The Brunswick Herald Welcomes Brunswick Main Street’s New Main Street Manager, Carmen Hilton
By: James R. Castle
Q: Tell us where you live and any other personal information you would like to share.
A: I have lived in Mount Airy for the last 19 years with my husband Tom (Property Manager), daughter Abagayle (who just graduated from the University of Rhode Island as an Ocean Engineer and a Spanish major), and son Jeremy (who is attending Salisbury University). People like to say we live “way out there” but the truth is we live on a hillside with lots of trees in the midst of farmland. We have no Northeast exposure because of the trees (for a satellite) so we just got high speed internet about a year ago!
Q: Where were you last employed?
A: I worked for Calvary United Methodist Church for six years in the middle of Mount Airy as their Director of Ministry Coordination.
Q: How did you learn of the Brunswick Main Street Manager position?
A: I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a position and was notified by a friend that Brunswick Main Street was hiring.
Q: What attributes does Carmen Hilton bring to Brunswick Main Street?
A: I believe I bring passion, enthusiasm, and professionalism to the job. I have always been a “people” person and love to journey with others. I was a commercial real estate agent before going to Calvary, and that job made me appreciate the small business owner and the hard work they do. I helped many new business owners open their first office or small businesses move to a bigger space. It was so fulfilling to be a part of such a big step in someone’s life. And when I moved to Calvary, I supported and coordinated groups of people (from small to large 200+) to connect with each other and maximize their efforts when doing events, activities, and outreach. The way people would drop what they were doing to help someone, and the sense of community was amazing.
Q: Which of the Main Street focus areas do you favor more? (Design, Organization, Promotions, Economic Restructuring, or Green)
A: They all work so well together that it is hard to pick just one! I would have to say that Organization would be a favorite for me, especially because cultivating partnerships and community involvement is where I have seen so many success stories. Strong relationships are a key to creating a strong foundation. However, I get so excited when I think about the design and Green aspects of what Brunswick could do for revitalization like bike lanes to bring the bikers up from the towpath, planting trees downtown, and adding more art on buildings and around town.
Q: How is working with the Main Street Board of Directors?
A: The Board of Directors are a wonderful mix of dedicated and passionate people. They have been nothing but kind to me since I have come on board.
Q: Have you had a chance to meet the Main Street area business owners?
A: Yes, we have roundtable meetings every Monday at 10:00 a.m. for downtown business owners – via Zoom and I have met some people there. I have also had the opportunity to talk to others when we were putting together the Brunswick 12 Days of Giving and unfortunately about COVID related issues. Everyone has been so welcoming.
Q: Is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting Main Street’s operations?
A: COVID-19 has obviously cancelled some of our events, however, it has also required us to think outside the box and this is a good thing – even though sometimes it doesn’t feel good. COVID has also provided us with opportunities. The grants this year have been so helpful for small business owners and even the Brunswick Main Street organization. The operation continues to be open and we are working hard to continue to help those who need it. The need sometimes outweighs what we have available, but we are trying to do as much as we can. The city has also been such a huge help with things like the masks from Frederick County and communicating to us when they know of challenges and even connections.
Q: What do you hope the Main Street area looks like in a year from now?
A: That’s a tough question! The things I want so much for Brunswick will take longer than a year because it’s a lot of behind the scenes work and it won’t be “physically seen” for a while. I know it is so hard to believe that wonderful things are happening if you don’t actually see it, but they are! You have to do the hard work before you can see the results and that takes time. However, we have a wonderful volunteer and committee working on a “green” initiative to remove the cigarette butts from public areas. This will help clean things up and make the downtown area more appealing. I hope we will also continue to work with the Frederick Arts Council for the murals on walls/buildings and the Friends of Historic Brunswick for continued efforts to bring fresh and inviting space makeovers like around the Caboose (Railroad Square).
Q: Is there anything else you wish to share?
A: I am so impressed by the Youth Advisory Council in Brunswick! If you haven’t had a chance to get to know them, you should! Brunswick has a hidden treasure in these youth. They are the future and in my opinion something to be extremely proud of!