Under the category of strengthening communities, the Hannah Grimes Center received the first Champion in Action award of 2013, presented by Citizens Bank and WMUR-TV. The prize includes a $35,000 grant and numerous PSAs on WMUR amounting to thousands of dollars in advertising hours.
Hannah Grimes the woman, for which the center and marketplace are named, was born in 1776 in Keene and lived on a farm in neighboring Roxbury. Mary Ann Kristiansen, founder of Hannah Grimes and Executive Director of the center, lives in the house where Hannah Grimes grew up. What Hannah and her family could not produce on their land, they bought and bartered for from family and friends.
With Hannah Grimes’ life as inspiration, Kristiansen established the Hannah Grimes Marketplace in 1997 as a retail marketplace for local products. More than 15 years later, Hannah Grimes includes a Business Incubator Program and a Nonprofit Business Incubator Program, providing office space for new and emerging businesses to start, grow, thrive and move out on their own.
The Hannah Grimes Center offers in depth 6-month programs for start-up businesses and those organizations working on their Strategic plan for their business. The Entrepreneurship Program is a six-month intensive program focusing on raising current businesses to the next level of operation, while working on their Strategic plan. Graduates of the program report an average sales increase of 68 percent in one year. There are also monthly workshops available at the center, presented by 36 instructors who volunteer their knowledge and expertise. Monthly business coaching for nonprofit and for profit business are also available at the center.
The Hannah Grimes Marketplace continues to grow and supports more than 270 local artisans, food producers and farmers. The center is currently involved in partnerships to strengthen and support the area’s growing regional food system and develop marketing workshops for farmers and other business owners struggling to market and grow their businesses.
The Champions in Action program was launched in 2002 by Citizens Bank and WMUR to support nonprofit organizations in their efforts in local communities.