Guest Blog: Small Business Saturday 2016!

Small Business Saturday 2016

By: Molly Brown

Another Black Friday has come and gone, with online sales up by 21.6 percent in comparison to last year.  Cyber Monday managed to rack up $3.45 billion in sales, making it the largest shopping day in U.S. e-commerce history.  Holiday shopping reports such as these dominated post-Thanksgiving headlines, but what the media largely neglected to report on was the newest designated shopping day, Small Business Saturday.

Founded by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day in which consumers are encouraged to support their communities by shopping locally.  On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, small businesses across the nation offered special deals and discounts to increase traffic and to benefit the American Express ‘Shop Small’ movement.  Although Small Business Saturday occurs only once a year, its greater mission is to promote local commerce every day of the week.

By shopping locally at Manchester’s small businesses, you can help promote their growth, discover talented artists working in our area, and find unique gifts not available at “big box” stores.  I myself went shopping downtown this Small Business Saturday to check out some of the deals, and I was impressed by the quantity of distinctive goods being sold.  Whether you’re in search for stocking stuffers or a thoughtful gift for a friend or family member, you’re bound to find something when holiday shopping at these stores!

Loft Fifty ~ 5 Commercial Street

We sell gifts that are different and quirky.  We really try to carry one of a kind finds that you cannot buy anywhere else. – Diane Sage

Loft Fifty 5 opened its doors just over a year ago.  The shabby chic store is located in the Manchester Millyard, and specializes in selling home décor items.  The store is managed by owner Helen Sage and her daughter Diane.   For Small Business Saturday, the mother/daughter duo featured a 10 percent off storewide sale, and kindly offered wine and hors d’oeuvres to customers.  Some of Loft Fifty 5’s best-selling items this holiday season include their repurposed canvas handbags, knitted scarves, and hand poured soy candles.

With Heart and Hand ~ 823 Elm Street

The beauty of my store is that you may come in one day and not find what you’re looking for, but there very well could be something in the next day! – Kathy Hamel

With Heart and Hand has been in business for over twenty years now.  This charming gift shop offers a variety of country style home décor, such as braided rugs, pottery, wreaths, and seasonal decorations.  For Small Business Saturday, owner Kathy Hamel served ‘Friendship Soup’ to customers, which she has on sale among other packaged soups.  Many of Kathy’s products are handmade crafted by the Amish, and she has new items in stock almost every day during the holidays.  Kathy says some of her most popular items include light-up decorative frames, festive wreaths, and locally made jewelry.

Pop of Color ~ 816 Elm Street

We try not to duplicate what’s already around; each individual store should have its own personality. – Chelsea Stoddard

Pop of Color is the newest addition to the Downtown retail scene.  This trendy gift shop has an Anthropologie-like flair to it, and features a different mixture of items ranging from baking supplies, handcrafted items and other unique finds.  Owner Chelsea Stoddard, who also runs the bakery Queen City Cupcakes a couple doors down, opened Pop of Color with hopes of spurring retail on Elm Street.  Chelsea and her mother Deb manage the store together, and will be offering free gift wrapping throughout the holiday season.  Some of Chelsea’s favorite gifts include her reusable, recycled glass to-go cups, tea infusers, and couple’s pillowcase sets.

The Dancing Lion ~ 917 Elm Street

We are chocolatiers and artists.  People come in every day and say our chocolate is too beautiful to eat, but it won’t be completed until you eat it. – Richard Tango-Lowy

The Dancing Lion on Elm Street is a hidden gem in Manchester, featuring some of the best chocolate on the continent.  That’s right, Dancing Lion owner Richard Tango-Lowy was recently named one of the top ten chocolatiers in North America.  Stop by his café to try some of his Traditional Style Mayan Drinking Chocolate, or register for one of his classes and learn the art of making chocolate!  Tango-Lowy’s beautifully crafted holiday-themed chocolates are great gift ideas, and his delicious white chocolate can please anyone with a sweet tooth!

This is only a small sample of retail shops downtown Manchester.  The city also boasts a variety of stores that sell athletic gear, antiques, women and men’s apparel, and jewelry.   Don’t be too quick to shop at big department stores or online this holiday season, because you may find that perfect gift in one of Manchester’s specialty shops.

As part of our ongoing guest blog series, today’s post is written by Molly Brown, Manchester native and recent Assumption College graduate!


Guest Blog: The Ultimate Guide to Manchester, NH

As part of our ongoing guest blog series, below is a guide if Manchester written by Red Oak Apartment Homes, LLC! Enjoy the post below! Interested in writing a guest blog? Email us at!

The Ultimate Guide to Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH is known as the Queen City because it is the largest city in the state and home to a thriving metropolitan area of diverse experiences, tastes and cultural events.  We have the pleasure of meeting people every day who are visiting the city and asking for insider info about the best places to eat, shop and have fun in Manchester.  Many of these folks choose to live in the city too.  We’ve picked out the best places for you to know about in this great city.  Let’s get started!

Best Place for Morning Coffee:  If you need Java to start your day, Café La Reine at 915 Elm Street is the place to go.  Robust coffee, delicious pastries and sandwiches, comfy chairs and free Wi-Fi are just what you need.  Set just a few yards from City Hall, this location is convenient to all that is happening downtown.

Best Boozy Brunch:  From 10 to 3 on Sundays, Firefly regulars converge to take advantage of one of the most expansive specialty brunch menus around.  Located at 22 Amherst Street in Manchester, Firefly has an eclectic and appealing menu.  Omelets and (lobster) benedicts, soups and salads, sandwiches and steaks–everyone in your party is sure to be satisfied.  But if you ask us, the real highlight of Firefly’s Brunch is the “Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar.”  The possibilities are truly endless.  We’re talking dozens of fixings including: roasted garlic, green beans, jalapeños, horseradish, raw egg, wasabi, slim jims, and every hot sauce you can think of!  Oh and by the way, for $1 each you can toss on some shrimp, bleu cheese stuffed olives, bacon, and our personal favorite… a whole crawfish!

Best Quick and Affordable Lunch:  El Rincon Zacatecano Taqueria is found at 10 Lake Ave in Manchester.  Its location near the Verizon Arena is convenient and easy to walk to from downtown.  The neat and colorful interior has lots of fun ethnic decorations.  Service is prompt and friendly.  The guacamole was fantastic and the shrimp tacos were flavored perfectly with fresh shrimp and a side of rice.  The place is small and cozy and it is BYOB!  This restaurant is reasonably priced and open Tues-Sat from 11am to 9pm and Sun from 11am to 6pm.

Best Leisurely Lunch:  Have some time on your hands or just want to enjoy a long relaxing noon time meal with a good friend?  Then Cotton is the place to have lunch.  This restaurant has been in its present location for over 15 years and offers a relaxed and peaceful interior.  If the weather is nice, opt for a table on the patio.  It is a trellised haven that makes you feel far from the maddening crowds.  Fresh and creative lunches are delicious.  We cannot make a trip here and not have the crab cakes.  They are a meal all by themselves.  A glass of wine or a cocktail with lunch?  No problem, the wine list is lengthy.

Best Deck Dining with a View:  The winters are long and cold in New Hampshire so when the weather turns warm we all love to be outside.  Dining on a deck is the way to accomplish this.  It’s even better if there is a great view.  We recommend the Foundry Restaurant at 50 Commercial St in Manchester.  Set along the Merrimack River in a historic mill building the deck has a view of the waters just south of the falls.  Sandwiches and meals are portioned to please even the heartiest of appetites.  After dinner take a walk along the Riverfront walkway and enjoy more scenic views.

Best High End Dining:  The Hanover Street Chop House is Manchester’s best elegant and upscale steakhouse with a rich and romantic supper club feel.  Service is over the top good and attentive.  The steaks are the show stoppers here and they are juicy and delicious.  The chef offers a complimentary chocolate truffle to you at the end of the meal.  It’s a great place for a special occasion or celebration so make your reservations early for a booth.

Best Place for Sweets:  Finesse Pastries is a gourmet French patisserie located at 968 Elm Street in downtown Manchester.  The chef prepares all treats from scratch daily.  Cakes, breads and sandwiches are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea.  Monthly baking classes are offered so that you can learn the secrets of cooking French pastry for yourself.

Best Place for Pizza:  There are many great options for pizza in Manchester, NH and one of our favorites is the Portland Pie Company on Elm Street in downtown Manchester.  This Maine based pizzeria is much more than dough and sauce. The menu carries a wide variety of classic sandwiches, wraps, salads and pastas too.  The interior at the 786 Elm St location is remarkable. The transformation from an old family style restaurant to a sleek modern bar and eatery is truly amazing!

Best Place for a First Date:  815 is a speakeasy at, you guessed it- 815 Elm Street.  You must know the secret password to enter and once you do, get ready for classic cocktails and bar food.  The atmosphere is fun and flirty and something to get the conversation started on a first date.  Locally crafted beers are a highlight at this establishment.  Don’t be shy to talk to the bartender.  He knows his booze and how to make interesting drinks.  Ask him for something that is not on the menu and you will get a drink with a story.

Best Place for Happy Hour:  Downtown Manchester, particularly Elm Street, is a bargain boozer’s paradise.  One of our favorite spots to get our liquor on the low is at the recently opened Thirsty Moose Taphouse.  Located on the corner of Elm and Merrimack at the former home of JW Hills, Thirsty Moose is quickly becoming the place to go for unique beers and yummy food to match.  Happy Hour specials are offered almost every day!

Best Dog Friendly Hang out:  Take a stroll down Elm Street and visit your favorite dog-friendly restaurants and their outdoor patios. You and your pup can enjoy the sunshine with some delicious downtown cuisine.  It’s hard to pick just one so here are our top 10 favorites!

Best Neighborhood Hangout:  Mint Bistro at 1105 Elm Street, Manchester, NH.  Enjoy a warm and friendly atmosphere at this restaurant where Sushi is king.  The selections and freshness of their Sushi is just simply amazing.  Try a few maki rolls before enjoying your dinner.  Their bar runs almost the entire length of the restaurant and friendly bartenders are ready to mix up just what you want.  The owner, Tim Baines is always greeting patrons and is ready to suggest a great menu choice.  Mint Bistro is a great place to hang out and meet your friends.

Best Art Gallery:  The Currier Museum of Art.  This north end oasis on Ash Street opened in 1929 and has remained a vital part of the city for all these years. The quality of art is amazing here.  You can view works by Picasso, Monet, Turner and Matisse.  Sculpture, furniture, paintings and glass are just a few of the media forms that art takes here.  As you walk to the Museum from their parking lot you are greeted by a massive red and black sculpture called “Origins” by Mark Suvero.  It is impressive.  The Museum has a revolving menu of exhibits that change throughout the year.  One of my favorite pieces in the museum is the Zimmerman House.  It is a Frank Lloyd Wright house and is open for tours in the warmer months.  It is a treat to see.

Best Kid’s Museum:  The SEE Science Center at 200 Bedford Street in Manchester is a kid’s dream.  Children love the many interactive displays, the replica of the Manchester Millyard built with Lego blocks, exhibits on light and electricity and rotating science displays.  All are designed with a curious mind as the main audience.  Kids of all ages will love it here.  The Center is open 7 days a week and prices are reasonable.

Best Place to Live for History Lovers:  Do you like an apartment with a historic setting and all the modern conveniences you crave?  Then an apartment at the Opera Block or the St. George School are for you.  Enjoy beautiful architecture, high ceilings, large windows, wood plank flooring and free parking. Close to downtown’s restaurants, bars and shops for a convenient lifestyle. Red Oak Apartment Homes offers the best locations and variety of apartment homes in the area.

About the Author:

Ron Dupont is the Owner of Red Oak Apartment Homes, 289 Pine Street, Manchester, NH. He loves the state of New Hampshire and the Queen City in particular. He loves your pets and offers pet friendly apartment living in Manchester, Milford, Derry, Hooksett, Merrimack, Boscawen & Laconia New Hampshire.

Guest Post: #foodiefriday Nov-20-2015

This is a guest post from our friends at dealici, a new unique app that connects you with local restaurants who are offering discounts for your flexibility.

We’re food-lovers at heart, but we think food is about more than taste.

It’s about the experience.

It’s about gathering with your favorite people and sharing something together; something we all understand at a basic level.

When we began building dealici, our number one goal was to save people money on their daily meals, so they can eat out more often. We want more people to go out together and enjoy the fantastic restaurant scene we have all over this country. Even in places that aren’t known for their cuisine, we find some of the best restaurants in the world.

When it came time to sign up restaurants for our app, it was imperative that our first partners offer incredible food. And, of course, they have to offer ambiance. Whether they created a lively party scene or a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere, every restaurant in dealici offers that experience.

Here are two of our favorites.

Murphy’s Tap Room

Murphys3You can’t call yourself a “tap room” unless you have plenty of been on tap. Murphy’s delivers…

Murphy’s is a traditional Irish pub, complete an extensive drink selection, and live entertainment.Murphys1

Unlike most bars, Murphy’s offers a complete restaurant menu: appetizers, pizza, entrees, soups, burgers, sandwiches, and desserts. Everything is reasonably priced, too


XOonElm1XO on ELM is one of those great first-date spots. It’s classy, without being stuffy; elegant, without being dainty. When you sit down, you can’t help but think about how much time someone spent on the décor.


Anyone you take is sure to find something they like. XO on ELM is well-known for their willingness to customize any dish. They’ll even make you a meal off the menu. Their menu is vegan- and vegetarian-friendly.

You can find both of these excellent restaurants on our app, dealici. Dealici is simple to use and offers generous discounts. It sets you up with restaurants in the area who are willing to offer a deal if you dine at an off-peak time. So instead of eating lunch at noon, you could purchase a 30% off coupon that’s valid at 2 PM. (Plus we have a clever point system that rewards you for referring friends. Points can be used to buy more deals).


Exclusive offer for our readers. Use promo code INTOWN during checkout and get additional $3 off on your first purchase using secure checkout (expires 11/30).

Download now from Apple App Store!


Guest Blog: Halfway to Mardi Gras!

The term “Mardi Gras” conjures up images of lively jazz music, colorful beads, copious amounts of food…​…and, if you live in New England, snow, ice, and subzero temperatures.

Unlike warm and sunny New Orleans, Winter in New Hampshire isn’t the best time to celebrate Mardi Gras.  At the Franco-American Centre, we think that it’s a shame that the spicy Cajun culture is delegated only to that frigid day in February.  So that’s why we created Halfway to Mardi Gras – a celebration of everything Cajun without the cold!  This year, it’s taking place at N’Awlins Grille & All that J’Azz on Tuesday, August 11 from 6-10pm.  Mardi Gras

​Mardi Gras (translated as “Fat Tuesday”) was created in medieval Europe as one last day of partying and feasting before Lent, a time when Catholics pray and fast.  It was also called Boeuf Gras (“Fatted Calf”), since Lent was a time when the faithful gave up meat.  Early parades in New Orleans involved a bull’s head being paraded through the streets!

​When the French came over to the Americas, they brought the holiday with them.  New Orleans became a headquarters for Mardi Gras, with balls, a Mardi Gras king, and elaborate parades.  The area’s obsession with Mardi Gras led to it being declared a state holiday.

​Our Halfway to Mardi Gras celebration will not feature any meat parades, but it’ll have all of the New Orleans flair!  Our $10 wristband gives access to half-off great Cajun appetizers, $5 Hurricane and frozen drinks, and 25% off all other drinks.  To add to the atmosphere, a live jazz band will be playing and free beads are provided to all.  We’ll have New Orleans trivia and raffles of gift cards from local restaurants – and a special raffle for a week’s stay in New Orleans!  And, in keeping with the New Orleans tradition, we will have our very own King and Queen of Mardi Gras!

Don’t miss out on this chance to have a little “joie de vivre” – in the summer where it belongs!

​Source for Mardi Gras history:

This guest blog was written by Emily Murphy, the creative writing intern at the Franco-American Centre here in Manchester, NH! Check out their Facebook page here!

Guest Blog: 5 Tips for Dining Out with Your Dog

By: Ron Dupont, Red Oak Apartment Homes

You love your pets and they are a very important part of your family.  You bring your dog with you on vacation, pamper them with treats and spa treatments and even dress them up.  You’re a dog person.  So it’s understandable that you want to bring them with you when you go out to grab a bite.  Here are some tips for dining out with your dog and some suggestions for places to bring them in the greater Manchester, NH area.

Bringing your four legged friend with you will be a great outing if you remember a few simple tips to make it enjoyable for you, for them and for the other patrons in the restaurant.

1. Feed them first:

Your pooch will be smelling all kinds of delicious things at the restaurant and you don’t want to confuse or annoy them.  If they arrive with a full belly they will be more content.

2. Wear them Out:

If your dog is full of energy when they arrive at your destination they will most likely do a lot of whining, prancing and barking.  Avoid this by taking a walk or run before you get to the restaurant.  Make a pit stop at the park so that your dog can relieve themselves too. Check out this list of dog-friendly parks and trails right here in Manchester!

 3. Bring Distractions:

We like to bring a travel bowl with us and fill it with water for our dog when we arrive at the restaurant.  A chew toy or treat helps to ensure good behavior too.

4. Know Your Dogs Tolerance Levels:

Make sure your dog is well trained and will respond to commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “come” or “down.”  This will help keep your dog calm and in control.  Always have your dog on a leash.  It will allow you to protect them if something startles them and you have to pull them out of harm’s way.  This may also help to make other patrons feel comfortable too.

5. Pick a Dog Friendly Establishment:

There are many restaurants that are dog friendly.  Picking one in the greater Manchester area is possible. View ten dog friendly restaurants in Downtown Manchester here!


About the Author:

Ron Red OakRon Dupont is the Owner of Red Oak Apartment Homes, 289 Pine Street, Manchester, NH. He loves your pets and offers pet friendly apartment living in Manchester, Milford, Derry, Hooksett, Merrimack, Boscawen and Laconia New Hampshire.

Guest Blog: 5 Dog Friendly Parks & Trails in #MHT

By: Ron Dupont, Red Oak Apartment Homes

The Riverwalk

The Riverwalk

There are some great places around downtown Manchester where you can bring your dog for some fresh air and exercise. We have picked the select few that we believe are the perfect locations for you and your dog to visit!

Here are our 5 Top Picks This Spring:

1. Livingston Park: A beautiful shady wooded area with trails and a beautiful view. It is a favorite for runners, bikers, dogs and local families. 2. Stark Park: Enjoy this historic location by taking your dog for a walk on the park’s original cobblestone roadwork. The park also has clean grassy areas and wooden benches for everyone to use. It’s a great local place for live music events during the summer months. 3. Derryfield Park: A great park to enjoy a beautifully manicured field. Bring a packed lunch and a treat for your dog. 4. Riverwalk: Right in the heart of the city, Manchester’s Riverwalk offers a 2 mile, paved trail alongside the Merrimack River for you and your pet’s enjoyment! Walk downtown after your walk and sit outside for a bite to eat with your dog at one of these spots! 5. Rockingham Recreational Trail: This beautiful trail is one of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a nationwide network of trails! 26 miles full of different areas and things to see. A popular trail year-round. While walking your pup, always be sure to have them leashed. It is also important to pack plenty of water and a bowl for your dog to drink from. And certainly have a few treats for your pup to reward them for good behavior. Check out the fresh homemade dog treats from Finesse Pastries. And lastly, be a good example and pick up after your dog. Do you have a favorite dog friendly spot? We would love to hear about it!

About the Author:

Ron Red OakRon Dupont is the Owner of Red Oak Apartment Homes, 289 Pine Street, Manchester, NH. He loves your pets and offers pet friendly apartment living in Manchester, Milford, Derry, Hooksett, Merrimack, Boscawen and Laconia New Hampshire.

Guest Blog: 11 Downtown Manchester Dog Friendly Restaurants

By: Ron Dupont, Red Oak Apartment Homes

Dog bowl outside of Republic!

Dog bowl outside of Republic

Have a craving for a seasonal dish or coffee? Take a stroll down Elm Street and visit your favorite dog-friendly restaurants and their outdoor patios. You and your pup can enjoy the warm air with some delicious downtown cuisine.

Finesse Pastries offers homemade dog treats for your furry friend!

Finesse Pastries offers homemade dog treats for your furry friend!

Some restaurants even have dog-friendly treats and water bowls. Perhaps if more dogs are seen spending time on Elm Street with their owners, we may even see items added to the menus just for them!

Here are ten restaurants that would love to see you and your pup this Spring!

1. A&E Coffee & Tea | 1069 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

2. Baked Downtown Café & Bakery | 1115 Elm St. Manchester, NH 03101

3. The Bridge Cafe | 1117 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

4. Cafe la Reine | 915 Elm St. Manchester, NH 03101

5. Finesse Pastries | 968 Elm St. Manchester, NH 03101

6. Mint Bistro | 1105 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

7. Moe’s Italian Sandwiches | 796 Elm St. Manchester, NH 03101

8. N’awlins Grille & Live Jazz | 860 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

9. Republic | 1069 Elm St, Manchester, NH 03101

10. The Pint Public House | 1111 Elm St. Manchester, NH 03101

11. Firefly American Bistro and Bar | 22 Concord Street, Manchester, NH 03101

It is always a good idea to check with the restaurant prior to bringing your dog. From time to time, restaurants may not allow the dog-friendly outdoor seating because of changes in the policies or weather. Due to strict health code laws, non-service dogs are only allowed on the outdoor decks and patios.

 Is there a dog-friendly restaurant you love that didn’t make it on this list? Tell us in the comments below!

About the Author:

Ron Red OakRon Dupont is the Owner of Red Oak Apartment Homes, 289 Pine Street, Manchester, NH. He loves your pets and offers pet friendly apartment living in Manchester, Milford, Derry, Hooksett, Merrimack, Boscawen and Laconia New Hampshire