Weekend supports Hanover businesses
By Jasmine Sachar, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, February 8, 2013
Hanover businesses are expecting a flurry of economic activity over Winter Carnival weekend, according to local store owners and employees.
Hanover dining staples, such as the Canoe Club and Lou’s Restaurant and Bakery, are preparing for an influx of visitors, including alumni and their families. Canoe Club manager Anna Gunther said that numerous alumni groups call to make reservations and that business can quadruple over the weekend.
“Winter Carnival is definitely a lot less busy than Homecoming or Green Key, but it’s still an alumni peak,” Gunther said.
While the Canoe Club sees an increase in patrons over the weekend, the crowd often dwindles later in the evening, she said.
“More young alums come to drink and party, and we tend to get less late night business because they’re going to their frats and drinking there,” Gunther said.
The Canoe Club will not hire any additional staff for the weekend but will proceed with the number of staff typical for a busy Saturday night. Although dinner specials are prepared every night, Gunther said that the chef will update the menu’s offerings specifically for Winter Carnival.
Lou’s, in operation since 1942, is a favorite brunch stop for alumni, according to waitress Becky Schnider, who has worked at the diner since the 1970s. Often around Winter Carnival, the line of customers waiting to get a table may extend into the streets.
Schnider said that Winter Carnival is her favorite big weekend hosted by the College. Calling it “one of the holidays,” Schnider said she enjoys reconnecting with alumni who return to campus for the weekend.
Despite the expected increase in business, Lou’s does not plan on hiring additional staff in preparation for the weekend, according to Schnider.
“We’ll have the full crew and our best crew,” Schnider said. “We can’t have too many people, or we just bump into each other. We’re like a fine-oiled machine.”
Up until recently, it was common for students to arrive at the restaurant when it opened at 7 a.m., after partying all night, in a practice coined by students as the “Lou’s Challenge,” Schnider said.
“Sometimes there was wreckage downstairs if you know what I mean, but it was always fun and funny,” Schnider said.
This trend has decreased in recent years, most likely due to students’ increased consumption of hard alcohol rather than beer, she said.
“I know Dartmouth tries so hard to change their image, and my [Carnival] stories mostly involve drinking,” Schnider said.
Rachel Drinane, manager of Morano Gelato, which has only been open for two Winter Carnival weekends, said she estimates their business will double over Carnival.
The store does not anticipate making any management changes for the weekend but may introduce a special flavor, she said.
“We’ve considered doing a Dartmouth flavor, but that’s really up to the owner, and it’s sort of a secret,” Drinane said.
Some Hanover retailers said they will be introducing new merchandise.
Rocio Menoscal, owner of Traditionally Trendy, said she has ordered many signature Dartmouth sweaters as part of her Winter Carnival stock. She said that February is often a slow month for her business, but the store will have increased sales during the weekend. She has not decided how much prices will be reduced.
“We expect to make up for the quiet months,” Menoscal said. “The economy is not that good right now, but the Carnival is like a boost.”
Her most loyal clientele are alumni who graduated after 1991, when the store opened its doors.
Every Carnival weekend, the Dartmouth Co-Op partners with the Winter Carnival Council to sell a Winter Carnival T-shirt and its annual poster, designed by a student at the College, according to owner Gene Kohn ’60.
Other popular items include wool hats, sweaters and scarves. The Co-Op plans to extend store hours for the weekend to accommodate additional business.
The Hanover Inn is running very high occupancies but still has some vacancies for the weekend, manager Joe Mellia said in an email. Alumni and family often make reservations a year in advance.
“The Hanover Inn is the cornerstone of Hanover, which we are very proud of,” Mellia said. “Our location has offered us the distinction of being a hotel, dating back many, many decades.”