Virtual Event in Celebration of
Women’s History Month
When: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Time: 10:00 to 11:00 am
SBA is proud to pause and join the Nation in recognizing Women’s History Month. Lender Relations Specialist, Tuesday Belanger, will pay tribute to women who strengthen and enrich our society through service to their families, communities, and public service. We will take this opportunity to celebrate NH women entrepreneurs and learn more about their accomplishments, challenges, dreams, and goals and get a first-hand view into their daily life. We will also be joined by our District Director, Amy Bassett, and representatives from our resource partners to give us an update of SBA programs and how the agency works with our lending and resource partners to support women business owners across the state. This event promises to be full of energy and inspiration.
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For more information or questions contact:
Suzanne Foley of Port City Pretzels
At age 55, Suzanne found herself struggling to get back on her feet. In a very short period of time, she had lost her dad, her sister, her job and her dog. When her thoughts turned to better times, she remembered the taste that always brought her comfort. In 2015, she took her family’s famous pretzel recipe, added her own special twist and launched the Port City Pretzels brand name.
Today, Port City Pretzels is infused with opportunity, love and good old-fashioned New England resilience—everything Suzanne believes is important in life. The majority of her employees are disabled. The business is 100% woman-owned, and both WBENC and WOSB certified. And the company proudly represents the LGBTQ community.
Suzanne’s mantra: Believe in yourself and the goodness of others. When she’s not on a yoga mat or on the reformer in Pilates class, she’s skiing, golfing or in her happy place in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes.
Dubbed “The People’s Pretzel,” her mouthwatering snacks hail from the heart of Portsmouth, NH. But the ideas, the ongoing inspiration and the perpetual Port City Pretzels spirit comes from everyone she meets.
Jilan Hall-Johnson of The Sassy Biscuit Company and JOOK
Jilan always had a passion for food. Growing up you would often find her in the kitchen. After high school, she decided a non-traditional college and degree in culinary arts would best suit her needs as a new mother. Moving from Syracuse, New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania she met her husband, DeMarco Johnson. After graduating from The Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and working a short while in the restaurant industry she decided she did not enjoy the hustle and bustle of the commercial kitchen. DeMarco had always dreamed of serving his country and joined the United States Marine Corps in 2006, this gave Jilan the opportunity to return to school and earn a bachelor’s degree in Social
Psychology from Park University and a Graduate degree in Human Services Counseling Marriage and Family from Liberty University. Jilan has spent her professional career dedicated to assisting military families adjusting to the challenges of life. “Bringing big city living to small town plates,” is the motto for
her biscuit-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. Her vision and dedication have shaped 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 an engaged leader in managing the day-to-day operations of the business.
Megan and the company’s efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, including The Nashua Telegraph’s 40 Under 40 Award, the Union Leader 40 Under 40 Award, NH SBA 2020 Minority Business of the Year and the ICSC John T. Riordan School for Real Estate Professionals, Development 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, a fine art studio and culinary arts center that enables families to experience various fine arts and culinary lessons through weekly classes, camp programs, painting events, and hands-on 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 the growth of the community and the future businesses coming into Pelham, Brianna was asked to serve as a member of the Economic Development Committee in 2015 and later as Chairman. It was during this time her passion grew into a bigger cause;
wanting to offer the families of the community a unique space where they could enjoy discovering their connection with art, culture and learning to create.
In 2016, Brianna decided to seize an opportunity and rehab a retail storefront when there was a vacancy in the same building as the former Hammar & Sons location where her family once operated the popular art gallery and picture framing studio, until it was sold in 2001 when her Grandfather Al retired.
Throughout Brianna’s undergraduate studies she learned that partaking in art classes, particularly painting, has exponentially therapeutic benefits for people suffering with PTSD, grief, anxiety, and Autism. After having her first son in 2006 and then triplets in 2012, Brianna now has first hand experience of the positive impact art has with children; especially those who have special needs. Brianna hopes to expand the Studio’s programs to reach more individuals who could benefit and welcomes partnerships with organizations and nonprofit agencies.
In March 2020 Brianna was honored by the Small Business Administration as “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the micro enterprise category for exhibiting positive growth while supporting the community. She resides with her husband and 4 children in southern New Hampshire and enjoys traveling, summers in New England, and capturing her life’s adventures with family through photography