Hanover: Perceptions change with effort to create vibrant experience

  • By Lindsey Welling/The Hanover Evening Sun
hanover_downtown.jpg

Perceptions are changing about downtown Hanover, according to Gary Laird, the president of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce, who said more people have a positive reaction to downtown now. (Photo: Ty Lohr, The Evening Sun)

(Hanover) — A lot has changed in downtown Hanover since the Hanover Theater rolled films on a buzzing Friday night and the old Montgomery Ward ushered shoppers into its doors.

Now, the buildings’ unpolished facades show their age and years of vacancy. 

However, shoppers can still walk into Hanover Clothing Company to get fitted for a suit. Or visit Coco’s Bridal to shop for a prom or wedding dress. Or get a new pair of glasses at Darrell M Sipe Optician. 

Some store fronts still sit dusty and vacant but others are now a place to grab an in-house brewed beer or create a piece of art. 

For many communities, downtown is the face of the area, said Gary Laird, the president of the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce. 

“The first impression of the area may be what they experience when they drive through Center Square,” Laird said. “I moved here 20 years ago … the first thing I did was drive through Center Square about ten times,”

About five or six years ago, Laird remembers countless people saying they avoided downtown because there wasn’t anything to stop for. However, in the past five years, a number of businesses have opened, including Timeline Arcade, Divino Pizzeria and two breweries.

Hanover’s Main Street program is working to recreate that vibrant, active downtown that long-standing business owners and patrons remember. 

“The trend is now shifting towards revitalizing downtown properties and re-purposing, reusing and redeveloping them with things that improve upon the downtown community,”  said Justine Trucksess, the manager of 

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