Marien Hornyak

Marien Hornyak, owner of The Kitchenette, poses with Kenny the Chef outside her store.

A bear outside The Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts, another bear outside Frederick Fudge & Ice Cream Co. and a dog statue outside Federated Charities are just some of the friendly mascots you’ll find downtown.

And there are plenty more.

Downtown Frederick doesn’t have an official mascot, but plenty of businesses offer up their own friendly animal or person or whatever to add to the fun and excitement downtown has to offer.

Marién Hornyak, owner of The Kitchenette on N. Market Street, recently brought Kenny the Chef to the store. Kenny is about five feet tall and wears a chef jacket, chef hat and demure expression on his face.

He also wears a wedding ring, although his wife is nowhere to be found, and a wooden spoon in his hand with #chefkenny written on it so people can tag photos with him and tag it on social media.

Lots of customers and passersby stop to take their photo with Kenny, which brings traffic into the store, Hornyak said.

Kenny the chef came to The Kitchenette just two months ago after Hornyak’s husband, Tom, wanted to make a totem-pole type statue.

“It’s a good conversation starter,” she said. “And you can dress him up.”

Kenny held an American flag for Flag Day and Memorial Day and will again for the Fourth of July. And he already has a Santa hat for Christmas.

While some may argue the dinosaur in Dino Alley is the unofficial mascot of downtown, Hornyak thinks the more mascots the better.

“If there was just one mascot for downtown it would come out for First Saturday and stuff like that,” she said. “But having one around every day for people to look at is definitely more vibrant. We’ll welcome more, we can play nice. They can have names and hashtags and personalities.”

And business don’t just need one mascot, the North Market Pop Shop has two.

Pop Shop Penny is shop owner Michelle Schaffer’s dog that she’s had for almost six years. And while Penny is a real dog and can’t be in the store, there are photos of the dog all over.

The store has a second mascot which sits outside the shop. It’s a polar bear with an ice cream cone.

The bear used to stand outside, but due to a regulation changes the bear will have a new position somewhere else in or around the shop.

“We’re still trying to find bear’s new spot, but the kids love bear,” Schaffer said. “One of our customers comes in a lot and says ‘hi’ to bear in the back, even when he’s not outside.”

The polar bear statue is about two feet tall and is holds a triple ice cream cone with green, brown and pink scoops of ice cream topped with whipped cream.

“The kids love to take pictures with bear,” she said. “Bear gets a lot of kisses.”

She added that she believes mascots add to the fun, lighter side of doing business downtown.

“I think every business should find their spirit animal,” she said. “One animal that describes how they want to be in their life. It’s fun to have a mascot, you can do a lot of different things with it and get recognized in the same way.”

Follow CJ Fairfield on Twitter: @FairfieldCj.

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