This is a re-post of an article published on January 9, 2015.
Richard Tango-Lowy of Dancing Lion Chocolate in Manchester says it would be “just silly” for anyone already operating a small business or thinking of starting one to not take advantage of the resources available through the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center.
Just this month, January 2015, Richard’s “chocolate as art” establishment on Elm Street in Manchester began exporting his fine drinking chocolate to Japan. He also has many more long-range plans in the works, including a cacao plantation! NH SBDC business advisor Hollis McGuire, who is the regional manager of the Nashua office, has helped him with the financials of his company since its beginning in 2007. In fact, Richard credits NH SBDC’s help with his business plan and financials as among the factors that helped him secure an SBA loan and the mortgage he needed when his small kitchen needed to relocate out of its original venue.
“Hollis wouldn’t let me get away with anything,” Richard says. “She was making sure I had all the financials right and that all my projections were rock solid. It was such a big deal when I had to move. I ended up buying the building. All that preparation with Hollis put us in good shape. We were so well-organized and the plans so well-thought out.” Richard actually worked with NH SBDC back in early 2000 when another company he had begun, a software company, didn’t work out. The organization had already been very helpful in that business and helping him to close it. “When I decided to start Dancing Lion Chocolate, it was a no-brainer that I would be working with NH SBDC.”
Since the Dancing Lion Chocolate opening, Richard and Hollis have met as they needed to and now it’s at least once a year, “just to go over everything,” he said. “She helps me keep on top of what we need to be thinking about for the next phase.”
Richard is a planner and has a great advisory board which meets quarterly. “And this week, 300 pounds of chocolate are being shipped to Japan out of my little shop in Manchester, New Hampshire!”
Richard said he feels that NH SBDC is a hidden treasure in this state.
"The resource is free, the people are great, and if nothing else, even if you think you know what you’re doing, they will find every resource possible for you and make sure that you know what those resources are.”