The greater Dover business community is known for creating a welcoming environment for companies relocating to the area and for encouraging and assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, Dover Main Street, and the City of Dover work together to attract new businesses to the area and to foster the well-being of the community’s existing businesses.
The city boasts a strong base of citizen volunteers, city officials, and business leaders working cooperatively to channel time, talent, knowledge, and other resources toward promoting local economic opportunity and access to a talented yet affordable employee base. At the same time, the group works to preserve the community’s small business environment, unique cultural history, and outstanding quality of life.
From its earliest days, the area has prospered from the entrepreneurs and businesses that have chosen to locate here. Throughout its history, the city has leveraged the power of the Cochecho and Bellamy Rivers. Dover had an extensive shipbuilding industry in the 1700s. Later, harnessing the power of Cochecho Falls shifted the city’s economy to textile production.
Today, the Cochecho River offers virtually unrestricted access to the Piscataqua River and the Atlantic Ocean. The river has become a central attraction of the city’s downtown. The revitalized Cochecho Riverwalk crosses the river through a wooden covered bridge then winds through the riverside Henry Law Park and among the shops and restaurants of downtown Dover.
“There’s always something new to discover in Dover—a new restaurant or a neat shop that you never noticed before, or just a simple bed of flowers,” says Aaron Wensley of Relyco, which distributes business forms, envelopes, and data management solutions. “There’s an unmistakable sense of well-worn history mixed with an exciting spirit of growth and prosperity that you don’t find anywhere else.”
Historic brick mills showcase Dover’s downtown and waterfront. Completely renovated, the mill buildings house high-tech companies, manufacturers, restaurants, retailers, financial service providers, printers, communications companies, and a host of other business support services.
The city is in the process of developing an area along the banks of the downtown Cochecho River in order to meet the community’s growing needs, to foster mixed-use development, and to increase public access to the waterfront.
Access to an affordable, high-quality workforce is one reason why so many businesses have chosen to relocate to Dover. Dover thrives on a diverse business and industrial base. The city’s manufacturing industries, like Goss International and ElectroCraft New Hampshire, Inc., are competitive leaders around the world. Additional industrial facilities are located on Crosby Road, Progress Drive, and Sumner Drive on the city’s west side.
Dover Business and Industrial Development Authority (DBIDA) assists businesses in gathering demographic information, land availability options and financing, and acts as primary contact for businesses interested in locating within Enterprise Park, a state-of- the-art industrial park on Venture Drive. This 900-acre section of the city (zoned for office, research, and light industrial development) offers new tenants ready access to the Spaulding Turnpike, plus existing water and sewer infrastructure.
Dover is also home to Northeast Credit Union’s operations center and Liberty Mutual Insurance’s expanding corporate headquarters. Additional business development has taken place at Pease International Tradeport, just a few miles south of Dover. Once a thriving air force base, the Tradeport now supports a number of companies looking for access to international markets. With direct access to the New Hampshire Port Authority and an 11,000-foot runway, the Tradeport is a prospering business and aviation industrial community with world-class office and industrial space.
Additional Business Resources
Local and Regional Print Media
Greater Dover area businesses also have access to a number of print news publications, including the city’s own newspaper, Foster’s Daily Democrat. A family-owned daily paper, Foster’s will celebrate its 135th anniversary in 2008. Additional area media outlets include the Portsmouth Herald, Dover Independent News, The Senior Times, The Rochester Times, New Hampshire Business Review, and Business NH Magazine.
Dover Public Library
Located at 73 Locust Street, the Dover Public Library houses an extensive collection of over 100,000 books and other materials, including business reference sources, music CDs, popular DVDs, and books on CD. They subscribe to over 300 magazines and newspapers and to dozens of online databases. The library’s Historical Room contains some 4,000 local history and genealogy materials, plus hundreds of historical photographs can be viewed on the “Dover History” section of their website. Additional services include Internet and Wi-Fi access, photocopy machines and public fax service, free meeting space for nonprofit groups, and access to free downloadable audiobooks at www.dover.lib.nh.us. Every Dover-based business is eligible for a free library card.
NH Small Business Development Center
603-862-2200 or 603-330-1929
The New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, an outreach program of the UNH Whittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire, is the key link to business assistance in New Hampshire and to programs offered through the University System, the State of New Hampshire, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the private sector. The New Hampshire Small Business Development Center offers free, one-on-one, confidential business counseling; low cost training programs; and access to information and referral. Specialized services include environmental counseling, manufacturing assistance, and innovative economic development initiatives.
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) provides free counseling to small business owners and prospective owners and monthly workshops on various business topics. For information, call 603-433-0575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dover Main Street
Dover Main Street is a revitalization program that promotes the historic and economic redevelopment of downtown Dover. The program’s goal is to encourage economic development within the context of historic preservation that is appropriate to today’s marketplace. This approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, empowerment, and the rebuilding of commercial districts based on its traditional assets: unique architecture, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.
Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to advancing the economic well-being of its members and of the community through its business development and education programs, government affairs activities, and local and regional marketing initiatives. Through annual community events (such as Cochecho Arts Festival and Apple Harvest Day), the Chamber regularly draws tens of thousands of visitors into the heart of the city.
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