College Supplies to close

by Parker Richards | 10/19/14 5:47pm

Lemon Tree hopes to attract a wider set of demographics in the store that College Supplies will vacate, its owner said.
Source: Bruno Korbar

Planners, pens and gag gifts will give way to handbags and accessories when College Supplies closes its doors early next year to make room for an expanded Lemon Tree Gifts. The home decor and gift shop will take over the store’s premises at 28 South Main Street, which has housed College Supplies for more than 40 years. ​

Scott Winslow, the store’s owner and operator, said that College Supplies will “close up quietly,” declining to comment further.

The business’s trademark was first registered in 1971, according to the Valley News, and it has operated on Main Street since, selling greeting cards and toys in addition to school supplies.

Lemon Tree Gifts owner and operator Melissa Haas said she is excited to move into a new space. Lemon Tree, which opened in fall 2012, is currently situated in a rented location at 44 South Main Street, below Starbucks.

Haas said she had also considered moving into the space vacated by Eastman Pharmacy at 22 South Main Street, but when she heard about the closing of College Supplies, she decided to pursue that space instead.

She encountered Winslow while he was cleaning windows, she said, and he encouraged her to look into the space.

Lemon Tree, which Haas opened after a 24-year career in opera, will move into the new space sometime between January and March, Haas said. She is hoping to make the move by early February, but the exact date will depend upon College Supplies’ closing plans.

Haas said that while her store attracts students, they are not the bulk of her customers, and she hopes a new location will draw more business in the demographic.

“I think students in general don’t tend to walk around the corner as much,” she said, referencing the corner of South Main Street and Lebanon Street.

She also said she hopes the new location will allow her to expand her men’s section and the age range of her clientele.

With the move, Lemon Tree will acquire the ground floor space that houses College Supplies and the basement 400 square feet of retail space and 1,700 square feet of storage, the Valley News reported. The College Supplies premises is larger than the former Eastman Pharmacy location.

Haas said her relationship with Lemon Tree’s current landlord, Jay Campion, is positive, and that she may continue to use Lemon Tree’s current space in some capacity. However, Haas said she looks forward to the new arrangement.

“We had the opportunity to own our own space, so that was a very appealing thing,” Haas said. “I always envisioned being kind of right in the sweet spot of Main Street.”

Of eight students interviewed, five said they had never shopped at College Supplies. The other three reported generally positive experiences. All were aware of the store.

“They have a lot of good things, but I just feel like it’s never marketed itself very well, so I can understand why they’re closing down,” said Cynthia Madu ’15. “Most students don’t go to it — it’s not the first place they think of.”

Hirsh Elhence ’17, who purchased a planner at College Supplies a year ago, said he is unhappy about the decline in competition in Hanover.

“That means that we have less of a choice when it comes to school supplies, and competition is good for prices, but it’s not going to be devastating for me,” he said.

Alexis Hill ’17, who had not shopped at College Supplies, said it seemed to be an eclectic venue.

In addition to expanding physically, Haas said she hopes to grow Lemon Tree’s web presence. The store does not have a website, and Haas estimated that at least half of her customers are visitors to Hanover, many of whom inquire about online purchasing opportunities.

Hanover town manager Julia Griffin did not return requests for comment on Sunday.