FEDERALSBURG — Ground was officially broken Friday, Oct. 4, on the new Royal Farms being built on the corner of state Route 313 and Bloomingdale Avenue in Federalsburg.
Town, county and state officials joined Royal Farms representatives to celebrate the successful outcome of a multi-year effort to bring the quick-service restaurant, convenience store and gas station to the town.
With construction equipment already rolling on the site near him, John Kemp, CEO and president of Royal Farms, said the Federalsburg store should be open in about five months, employing 20 to 35 people.
In addition to regular pumps offering gas and diesel, there will also be high-flow diesel pumps for large trucks and ethanol-free pumps for fueling boats and farm equipment, Kemp said.
Kemp said the process to open the Federalsburg store began more than four years ago when Richard Colburn, former state senator, called about opening one in the town.
A property was selected, Kemp said, but it fell through about two years later and Royal Farms bailed out.
But Colburn was persistent and called again, Kemp said, eventually leading to the selection of the new site.
“(Colburn) was instrumental in us coming here,” Kemp said.
Colburn said when he was Federalsburg’s town manager, he got Food Lion to open a store in the town by repeatedly calling the company’s CEO until he finally agreed to do it if Colburn would stop calling him.
“That’s the same thing (Kemp) said,” Colburn joked.
Colburn said he was happy to see the fruition of a four-year struggle.
“It was a collaborative effort,” he said.
Federalsburg Mayor Chuck Planner also thanked everyone who had a hand in making the new business a reality.
“This project was not an ‘I’ thing, but a ‘we’ thing,” Planner said. “Just take a deep breath and you can already smell the fried chicken.”
Caroline County Commission President Larry Porter said it was a great day for Federalsburg and the county.
“A groundbreaking always means more jobs and more money coming into the county,” Porter said.
State Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37, thanked Colburn for his work.
“It takes many hands to make a project like this happen,” Eckardt said.
Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B, said the Royal Farms opening in Federalsburg is a big deal.
“Let me be the first to say RoFo has arrived,” Mautz said.
Following the groundbreaking, Royal Farms hosted a lunch at the newly renovated community center in Chambers Park.