As a school so invested in its own culture, Dartmouth gear is a near necessity for all students. Two stores serve as the main outlets for Dartmouth-related merchandise: the Dartmouth Co-op and Traditionally Trendy. Yet regardless of the apparent competition, Dartmouth flair may seem a bit pricey. A sweatshirt alone could cost you over $80. Luckily for us, as year round Dartmouth students, we have to opportunity to do a store comparison and a bit more investigation into our options.
The Dartmouth Co-op at 21 South Main Street was founded in 1919, maintaining a long-standing tradition with the Dartmouth community from students to alumni alike as a vendor of Dartmouth gear. However, the store is not officially affiliated with the College. Though all Dartmouth merchandise is officially licensed by Office of General Counsel of Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Co-op has always been privately owned by Dartmouth alumni, from John Piane, Class of 1914, to its current owner, Gene Kohn ’60.
The Co-op offers a line of sweatshirts and logo stamped cups, glasses, chairs and other licensed merchandise. Simple printed t-shirts are priced from $10 to $15. In the pursuit of a sweatshirt or other clothing, the clearance rack usually right outside the store always offers some convincing bargains. For those willing to wait, the Co-op occasionally offers clearance sales on products of a certain size, which can be viewed on their website. To avoid getting surprised at the store, the Co-op’s newly renovated website allows for easy browsing of all the sorts of Dartmouth gear they offer. However, by far the most crucial consideration at the Dartmouth Co-op is their membership benefits. By subscribing as a member of the Co-op, (one year for $20, four years for $35), you receive an instant 10 percent off any purchase at the Co-op, a clear benefit for those who are likely to purchase an array of Dartmouth merchandise over the years.
Traditionally Trendy at 32 South Main Street also has a considerably impressive track record, going strong into its 21st year in Hanover. Founded, owned, and managed by Rocio Menoscal, Traditionally Trendy sells officially licensed Dartmouth-branded merchandise, but the styles differ slightly from those offered at the Co-op. Menoscal said she prides herself in the personable nature of her store, and she caters to custom orders herself with no extra charge.
Traditionally Trendy has smaller premises and smaller staff of five, compared to the Co-op’s 15. The variety of merchandise is equally as expansive as the Co-op, with different offerings (no furniture here, sorry). Regarding clothing, Traditionally Trendy offers styles from similar, if not the same brands, as the Co-Op. Prices are around the same, sometimes little less expensive, at Traditionally Trendy. There are a fair share of clearance and discounted items throughout the year, but they are only promoted at the physical storefront itself.
The Dartmouth Bookstore also deserves a mention. Privately owned and operated by Barnes and Noble, the Dartmouth Bookstore does offer a small selection of Dartmouth flair, though not nearly as expansive as the other two vendors. However, they have considerably different pricing. Sweatshirts, for example, could be up to $20 less expensive at the bookstore than at the Co-op or Traditionally Trendy, even sweatshirts of the same brand. However, the designs that the Dartmouth Bookstore provide are markedly difference from the other vendors, meaning that there may be a personal tradeoff with a lower price. The Dartmouth Bookstore has a clearance rack, but they do not often offer many other discounts.
The choice between the Dartmouth Co-op, the Dartmouth Bookstore and Traditionally Trendy is a choice of personal preference, with neither store holding a clear advantage over the other in terms of merchandise and pricing. If shopping for the short term, it may be wise to check out Traditionally Trendy given that their prices are generally little lower. But if over the long run, membership at the Dartmouth Co-op may save you more. Both Kohn and Menoscal said they find great pleasure in working with the Dartmouth community and are looking forward for the years to come.
Tags: fashion, Jonathan Li, main street, shopping