Town and Campus switches owner after over 56 years

Bret Belden

After running the local clothing and memorabilia store, Town and Campus, for 56 years, former owner Jesse Gangwer has passed his business on to new owner, Peter Murphy.  Murphy has owned the store for a few weeks now and claims it is here to stay.    

“The store will be maintained as Town and Campus—it’s just going to be a little updated,” said Murphy, who hails from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and owns other properties in Durham including the apartments on Rosemary Lane.     Unlike the previous owner, Murphy won’t be routinely running the store during business hours. However, the store will be seemingly no different; minus Gangwer’s welcoming and familiar smile.   

“I, myself, won’t be running the store but I’m going to be keeping things as is, for now,” Murphy said. 

According to their website, the store has been open since 1960. Town and Campus is known for their welcoming customer service and variety of goods that every college student might need, ranging from university-affiliated merchandise to sporting goods and other miscellaneous items.   Murphy confirmed that after seeing that the Gangwers were retiring after running the store for over half a century,  he saw an opportunity to purchase it and he took it. 

“They had been there for over 56 years running that store…It’s such an iconic building in Durham,” Murphy said. “The business had been there for [almost] 60 years and it’s in close proximity to the university, which makes it very valuable.” 

Murphy said that he plans to do some minor renovations in the residences above Town and Campus, as well as some of the other shops lining Jenkins Court, also included in the property. Murphy suspects the renovations are not going to halt any business at the store.