay open.

“We have not lost any businesses during this pandemic, and we have even opened some,” Grinder said.

During the months of the pandemic last year, Thurmont saw ribbon-cuttings for three new businesses: Tracie’s House of Hair in July, Thurmont Veterinary Clinic in August, and Beautiful You Salon and Spa in October.

It is not surprising that Frederick, the county seat and largest city in the county, by far, dominates with the number of businesses in its zip code. However, Thurmont, Walkersville, and Brunswick are all roughly the same size, and Thurmont has nearly the same number of businesses (468) as Walkersville (302) and Brunswick (200) combined.

Grinder attributes the larger number, in part, to initiatives like the Thurmont Business Network. Any Thurmont business is welcome to the meetings to hear speakers, talk about business opportunities, and share knowledge.

The town also runs advertising, promoting the town’s businesses and recognizing successful businesses with its “You Make Thurmont Proud” awards. The advertising even tied into the small-town and parks aspect with a tagline: “We’ve been socially distancing for decades.”

The town also started helping local businesses with micro-grants before the federal government announced it would reimburse such programs through CARES Act.

“I’m here to tell you… that $1,000 that was given to those businesses… people cried,” Grinder told the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners during a recent meeting.

Some of the leading employers in Thurmont include NVR, R.R. Donnelly, Criswell Chevrolet, and Playground Specialists. However, the town also has lots of small businesses that employ just a handful of people.

Besides storefront businesses, the numbers also include home-based businesses. Grinder estimated that home businesses probably make up 75 to 100 of the Thurmont-area businesses.

Blair Garrett

The recession in the late 2000s affected businesses across the country.

The unemployment rate skyrocketed, and the vast majority of Americans lost any financial security they once had.

KLS Home Improvement in Rocky Ridge was born from that hardship, and they’ve been thriving ever since.

Father and son duo Jeff Sharrer and Kevin Sharrer have laid the foundation for quality home improvements over the past decade.

“We started out of necessity,” Kevin said. “We both got laid off in 2008, and we couldn’t find work. A lady I had been doing side work for suggested we go out on our own, and we did. We’ve been here ever since.”

The economy was in a turbulent place when the Sharrer family started their own business. There was a lot of uncertainty that came with such a huge risk.

“We were worried, but we were at the point where it didn’t really matter because we were going to lose everything if we didn’t make something happen,” Jeff said.

KLS has produced decks, home restorations, landscaping, and just about everything in between for Northern Frederick County and Pennsylvania residents for 11 years.

Jeff is a veteran of the trucking industry, and Kevin has worked in home improvement since high school.

“What’s kept us afloat all these years is being diversified in just about anything to do with home improvement,” Jeff said.

“It keeps it interesting because it’s not the same thing all the time,” Kevin said.

Many companies focus on one particular aspect of home improvement, whether it’s decks, doors, or landscaping. The KLS guys take pride in doing anything they can to give their customers the best experience possible.

“One thing we do that a lot of home improvement companies won’t touch is working on old houses,” Jeff said. “We’ve done some pretty nice restorations.”

From large jobs to small, KLS has built its name on coming up with solutions for the community’s home improvement problems, often taking on the jobs others can’t—or won’t.

“We get all the jobs that no one else wants, and to me, that’s the fun part,” Kevin said. “Just figuring stuff out.”

Since KLS got its start, the company has had its blend of new customers and returning customers. The returning customers stay for the quality work and great service, and many of the new customers stem from a familiar resource.

“We have a lot of repeat customers, as far back as when we first started,” Kevin said. “The Banner is all the advertising we do, and everything else is word of mouth.”

In addition to doing some local advertising, KLS is revamping its online presence with a brand-new website. They plan on offering customers an online portal to seamlessly pay invoices and to see first-hand some of the group’s proudest handiwork.

Jeff and Kevin have learned a lot over their carpentry careers, and the opportunity for new business is always available if you’re willing to push for it. The team has expanded into new avenues to keep jobs flowing in.

“One new thing we’re getting into is working with real estate agents and private sellers to restore or repair property to sell,” Jeff said. Connecting with real estate agents and homeowners can be a great two-way relationship.  

Spending a little money ahead of time can put people in a position to sell a fixed-up property for a lot more money and much quicker. It’s become an investment that has picked up a lot of traction in recent years.

“We took care of a family’s house after they moved out, so we emptied the house out, and it needed lots of repairs,” Kevin said. “Those folks wanted to get it fixed up, so they could get the most out of it.”

While many commercialized home-improvement companies have goals of expansion into new markets and large-scale development, KLS continues to serve its community in more ways than meets the eye.

Kevin is the president of the Frederick County Students Construction Trades Foundation, Inc. He works with high school students to construct a new house every two to three years. Building the houses gives students a real-world, hands-on learning experience, and the foundation sells the house to keep funding for the program flowing.

In fact, since KLS started, the Sharrers have brought on multiple CTC students to learn and work with them as employees of the business.

“I’ve hired about five people from the career center,” Kevin said. “They come here, and I train them up.”

Jeff does most of the office work, and Kevin handles most of the day-to-day labor on job sites. Another CTC graduate will be joining the team in the near future to fulfill a crucial role for KLS.

“I would like to get to where I have three guys in the field. A lead, a carpenter, and a laborer. That way, I can float out there if I need to,” Kevin said.

Despite the uncertainty 2020 brought, the train keeps rolling for KLS, and the Sharrers are looking forward to a much brighter 2021.

“We picked up last July, and we’ve been full throttle ever since,” Kevin said. “We’re booked out until the middle of May.”

One thing is for sure, if there’s a carpentry challenge out there the Sharrers haven’t seen or conquered, Kevin is up for the challenge.

“If we haven’t done it, I’ll do my best to figure out a way.”

KLS Home improvement has provided locals quality residential work over the past 11 years. Pictured left is Jeff Sharrer with his son, Kevin Sharrer.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Eagerly, local residents have been anticipating the opening of Los Amigos Restaurant in the former Pizza Hut building in Thurmont for over a year. Owner Roberto Joaquin jokingly “blames his daughter” for this business venture. One he claims as a venture from the heart.

Joaquin moved from Mexico to Hagerstown at age 20. He said he was, “full of dreams and looking for adventure.” He became the main cook at a restaurant in Hagerstown, and eventually, he opened his own restaurant, Los Amigos. Los Amigos in Hagerstown has been open for four years. He and his wife, Rosario, have four children, ages four, six, fourteen, and twenty.

Three years ago, at the request of his daughter, now age six, to visit a petting zoo, Joaquin and his family visited the Catoctin Zoo. The family looked for a place to eat afterward, but their short search showed fast food and pizza.

Because of that experience, Joaquin identified a need for a Mexican venue in Thurmont. Already operating the Los Amigos Restaurant in Hagerstown, he considered opening a second location in, or near, Thurmont, and kept his eyes open for commercial locations. Soon the Pizza Hut location was posted.

The community watched and waited through renovations, permits, and COVID. Many were eager for the local Mexican cuisine option since they had to drive at least fifteen miles in any direction for it.

Joaquin did not let the community down. Los Amigos Restaurant officially opened on Monday, February 15, 2021. He prepared for the new location’s opening by bringing a tenured bartender, several wait staff members, and an experienced chef from the Hagerstown location, and using the various renovation and COVID delays to train new staff at the Hagerstown location.

That plan worked. Things are going great. The quality at the new location matches the quality of that at the Hagerstown operation. You can feel the professionalism and calm from the experienced staff and taste the quality of the cuisine in Thurmont. Joaquin said, “I didn’t want anyone to say Thurmont wasn’t as good.”

Los Amigos uses only fresh ingredients to create and fulfill a varied and tasty menu from scratch every day. The same attention to quality can be found in their margaritas. House margs are delicious and come in three sizes; small (enough), medium (I’m having a good time), and large (Wowzer!). For the marg connoisseur, even Los Amigos’ house variety exceeds expectations. Try top shelf for a five-star delivery!

Joaquin said, “Thank you!” to the community. He said he wasn’t expecting such a warm welcome. He promises to bring the best food and service for our community!

“I care about the customer so much. I want them to have a parking space; I want them to have a good experience.” Joaquin always seeks comments from diners and constantly makes improvements. He listens. He added, “Make your comments; I want to make things the best.”

The facility is clean and staff adheres to COVID guidelines. Despite the restaurant’s spacious size, it fills quickly at 50 percent seating and often overflows to a wait for seating. Diners are encouraged to plan accordingly when deciding when to visit. The restaurant is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Stop by for in-house dining or call for take-out at 301-271-8888.

Pictured from left are servers Zefe, Joel, Alex, and Edgar.

Los Amigos owner, Roberto Joaquin.

The Catoctin Veterinary Clinic in Thurmont now offers dog grooming services at the clinic. Michele Miller is experienced with all breeds, large and small, including poodles and terriers. She brings 30 years of grooming experience to the clinic.

Customers may call the clinic at 301-271-0156 to set an appointment. Appointments are scheduled Mondays through Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., or 10:30 a.m. Appointments for smaller pets take approximately one hour, while bigger dogs usually take two hours.

Catoctin Veterinary Clinic is located at 4 Paws Place in Thurmont near Catoctin High School. See the advertisement in this edition for more information.

     Michele Miller is shown grooming with Olivia.

deb abraham spalding

While America, the world, and our local community was learning how to social distance and quarantine last spring as the Coronavirus Pandemic changed our way of living, Sherry and Rob Myers and staff members at the Thurmont Kountry Kitchen Restaurant stepped up to provide meals for kids in Northern Frederick County. For several months, the Kountry Kitchen team served between 125 and 170 bagged meals per day. This endeavor allowed those impacted by these times to stop by the restaurant in Thurmont or the Vigilant Hose Company Fire House in Emmitsburg to pick up a bagged lunch for free.

Sherry said, “We know that a lot of the kids rely on meals they get in school and could go hungry without them. My employees didn’t care about the risk of COVID-19 to themselves, we just wanted to do something to help out the community.”

This project would take money and resources that Sherry didn’t know if she had the ability to provide on her own, since her life and business was impacted by the pandemic as well. She “just knew we had to do it.” Soon, both food and monetary donations emerged as the community supported the mission.

Sherry beamed, “You don’t really know how loyal your customers are until something happens like COVID. They really stepped up! It’s inspiring.”

Putting her hands out in expression, she added, “It made a world of difference for many families. The kids really appreciated the kind gesture. They made Muppets from their lunch bags and gave them to us as a sign of their appreciation.”

“It just proves that if you set the example, others will follow.”

It is through this selfless commitment to a mission of service that Sherry; Rob; their children Bobby, Nick, and Jayden; and the Kountry Kitchen employees have maintained an impactful community business for the past 36 years. Sherry explained, “The Kountry Kitchen started in 1984 when Dad brought life to my Mom’s dream of owning her own restaurant.”

Sherry’s mom and dad are the late Pat and Roger Ridenour. These two iconic locals were fixtures at their business. Prior to opening, Pat worked at Gentleman Jim’s (now Carriage House Inn) in Emmitsburg as a line cook, and Roger was a shoemaker at the Freeman Shoe Company in Emmitsburg.

In the beginning, Pat, her mother Olive Misner, and a waitress dug in tirelessly to run the new business. Pat and Roger’s children, Sherry, Tracy (Boyd), and Andrea (Shafer) helped in various ways. New staff members were added as the business grew. Shortly after, Roger resigned from his full-time job to concentrate on the growing venture. Sherry reminisced, “Mom and I trained him [Dad/Roger] to be a grill cook. He was one of the best we ever had.”

While working the grill behind the counter, Roger became a friend to many, carrying on conversations that would last a lifetime. Sherry recalls that her dad “served as lawyer, doctor, psychiatrist, and friend.” In the beginning, the restaurant was open 24 hours on weekends to accommodate a robust party crowd that would meet up after a night out in Thurmont at Skippers, Blue Mountain Inn, Texas Lunch, or Tommy’s Tavern. There was a counter in the main room with bar stools, a video game, a juke box; it was heated with a woodstove that was positioned prominently in the middle of the room. Sherry exclaimed, “We had so much fun!”

Pat was always a socialite. She would sit at the table with her customers and talk. She loved carrying on with the kids, often greeting them with a hug. Pat’s dream had become reality! Pat emanated happiness and was greatly satisfied to host her Kountry Kitchen family.

In addition to being the business owner and the socialite, Pat was a life-long culinary student. Sherry and Tracy estimate that Pat collected as many as 15,000 cookbooks. In Pat and Roger’s home, Roger had renovated a bank vault by installing bookshelves to accommodate Pat’s culinary library.

Kountry Kitchen diners often have a standard favorite order ranging from specialty sandwiches to salad, but it’s important to note that the menu is very extensive. At one point, Pat presented the menu in one-inch binders, complete with the latest of her newsletters and a copy of an article about the restaurant’s most recent Broasted® Chicken award!

Over the years, unique menu items have come and gone at Kountry Kitchen, “We’ve named things like ‘Joshua the Constipator’ because Joshua [a former cook] put every kind of cheese we had on it. Another is ‘Big John’s Whaler,’” Sherry grinned, “That was interesting!”

Sherry explains that a top seller is Hog Maw. The community looks forward to it as a special, and it sells out fast. Slippery Pot Pie sells fast, too. Puddin’ and scrapple are standard on the menu.

Recently, the Kountry Kitchen was designated to serve the Best Broasted® Chicken in the State of Maryland by MSN News. Back in 2004, Pat purchased what soon became her prized possession, her Broaster! It became one of the best purchases they ever made, as Broasted Chicken continues to be a best-seller at the restaurant. The Broaster produces great chicken that is “plump, succulent, and good to the bone.” Sherry said their chicken sales since COVID-19 are unbelievable. They actually had to purchase a second Broaster to keep up with the amount of orders. She explained, “Our chicken is fresh; it’s not put in hold ever! It takes about 20-25 minutes. It’s well worth the wait.”

It’s a fact that while Kountry Kitchen’s mission of community service is important, it has repeatedly proven that the food and flavor keep the customers coming back.

Pat and Roger made changes to the restaurant to make way for new regulations and business growth. First, the old woodstove was removed from the dining area, ending a long-standing early morning tradition of getting the woodstove going and setting up for Roger by Bob ‘Bear’ Sharrer, Daddy Ridenour, and Cutter Eyler. “They were here every day! They were so loyal,” Sherry shared.

Next, the video game and juke box were removed to create more seating. Then, an addition was added in 1999 that ended an era. Roger and his grill were relocated from the main dining area to the new kitchen in the addition. With this change, Pat could still be seen making her social rounds in the dining room, but it took more effort to see and talk with Roger.

In 2000, a final addition was made. A second dining room, dubbed the Rideau Room, was added on the back of the building. The Rideau Room was named after the Rideau Inn in Ocean City, Maryland, where Pat and Roger stayed on their honeymoon.

Roger passed quietly in his sleep in 2014. This was a turning point for the business, as Sherry and Rob had already stepped in more to help run it. Pat started having conversations about Sherry and Rob buying the business. This took place as Pat became increasingly saddened by the loss of Roger. Pat became ill in May of 2019, and after a long battle at The University Of Maryland, she passed in July of 2019. “Knowing that mom and dad worked so hard to build my mom’s dream is very gratifying. Mom always liked seeing the repeat generations of customers. Adults who were once customers as kids would bring their kids to share the experience that they once had as a child.”

Now, with Sherry and Rob owning and operating the business, they are supported by their family and many committed and talented staff members who serve an amazing array of grateful customers. About her customers, Sherry said they have become friends. For instance, “Dottie Ramsburg sat next to me on a stool at the counter 36 years ago when I was a young kid. We started up a conversation, and now we’re best friends,” Sherry explained. The original bar stool Dottie sat on at the L-shaped counter was given to Dottie as a gift. Sherry added, “When she comes in now, she’ll joke that someone’s sitting at her table. Miss Dot will always hold a special place in my heart. She’s more than a customer; she’s become family and a great friend.”

Sherry recalled that when her daughter, Jayden, was really sick, they were in financial despair. They connected with the Patty Polatos Fund, and Debbie Williams, the administrator of that charity, encouraged Sherry to let them help. Sherry said, “The community came out for us. We raised over $6,000 from a bake sale that helped pay Jayden’s medical bills. The community still supports us, and we’ll be there for them for many years to come. Like grandma said, “You reap what you sew!”

This memory inspired another. Sherry reminisced, “One day Debbie [Williams] came in after church and asked for breakfast an hour after we stopped serving breakfast. Sherry, knowing that Debbie had a phenomenal voice, said, ‘Tell her if she’ll sing Amazing Grace, I’ll cook her breakfast.’ Sure enough, Debbie stood right in the kitchen and sang to me. It brought tears to my eyes!”

Today, with tighter restrictions due to COVID-19, take-out is outselling dine-in. Sherry admits that things have been challenging through the pandemic, trying to keep everyone safe and following all the guidelines. Now, the problem is, “We’re lacking help.” Our loyal employees have really stepped up and have been working hard to fill in the gaps.

Sherry and Rob rewarded their employees who worked from day one during COVID, without missing a day, with what she calls, a “COVID Bonus.” She said, “That was a power booster for us,” and explained, “Last month, we had the highest sales month we’ve ever had over 36 years in business, even with Colorfest being canceled. We are extremely grateful!”

Sherry is filled with hope, commitment, and drive. “I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have stuck with us. It must be commended that our employees have stepped up in every way they can. It hasn’t always been easy, and they’ve stuck with us through the good and bad times. Thanks for your dedication and continued support. We would like to thank our customers for being our friends, family, and our favorite people. You are the heart of our business. Your loyalty and continued patronage over the years is greatly appreciated. Without you, there would be no us!”

The Kountry Kitchen is located at 17 Water Street in Thurmont. The dining room is open with limited seating at 50 percent. Call for take-out at 301-271-4071. If the line is busy or rings and rings, keep trying.

Congratulations to the Kountry Kitchen Family for all of your successes, your service, and your unwavering commitment to our community. Happy Wedding Anniversary to Sherry and Rob for 30 years in November!

Courtesy Photos

Owners Rob and Sherry Myers are shown in the kitchen at Thurmont Kountry Kitchen.

Sherry Myers (right) is shown with her parents, Pat and Roger Ridenour, in the kitchen at Thurmont Kountry Kitchen.

Pictured left are Brian Toms, Joey Miller, Marsala McKissick, Betty Mowdy, and Dottie Ramsburg.

The other photos show the exterior and interior of Kountry Kitchen in the earlier days, with the old woodstove, juke box, and video game.