MEDO - Finalists for 2nd Annual Mayors Small Business Awards Announced

Manchester, NH – Nine Manchester small businesses have been named finalists for the 2nd Annual Mayor’s Small Business Awards, held as the culmination event for Manchester Small Business Week presented by Citizens Bank.  Each business has been nominated in one of three categories, “Growth,” “Innovation,” or “Community Service”.  The businesses nominated for the Growth Award are Double Midnight Comics, Wasabi Media Group and Siege Technologies; Innovation Award nominees are Republic Cafe, My Bridal Dream and Ty-Flot Inc; Community Service Award nominees are Indian Head Athletics, Benton Shoes and Runner’s Alley.  Manchester Small Business Week will run from Monday, May 21st- Friday, May 25th and is a week-long series of programs and events aimed at helping our small business community grow and thrive and also celebrating the contributions that Manchester’s small businesses bring to the economic vitality of the City.

“Manchester is home to many of the most innovative and fastest-growing companies in the Northeast,”said Mayor Ted Gatsas.  “These awards provide the City the opportunity to recognize and highlight the outstanding contributions the small business community has made to Manchester.”  The winners in each of the three award categories will be announced at a breakfast hosted by Mayor Gatsas on Friday, May 25th from 7:30 to 9:00 am at the NH Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College.  Congressman and former Mayor Frank Guinta will be providing the keynote address. 

“We are very excited to be named as a finalist for a Mayor’s Small Business Award,” stated Chris Proulx, owner of Double Midnight Comics which has been nominated for a Mayor’s Award in the Growth category.  “We opened in Manchester in 2002 with the hopes of growing into one of the largest comic stores in New Hampshire and we are on our way to accomplishing that goal with the recent expansion of our store last year.  It’s a great feeling to be recognized for all your hard work and effort.”   

“Manchester Small Business Week and the Mayor’s Small Business Awards are a great way to recognize and support Manchester businesses for the different ways that they contribute to the city’s economy and overall quality of life,” said Jay Minkarah, director of Manchester’s Economic Development Office.  “Through this week-long program of events and these awards, we hope to increase appreciation for the many great things happening in our economy both within Manchester and beyond; encourage business growth, innovation and community involvement; and help to provide increased exposure for the individual businesses themselves.”   To register for the Mayor’s Small Business Awards please visit and click on ‘Manchester Small Business Week’.

The Small Business Growth Award recognizes a small business that has shown strong growth in sales, market share, employment, exports or other similar factors. The three finalists in this category are:

  • Double Midnight Comics.  Double Midnight Comics opened in 2002 and in 2010 expanded their store from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet. This past year the store had its best financial year ever which allowed the owners to add additional employees. Double Midnight Comics also organizes the state’s largest comic book convention in New England, "The Granite State Comicon" which will take place at the Radisson Hotel on June 10, 2012.


  • Wasabi Media Group.  Wasabi Media Group (WMG) is an internet-based publishing company that runs 24 unique niche publications, covering everything from aerobics to zoology.  Founded only 3½ years ago, WMG has experienced significant growth increasing their audience to more than one million readers a month. To manage their success, WMG has expanded their workforce from 5 to 38 employees and increased the amount of content creation by 450%. During the same period, WMG has seen their revenue grow by 2700%. 


  • Ty-Flot.  Since 2008, Ty-Flot has more than doubled their yearly sales volume and tripled their workforce.  In order to keep up with the increase in business, Ty-Flot moved to a new location in 2011, which offers larger warehousing and office space, a training auditorium and manufacturing space.  Over the past few years Ty-Flot has become a leading provider of safety equipment around the world, including becoming the preferred supplier for France’s 59 nuclear power plants. Currently, Ty-Flot is in the final stages of opening a warehouse distribution center in Europe due to the increasing demand for their products from the European market.


The Small Business Innovation Award recognizes innovations in a diverse range of areas including products, services, business practices, marketing campaigns, design, construction, and energy savings. The three finalists in this category are:

·         My Bridal Dream.  One of the top three finalists for the New England VentureX start up contest, My Bridal Dream co-founder Tia Lori Bergeron wants to revolutionize the way brides plan weddings. “Our goal is to provide an opportunity for brides to build their dream team by providing the most extensive and complete database of available vendors.  In addition, we are providing local wedding vendors an opportunity to market their business in a new unique way.”  My Bridal Dream aspires to simplify wedding planning, and as a result, make lives just a little easier for the bride-to-be.


·         Siege Technologies.  Siege Technologies is a cyber-technology research and development company, specializing in computer security.  Siege Technologies was founded in 2009 and has been growing ever since with 13 employees in three US offices: Manchester, NH; Reston, VA; and Rome, NY.  Since their formation, Siege Technologies has developed numerous innovative technologies in computer security and is looking to innovate the way we think about computer security, from national defense to a small business owner looking to secure their customer’s information.


·         Republic Café.  Republic Café is innovating the way restaurants operate.  Rather than using national food suppliers and sticking to a tradition menu, Republic uses local farmers as their main source for products and creates an ever-changing menu around what is in season and available from their network of local farmers.  Republic is the first restaurant to receive the Certified Local designation by the New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection. Republic was opened in 2010 by the husband and wife team of Chef Edward Aloise and Claudia Rippee.  The couple also owns and operates Milltowne Grille, a successful and popular full-service restaurant in the Manchester Boston Regional Airport.


The Small Business Community Service Award recognizes a small business for its contributions to the city’s social, artistic and cultural life through support of nonprofit social services, arts and cultural programs and organizations, participation on civic and community boards, committees, commissions and organizations, support for community events, philanthropy, and implementation of socially responsible business practices.  The three finalists in this category are:

·         Runner’s Alley. Runner’s Alley is a local running and athletics store that has contributed immensely to the community in both time and resources since it opened in 2001.  Runner’s Alley hosts an annual holiday food run as well as a Winter Warrior Series that has collected over 247 pounds of food for the New Hampshire Food Bank.  Runner’s Alley is also very active in the Souls for Souls and Rerun Shoes programs which provide “lightly used” shoes to those in need.  Most recently, in 2011 Runner’s Alley stepped up when the Manchester Invitational lost their primary sponsor at the last minute and provided them with the critical materials they needed to continue to host one of New England’s top cross country events.


·         Benton Shoe Co.  Benton Shoe Co. is a family owned business that was established in Boston by George Abrams in 1922.  The Manchester store was opened in 1992. The business is now co-owed by Benton Abrams and his daughter, Susan Baroff.  Since its opening, Benton Shoe quickly earned a reputation as a community focused business becoming active contributors to The Palace Theatre, Families in Transition, Meals on Wheels and various fundraising initiatives for local area schools.  One of Benton Shoes most notable contributions is to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of New Hampshire. In the last few years the Benton Shoe Co. has helped raise over $50,000 to help CASA of NH.


·         Indian Head Athletics.  Indian Head Athletics has been a staple in downtown Manchester for more than 50 years and is the oldest small business to be nominated for a Mayor’s Small Business Award, having opened their doors in 1958.  Owners Don and Gail York make it a priority to give back to the community, especially when it comes to youth athletics.  Civic responsibility does not stop with the owners.  All of the full-time employees of Indian Head Athletics are involved in youth sports in some capacity, whether as a coach or member of a sports-related board/committee.

Manchester Small Business Week is made possible by presenting sponsor Citizens Bank.  Supporting sponsors include Devine Millimet, Comcast Business Class, Millennium Integrated Marketing, Fairpoint Communications, Public Service of New Hampshire, Service Credit Union, MVP Health Care, Anagnost Companies, Business New Hampshire Magazine, UNH-Manchester and Printer’s Square. 

For more information about the schedule of events during Manchester Small Business Week or to register for an event please contact Chris Wellington at 603-624-6505 or visit and click on ‘Manchester Small Business Week’.




May 21-25th presented by Citizens Bank 

What's going on Downtown:

Restaurants, Verizon Arena, Palace Theater,
Manchester Monarchs tickets