Local Business

City Hall in Dover, New Hampshire.

Dover relies on the vitality of local businesses. They’re instrumental in fostering economic resilience, creating jobs, and reinvesting funds into the community. Additionally, Dover’s businesses draw residents from nearby cities and towns, who in turn contribute to our economy by patronizing local establishments.

Job Creation

Local businesses often hire from within the community and create more jobs per unit of sales compared to larger chains. By supporting local businesses, municipalities can contribute to lower unemployment rates and increased economic opportunities for their residents.

Increased Economic Resilience

A diverse economy of local businesses makes a community more economically resilient. When a municipality relies heavily on large employers, economic downturns or closures of large businesses can have a more significant negative impact. One such example occurred in the 1970s, after auto and steel manufacturing left some cities. They experienced mass job loss, followed by precipitous population declines.

Local businesses insulate cities from the exit of any one business through their collective diversity. Notably, post-COVID, small businesses added jobs more rapidly then their large counterparts.

Buy Local

Money spent at local businesses often stays within the community. Local business owners and employees are more likely to reinvest their earnings in the local economy by spending on goods and services, paying local taxes, and supporting other local businesses. This is generative, where each dollar spent locally creates additional local economic activity.

Unique Character and Identity

Dover’s local businesses contribute to the unique character and identity of the city by offering distinct products, services, and experiences, including food experiences. These attractions not only draw tourists and visitors but also boost the local tourism industry.

Dover’s character plays a significant role in boosting our economy. Non-residents are motivated to spend money in Dover for two main reasons. The first reason is undifferentiated convenience. When consumers need to buy everyday items such as paper towels, they can easily find what they need at a conveniently located retain chain. The second reason is the presence of unique, differentiated features and amenities. Dover offers things that consumers can’t find elsewhere, such as their favorite restaurant, engaging activities or events, art, or the opportunity to spend a day holiday shopping in a historic downtown area. Dover’s small businesses create an emotional appeal that yields economic benefits.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Smaller, local businesses typically have shorter supply chains, which can lead to reduced transportation-related emissions and lower environmental impact. This aligns with sustainability goals and can lead to cost savings related to environmental regulations.

Community Engagement

Local businesses are often more engaged in their communities, participating in local events, supporting charitable causes, and fostering a sense of community pride. This engagement leads to stronger social bonds and shared sense community. This can be observed firsthand by looking at vendor and sponsor lists for Apple Harvest Day.


The City of Dover invests in local businesses. We also have an excellent Chamber of Commerce and the Dover Main Street organization. There’s more we can do.

As Dover builds for our future, we are certain to welcome new homes, mixed use communities, and local businesses. We need all of these to manage housing affordability and increase the tax base. That means applying levers that will contribute to the success of local businesses.

Pointe Place is a mixed-use development with fantastic, differentiated local businesses, including Roost and Sunrise Pointe Cafe. However, the street signage along the high-traffic Dover Point Road is underwhelming, resulting in increased customer acquisition costs for the businesses. As Dover continues to grow and develop, it will be essential to showcase local businesses in order to support existing and attract new ones.

Explore Other Issues

Subscribe for Updates

Receive campaign updates, and get notified about new content.