Opinion Asks: New Stores in Hanover

Do businesses in town effectively cater to student needs?

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 10/24/19 2:05am

Bookstore and bar “Still North Books,” owned by Allie Levy ’11, is opening in downtown Hanover soon, replacing what once was the Dartmouth Bookstore, which closed last year due to financial difficulties. After the closure of Wheelock Books, which provided textbooks at a discounted rate, businesses that are explicitly targeted at Dartmouth students are notably absent in town.

Do businesses in town effectively cater to student needs? Is there any aspect of a “college town” that downtown Hanover currently lacks? The Dartmouth Opinion Staff responded.

Hanover is more of a town with a college in it rather than a “college town.” This is one of the reasons I was drawn to Dartmouth, as it is refreshing to step in to town and see adults, kids and elderly people who are not in their teens or early 20s. 

That said, the stores in Hanover definitely cater more to the residents than the students, contributing to the lack of student activity on Main Street besides Dirt Cowboy Cafe, CVS and the gas station. At other schools in “college towns,” the main draw away from campus was cheap food and supplies, and I think Hanover lacks these options due to its size and focus on local residents.

-Sarah Colin ’23

With the soon-to-be opening of Still North Books, it seems as though the town is being overrun by unneeded stores for students. Additionally, considering most undergraduate students are under the age of 21, consumption of any alcohol at Still North Books’ bar would be illegal anyway. 

Instead, Hanover should look to incorporate more fastfood-style restaurants to fit the needs of a student’s busy lifestyle. 

-Sydney Towle ’22

We need to have stores in town that allow Dartmouth students to engage with products at a reasonable price point. This is mutually beneficial to both the stores and Dartmouth students. If we can buy a store’s products, we will see higher engagement from Dartmouth students and a greater connection between the town of Hanover and members of the College. With that being said, Still North Books looks promising. The founder said that “it’s really important to [her] that the inventory reflects the taste of the community.” Perhaps Still North Books will pave the way to a Main Street that better reflects the interests and economic means of its student visitors. 

-Chantal Elias ’22

Hanover is too expensive.Businesses consistently cater to the type of wealthy Dartmouth student they think should exist, and in the process, shut out low-income Dartmouth students. Low-income students are unable to participate in pricey off-campus outings or dinners, which reinforces the schism that already exists between students across several socioeconomic classes at Dartmouth. 

 It also creates an environment in which only upper- and upper-middle-class people can afford to live in Hanover, thus greatly limiting the socioeconomic diversity of the community that students interact with, which may resemble their environment at home instead of presenting new opportunities for growth. Perhaps most regrettably lacking in Hanover, where the population is so comfortably homogeneous, is any type of significant diversity.

-Raniyan Zaman ’22