New Hampshire’s small businesses celebrated
Small businesses throughout New Hampshire were celebrated and honored Tuesday for strengthening and enhancing the region’s economic vitality.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is recognizing 2020 Small Business Week by highlighting small businesses in the Granite State and awarding the state’s Small Business Person of the Year.
“Especially this year, with everything that small businesses have gone through during the pandemic, it is really important to showcase the success that they have had. Many small businesses were able to pivot quickly and still stay afloat,” said Rachael Roderick, SBA’s acting district director in New Hampshire.
During a special event at the Manchester Country Club, Al Letizio Jr. was awarded as Small Business Person of the Year for New Hampshire. Letizio is the owner of A.J. Letizio Sales and Marketing in Windham; his business was also awarded as the Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year on Tuesday.
A.J. Letizio Sales and Marketing
A.J. Letizio Sales and Marketing of Windham has been named the Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year for 2020.
“It was an incredible surprise, and I am humbled by the honor. There are so many great businesses out there in the state, so this is a big honor,” said Letizio.
Since 2015, A.J. Letizio Sales and Marketing’s company sales have grown by nearly 50 percent with assistance from SBA loans. Well known in the wholesale food industry, the Letizio family has been in the field for five generations.
“The food industry has been greatly impacted, like all industries throughout the country, with what has gone on,” said Letizio, adding the company was able to diversify and withstand the pressures associated with the pandemic.
A.J. Letizio Sales and Marketing supplies restaurants, supermarkets, and schools with food.
Brianna Rolfs – Hammar Art Studio – Micro Enterprise
“We have been very fortunate. We have not had a single layoff in the company,” he said, adding the employees at A.J. Letizio are truly an extended family.
Other individuals recognized on Tuesday include Andrew White of Comptus as exporter of the year; Suzanne Foley of Port City Pretzels as woman-owned small business of the year; Megan Prieto Giokas of Granite Commercial Real Estate as minority-owned business of the year; Brianna Rolfs of Hammar’s Art Studio and Cultural Center as micro-enterprise business of the year; Stephen Cunningham of National Flight Simulator as veteran-owned small business of the year; and Joe Bator of Primary Bank as financial champion of the year.
“Small businesses are one of the major employers in New Hampshire, and especially this year it is important to let people know they are still out there, they are great employers and that we need to support these local businesses during these times,” said Roderick.
Suzanne Foley – Port City Pretzels
Stephen Cunningham of National Flight Simulator
The SBA received about 50 nominations, in total, for New Hampshire business candidates, which must be affiliated with the SBA in order to be considered for an award.
Dick Vereecke- SCORE – District Office Award
According to Roderick, the SBA recently handled 25,000 loans for New Hampshire businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, in addition to 11,000 economic injury disaster loans. The volume of loans that have been secured by Granite State small businesses throughout the pandemic is unprecedented, she said.
Joe Bator of Primary Bank
“This is part of our quality of life — to have vibrant downtown areas with small businesses,” Roderick said.
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