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Northfield businessmen bone up on Tilton ordinances


September 30, 2009
TILTON — Todd Rodgers and Ken Hassen of Northfield presented conceptual designs for a business venture they are developing for the Lochmere section of Tilton.

The men currently own an online business called The Dog Bonery. They make and sell all-natural dog biscuits and other products. As the business is growing, they have decided to move it from the kitchen to a storefront on Route 3.

"When we were looking for a place to open we wanted to have as much exposure as possible," Hassen said. "Where does most of the traffic go? They turn left off of the interstate."

Rodgers and Hassen have their eyes on a building across from the Barley Smoke House in Lochmere, where they feel the space will allow them to not only have a larger baking area for the dog treats, but a pet supply shop and a florist, too.

Designs they gave to the board showed the florist shop would occupy the lefthand side of the building with pet supplies in the front of the right side and the bakery behind it.

"We were thinking we might even put in large windows on the back of the shop so people can see into the bakery and watch us make the treats," said Hassen.

First, however, they wanted to make sure they weren't "barking up the wrong tree," so to speak, with the location they had chosen.

"It's a mixed use area," Rodgers told the board, "and had retail business in there before."

Chairman of the Planning Board, Sarah Paratore, examined the zoning map and agreed that she saw no problem with the location the two had selected.

"It is a permitted use," she told them. "This is just conceptual right now though so we can't say yay or nay. We can help you to figure out what the zoning says right now though and go from there."

The board advised the men that they would need to make themselves familiar with the sign and lighting ordinances to ensure they stay in compliance as they move forward with their plans.

"You'll want to check with the state first on any food preparation laws," Paratore added.

The Dog Bonery already holds proper licensing for preparing food for animals and assured the Planning Board that they would follow all the necessary procedures for opening their kitchen in a new location.

Vice-Chairman Mike Curley also advised that they contact the fire department and the Tilton Code Enforcement Officer as they begin to build so that sprinklers, venting and anything else necessary for such a business are properly installed.

The board provided Rodgers and Hassen with the latest ordinances on lighting and signs for them to read and become familiar with. The two men were given the go-ahead to continue with their plans and return to the Board with a formal site plan once it was complete.

The Lochmere portion of Tilton is experiencing a resurgence of sorts as new businesses are eyeing the area. Besides the plans for the dog shop and florist, a sandwich and ice cream shop is currently under construction adjacent to that property, something Rodgers and Hasselton see as an asset. They hope to be in on the ground floor of an area that will continue to attract more new business and tourists.

"We've got a lot of work to do before we continue on though," Rodgers said, holding the ordinances in his hand. "Hopefully we can work something out by 2010."

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