BERLIN, Md. – The town of Berlin was the place to be on Saturday.
After winning Budget Travel's "America's Coolest Small Town" contest, the town through a huge party in the downtown area, featuring live music, local food, parades, and much more. However, it's not the first time the town has seen big crowds over the past few months.
"It's been what I call over the top," says Michael Day, Berlin's Director of Economic and Community Development. "We're already seeing a spike in visitor attendance during the weekends and during the week now."
Day says the town's merchants and retailers have seen some of the biggest increases.
"It's been amazing, we've had people coming in almost every day saying they've never been to the town," says Blaire Parsons, Owner of TaDa Gift Shop. "The overall increase in business is going to be wonderful, I think we're going to have a great summer."
Day says town officials in Litiz, Pennsylvania, the town that won the contest last year, say Berlin can expect anywhere from a 10 to 40 percent increase in overall business. To continue the success they have already seen, Day says Berlin has established a marketing committee to capitalize on the recent publicity.
"This committee is going to market the town this year, with that strategy of coolest small town in America," says Day. "We've had telephone conferences with Lititz about what they did right what they did wrong."
"In the long run we're hoping that it will attract more young families, that is one of our essential goals," says Berlin's Mayor Gee Williams.
Mayor Williams says the contest came at the perfect time for the town, after a long and brutal winter. He hopes that Berlin can be a model for other small towns across the United States.
"By working as a community together, and having what I call cooperative capitalism, a small town can really have an impact whereas before we were just completely overshadowed by the big cities," says Mayor Williams. "Since the announcement, there has been a pronounced increase and I honestly expect that to continue not only the next year, but beyond."
There are also some exciting new businesses coming to the area, including Eastern Shore Kettle Corn. For more information about the product, which is set to open a store in Berlin on Thursday, visit their Facebook page.
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Saturday, August 30 2014 3:34 PM EDT2014-08-30 19:34:49 GMT
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