SBA Award Winners Share A Knack For Hard Work, Long Hours–And No Starting Pay

By Mike Cote
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The winners of this year’s Small Business Awards shared the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journeys and what keeps them going strong.


It’s hard to find takers for a position that promises long hours and zero starting pay.

Owning your own business offers those perks and so much more — if you’re tough enough to take the plunge.

The winners of this year’s Small Business Awards shared tales from the field as they accepted their honors Tuesday at the Derryfield Country Club during a reception hosted by the New Hampshire division of the Small Business Administration and the New Hampshire Bankers Association.

Joshua D’Agnese, owner of the Village Gun Store in Whitefield, was honored as the Veteran-Owned Business of the Year.

The Tilton native bought the store four years ago after injuries he sustained in Afghanistan forced him to retire early from the Army. It took him about a year to secure financing for the store.

He also had to convince his wife, Nicole. That challenge better prepared him for dealing with customers angling for a discount.

“Once in a while a guy comes up to me to the counter with a gun. ‘You got to help me out, Josh, with this price. It’s hard to convince my wife to spend money.’ D’Agnese recalled.

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