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Union Bridge business Q&A: Flood Zone Brewery and Marketplace’s future ‘looks very promising’

Flood Zone Brewery and Marketplace, at 50 N. Main St. in Union Bridge, opened just before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The building, owned by Jerry and Beth Stambaugh, previously housed a hardware store and converting it to its present condition took a lot of hard work. Beth Stambaugh said at that time, “None of this would have transpired without the positive enthusiasm of our network of family, friends and employees. All of which have encouraged us on a daily basis. We just hope it turns out as good as we all hope!”

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In addition to beer brewed on site, the business also sells food and has a marketplace that includes shops that sell a variety of hand-crafted items.

We caught up with Jerry Stambaugh to see how Flood Zone made it through the pandemic.

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Brewer Keith Waybright, and owners Beth and Jerry Stambaugh sit in the brewpub at Flood Zone Brewery and Marketplace in Union Bridge Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020.
Brewer Keith Waybright, and owners Beth and Jerry Stambaugh sit in the brewpub at Flood Zone Brewery and Marketplace in Union Bridge Tuesday, Feb 25, 2020. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

When did your business open and what is it most known for?

It opened on Feb, 29 2020. We worked a year and a half to open and were shut down after only being open 11 business days prior to the shutdown.

We are known as a brewery, food spot and market place

What role does your business play in your community?

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It serves as a place that locales as well of people from out of town can come and enjoy beer, food and crafts in a very nice sitting.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your business?

It shut us down temporarily. But we were able to serve carryout beer through a sales window and all the local people supported us very nicely

What steps did you take to help your business survive the pandemic? Did you secure state/federal grants?

We were brand-new so we were very limited to the grants we could receive. But we kept reinventing the outside areas and made it larger and larger.

We kept things very open outside even going through the winter and were willing to keep people warm at whatever cost it required. This, I feel, was the key to our success

As a business owner, what did you learn about yourself, your employees and/or your customers during the pandemic?

Everyone had their own issues to deal with. I got COVID myself in July as well as other employees through the year. What I do know is that we have great employees that did whatever it took to make people feel safe and comfortable.

And our costumers have been very patient and outstanding for their consideration to all the rules that we had to follow. They made our job easier.

Once we began to emerge from the pandemic, what changes made out of necessity did you do away with and what changes worked so well you will continue?

Outside venue. Everyone loves to be outside and we continue to grow it

After a most uncertain 15 months for businesses, how do you feel your business is positioned for the future?

As a new business you have no historical data. Meaning, what people will like and what they won’t. This can be related to ambiance, beer or food. By being held back, per se, throughout 2020 and part of 2021, we actually became a better business.

It limited us to the amount of people that we could serve and that allowed us to become very good at what we do and understand what everyone wanted. Our future looks very promising.

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