View over Newfound Lake at Sunset

What Makes Bristol’s Business Community So Special

July 19, 2021 7:02 pm

Deciding where to open a business, whether it’s an upstart, expansion or move to a new location, can be a tough decision for business owners. Depending on the town, you could face different regulations and challenges, from finding the right location to getting a permit for your business sign.

Another factor often overlooked by those new to business is the general business climate of the community. Is the town welcoming of new businesses? Are the businesses there working together to lift each other up, or is it hyper competitive? 

Here in Bristol, we often talk about being a tight-knit business community. In hard times and good, the businesses in Bristol support each other. The people who work in the town offices see themselves as an extension of that support network. While they provide oversight and ensure zoning and other regulations are being followed, the people in Bristol’s town government, from the Land Use Department to the Town Administrator’s Office and Town committees, want to see Bristol grow and businesses thrive.

Doing business in Bristol

In recent years, Bristol has focused on investing in the things that make this town special, such as the downtown, hiking and biking trails, and town parks. We also see the benefit of modernizing infrastructure, and are investing in improved broadband services. 

But nothing speaks louder than the experience of local business owners. Tim Smith and Claudette Boisvert are the owners of the Crazy Cat Winery on Lake Street. When they moved to New Hampshire from Virginia, they were looking for a spot to open a winery. After visiting the town offices in other New Hampshire communities, they selected Bristol. It stood out, they said, because the town officials and the business community were welcoming and helpful.

“We met with the Planning Board and they were enthusiastic about what we wanted to do,” said Smith. “They said, ‘We would love to have you. What can we do to help?’ That kind of sealed the deal for us.”

More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic tested our business community. For some, it meant transitioning to an online-only model, while others found ways to use their business to help others in need.

“Covid has impacted different businesses in different ways,” said Smith. “I will say the business community has been very supportive of each other. We got to know a couple other business owners and it’s been a very supportive atmosphere.”

In addition, Bristol has business organizations like Newfound Independence and the Newfound Professional Network so owners and professionals can connect and share knowledge.

Opening a business in Bristol

Bristol, is centrally located on the fifth largest lake in New Hampshire. Incorporated in 1819, it has a typical New England downtown, along a river with mill buildings transformed into retail, offices and restaurants. A recent revitalization project has improved the foot traffic and aesthetics of the downtown and the result has been more businesses moving in.

The town is home to about 3,300 residents but that number doubles in the summer when vacationers flock to the lake and enjoy the many outdoor activities we offer. Town government is made up of volunteer elected and appointed officials, with administrative duties headed up by our Town Administrator Nicholas Coates

Businesses interested in opening in Bristol should begin by visiting our Business Start-Up Roadmap, which provides information on starting your business and where to begin in Bristol. From there, reach out to the Land Use Department to schedule an appointment. Our staff and Planning Board can review your business plans and provide information about what you need.

Want to have your business included in this post or elsewhere on the blog? Contact Beth LaMontagne Hall to learn how.