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Bottom Line: New clothing shops helping Hanover’s downtown retail rebound a bit

  • John Lippman. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Business Writer
Saturday, May 11, 2019

It might be premature to declare it a renaissance in retail, but in an encouraging sign two new clothing shops will open on South Main Street in Hanover, joining the new combo bookstore, cafe and bar that all will occupy the former Dartmouth Bookstore space.

Woody’s, which will sell men’s and women’s apparel that reflect an “upscale mountain lifestyle” and J. McLaughlin, a national retail chain that focuses on “classic clothes with current relevance,” are dividing the street-facing front half while Still North Books is taking the rear end and will have its entrance around the corner on Allen Street.

The three stores — with administrative offices for the Tuck School of Business moving into the second floor — are part of a renovation project of the building that is being undertaken by owner Jay Campion.

“There is a metamorphosis going on in retailing,” Campion said last week, batting down suggestions that brick-and-mortar stores have been killed off by online shopping. “I’ve had other retailers I’ve had to turn down.”

Campion said the building renovation, which includes a new steam boiler and HVAC system, should be ready for its new tenants no later than the fall.

In December, he cinched a deal with Dartmouth alumna Allie Levy to open Still North Books, which is picking up the retail trend of mixing bookselling with a light bistro repast, wine and beer.

Hanover has seen its share of store and restaurant closings over the past couple of years — Zimmermann’s The North Face on South Main Street is the latest to announce it is closing — but Campion said he’s optimistic that a new generation of shop owners will revitalize the in-town shopping scene.

“People are ready to move into town. We just need to find them the spaces,” he said.

Woody’s is owned by Upper Valley resident Suzi Curtis who has extensive experience as a sales rep and is a partner in Etna-based The Curtis Group, a sales and marketing agency for makers of outdoor and active apparel. She described the store as “an upscale, mountain-lifestyle store and mercantile featuring apparel, home goods, provisions, gifts and candy.”

Green shoots sprout at Stern’s market

Timely for a spring rebirth, Stern’s Quality Produce reopened on Friday morning, reviving the fresh produce market in White River Junction that closed in December when former owners Keith and Judy Stern said it was time to “relax” after 33 years in business.

Jill Metivier said she and her daughter, Amanda Metivier, bought the business from the Sterns in April and last week a crew was putting the finishing touches on new shelves, bins and a three-station checkout counter, as well as sprucing up the outside.

“We were looking for a family venture, and we knew Sterns was a valuable place,” Jill Metivier said as her husband, Steve Metivier, wielded tools nearby. He’s the namesake for Steve’s Bait Shop in North Hartland, which the Metiviers own.

Customers can continue to expect what they always liked about Stern’s, Jill Metivier said, including fresh produce at low prices and hard-to-find Asian food items. The Metiviers have added bins for bulk purchases of nuts, granola, dried fruit and chocolates.

There will be familiar faces at the store, too: David Jarvis, who worked at Stern’s for nine years, has returned, and Keith Stern has signed on to make thrice-weekly trips to the produce market in Chelsea, Mass.

Metivier acknowledges she’s new to the produce market business, but she said Jarvis and Stern — the Sterns will continue to own the building — are providing invaluable help in showing her family the ropes.

“I have eaten produce and now I’ve carried produce, but that’s my experience” Metivier said. “I’m learning as we go along.”

110 Grill pops Champagne cork in West Lebanon

At 4:15 p.m. on a Wednesday it was standing room only around the U-shaped bar.

110 Grill in the Upper Valley Plaza is now serving customers, making it the first restaurant with table service and alcohol to open along the Route 12A commercial strip since the Great Recession nearly a decade ago.

“The bar is full after 15 minutes,” beamed a satisfied Jameson Fauth, general manager of 110, who came over from the Weathervane, where he had previously spent six years as manager. “Can’t beat that.”

110 Grill’s kitchen is headed up by Enfield resident Brianne Healey, a Bedford, N.H., native who most recently worked at Margaritas in Lebanon.

The West Lebanon location is the 22nd to open in the Westford, Mass.-based chain, launched five years ago by developer Robert Walker and restaurateur Ryan Dion. 110 Grill says it offers “modern American cuisine in a trendy casual atmosphere.”

Dion said the restaurant, which has a seating capacity of 230 and a patio fire pit with Tiki torches, cost “about two-and-a-halfish” million to build in the space formerly occupied partly by a Verizon outlet.

The bar serves 16 beers on tap, along with cocktails like a “pomegranate basil smash” (rum, pomegranate liquor and “fresh muddled” basil, lemon and lime).

The menu, which includes 110 Grill’s own twists on bistro fare, also has extensive gluten-free options.

On Stage Dancewear owner takes a bow

Tammy Tassinari, owner of On Stage Dancewear in the Powerhouse Mall, is retiring and closing her store on June 1 after 18 years in business.

“I’ve loved it, and the store is doing great but I want more time to do other things,” Tassinari said last week. If anyone is interested in buying her business, Tassinari said they “should just waltz on in.”

Have business news that you’d like to see reported? I want to hear from you. Please contact me at jlippman@vnews.com. All submissions are subject to reporting and editing.