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The Dartmouth
June 16, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Downtown Hanover evolves with Duende opening, Hanover True Value closure

One day after Duende, a traditional Spanish tapería, opened in Hanover, hardware store Hanover True Value closed after over a century in business.

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In recent weeks, downtown Hanover has seen two changes to its store and restaurant offerings. On April 14, Duende, a traditional Spanish tapería, opened for business, according to restaurant owner Juan Garcerán GR’16. The next day, local hardware store Hanover True Value closed as owner Sonya Campbell retired, according to the store’s Facebook page. Hanover True Value first opened in 1918, The U.S. Sun reported.

Campbell said she had been a part of the business for 47 years — first as a “housewares girl” in the 1970s before she bought the shop in 1991. Campbell said she and her husband, store manager Mike Campbell, listed the store for sale more than a year ago but could not find a buyer.

According to Mike Campbell, the location has brought the community together for years.

“There are so many people that we’ve known over the years — and their families that we’ve known — that still pop in and say hi when they’re in town,” he said. “I’ve helped the engineering students or the engineering classes make hundreds of different projects because nobody knew what to do.”

Dartmouth students agreed that True Value was a valuable addition to the community. Catherine Jewitt ’26 said the store had a “lot of cool stuff.”

“Every time I [went], it was an adventure,” she said.

Sam Roth Gordon ’25 said he was “super sad” to learn about the store’s closure, adding that he had planned to return for future hardware projects.

“I went there a couple of times, last fall in particular, to buy some hardware parts,” he said. “All of the workers were super nice, helpful and chatty.”

Sonya Campbell said she and her husband have a home in downtown Hanover and plan to stay in the area, adding that they feel “rooted” in the town.

“We are not in a big rush to make any great changes,” she said. “Eventually we may move and try to get something smaller all on one level. But we’ve enjoyed living downtown and I’m still a member of the Hanover Improvement Society.”

While True Value has closed its doors, Duende has opened to foster a new sense of community in Hanover. The tapería aims to provide a “space where everyone can enjoy and share the energy of Spanish community culture,” according to its website.

“The idea was to really bring a bit of diversity to the dining scene in the Upper Valley through our backgrounds,” Garcerán said. “This is inspired by a very traditional Southern Spanish dining style — very informal. The aesthetic, music, everything is inspired by Spain itself.”

Garcerán, who graduated from the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies in 2016, added that he opened Duende in Hanover because he “loves the Upper Valley.” He said he hopes the restaurant, which is currently open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, will provide a place for local residents to “informally hang out.”

According to Garcerán, the restaurant’s name stems from a flamenco term “that describes an innate talent.” More specifically, “duende” means “a quality of passion and inspiration,” according to the restaurant’s website.

“You may see a seven year old playing guitar in Spain, and people may say, ‘Oh that kid has duende,’” Garcerán said. “It’s only within the flamenco world, but duende is that talent that some people are born with and something that you cannot really practice or learn.”

Garcerán added that Duende’s menu is curated by a chef and culinary school director, both from Spain. 

Duende moved into the same building that Candela Tapas Lounge used to occupy. Candela closed in June 2022 after its 10-year lease ended, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. Sophia He ’23 said she was “really excited” to try Duende, since she and her friends used to eat at Candela “all the time.”

He said that Candela was known for its affordable drinks, while Duende is “dining-focused,” with “more of a bright and family-friendly atmosphere compared to Candela.” She added that she and her friends ordered a variety of tapas, including croquettes, patatas bravas and toasts with toppings.

While He said the food “tasted really good,” she noted that prices were “a little steep.”

“I think it’s one of those things where if you’re a college student, you would probably save [the restaurant] for a special occasion,” she said.

Garcerán said he hopes to expand beyond food service and create a “cultural center” for the community. He said that he wants to create an art gallery for Spanish artists and hold live concerts with dinner and wine tastings. Garcerán added that he hopes people will be able to use the space to practice Spanish.

“We also feel like we need a place, with long winters in the Upper Valley … where we feel more at home,” Garcerán said.