An initiative by Ripon College in Ripon’s historic downtown is revitalizing an underutilized building.
In January, the building at 329 Watson Street — formerly known as Gallagher’s Pub and adjacent to Ripon’s popular J’s BBQ restaurant — became home to the college’s newest venture, Bovay’s Study Bar & Mercantile.
The hip multi-purpose downtown location is just steps away from the college’s Carnegie administration building. It includes a 30-seat high-tech classroom, faculty office, ample study spaces, flexible campus and community event space, a retail store, and a performance stage and sound system. In response to student needs, Bovay’s is open late into the evening and features barista coffee service by Mugs Coffeehouse during peak study hours.
Student interns working in the space will benefit from hands-on experiential training in marketing, merchandising and small business management.
Bovay’s, in part, replaces the campus bookstore, which closed in early February. Moving forward, students will order textbooks online using one of their own devices or an online kiosk in Bovay’s. An online apparel and gifts store will supplement the brick and mortar mercantile.
Bovay’s takes its name from Alvan Bovay, a founder of a part of the city known as “Bovay’s addition.” The addition constituted what is now the south end of Watson Street and paved the way for the founding of Ripon College. Bovay’s life exemplifies active citizenship and public service. He played a central role in Ripon’s development and was a founder of Brockway College (later Ripon College) and of the new Republican Party, founded in Ripon in 1854.
College and Main Street officials hope the new venture will help with the continued growth and revitalization of downtown while also serving to bolster college-community ties and meet the needs of the student body.