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Letter: Challenges of Brick-and-Mortar Stores

To the Editor:

The closing of The Mountain Goat came as a shock. The reaction of all of you who stopped by during our last days in business softened our shock, as we shared our disappointment together. When I moved to Hanover two years ago, I immediately remarked upon how nice the people of the Upper Valley are. So many folks who walked through the doors of The Mountain Goat were happy and proud to be a member of this community. I genuinely believe we made a little community here on South Main, where you could come in just for a chat.

There is no one and no thing to blame for us closing our doors after serving you friendly folks for almost five years. When asked during those last days, I could list a host of reasons that challenge independent retailers. Hanoverians are lucky to have a downtown with merchants offering the brick-and-mortar shopping experience and customer service. You can touch the fabric, pitch the tent, try on a pair of shoes, ask the opinion of the experts behind the counter. Customers can do that because the merchant has gambled on their inventory — they bought it so you can touch it. The 15 to 20 percent difference in price between Main Street and online is rent and salary. When I learned that, discount hunting became personal, and when I spent five extra dollars in an actual bookstore on a new hardcover, I knew I was investing in my town.

We have a great community, which weathered the recession far better than others, where the library is a vibrant meeting and learning place, with trails all over town that are frequented year round. While we were open, The Mountain Goat felt welcome and valuable. We thank you for letting us be a part of that. I am so glad to have spent the last two years on this side of all your once and future outdoor plans.

Sara Haxby

Former manager, The Mountain Goat

Hanover

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Mountain Goat Closing Stores

Monday, April 1, 2013

Hanover — The Mountain Goat, an outdoor gear, clothing and travel accessory business in the South Block on Main Street, closed yesterday after almost five years of operation. Co-owners Mary Colwell and her husband, A.J. LaFleur, opened the Hanover store in August 2008. Their other Mountain Goat store, in North Hampton, Mass., also closed yesterday after nearly 24 years in …