Hanover welcomes new independent bookstore

HANOVER, N.H. (WCAX) There's a new independent bookstore open again in downtown Hanover, hoping to navigate the evolving world of retail in an e-commerce era.

Judging by the crowd, Thursday's soft opening for Still North Books and Bar in Hanover was a success, according to the store's Allie Levy.

Reporter Adam Sullivan: How does it feel to be open?
Allie Levy: It's really great to see some many people in the community show up.

"I though it wasn't the same after it was acquired by a big chain so I hadn't shopped there since that chain had occurred, so I'm very much looking forward to there being a really independent bookstore here again," said Marion Bates of Caanan.

Barnes and Noble took over the Dartmouth Bookstore in 2005. It closed a year ago, ending a chapter on Main Street that began nearly 150 years earlier.

"With the Dartmouth Bookstore closing, it created this amazing opportunity and this need in town," Levy said.

She's a 2011 graduate of the Big Green and recently worked in publishing in New York City. But now she's tackling her new adventure -- making an independent bookstore once again thrive in the college town.

"Independent bookstores, specifically in the past 10 years, have actually been on the rise," Levy said.

But it comes as bigger chains have gone out of business, combined with ever increasing competition online.

"I think there are definitely still challenges and that is why we have the cafe and bar component. We want to make it as easy as possible for the community to come and support us even if they don't want to buy a book," Levy said.

Along with books the shop located just off Main Street also offers coffee, food -- and eventually beer and wine.

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin popped in on the opening day. "Curating retail is important and appealing to that next generation of customers is important, and quite frankly, you need to do it differently today," Griffin said.

Which in some ways means doing things like they used to be done -- focusing on a select product line and strong customer service.

"I want to talk to people who have actually read books," Bates said.

Books that are once again being sold downtown.