March 22, 2021
DISCLAIMER: The following content was not created by, but is shared by Chamber Collaborative.
Virtual event on the occasion of
Women’s History Month
When: Tuesday 23 March 2021
Hours: 10: 00-11: 00
SBA is proud to take a break and join the nation in recognizing Women’s History Month. Belanger, Lender Relations Specialist, will pay tribute to women who strengthen and enrich our society through service to their families, communities and public services on Tuesday. We will take this opportunity to celebrate NH businesswomen and learn more about their achievements, challenges, dreams and goals and get a first-hand view of their daily lives. We will also be joined by our district director, Amy Bassett, and representatives from our resource partners to give us an update on SBA programs and how the agency works with our loan and resource partners to support female entrepreneurs across the state. . This event promises to be full of energy and inspiration.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For more information or questions please contact:
Suzanne Foley of Port City Pretzel
At the age of 55, Suzanne found herself struggling to get back on her feet. In no time at all he had lost his father, his sister, his job and his dog. When her thoughts turned to better times, she remembered the taste that always gave her comfort. In 2015, she took her family’s famous pretzel recipe, added her own special twist, and launched the Port City Pretzel brand.
Today, Port City Pretzel is imbued with old-fashioned New England opportunity, love, and good resilience – everything Suzanne believes is important in life. Most of its employees are disabled. The company is 100% female owned and both WBENC and WOSB certified. And the company proudly represents the LGBTQ community.
Suzanne’s mantra: Believe in yourself and in the goodness of others. When not on a yoga mat or reformer at Pilates class, skiing, playing golf or in his happy place in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes.
Nicknamed “The People’s Pretzel,” its mouthwatering snacks come from the heart of Portsmouth, NH. But the ideas, ongoing inspiration and perpetual spirit of Port City Pretzel come from everyone he meets.
Jilan Hall-Johnson of The Sassy Biscuit Company and JOOK
Jilan has always had a passion for food. Growing up you would often find it in the kitchen. After high school, she decided that a non-traditional college and a culinary arts degree would be better suited to her needs as a new mom. Moving from Syracuse, New York, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she met her husband, DeMarco Johnson. After graduating from the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and briefly working in the restaurant business, she decided she didn’t like the hustle and bustle of commercial cooking.
DeMarco has always dreamed of serving his country and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2006, this gave Jilan the opportunity to go back to school and earn a degree in Social Psychology from Park University and a bachelor’s degree in Human Services Counseling Marriage and Family at Università della Libertà. Jilan has spent her professional career dedicated to assisting military families by adapting to life’s challenges. “Bringing big-city life into small-town dishes,” is the motto of his cookie-centric restaurant, The Sassy Biscuit Co. and cobrand JOOK a chicken joint, in Billings, Montana and a second in Dover, NH.
Megan Giokas of Granite Commercial Real Estate
Megan Prieto Giokas is the owner and president of Granite Commercial Real Estate, LLC. His vision and dedication have transformed the company into a leading provider of commercial real estate brokerage and development services along with warehousing and information management services.
In her role as president, Megan is a leader committed to managing the company’s day-to-day operations.
The efforts of Megan and the company have been recognized with numerous awards, including The Nashua Telegraph’s 40 Under 40 Award, Union Leader 40 Under 40 Award, NH SBA 2020 Minority Business of the Year and ICSC John T. Riordan School for Real Estate Professionals, Design and Construction Certification Scholarship Award.
Brianna Rolfs of Hammars Art Studio & Cultural Center
Brianna Rolfs is the founder of Hammar’s Art Studio & Cultural Center, an art studio and culinary arts center that allows families to experience various fine arts and cooking classes through weekly classes, camp programs, painting events and practical workshops. A self-proclaimed “Artrepreneur” Brianna was determined to bring art and culture to the Southern New Hampshire area and opened her business in 2016. Being passionate about community growth and future businesses that will come to Pelham, Brianna is was asked to serve as a member of the Economic Development Commission in 2015 and subsequently President. It was during this period that his passion became a greater cause; wanting to offer families in the community a unique space where they can have fun by discovering their link with art, culture and learning to create.
In 2016, Brianna decided to take an opportunity and rehabilitate a retail store when there was a vacancy in the same building as the former Hammar & Sons headquarters where her family once ran the famous art gallery and frame studio, until it was sold in 2001 when his grandfather Al retired.
During Brianna’s college studies she learned that attending art classes, especially painting, has exponential therapeutic benefits for people suffering from PTSD, pain, anxiety and autism. Having had her first child in 2006 and then triplets in 2012, Brianna now has first-hand experience of the positive impact art has on children; especially those who have special needs. Brianna hopes to expand the firm’s programs to reach more people who could benefit and welcomes partnerships with nonprofit organizations and agencies.
In March 2020 Brianna was awarded the Small Business Administration “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the micro business category for showing positive growth by supporting the community. She resides with her husband and 4 children in Southern New Hampshire and enjoys traveling, spending summers in New England and capturing the adventures of her family life through photography and paintings.
SBA District Office of New Hampshire
55 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (603) 225-1400
All SBA programs and services are provided on a non-discriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance
This press release was produced by the Collaborative Chamber of Greater Portsmouth. The views expressed are the author’s own.