Client Name: Amber Morgan
Business Name: Fortin Gage Flower and Gift Shop
Business Website:
Industry: Flower Shop
Location: Nashua, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Hollis McGuire

Have you ever walked into a job interview and walked out ready to own the place? Amber Morgan has. She is the new owner of 93-year-old Fortin Gage Flower and Gift Shop, a pillar business in downtown Nashua.

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It was just about a year and a half ago when Amber found herself at something of a crossroads, in search of a new opportunity. After a friend mentioned Fortin Gage was looking for some part time help and would potentially be ready to sell or retire soon, Amber thought it was an idea worth exploring. So, she applied and scored an interview. It was during that two-hour interview that Amber realized, “I didn’t want to be an employee. I wanted to own the store.” She adds, “I just knew, like that deep gut feeling. I'm like, ‘this is it’.”

Amber already had a home fragrance company with a dream of one day having her own store. “I always felt this connection to downtown Nashua,” says Amber. “I thought downtown business owners were like rockstars. They are my celebrities. I would love to just be one of those people and combine it with the home fragrance store.”

In that job interview, Amber discovered that Fortin Gage checked all the boxes: connection to people / community, a downtown business, and an existing business / not a start-up.

Amber had fallen in love with the intimacy of flower giving and the honor florists have to be a part of the background in families’ moments. She shares, “The gift that you are given to look into someone's life, from literally birth to death is such an honor and such a deeper way to be a part of the community and serve the community.”  

So, Amber immediately went home and prepared an offer to buy the business, offering to work for them for a year while learning the business inside and out with plans to finalize a purchase after a year. A few conversations later and a year into working for them, Amber and the owner came to an agreement. On January 1, 2023, 14 months after Amber started working there, she bought Fortin Gage. Amber states, “Over the course of that year, I got to meet the team and know our customers and the product, and it just was affirming. I never wavered for a single moment.”

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To navigate the acquisition of Fortin Gage, Amber had the guidance of NH SBDC and her long time Business Advisor, Hollis McGuire. Amber first worked with Hollis ten years ago while working for another company and she has been Amber’s “go-to” person for each business she’s had since then. The first time Amber met Hollis, Amber says, “I knew in that moment, I wanted to be Hollis when I grew up. She is the most powerful woman I've ever met in such an understated way, because she could see through you and your business in a way that she could, just in a conversation, see your past, present, and future of what the business could be like.”

So, when Amber was considering the acquisition of Fortin Gage, she did not hesitate to go to Hollis, who she refers to as “a holistic doctor of business.” Hollis brought up any potential concerns, offered her full support, and guided Amber to the SBDC program FAME (Financial Accelerator Marketing Expeditor – Legal) before it sunsetted. Through FAME, Amber received free legal advice. “Hollis is equal parts my biggest cheerleader and biggest mentor,” says Amber. “She really understands everything that you may need. And not only does she understand, but she knows just the right person to connect you with. And she doesn't really give advice; she gives questions. So, she leads you in a thought exercise, knowing where it's going to take you.”

In the few months since owning the business, Amber notes the challenge in finding a way to maintain the legacy of Fortin Gage while planning and building for the future, but is thankful to have SBDC there. Amber states,

“the part that excites about working with the SBDC is knowing that no matter what the challenge is, I have an SBDC business advisor in my court that knows not just what my challenges are today, but what they're going to be, and very gently nudges me to look at those as we go along.”

Today, business is “blooming” for Fortin Gage as they shift business strategies and service offerings with a focus on partnerships and deepening their roots in the community. And, of SBDC, Amber concludes, “it's a must in your business, not an option. It’s a secret weapon to your success, giving you the mental ease to be able to run your business knowing that you're never alone.”