RISING SUN — The owner of Rise N Grind Cafe was pacing Monday morning until the president of Howard Bank walked through her door.
That was when Angie Vanderhoef covered her mouth and tried not to cry as Mary Ann Scully announced that the coffee shop, Vanderhoef’s almost 1-year-old business on East Main Street in Rising Sun, won the ”Keep It Local” contest hosted by the bank.
“I’m totally surprised,” Vanderhoef said as her employees surrounded her. “This means all the energy and hard work we put into it is all worth it.”
Keep It Local called on the public to nominate and vote for a favorite local business. In the final round, Rise N Grind was up against a book store, a winery and two craft studios.
“There were hundreds of thousands of businesses nominated,” said Mary Ann Scully, chairman and CEO of Howard Bank. “We asked the public, ‘Who do you think represents the best in local business?’”
Scully said she was not surprised that the cafe rose to the top of the list.
“This epitomizes what small communities do to band together and support one another,” she said. “They beat out businesses from Anne Arundel to Cecil County.”
Vanderhoef, after holding the symbolic $10,000 check for a few minutes, said she planned to share the winnings with two other Rising Sun businesses that were also in the running and made it to the top 15.
With the rest she plans to host a block party and get more equipment in the kitchen to increase the number of food options.
Vanderhoef and her husband Jeremy recently received approval from the Cecil County Board of License Commissioners for a Class B license to allow serving alcoholic beverages, such as Irish coffees and light wines. The same liquor board meeting also gave a Class B to Bog Turtle Brewery, which will open in early 2020 next door to the cafe.
Jamie Bennett, manager of the Rising Sun branch of Howard Bank and also president of the Rising Sun Chamber of Commerce, said the win by Rise N Grind also did not surprise him.
“It’s a testament to Angie and her family, the way they treat their customers and support their community and beyond,” Bennett said.
(Scully noted that Howard Bank employees were not allowed to participate in the contest in any way, including voting.)
While she is from Oxford, Pa., Angie said she was certain Rising Sun was the place to bring her coffee shop, which also now includes an in-house bakery.
“I knew from the very start that this community was a special place to be,” she said. “We’re very happy to be here.”