Amidon to close Main Street store

by Lauren Budd | 11/10/14 6:27pm

Hanover store employees will continue to work for other branches of Amidon Jewelers following the store’s closure.
by Eliza McDonough and Eliza McDonough / The Dartmouth

Amidon Jewelers will close its doors after nearly 80 years in downtown Hanover, as the local retail market has shifted to cater to tourists, co-owner Steve Doubleday said. The store, which came to Main Street in 1935, will maintain its locations in West Lebanon, Claremont and Keene.

Doubleday said the store will likely close after Christmas, following recent changes in Hanover’s economy.

“Our market is really in engagement rings and fashion,” he said. “Hanover has become, particularly recently, more of a tourist market, and that’s really not what we’re good at.”

The store sells fashion jewelry like Pandora bracelets, cuff links ranging from $32.47 to $2,032.81 and a wide range of bridal and engagement jewelry.

Increasingly, he said, Hanover residents are more likely to shop in West Lebanon than stay in town. This changing market, as well as diminished profits, has lead to the close of the Hanover location. He said Main Street used to have many more retail stores, which have increasingly been replaced with restaurants and banks.

“That doesn’t make for the best retail shopping experience,” he said.

College Supplies, with its sundry gifts and greeting cards, announced plans to close last month, after more 40 years of business. Lemon Tree Gifts will opened an expanded store in the space. Italian and Mediterranean restaurant Salubre Trattoria closed in August after five years in business, replaced by family-style Nepalese restaurant Base Camp Café, which opened in September.

Amidon Jewelers’ West Lebanon location, which opened in 2000, sees more shoppers than the Hanover venue, Doubleday said, declining to specify the difference. Many Hanover shoppers are out-of-state tourists visiting family members at Dartmouth or potential students, he said. Neither group, he said, is likely to buy engagement rings.

Amidon is having a closing sale to clear out inventory. Its Hanover employees will continue to work at other locations, Doubleday said.

Of six Dartmouth students surveyed, none had shopped at Amidon Jewelers, nor knew any students who had. Only two had heard of the store.

“I know students are pretty thrifty and don’t have a lot of money to spend, but I also know Hanover is a high-end community, high-income, but I don’t know if there is a big demand for jewelers,” Marc Sasso ’15 said, who has never been to Amidon.

Maddie Gilfert ’18 said she thinks people who visit Hanover may be the type to look for fine jewelry as a souvenir.

“This is a high-caliber institution that attracts people with refined taste,” she said.

Von Bargen’s Jewelry, also located on South Main Street, opened in 2003. Gemologist and sales representative Sabrina Davis Leonard said the store specializes in ideal cut diamonds, custom jewelry design and artisan jewelry. A manager was unavailable for comment by press time.

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