The Hanover Exposition: “Closer to Nostalgia”

by Kevin Hu | 1/19/17 12:45am

arts_poster_courtesy

International DVD & Poster sells vintage goods, such as posters and prints.

Source: Courtesy of Bryan Smith

Located in the heart of Main Street, International DVD & Poster, a small entertainment store, invites its visitors to explore the modern evolution of entertainment culture. It’s a small, magical realm encapsulating the ethos of music and the arts across several decades.

Boxes of vinyl records, vintage travel posters and miscellaneous prints line the walls. Decades of college ephemera, movies and film decorate the shelves. Early Miles and Coltrane, easy jazz, smoothly carol in the background. This is a room where stories become movement, design and architecture — human experience hybridized with art and music.

So how does one describe a place like this?

“Closer to nostalgia,” Bryan Smith, manager, said.

Well-versed in film and music history, Smith’s personal endearment for his collections stems from a lineage deeply rooted in Dartmouth and the arts, including a grandmother who funded the creation of the Paddock Music Library, an uncle who was a founding member of the Dartmouth Aires and a grandfather who founded the Dartmouth film studies program and served as the College’s vice president. Smith imbues a genuine spirit and vitality to the backbone of the store. He’s much more than just the manager; he’s a storyteller.

For customers, each visit affords not only the potential entertainment grail but also a personal vignette linked to any object of interest. A $1.95 purchase consists of much more than just an Ella Fitzgerald 75th birthday celebration book with original Decca recordings; it includes a captivating personal narrative about meeting the First Lady of Song at Thompson Arena as a teenager.

“[Smith] is kind and generous with his time and resources and is well-known by students and alumni of all ages,” said Melissa Haas, owner of the former neighboring boutique Lemon Tree Gifts. “He is somewhat iconic in town.”

With the primary objective of celebrating Dartmouth and providing for the town, IDVD & Poster prudently tailors its services and resources in the best interest of the community.

“If a student organization is hosting a themed event, I’ll try to provide posters, cardboard cutouts and prizes to help sponsor the event, whatever genre it may be,” Smith said. “We spend a lot of time listening to what the customer wants. We try our best to find it and get it in for them.”

Whether it be an out of print ’74 Dartmouth Winter Carnival poster or an original Beatles 45, if a customer has an object of interest, Smith will do his best to procure it. Alongside a circle of close friends, Smith explores flea markets, garage sales and church bazaars and even does special orders to get his hands on whatever a customer desires.

“In addition to its excellent service, [IDVD & Poster] provides a safe, educational work environment for students at Hanover High School who are working their first jobs,” said Bill Boyle, manager of the local store Zimmermann’s The North Face. “[Smith] structures it so that the work environment is supplemental to their first priority — being students. It’s an underappreciated and rather unknown consideration that the store provides to the town.”

The customer service models the hospitality that denotes the essence of the Hanover community.

“When we first started selling football programs, we only had a handful. A married couple came in around six years ago asking if we could find the Dartmouth versus Yale [University] 1964 football program,” Smith recounts.

Smith searched for two weeks, eventually locating a collector in Oklahoma who sold it to him. He contacted the couple and when they came in, the woman sat down and started to weep.

Relieving Smith from an initial moment of confusion, the man explained, “You have to understand … that’s the game we met.”

“And he squeezed in on the chair and just held her for about ten minutes as they went through the program,” Smith said. “The couple was preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. She was emotionally overwhelmed because it was physical tactile thing that gave her all those memories of the first day she met her husband.”

Imparting memorabilia that enable customers to tangibly revisit cherished memories is the core of Smith’s excitement and zeal for what he does.

As if frozen in time, IDVD & Poster pays tribute to a mélange of iconic cultures. With a special old-time feel, this rare entertainment time capsule is sure to leave any visitor misty-eyed and touched by a breath of nostalgia.