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The Dartmouth
May 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Brewster's to close

Only one year after their opening, two major Main Street retail stores will close.

The two stores, Brewster's, a retail clothing store, and Eleazar's Museum Shop, a high-priced novelty shop, are in Hanover's best retail shopping space on South Main Street attached to the Hanover Inn.

Eugene Kohn, who is a part owner and spokesman for the shops, said they are closing because of the region's difficult economic climate.

Kohn and other officers of the Lang Retail Corporation, which owns both stores, spent the last two months unsuccessfully searching for more partners and additional capital.

"The general economic condition in New Hampshire is just not healthy enough to attract the risk capital necessary to allow us to fund the slow start of these new retail stores," Kohn said.

The stores are currently closed for inventory. Kohn said he anticipates that they will reopen next week when the two stores will start a complete liquidation sale conducted by Ledyard Bank, the secured creditor.

Officials at the bank could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Kohn said the stores saw a slight financial improvement during the prosperous ski season this past winter because of the influx of tourists. But Kohn called the region's economy "difficult, at best."

In a prepared statement, Kohn explained that "Eleazar's gift presentation and Brewsters' shoes seemed to gain early acceptance at levels required for profitability," but women's clothing and cosmetics lines and the men's haberdashery showed poor returns.

Students passing the stores yesterday said they didn't know what the store offered, and said most students do their clothes shopping in Boston or by catalog.

David Murgio '93 said, "It looked liked an expensive women's clothing store and that's why I never shopped there." Murgio said he did not know the store had a men's department.

Other passersby said the prices were generally too high.

Kohn's press release stated that the sale is expected to conclude in July.

The College, the landlord of the two premises, is currently looking for new tenants to lease the location.

"We're looking at a number of prospects right now, but it's principally focused on major retailers," said Paul Olsen, the College's director of real estate. The College is looking for "a clothing retailer that will do a presentation similar to Eleazar's," he said.

Before the opening of Brewster's and Eleazar's, the long-lasting retailer Campion's operated at the site. When Campion's closed, the College also looked at possible major retailers, such as The Gap.

"They are on our list again. They would be a great retailer to get. We all would be pleased," Olsen added.