Getting By, Getting Ahead: Seacoast Boutique Owner Bets On Success In High-Rent Downtown

As part of our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy.  In our fourth installment, we visit a bustling boutique in the Seacoast region.


Walk down Market Street in downtown Portsmouth, and you’ll see clothing boutiques, a kitchen store, a toy shop. Then there’s Puttin’ On The Glitz.  And the name says it all.  Inside, 60-year-old owner Assiah Russell is fussing with mounds of jewelry resting on her countertop, preparing her window displays.

“Eventually everything will have a home,” Russell says, laughing.  “I just got done doing this window this morning.  I had to get up at five o’clock to do it, because I like to have it done before the store opens.”  Hands full of bracelets and necklaces, she gestures toward the finished product: Brightly painted mannequin heads sport wide-brimmed designer straw hats with pink, orange, and turquoise flower cut-outs dangling overhead.

But she’s not done yet.  Russell points to the far side of the store.  “Then this afternoon, because it’s a rainy day, perhaps I’ll get a chance to work on that window,” she says. Continue Reading

Preview: Tomorrow’s Installment Of “Getting By, Getting Ahead” Looks At High Rent For Downtown Retailer

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

Keeping downtown Portsmouth retailers open for business involves maintaining a delicate balance of shops, restaurants, residential offerings and office space.

Tomorrow on Morning Edition, NHPR will air the fourth installment of our summer series, “Getting By, Getting Ahead,” which focuses on the stories of the people behind the economy.  This week, we’ll look at a Portsmouth shopkeeper who decided to move to a high-rent district downtown in the hope of expanding her business.

If you’d like to learn more about why rent is so high in downtown Portsmouth, check out our Economic Snapshot.  You can also hear tonight’s discussion of the issue with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.

And, we invite you to check back here tomorrow to hear more personal perspectives on the economic recovery in the Granite State.  We’ll have a multimedia tool featuring the voices–and photos–of the people we’re spotlighting this summer.  It also includes an interactive map with economic data so you can see how each of New Hampshire’s seven regions stack up.  And there’s email and call-in information so that you can share with us your story of getting by–or getting ahead–in the down economy.

Getting By, Getting Ahead: More On The Upper Valley’s Strengths–And Challenges–In The Start-Up Economy

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

The Upper Valley is a natural incubator for high-tech start-up activity.

This week for our series “Getting By, Getting Ahead,” which looks at the personal stories behind New Hampshire’s economy, we’ve been focusing on start-ups in the Upper Valley.  Bioengineering entrepreneur Tillman Gerngross was the subject of our latest profile.  Recently, we discussed the regional start-up scene on All Things Considered.


Who’s On Welfare In New Hampshire, What Are They Buying And How Much Should You Care?

Daquella Manera

At the end of May, convenience store clerk Jackie Whiton took a public stand against the unrestricted use of public assistance cash-benefits by refusing to sell cigarettes to a customer using an EBT card. Last week, House Speaker William O’Brien took up the cause. We want to know – how big a problem is this?

Right now, needy Granite Staters can receive both cash assistance and food stamps on a debit-like EBT card. Food stamps, however, are much more widely received than cash assistance: 56,962 New Hampshire households receive food stamps from the federal government, while only 13,950 households also receive cash benefits. That’s 2.7 percent of the state’s households receiving cash assistance, about 60 percent of which comes from state funds. Continue Reading

Getting By, Getting Ahead: Start-Up Entrepreneur Brings High-Tech Talent To Rural N.H.

As part of our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy.  In our third installment, we visit a biotech start-up in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region.


Deep inside a nondescript business park in Lebanon, a blocky, industrial building is getting a facelift.  The inside has already been revamped, with big, glass-walled hallways and bright orange accent walls. Every so often, the staccato of hammers, whirring of drills and hiss of nail guns disrupt the quiet.

But those are just the sounds you want to hear when you’re running a young business you want to grow.

And that’s just what’s happening at the drug discovery company Adimab in Lebanon. Continue Reading

Getting By, Getting Ahead: A Monadnock Farmer’s Sustainability Challenge

As part of our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy.  In our second installment, we visit a small farm in the Monadnock Region.


Tracie Smith has been selling mixed vegetables and herbs at farmers’ markets since she went to college.  At UNH, she studied environmental horticulture.  Today, at age 34, she still looks the part of a college hippie farmer, with her long curly hair and grubby jeans.

But as she inspects the crops at her farm near Jaffrey, it’s clear her casual looks shouldn’t fool you.  Smith is a determined businesswoman.  For the past 15 years, she has run a farm that uses a model called “Community Supported Agriculture,” or CSA for short.  It’s a kind of subscription program where customers buy a bulk “share” of Smith’s vegetable harvest during the spring, summer or fall.  And business is booming. Continue Reading

Preview: Tomorrow’s Installment Of “Getting By, Getting Ahead” Focuses On Farming

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

The Monadnock region's seen big growth in the number of small farms selling produce direct to consumers.

Tomorrow morning, NHPR will air the second part of our series “Getting By, Getting Ahead,” which tells the personal stories behind New Hampshire’s economy.  The upcoming piece will profile a small-scale farmer from the Monadnock region, and the challenge she faces in trying to get her employees health insurance.

If you’d like to find out more about the growth of small-scale agriculture in the area, and the economic challenges facing farmers, check out our regional snapshot.  You can also find our first installment of “Getting By, Getting Ahead,” the story of a White Mountains innkeeper, here.

Who Can Agree? What The Affordable Care Act Means For Business In N.H.

Kris Connor / Getty Images

As analysts parse the implications of the Supreme Court's ruling, businesses consider whether they'll be helped or harmed by the new health care law.

Nobody seems to agree on what the Affordable Care Act means for businesses, which is probably why business organizations like the state’s Business and Industry Association and Small Business Administration office haven’t commented publicly on the ruling.

The Affordable Care Act requires businesses with more than 50 employees to provide health insurance, or pay penalties.  Meanwhile, smaller businesses can receive a tax credit to offset the cost.

In Manchester at Dyn – an internet infrastructure company with about 150 employees – Vice President Gray Chynoweth says he doesn’t expect the ruling will affect his company right away.  He says Dyn already provides generous health benefits. Continue Reading

Getting By, Getting Ahead: A White Mountains Innkeeper Struggles With Shifting Economic Landscape

As the country continues to struggle with high unemployment and a lackluster economic recovery, New Hampshire is doing surprisingly well.  Unemployment is at five percent — much lower than the national average.  And more people are starting small businesses.  In our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling the state, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy.  For our first installment, we visit the White Mountains, where independent country inns that have drawn tourists for more than a century face new competition.  Continue Reading

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