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Death of Downtown

Introduction

Flash back to an era when downtown was the place to get everything one needed, from groceries to a new suit. The hardware store was the local hangout, and before heading home, a quick bite and a shave were in order.

Many downtowns in America were built around the railroad. But when the railroad ceased to be the main mode of transport for people and supplies, that spelled trouble for many downtown businesses. The automobile changed all of that, with cars and highways taking people – and business – away from downtown areas.

The downtowns of western Sussex County, Delaware were no exception. Like many other downtowns across the country –  western Sussex’s downtowns were home to start-up, small businesses.  Staples, such as the hometown mom and pop hardware store, continued to putter along, clinging to a nostalgic semblance of what once was. But even they were not immune to change.

And while efforts have been made to revitalize western Sussex’s downtowns, it has sometimes been slow going. But those behind the revitalization efforts are starting to see some rewards from their dedication and hard work.

From the Beginning

It was in 1859 when the railroad finally reached the bi-state town of Delmar, bringing goods and tourists from metropolises to the north. It also enabled farmers to export to cities such as Wilmington, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Downtown districts enjoyed healthy success for many years; that is, until the invention of the automobile in the early 20th century.

In 1924, DuPont Highway, also known as U.S. Route 13, further connected Sussex County to points north. In the 1950s, the Route 13 corridor from north of Seaford to the Maryland border in Delmar was built, triggering the great migration of businesses that left their downtown homes for heavier traffic along highway.

Some businesses remained downtown, but then found themselves fighting another problem. Big box chain stores began to populate the highway thoroughfares. The specialty stores known to inhabit downtown districts – to this day – struggle to compete with the addition of one-stop shopping department stores.

Downtown businesses seem to come and go, changing ownership multiple times with hopes that another family has what it takes to find success. But many times, success remained evasive.

Delmar

When driving on Route 13, people tend to zip in and get what they need. We're trying to find some things that will be the driving factor to bring people downtown. Sara Bynum-King, Delmar Town Manager

According to the Delmar Historical Society, the town was founded around the extension of the Delaware Railroad. In 1859, the Delaware Railroad Company charter permitted only the building of a railroad within the state of Delaware. The corresponding railroad company in Maryland only allowed the laying of railroad tracks within the state of Maryland. So, the name of the town was derived from the railroad center and the states whose line it straddles. Delmar became a point for trains to change crews, and an influx of rail workers moved into the community. During this period, Delmar became a boom town. The town was rebuilt in 1892 and again in 1901 after nearly being destroyed by fires.

Delmar is known as a town that greatly worked to overcome the effects of the line that divides the people. A centennial celebration was held in 1959, honoring the railroad heritage and the citizens who helped the community to prosper. Slowly, the railroad became less influential and growth greatly slowed. The area turned into more of a residential community as businesses began to expand to Route 13 instead of Bi-State Boulevard, which traverses the center of Delmar.

Town manager Sara Bynum-King said that in its heyday, downtown Delmar had a grocery store, a five and dime and a drug store. Avenue Theatre, built in 1901 and known until the early 1940s as the “Delmar Theatre,” still sits on North Pennsylvania Avenue.

downtown_avenuetheatre

Location of the Avenue Theatre in Delmar, Del.

A Drive Through Delmar

Today, turning off of Route 13 onto State Street on the Maryland side, there are several burned, abandoned homes along the street awaiting demolition. Approaching Bi-State Boulevard, there is a gas station and a car store on the corner. A little farther down sits the Delmar Public Library, temporarily closed for construction. And just down the road is the previous home of Stained Glass Bridal and Tuxedo, which has moved to Pennsylvania Avenue, empty and for sale. A little further down are a couple other shops, formerly the home of Sherri-Lynn’s children’s store, which has now moved to Route 13, and changed hands.

Along the railroad on North Pennsylvania Avenue, there is a skate park and basketball courts, several storefronts including the renovated theatre where the Stained Glass Bridal shop now sits with apartments overhead. There is also Sports Nuts bar, a building on the corner that Town Manager Sara Bynum-King said was abandoned for at least 30 years and suffered a lot of decay. Last year, the rear portion of the building caved in. The property owner is now investing in restoring the building.  Bynum-King said he has been consistent with his overall intent for the building. He is putting back a rear wall on the portion that fell and looking to do phases of restoration, including some type of business on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floor.

What Does the Future Hold

Sara Bynum-King grew up in Delmar. She said that during the 2014 Delmar Heritage Day celebration, there was a feeling of excitement to walk along the street and see new growth. Delmar, like many other towns across the state, has been trying to revitalize its downtown area. Bynum-King said the town formed the Delmar Revitalization Committee, but for whatever reason the group of volunteers had trouble coordinating meetings and it has been put on hold for the time being. Bynum-King has been working with the coordinator of the town’s development committee, comparing the overall, current layout of the downtown with where it has been in the past and where they are hoping to go.

“We have been most interested in trying to get the current property owners to invest in their properties so that we can come up with an overall plan that would be inclusive of the property owners. We’re going to need them to have anything be successful,” Bynum-King said. “With that being said, we haven’t really advanced forward, but we have had some major strides.”

Those major strides include a streetscape project finished about six years ago. Bynum-King said the town is still working to install decorative lights downtown, put new sidewalks on both sides and on the east side of Pennsylvania Avenue. The town put in the pavers and also fencing that runs along the west side of the roadway and downtown park area where a decorative, historical caboose sits.

“Our initial intent is to do a continuation of the streetscape project to continue on south Pennsylvania on the Maryland side,” Bynum-King said. “We’re looking to do the sidewalks, decorative lighting down the avenue all the way down to where we have our park and our ball fields.”

She said everything is in walking distance so they are trying to create some pedestrian friendly walkways for people going to the park or coming downtown on the Delaware side of town.

“When driving on Route 13, people tend to zip in and get what they need,” Bynum-King said. “We’re trying to find some things that will be the driving factor to bring people downtown.”

The library held its groundbreaking on Oct. 13, 2014, where construction is under way on a new building that will be about three times its present size.  Library Director and Delmar Citizen of the Year Susan Uphole said the construction period should last about nine months. She added the library should reopen on Bi-State Boulevard in the fall of 2015. Until then, the library has a temporary location on Sussex Highway.

“It’s been years in the making; for 20 years or more people have talked about expanding this library,” Uphole said. “Now, we will be able to be in our brand-new building as we celebrate 75 years of library service in Delmar.”

Downtown Development Districts Program

This year, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed the Downtown Development Districts Act. According to the Office of State Planning Coordination, the DDDA was enacted by the General Assembly to encourage private capital investment in commercial business districts and other neighborhoods, boost job growth and improve the viability of these districts, improve housing opportunities and assist towns and cities in strengthening neighborhoods while “harnessing the attraction that vibrant downtowns hold for talented people, innovative small businesses and residents from all walks of life.”

In 2014, local governments were given the opportunity to identify a downtown district and apply for designation. Once the application was submitted, the Cabinet Committee on State Planning Issues reviewed applications and made recommendations to the governor, who then was able to designate one to three Downtown Development Districts for Fiscal 2015. There can be up to 15 districts at any one time, and the designations last for 10 years.  This year, Markell selected Dover, Seaford and Wilmington.

Once a municipality is chosen as a Downtown Development District, private construction projects could be entitled to receive grants from the Delaware State Housing Authority to offset 20 percent of their capital construction costs, among other benefits.

Delmar chose not to participate this year, according to Bynum-King, but the town is looking to do so sometime further down the road.

“There are other requirements that are necessary to be met to receive this funding; we would have to be more financially prepared to proceed,” Bynum-King said.

Full Circle

Delmar began with the railroad, so why not look to it to bring back life?
Bynum-King has often thought about what it would be like if the railroad was to come alive yet again in the town.

“For years and years there were passenger trains. It would be ideal to have a pickup and drop-off point going from Delmar to Harrington for people who want to go to Harrington whether it be for the [Delaware] State Fair or the slots of whatever it is,” she said. “We could bring the passenger trains back and bring people downtown; it would eliminate traffic in terms of people traveling up and down Route 13.”

Laurel

According to the Laurel Historical Society, the town was settled in the early 1820s and was very prosperous, primarily thanks to lumber. Available woodland and water access brought lumber and saw mills to the area, creating many jobs. In 1856, the railroad enabled local produce, such as strawberries and cantaloupes to go north to urban markets. It also enabled Laurel to import the latest in architecture, clothing, furniture and other trends crossing the nation at the time.

At the turn of the 20th century, baskets became the big driver for the economy of Laurel. Marvil Package Company was one of the largest manufacturers of food packing baskets in the world. Ned Fowler, a Laurel historian and a member of the LHS, said baskets are what put Laurel on the map. Many of Laurel’s big houses were built by people who worked there and the factory brought business to the area.

After a fire in 1899 that virtually leveled all of Laurel’s present-day commercial area, new brick buildings were built a block in each direction from the town’s main intersection.

Whatever one might expect or need, we had it. We were the shopping area for about 10 or 14 miles around. Ned Fowler, Laurel Historian

Fowler said that in the 1930s, DuPont kept Laurel going. It was one of the town’s major employers despite the fact that it was several miles to the north in Seaford. The downtown area of Laurel continued to flourish into the 1960s. But it was in the 1970s when business began shifting outward to the Route 13 highway.

What It Once Was

Some people would argue Laurel was a “mecca” when it was flourishing. Fowler said the downtown had two hotels, restaurants, a movie theater, a dance hall and stores for men and women’s clothing. He remembers hardware stores, seven grocery stores, three clothing stores, three drug stores, two furniture stores, one carriage factory, one sawmill, two blacksmith shops, two butcher shops, shoe repair shops and two barber shops. That is not even counting the various general or “mom and pop” stores. There were also ice cream fountains where students would hang out after school.

“Whatever one might expect or need, we had it,” Fowler said. “We were the shopping area for about 10 or 14 miles around.”

You could even get your hands on a Chevrolet. Fowler said the dealership that was later located on Route 13 and Naylor Mill Road in Salisbury, Maryland, got its start in downtown Laurel as Oliphant Chevrolet.

“Delmar was extremely small at the time. Laurel was it for a right good while,” said Fowler.

Laurel Today

There isn’t much left from Laurel’s glory days. Of the new buildings constructed of brick, the M&T Bank building is the last standing in the main intersection.

Waller’s Men’s Store and Phillip’s Men’s Store, both three-generation stores,  were some of the last businesses to hang around, according to Fowler.

“It’s hard for small business to make it when they have to compete,” said Fowler.

Some Laurel residents have also expressed concerns about abandoned or dilapidated homes in the town. This led to the drafting and eventual passing of an ordinance that would limit the number of days boards could be placed on doors and windows of a home, and required they be on the inside to reduce blight. Other concerns led to a discussion among the Laurel Town Council about escalating fines for repeat offenders for such infractions as old cars, trash, etc. That resolution passed at January’s first council meeting, according to Laurel Town Manager Jamie Smith.

In 2005, the non-profit Laurel Redevelopment Corporation was adopted. The LRC’s  stated mission is to “enhance the quality of life in the Town of Laurel by obtaining, rehabilitating and revitalizing properties, which will increase economic development for the Town.”

The federal government has a national Main Street program, which focuses on a revitalization thrust in what were once successful commercial areas, trying to bring niches to boost these downtowns.

Fowler is one of the founding members of LRC. He said the group bought some of the older brick buildings and tried to bring those niche stores to Laurel to rework them and create viable, sustainable businesses in them, but with no success. So, they had the buildings torn down.

“They tried gift shops, boutiques, coffee shops,” Fowler said. “Twenty-first century Laurelites are so used to going out of town, they just didn’t go to the shops.”

Fowler said LRC spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to fix up these buildings and decided it was less expensive to just tear them down and repurpose the land.

“The buildings had no foundation,” he said. “You can only fix the roof so many times before it starts to cave in and that’s just what happened.”

LRC has also completed some other projects in the town, buying land on Broad Creek and partnering with a private investor. Thus came the Villas on Broad Creek.

“They finished just in time for the economy to tank; there are a couple of units that are still sitting empty,” said Fowler. “One did sell within the last few months, though.”

There are also shops in a cluster known as Laurel Towne across from Broad Creek, in LRC-owned buildings. Those store fronts are filled, with places like Maxine’s Hair Happenings and Seeds A Baby & Kids Boutique.

What the Future Holds

The Laurel Redevelopment Corporation just unveiled its next venture, a project called Broad Creek Ramble. The plans include extending the beautification of the park over to the railroad bridge and connecting it with another park there. It also includes ideas for more residential development. The project is in partnership with the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, College of Arts and Sciences and Sea Grant Delaware.

During the project’s unveiling at the Laurel Public Library in September, Brian Shannon, of LRC, said the design is a “first step in what has been termed the re-imagining of Laurel.”

When asked about what he thinks the future holds for Laurel, Ned Fowler remains optimistic.

“Folks from the National Trust [for Historic Preservation] in Washington came to Laurel some years ago,” said Fowler. “They came here and saw all of these wonderful Victorian houses. The way they phrased it is that, ‘Laurel is gift-wrapped for the future.'”

Fowler said many of the Victorian-era homes have since been covered with siding, not in line with original construction.

“Now we can look at this detrimentally, but yet their original fabric is right underneath, preserved for the day that Laurel will once again blossom,” said Fowler. “The mayor and town council have formed a new initiative about trying to clean up and get the property-ownership pride back to Laurel. ”

Downtown Redevelopment District

Laurel Town Manager Jamie Smith said town officials considered applying for the Downtown Development District recognition, but said this year was not the year.

“The Office of State Planning saw the LRC’s Broad Creek Bramble presentation and said it would be perfect for Downtown Development funding,” Smith said. “We decided to let the first round go through and see how it goes, then we can look at applying next year for the funding. The first step would be for us to designate the downtown area.”

Seaford

According to the Seaford Historical Society, Seaford’s placement along the Nanticoke River made it a prime spot for development. The city began to experience strong growth in the mid-1800s because it had a lot of room for boats to deliver goods.

The railroad came to Seaford in the mid-1850s about the same time as the steam boats, but the railroads managed to stay as the steam boats fizzled out in the 1920s. The railroad stayed active in Seaford into the 1950s, providing 100 years of relatively full service. The railroad still exists in Seaford, although now it is primarily used for freight.

The poultry industry became important to Seaford in the 1920s as Sussex County became the largest chicken-producing area in the world. Of course, the biggest boost for Seaford was in 1939, when the DuPont company opened the first Nylon plant in the world in Seaford, dubbing it the “Nylon Capital of the World.” This brought many jobs and people to the surrounding areas.

What It Once Was

In 1889, a large fire started on the north side of High Street and burned down several blocks of structures. The town was later rebuilt with bricks and mortar to avoid another catastrophic fire. Seaford enjoyed several businesses in its newly built downtown area, including Manning’s Drug Store — which had a pharmacy and a soda fountain — a five and dime, two to three hardware stores, and several grocery stores. Not a single downtown spot was empty.

Jim Blackwell has lived in Seaford his whole life. He works with the SHS, handling a lot of its history and collecting photographs.

“I remember back when; we used to hang out at Manning’s a lot — kids and adults,” Blackwell said. “That building still sits in downtown Seaford and they have recently taken the siding off of it that was put on in the late 50s and early 60s and have restored it to how I really remember it — a brick building.”

One of the main staples on Main Street in Seaford was Burton Brothers Hardware Store. Blackwell described it as a local family-oriented business that kept the small town vibe alive for many years.

“It was just a wonderful spot for people to go into. In particular, men would go in there and sit and relax and shoot the breeze,” Blackwell said. “That kind of continued until it burned down in 2012 and decided not to open again.”

Blackwell said that slowly but surely businesses started to move out of Seaford’s center.

“It had to be the highway that contributed to it, even though the highway was built and, frankly, there wasn’t that much traffic on it initially,” he said. “As more people started using that route, more businesses went out to catch that traffic.”

Blackwell said that over the years, many of the buildings have changed and some have been torn down. Some businesses, however, have been able to survive.

“We have our museum in the place of the old post office,” said Blackwell.  “It has been there for, I want to say, seven or eight years and it’s doing well there. Businesses that have been able to stay open… (are) businesses in action.”

What It Is Today

According to the city’s website, Seaford has more than 500 retail stores and service-related businesses, as well as Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and its support clinics. Most of Seaford’s businesses sit along Route 13 and its adjoining roads.

The Main Street program was fairly effective at bringing Seaford back to life. There is an occasional store that may not have any tenants, but for the most part the stores are full. Jim Blackwell, Seaford Historical Society

Blackwell said over the last decade, Seaford has started building up its businesses in the downtown area. Although Burton Brothers decided not to reopen following the fire, the building across the street was torn down and later became the City of Seaford administrative offices. Bon Appetit restaurant is located on the main drag, offering gourmet French cuisine. A sandwich shop sits where Manning’s Drug Store used to be and there’s also a new La Red Health Center, offering patient-centered health care.

The Nanticoke Maritime Gallery at the Seaford Museum is also downtown and chronicles the city’s existence.

The train station is still downtown and is still active, welcoming four to five trains a day that travel through the city.

“We don’t have passenger cars like we used to,” said Blackwell. “Seaford brought them back for a bit in the early 60s and I took it on a trip I had to make to Philadelphia, but it wasn’t long before it closed down again.”

Seaford is one of seven Main Street  communities that participated in the Delaware Main Street Program, part of the national Main Street plan to revitalize commercial districts. According to City Manager Dolores Slatcher, from 1999 to 2000, Seaford’s historic downtown area along High Street underwent major renovations, preserving the city’s old-fashioned charm with $1.5 million of landscaping, street paving, sidewalks, lamp posts, street lights, and utility upgrades.

What the Future Holds

Jim Blackwell believes there is still more to be done when it comes to revitalizing the downtown of Seaford.

“The Main Street program was fairly effective at bringing Seaford back to life,” he said. “There is an occasional store that may not have any tenants, but for the most part the stores are full.”

Before the program, about 10 years ago, Blackwell said business had taken a turn for the worst. But, by changing the parking areas, the city has made it easier for people to park and take a short walk to get to the businesses.

Blackwell said he had the chance to get a first-hand view of the current state of the downtown area.

“For six months … I worked downtown on a new project for the maritime wing of the museum and I had a pretty open view,” he said. “I saw there are certain stores that just seem to be active and others that aren’t… I hope that with the town applying for the Downtown Redevelopment Districts grant that hopefully we will be able to get even more businesses to come in and take a good look at the downtown area.”

Downtown Redevelopment Districts

Trish Newcomber, economic development manager for the City of Seaford, put the paperwork together to apply for the Downtown Development Districts program. The city has an enhancement team that was organized to work on renewing the downtown and review any projects or applications before they are submitted. Newcomber said a downtown zone was established in 2001 to focus on various commercial projects that can be done in the area.

“We are gearing toward the actual designation of the downtown area, which is a project component,” she said. “We have talked to some property owners that do have interest in it. If we can obtain that designation we would be able to walk with them and see what they need to do. We see the value and are excited for what it can do for our downtown area.”

It worked. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell selected Seaford as one of the three towns to receive the grant from the Downtown Development Districts program for Fiscal 2015. On Jan. 12 at Seaford City Hall, a celebration of the designation and discussion of the next steps took place amongst local officials.

“Now the developers can apply for the funding through the state housing website,” said Slatcher. “The City of Seaford is a designated municipality and we were delighted to receive the designation because that means our developers can apply for the funding set aside by the General Assembly. I think that’s why our application was selected because we have some projects that are ready to go.”

Bridgeville

According to the Bridgeville Historical Society, the town is actually the oldest in western Sussex County.  BHS President Howard Hardesty said Bridgeville is unique in that it had two downtown areas, referred to as “downtown” on Market Street, and “uptown” in the area where the original town was founded.  The growth of the town accelerated greatly when the railroad arrived in the “downtown” area in 1856. Thanks to the railroad, the agriculture business boomed. Bridgeville became a shipping hub for farm produce, with an auction block where produce was loaded on train cars and shipped north. Hardesty said that not long after the railroad arrived, an ice plant came to town and allowed for refrigerated train cars, expanding shipments.

What It Once Was

Hardesty said that as a child, downtown Bridgeville was “the place to go,” especially during the weekend. The downtown area was booming with a hotel, hardware stores, restaurants, clothing stores, several mom and pop grocery stores, a butcher shop and several telegraph offices, he said. In the uptown area, there were grocery stores and another hardware store.

“Bridgeville was a very prosperous shopping area. You name it, they had it. Then the stores just melted away,” Hardesty said.

He recalls going downtown as a child.

“You would go down to get your Pepsi, grab a sandwich for lunch; they had soda fountains,” he said. “You could go down and get an ice cream or a Boston Cooler – an ice cold glass mug with root beer and a scoop of ice cream in it.”

For a while, Hardesty remembers an Acme grocery store that was built in the late 1950s and 1960s and stayed open well into the 1970s.

“They had a parking lot that was always packed,” he said. “They made out pretty good for years, but all of the sudden they just closed it.”

According to Hardesty, the big change happened around 1952 when the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was built. Route 404 leading to the beaches came right through town. He said there used to be parking on both sides of the street for visitors to downtown that was eliminated for that beachbound traffic.

When you have a main artery like Route 404 that goes through a town, that's really tough to try and do something. I think putting more shops in would just cause more congestion. Howard Hardesty, Bridgeville Historical Society President

“That was really the beginning of the downturn of the shopping area,” Hardesty said. “People couldn’t manage to find parking spots. Traffic just got so bad during the 50s, 60s and 70s that it would start around Thursday night and end late Sunday night. It pretty much killed it then when the highway came through.”

When the popularity of Route 13 started to grow, businesses also started moving out to the highway to find business. Hardesty said the first store that moved from town and onto Route 13 was Scott’s Furniture in the early 1960s. The furniture store is still located on Route 13.

What It Is Today

There are a few shops downtown and uptown these days, but many of the homes and businesses that once sat in the area have since been removed. The Rapa scrapple company still has a plant there, and has converted the area that was once the passenger station by the railroad to a freezer unit. Hardesty said the hotel that sat near the railroad was torn down and the grocery store along Railroad Avenue, just off Market Street, is also gone.

Hardesty said that once upon a time Bridgeville also had a Ford dealership.

“They just recently tore a building down on the uptown part that was built in 1890,” Hardesty said. “It was built as a lodge building, but over the years it had been used for a drug store, soda fountain, a general merchandise store; people even lived in apartments on the second floor.

The old five and dime has been converted to an antique emporium. Where the furniture store once stood is a church.

In fact, the oldest building on the street now is the First Methodist Church that was built in the 1800s – which is now an antique store.

Hardesty said in recent years the town discussed putting in a parking lot to bring more people downtown, but the Delaware Department of Transportation would not permit it over concerns of increased traffic along Market Street, which connects to Route 404.

“That’s why the Market Street area was never really revived,” said Hardesty. “It’s more accommodating to the passer-through than the locals.”

What the Future Holds

Bridgeville adopted a comprehensive plan in 2002 and 2006 and its neighboring town, Greenwood, adopted its in 2008. In 2014, a Bridgeville and Greenwood master plan was launched with a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund. The first listed goal of the master plan is to preserve community character and the natural, historic and cultural assets that make the town special. The town plans to do this by nurturing the downtown and business community and explore more specialized niche opportunities for downtown development. The plan also calls for seeking available resources for Main Street-type redevelopment and branding among others.

The town also plans on containing growth on Route 13 and around the new Woodbridge High School, located off of Route 404.

When asked what he thinks the future holds, Hardesty said he thinks Bridgeville would do well following a model like Georgetown, Milford or Dover.

“When you have a volume of traffic through a town, very few people stop,” Hardesty said. “So there’s a concern, why bring in more traffic when it’s not convenient?”

He said that right now the busiest businesses downtown are the Dollar General, a small corner gas station and the hardware store, even though it took a hit from bigger box stores moving to Seaford.

“I think the town would like to revive downtown and that’s what they’re trying to work toward,” said Hardesty. “When you have a main artery like Route 404 that goes through a town, that’s really tough to try and do something. I think putting more shops in would just cause more congestion.”

At a Glance

In the last decade, all of the towns in western Sussex County have reviewed ways to revitalize their downtown areas. Whether it be bringing in more niche stores, creating more residential opportunities to draw more people downtown, or just promoting what is already there, it seems towns are coming full circle, trying to bring people back to where the action began in the 1850s when the railroads came steaming through. That state and federal programs that have started pumping funds into viable downtown revitalization proposals are encouraging to locals, but leaders from all of the towns stress that patience is key.

About the Author

Brittany Cooper started her career at WBOC as a video editor. She then served as a news producer for two years before becoming a videojournalist and weekend anchor. She received her bachelor of arts in communications – journalism from Salisbury University in December of 2011. Throughout college she served as an active member and recruitment director of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority. Brittany puts her faith above all else. She enjoys being a mom and spending time with her family. Brittany is also a certified Zumba Fitness instructor and teaches two classes a week. Email Brittany at bcooper@wboc.com.

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