Client: Richard Tango-Lowy
Business Name: Dancing Lion Chocolate
Location: Manchester, NH
Richard Tango-Lowy’s passion for chocolate has earned him renown - and customers - from all over the world.
As much as they are an adventure for the palette, Tango-Lowy’s creations are also works of art, which he has spent years mastering. After earning Master Chocolatier designations from institutions in France and Italy, he opened his own shop in New Hampshire’s largest city in 2007.
Long before that, he had connected with the NH Small Business Development Center, on another business venture. For Dancing Lion, he wanted to make sure he had the advice and expertise of people who knew as much about business as he knew about chocolate. SBDC advisor Hollis McGuire was Tango-Lowy’s connection for making sure the Dancing Lion was well-positioned to meet the unique demands of its market.
“I touched base about once a year with Hollis,” he said. “She was almost like a family advisor because she knew the business so well.”
As part of those meetings with her over the years, preparing for the unexpected was a part of the planning and execution of his business plan and resiliency backup plans.
“As a business, we need to be able to evolve and deal with whatever comes,” he said. “You never know, on a daily basis as a small business, what will come up tomorrow - whether it’s just something happening downtown, or a major pandemic that changes the world.”
Resiliency was always part of his overall business plan - a plan, like most business owners, he hoped he’d never have to use.
“Our objective was to be prepared for anything and a lot of planning over the years went to making that happen,” he said. “Resiliency is just being able to deal with whatever comes and adapt your model as you need to, no matter what kind of business you have.”
The plan made adapting a little easier. He was able to shift some of his model, keep his employees on, and, most of all, continue servicing his clientele and market.
As progress is made in mitigating and preventing the spread of COVID-19, Tango-Lowy said he’s not looking at things to return to normal, but looking ahead for new opportunities.
“Businesses that look at this as ‘This will pass and we'll go back to normal,’ I think they're missing a big opportunity and taking a big risk,” he said. “I don't want to say that COVID is a good thing by any measure, but everything that happens is an opportunity and that's resilience - learning and moving on.”
This client story is part of NH SBDC's ongoing collection of COVID Creativity stories about businesses surviving and thriving during COVID-19.
Rich Tango-Lowy talks about businesses and resiliency planning.