The city of College Park has much to offer, including many small businesses eager to welcome students through their doors. However, University of Maryland (UMD) students often don’t know the best places to venture off-campus and explore the surrounding area. From restaurants to retail, College Park is brimming with locally owned and operated businesses.
Shop Made in Maryland Shop Made in Maryland (Shop Made) is a retail store and cafe located at 7401 Baltimore Ave., a central spot in downtown College Park. Shop Made opened in December 2023 and has been a hotspot ever since.
Tess Phillips, a freshman journalism major, is a Creative Sales Associate at Shop Made. The store sells “a lot of handmade jewelry, Maryland themed merchandise like hoodies, sweatshirts and tote bags… Honestly anything you can think of you can probably find it there,” said Phillips. Not only does Shop Made sell locally sourced items like jewelry and clothing, it also offers a small cafe to its customers. Phillips added that the store sells coffee, pastries and various treats. In the later part of the day, Shop Made sells a wide selection of beer and wine.
Shop Made is a huge addition to College Park, bringing a unique shopping experience to UMD students in such close proximity to campus.
“Small businesses work so hard and have such creative and fun products, but they don’t get enough support,” said Phillips. “That’s why Shop Made is so amazing. It kind of brings it all into one location and puts it right in the middle of a college campus. It’s so accessible and I think if students don’t take advantage of that, then they’re missing out.”
Vigilante Coffee Company For those looking for a coffee spot away from the hustle and bustle of campus cafes, look no further than Vigilante Coffee Company. Located at 8200 Baltimore Ave., this cozy coffee shop is one of three locations, with a Vigilante also appearing in Hyattsville, Md. and Oceanside, Ca. The College Park location opened in 2018, and has been serving both this university’s students and local residents since.
Grace Ganoe, a freshman biochemistry major, is a frequent customer at Vigilante Coffee Company.
“There’s a good variety of options… I usually get iced coffee with almond milk,” said Ganoe. “I think it’s very unique… the atmosphere is really nice because it’s a bunch of college students,” she added.
Whether you need a new coffee order or a place to study, Vigilante Coffee Company and its welcoming atmosphere is a short walk away from campus.
The Board and Brew Just a minute’s walk away from Vigilante is The Board and Brew, a laid back restaurant that offers a variety of board games for customers to play during their meal. The Board and Brew is located at 8150 Baltimore Ave, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Freshman journalism major Samantha Cohen recently visited The Board and Brew and had a positive and unique experience. “When you walk in you see stacks and stacks of board games available for you to play. It’s a really cool cafe atmosphere,” Cohen described. “The food is really good… I’ve been there for all different meals. They have really good breakfast and lunch food, but I had the best burger for dinner the other day,” she added.
While College Park may simply be known as a college town, the small businesses in the area are an often overlooked pro to being a student at UMD. Supporting these businesses helps them continue to serve College Park residents and UMD students alike.