Water Street in Exeter, NH is a commercial street that is home to many local businesses and cafes. One of the most successful and well known local businesses is a clothing store called Lunachics, which is located in the middle of this commercial street. Lunachics has been around since 2002 and has been greatly successful to women and men of all ages. This store attracts students from the boarding school Philips Exeter Academy and many local residents as well. Ever since its opening in 2002, Lunachics has been known to sell quality denim, but the atmosphere of the store is what attracts customers as they state on their website, “We are known for our extensive denim collection, our friendly and knowledgeable staff and our incredible accessories selection. But what makes LunaChics a truly unique shopping experience is our comfy couch section complete with a TV, toys and of course Dana’s infamous black lab Sophie.” The store is run by 5-9 employees all of whom are from around the area and are well known to local customers. Over the Thanksgiving break and anytime I have entered the store; the customers are usually white as well as the employees. The socioeconomic status of the customers seem to vary however the clothing prices remain fairly expensive. The past history of Lunachics is very similar to the present. Lunachics has been selling the same brands of jeans, clothing, and bags as it always has granted a few exceptions as they now sell more items and of a greater variety.
Lunachics and Exeter’s downtown commercial strip can be connected to specific case studies in the book Global Cities, Local Streets: Everyday Diversity from New York to Shanghai. Chapter 6 “Toronto’s Changing Neighborhoods” states that, “Commercial strips are essential in maintaining the cultural and socioeconomic identity of the neighborhoods” (p. 141). The downtown area of Exeter, NH relies heavily on the commercial strip of Water Street due to its steady income of local customers and visitors. Without these stores, there would be no street available to local vendors within Exeter, and it would be seen as very difficult for residents and visitors to walk around and shop within the town. In the same chapter of the book, there is a case study on the Bloordale shopping street. Bloordale’s past used to be associated with drugs, suffering storefronts, and crime, however in recent years it has undergone a transformation with the construction of art galleries and cafes among other attractions. The town of Exeter has had a history with drugs and suffering storefronts, especially along Water Street. There have been numerous businesses that have become bankrupt and replaced by new businesses which created a negative economic cycle. However in the past twenty years, these commercial shops in Exeter have been successful due to an increase in neighboring cafes that have been attracting many customers. Lunachics and other local commercial stores and cafes along Water Street have kept the downtown area of Exeter a prosperous and entertaining place where local residents and visitors enjoy shopping and walking around.
Nicole Lowell ’18