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June 23, 2014

Business profile: Fort Cumberland Emporium

The three-story, multi-dealer store sells goods including art, antiques, jewelry and furniture.

Cumberland — In their travels, Sue Johnson and her daughter, Jan Bingham, have passed through Cumberland but never had time to stop.

That changed over the weekend.

While the women, both of Prince George's County, had hoped to arrive in the city on Saturday and stay overnight, they were unable to reserve a room in a local hotel due to the 2014 Maryland/Delaware H.O.G. Rally - a four-day event that brought over 700 visitors to the city.

So the mom and daughter got up early the following morning and headed for Cumberland.

"We've never been here," Bingham said on Sunday. "We went to the visitor's center. They were really nice."

Later in the day, Johnson and Bingham were at Fort Cumberland Emporium, 55 Baltimore Street in downtown Cumberland.

The multi-dealer co-op sells items including art, jewelry, linens, antiques, furniture and collectibles.

"A lot of people see the (church) steeples and think (Cumberland) is a good place to stop," said Becky McClarran, one of 12 vendors at the three-story Emporium. "We get a lot of tourists."

McClarran has sold goods at the shop for roughly 15 years.

"It started through the Main Street Program," she said of the Emporium's start via a former initiative geared to boost business in and around the city's three-block pedestrian mall. "The (Main Street Program) was an incubator for businesses."

Today, the Emporium is filled with a wide variety of items -- from vintage hats to an antique typwriter -- and is one of few businesses in the mall that's open on Sunday.

"You never know what's going to be in here," McClarran said. "That's the fun of it."

The store also frequenly attracts out-of-town shoppers like Johnson and Bingham.

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