Shopping in the Lebanon Area
The Powerhouse is this old Mill building, very much like the River Mill complex, and it almost fits that it doesn't have its own website, as the image it projects strives to maintain an almost antique look to it. Don't let this deter you, however! The Powerhouse is really worth checking out. Don't plan on buying much of anything there unless you're rich, though. They have a candy store on the first floor that may be in tune with most people's budgets, but past that there really isn't a whole lot to offer the young mind. They have many novelty stores, so if you're in the mood to buy expensive polished rocks or fine fur rugs, stop by. They also have a bookshop on the first floor called Best Sellers. I've purchased four books from there over the past 4 years, and I've always found them extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Up on the top floor there's a couple clothing stores, but again, if you're not rich, you probably don't want to bother working your way up the steps unless you like being brushed off by snobby suit sellers. At the far end there is an EMS, and as far as I know, it's the only chain store in the entire arcade. If you're from around the area, you may notice that no matter when you go in, you will see someone you know. This is truly bizarre because there never seems to be more than a dozen people in the building at once. The majority of the shops are empty, by the way. It does have a hollow feel to it, sort of like something bad happened and scared everyone away. We talked to a couple merchants before they left, and the reason was quite obvious: running a shop there costs a lot of money, and for many small businesses, the benefits of being in such a classy atmosphere are just not worth it. Overall though, it's worth checking out, especially during the winter, as they really go crazy decking the halls, and such.
I don't know what the official names for all these plazas are, but most people simply refer to them by the biggest store they hold anyways. The K-Mart plaza is the lesser of two right on 12A. It has a shoe place or two, some junk stores, an pearl vision center, a Ritz camera, and the K-Mart. I feel obligated to mention the Ritz camera. Never before have I seen such a group of professionals anywhere. I had a camera I purchased from the Nashua Ritz, it sucked, never worked, sent it out, they sent it back still broken, and when the Lebanon Ritz heard my story, right there they just took everything I had, broken or not, and set me up with a regular 35 mm SLR I'm using today. They even through in some filters to make the dollar amount work out, and when they gave me the 17 cents left over, I knew that I had encountered one of the likely very few times in my life I would ever deal with such a courteous and professional group of individuals. I tip my hat to these fellows. If every business ran such a business model, although probably not very profitable, I think we could do away with complaint departments altogether. One more thing: Any regional photograph you see on this entire website, and many others, is all thanks to this same Ritz camera. Those guys are too cool. Other than the Ritz, and the Pearl Vision Center, there really isn't anything worth writing home about. The K-Mart is a dump, although the junk stores make it look quite attractive. If you want to spend your night shopping in a plaza, check out the J.C. Penney plaza.
J.C. Penney Plaza
The better of the two plazas on 12A, the J.C. Penney plaza hosts quite a few more shops, and of these shops, they are much more recognized, better stocked, and more fun. You have a small Sears outlet, a Kay Bee Toy store, a Coconuts music shop, a CVS, an AMES, a BookSmith, a sports shop, the Penny's, and a couple others. There's also a supermarket across the parking lot. You can almost walk to the Staples on the other side of the plaza, but it's better to just drive. I don't personally have any stories about anything spectacular in this plaza, although I've always been impressed with the inventory at the Book Smith.
There are some other areas of interest, although none of them are as heavy a hitter as either plaza or even the Power House. In Lebanon there are a few stores along Route 4. If you look around you can find some car audio stores and many car dealerships. I haven't had a good chance to check out all the nooks the center of Lebanon has to offer. Around the Lebanon town common there are some really nice places to hang out. Hopefully someone familiar with that area will share their opinions.