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Thriving During the Recession

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Please be sure to check out the Division of Economic Development’s own Christine Davis who will be hosting a special edition of NH Public Television’s “Outlook” program this Friday on Channel 11 at 6 p.m. to discuss businesses that not only survived, but thrived during the recession. Here’s a background piece that Christine recently wrote about the experience:

The recession impacted just about every business in New Hampshire. Some of those businesses are now closed, some are still struggling and others are growing. I wanted to know more about those that are growing and what they were doing to get there.

I don’t often get lucky, but I certainly felt lucky (and flattered) when I received a call from N.H. Public Television asking me if I would like to guest host a special edition of “N.H. Outlook.” Since it was up to me to choose the topic, I decided to seek out businesses that used the challenges of the recession to rethink how they were running their businesses, take some risks and make changes.

NH Division of Economic Development Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

NH Division of Economic Development Business Services Specialist Christine Davis

Many businesses weathered the recession through cutbacks, dipping into financial reserves or picking up customers from businesses that closed. That’s all well and fine, but I wanted to meet with people who took a risk and made changes to how they ran their business. It takes courage to take a risk, especially when you have staff that is counting on your decision-making abilities for their livelihood.

I met with four very different businesses with very different stories. They did possess one common trait — a willingness to overcome adversity by taking risks and making changes to how they ran their businesses.

The owners of The Governor’s Inn in Rochester, Herman and Anthony Ejarque, did a complete 180 in the type of atmosphere that they offer their patrons. Gone are the linen napkins and menus loaded with French words. Now you will find walls covered in Spaulding High School sports memorabilia and hamburgers on the menu. Their other initiatives will also be discussed during the broadcast on Dec. 10.

I also spent time speaking with Geoff Martin, owner of the Cedar Mill Group in Webster. Martin’s home remodeling business was on the brink of disaster when he decided he had to go against the status quo for his industry. His competitors thought he was crazy, but Martin’s business is now thriving, and his only regret is that he didn’t make the change sooner.

Another great story is Goss International in Durham. Known for manufacturing print presses, Goss is taking its manufacturing capabilities in some new directions, including wind turbines. While they still manufacture print presses as their core business, they are using their resources in ways that might surprise you and most certainly will inspire.

My fourth guest is a real bundle of energy and determination. Scott Johnson started Certified Parts Warehouse on the second floor of the old Stratham Town Hall in 1992. He now has two buildings in Dover and a rapidly growing business due to his willingness to take risks and embrace change. Johnson’s story is about how developing all potential aspects of your business — combined with a commitment to the highest quality products and services — can only lead to good things.

I hope you will join me by tuning into this special edition of “N.H. Outlook” to learn more about these insightful and inspiring stories. The show airs on N.H. Public Television, Channel 11, at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10. Repeat showings will be at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 12 and on Monday, Dec. 13 at 5:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Christine J. Davis is a business resource specialist with the N.H. Division of Economic Development. She can be reached at 271-2591 or Christine.Davis@dred.state.nh.us.