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Sununu tours Littleton businesses

Gov. Chris Sununu was accompanied by (left to right) Chutters owner Jim Alden, State Representative Erin Hennessey and Schillings CEO Jeff Cozzens as he made several stops in downtown Littleton last Tuesday. (Photo by Angel Larcom) (click for larger version)
October 15, 2020
LITTLETON — Gov. Chris Sununu toured a handful of Main Street Littleton businesses last Tuesday, as he prepared to announce another cycle of Main Street Relief funds. His visit began at Chutters candy store and ended at Schilling's Beer Company.

Sununu's tour guides for the day were Chutter's owner Jim Alden and Schilling CEO Jeff Cozzens. He was also accompanied by State Representative and State Senate candidate Erin Hennessey, one of nine advisers to the Governor's Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery.

Sununu conversed briefly with business owners and asked how they had fared through the pandemic-driven shutdowns. Many of the merchants he spoke with had received relief funding during the program's first cycle earlier this year.

According to Alden, Chutters was closed for two months. The $102,000 funding his company received was used for payroll expenses and the purchase of safety signage. Although his store re-opened when restrictions were lifted at the end of May, Alden said free samples were no longer provided to the public and the store remained closed two days a week.

Alden said that while his business hadn't returned to where it was before the pandemic, it had seen stable foot traffic over the summer.

"The Main Street Relief Funds really helped us bridge that gap," stated Alden.

Sununu added, "Chutters was a success pre-COVID. Providing relief at the state level did exactly what we hoped it would and provided that bridge. While we can't make every business whole, allowing them to keep some employees on helped them be able to take advantage of what ultimately was a very good seven months of tourism."

According to Sununu, the state provided more than 340 million dollars to more than 6,500 New Hampshire businesses. "When you support business, everything flows from that," he said.

Sununu explained, "The beauty of the Main Street Relief Fund was that we knew businesses were in need and we didn't have to tell them how to spend the money. We knew they would spend it exactly as they needed to, whether on high-priority bills or employees. The fact that we announced it one day and were sending check out 20 days later is a miracle."

After visiting the popular candy store, Sununu stopped at Shaun Terhune Fine Photography, Brad Bailey State Farm Insurance Agency and The Inkwell Coffee and Tea House before finishing at Schillings. All of the merchants were receptive and reported a positive summer with steady sales.

Throughout his two-hour tour, Sununu remained optimistic about the future. He said an additional ten to $50 million of relief funding would be announced within the next two weeks.

Merchants who still need assistance will qualify whether they've received past funding or not.

"We've been able to fund our testing and our PPE and we are good in those areas. We still have more money, but we want to get it out to businesses before Dec. 31," said Sun

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