Here’s a First Look Inside Davoll’s General Store in Dartmouth
While standing outside of the new Davoll’s General Store, Ben Shattuck greeted three people in the time it took him to tell me about the new sign that graces the older building. That’s the level of familiarity you have with everyone when your family traces back to Dartmouth for over 100 years. Generations of Shattucks have grown up in this town, with Davoll’s at the center of their upbringing.
That’s why this store means so much to them. Ben and his brother, Will used to ride their bikes there all the time and now the Shattuck brothers own a piece of their family history.
“I’ve always loved Davoll’s,” Shattuck said. “So many streets intersect here and it’s like its own little planet with people revolving around it. You’d see people run into each other, meet new people, and just have a sense of community here. There's a reason it survived this long and it's because of the members of the community that supported it.”
Interestingly enough, Ben's middle name is Slocum, after the river that he and Will spent so much time on. Will's middle name is Russell, but he wasn't 100 percent sure that he was named after the famous street in Dartmouth. The two have strong roots in the community and Davoll's is a very special project.
Shattuck refers to this as “rigging an incredibly complicated ship.” After pulling all the appropriate permits, scheduling all the work that needed to be done, and creating the store from the vision for the space, it’s truly been a labor of love.
“I see this as a tapestry of businesses," Shattuck said. "Each section is different and unique, but provides everything you need in one place.”
Not only did the Shattucks revive the general store, but brought new life to the space for everyone to enjoy. There is a bookstore, café, and pub. There will even be writing workshops and author readings once the store is well established. Shattuck was excited to explain the concept behind the café and pub.
“I spent some time in Holland and there is a custom called ‘borreltjd’ that really resonated with me,” Shattuck said. “It's when the responsibilities of the day kind of fall away and you begin to welcome the night. That’s what I wanted to create here. A place where you could stop for a Guinness and a small plate on your way home from work and meet new people to connect with before going home.”
“Borrels” is not to be confused with happy hour. It’s simply meant to help create the experience of community that we lost along the way. In the digital age, we replace face-to-face time with FaceTime. The Shattuck brothers wanted to provide something that helps us get back to real connections.
In another effort to help us slow down, the telephone booth has a secret that Shattuck shared. If you call a special phone number, you can hear a recording of Shattuck's fiancée, actress and comedian Jenny Slate (Zootopia, Secret Life of Pets, Parks and Recreation), reading a selection of poems by some of the greats. From Robert Frost to Walt Whitman, there are more than two dozen poems to choose from and more on the way.
Shattuck is very proud to welcome everyone to the cozy general store that brought him so much joy growing up.
“I hope people come and appreciate all the nooks and discoveries we have waiting for them,” Shattuck said. “It’s nice to contribute something to the world that makes people feel good and isn’t complicated.”
Davoll’s General Store had a soft opening on Thursday, July 22, and is now open from 7 am to 7 pm, seven days a week.