Kylie S

May 112017

Street Sense is a semiregular column with Salem Main Streets’ executive director Kylie Sullivan, highlighting common sense lessons learned while supporting the delightfully uncommon community of downtown Salem, MA.

Photo Credit – Creative Salem

Last week, I had the honor of participating in Innonorth’s panel on marketing locally. As I began to consider the topic – specifically marketing LOCALLY – I realized I actually had a lot to say, because Main Streets and local marketing are both all about people and connections. So here are a few of my personal takes on what it means to market locally in a community like Salem.

Downtown Salem is made up of small businesses – many of them microbusinesses (<5 full-time equivalent staff). For a lot of us, this is one of the things we really love about Salem – we love shopping local, we love knowing the person behind the product, and we love that they know us. There’s nothing more special than going into a business and being welcomed by name by the owner. This means that your business is really about you, no matter how good your product is. The great thing about your personal brand is that it’s the cheapest and most effective form of marketing you can invest in! It also makes it easy to represent your business when you’re simply doing the things you already enjoy – joining a running club, attending community events, supporting another business’ opening. The downside is that there’s a lot more on the line. Brands are about trust. It can take years to build a strong brand, and seconds to ruin one – and when you add your personal brand to your business brand, the number of ways you can accidentally mess up are immediately amplified. So be aware of this in your daily life, at the grocery store, at the bar, on social media (that’s right, even your personal social media can impact your business – perhaps unfair, but true). It can be exhausting, but it’s incredibly important to keep this in mind.

*Be present.
The best way to make use of your personal brand is to be present in the daily life of the community. This could mean physically, online, or financially, but if you’re keeping to yourself in an engaged community like Salem, odds are that the locals are going to overlook you. Sponsor local festivals, come to networking events, maintain a social media presence, participate in downtown promotional efforts. Like any marketing plan, it takes a while to figure out what works best for you – both what’s easiest for you personally and what gets you the most traction – but you won’t know until you try.

*Be a positive advocate for the community.
The emphasis is on positive advocacy. Small-scale economic and community development only really work if most of us are pulling in the same direction, but community advocacy is also an important marketing tool.  Customers respond to local businesses that look beyond their own walls to support local causes, advocate for positive change within their industry, or collaborate with other local businesses.  Additional insider tip: being an active and positive advocate also makes it more likely that local entities (like Salem Main Streets, let’s say) will think of you first when they’re looking for a downtown business to promote or highlight.

*Don’t forget to talk about what you do!
A lot of local business owners work so hard to make sure that the community knows them as people that they forget to say what their business actually does – and are then hurt or surprised when a community member doesn’t choose their business the next time they need something. Now, I’m not saying that you should be spouting off your elevator speech at every social occasion, or shoving business cards at people who haven’t asked for one – this can actually be extremely off-putting. But keeping your eyes and ears open for opportunities, and not being afraid to talk about what you do and what you’re proud of can go a long way when working in a small community.

*Be genuine and believe in your product.
Transparency is incredibly important to any consumer, but especially to those who choose to shop locally. And maybe it’s a result of living in a historic community with a strong tourist economy, but I feel that Salemites are particularly sensitive to insincerity. The good news is that this makes it even easier to be true to your personal brand – the less distance that exists between your professional self and your personal self, the less difficult it is to make sure that your brand remains consistent over time.

Aug 172016

PEM PM Aug 2016

When the days of August fall to a precious few, unhappy memories of winters past resurrect themselves to create the “end of summer blues.” You don’t want to shovel snow again; don’t even want to think of it again. Cheer up. The Peabody Essex Museum has the cure! Coming up this Thursday, Aug. 18th is the next PEM/PM late night party, called simply End of Summer Blues.

The key word is “blues.”

The PEM invites you to come to the Museum from 6-9pm to enjoy local blues bands, be a part of the music with instrument making, and style yourself blue with denim art workshops. There will also be lawn games and backyard BBQ food while enjoying a selection of beer.

Let this celebration of the good times of summer help you moderate your perspective onto the good things of fall/winter. Special family visits. Pumpkin picking. Tree selecting and tree lighting. Snowman making. Ski trips. Holiday meals.  New Year’s Eve parties.

Summer into Autumn into Winter is inevitable . Just as is Winter into Spring back into Summer. Each season has a value and this Thursday, PEM invites you to celebrate the summer of 2016.

The Peabody Essex Museum is located at East India Square (161 Essex St) in Salem, MA. For more info, call 978-745- 9500 .

May 242016

We’re bringing the monthly Business Spotlight back!  Every month, Salem Main Streets will highlight a business in downtown Salem that might be relatively unknown, off-the-beaten path, misunderstood, or just plain cool. This month, we took a trip with our partner Creative Salem to answer a long-wondered question – what exactly IS a waterbar? Thank you to Creative Salem for the amazing photo-documentation – you can see their glossier version of this article here.

What: Ocean Chic Boutique & Waterbar
Where: 96 Wharf Street, Salem, MA
Owner: Erica Kirwan

When you step into Ocean Chic, it’s hard not feel like you’ve stepped into a mini-vacation. You stand a little looser, breathe a little deeper, and slow down a bit more.  And that’s no accident – owner Erica Kirwan has worked hard to make sure her own “little slice of heaven” on Pickering Wharf inspires a sense of positivity and relaxation. Celebrating its two year anniversary this week, many people are still discovering what makes Ocean Chic so special.

After a life in the corporate world helping other entrepreneurs make their dreams come true, Erica Kirwan was ready to slow down and make something that was distinctly her own.  From the beachy, bo-ho feel to the inspirational jewelry and art found around the store, the whole store reflects “all of my favorite things,” says Kirwan.  The city of Salem itself was also important in creating Ocean Chic, as a maritime community with a positive energy of its own that just felt right. Kirwan adds, “If I hadn’t found Salem, Ocean Chic wouldn’t exist.”

Kirwan defines her boutique as having “big brands you know, and local ones you’re going to love” – and it’s absolutely true.  Ocean Chic is the only boutique in town to carry some of the big-name brands common to high-end seaside communities, including Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer, but also carries smaller local brands as well as unique brands from the West Coast. The boutique is also one of the only places in town to buy bathing suits and other beach wear. Not sure what works for you, or planning a new vacation wardrobe? Ocean Chic also offers personal styling services, which also make for a great gift if you’re not sure what someone on your list might like.

But we all know that shopping can be a thirsty business! The waterbar at Ocean Chic is designed to refresh as well as being yet another way of encouraging shoppers to slow down and enjoy their time. After weaning herself away from the extreme amounts of coffee in her corporate life, Kirwan herself discovered how much there is to water.  From maple water to boxed water to coconut water lattes (for those who still need their caffeine!), there’s always something new to sit and sip at Ocean Chic.  Not sure if you’re going to like something? Consider asking for a flight!

Ocean Chic is open 7 days a week (sometimes less during the winter), online 24/7/365 at, and on social media via Facebook and Instagram. You can also join Ocean Chic on celebrating its second birthday this Thursday evening, 5 pm to 8 pm!




Mar 312016


The Salem Arts Festival, held every year on the first full weekend in June (June 3-5, 2016), has become the first harbinger of summer in downtown Salem over the past seven years.  But a lot of work and fun goes into supporting the Arts Festival all through the spring, and there are plenty of ways for YOU to get involved right now!

  • Do you, or an organization you’re affiliated with, want to contribute your own small piece of art to a large-scale community-built public art project?  Move With Me, a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv, will feature a temporary installation of community-produced pinwheels over Front Street during the festival.  Student/artist/organizational groups can contact Claudia about participating, or individuals can join a pinwheel workshop any Tuesday evening in April.
  • Are you a business or individual who would like to support the festival? Sponsors who make a commitment by April 5 can get complimentary tickets to our amazing Fashion Show fundraiser!  Speaking of which…
  • Do you like FUN?!  Now in its third year, our annual Fashion Show Fundraiser is quickly becoming one of the hottest nights of the year. There’s no better way to show your support for the Arts Festival, and thanks to our fundraiser sponsor People’s United Bank, absolutely all proceeds from the evening go directly to supporting the festival in June.

Salem Arts Festival 2015 Photos by Creative Salem_4748

The Salem Arts Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets and a collaboration of Salem organizations which provide support for the festival, including the Salem State University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Arts Association, Salem Food Tours, and Creative Salem.

Mar 242016

We’re bringing the monthly Business Spotlight back!  Every month, Salem Main Streets will highlight a business in downtown Salem that might be relatively unknown, off-the-beaten path, misunderstood, or just plain cool. This month, we took a trip with our partner Creative Salem to get a sneak peek at an older business with a new vision. Thank you to Creative Salem for the amazing photo-documentation – you can see their glossier version of this article here.

RESIZED Melt Ice Cream collaboration with Salem Main Streets and Creative Salem_0468

What: Melt Ice Cream
Where: 60 Washington Street, Salem, MA
Owner: Christiana Kroondyk

Many locals got understandably anxious this winter when they saw brown paper on the windows of The Salem Screamery, a favorite ice cream parlor, but when we got the scoop (sorry, couldn’t help ourselves), the news ended up to be better than we could have anticipated.  After a year of operating the Salem Screamery, the current owner is finally transitioning the business over to reflect her own brand and vision. The results are simply delicious.

Salem resident Christiana Kroondyk isn’t afraid to do things a little unconventionally, with flavors or with business. Kroondyk first started dreaming about her own ice cream line during a 2009 vacation, when she visited an ice cream parlor with deliciously unconventional flavors and thought, “I want to do that!” She started playing with her own combinations at home a few years later, and came up with the concept of Melt as an artisanal ice cream line. The original plan was to start as a vendor at farmers’ markets and slowly develop the product over time – but when the chance came to buy the Salem Screamery last year, it was too good to pass up.

This definitely turned Kroondyk’s timetable around a bit – instead of establishing the product until she was ready for a storefront, she suddenly had a storefront before she had established her own product!  She made the decision to keep operating as the Salem Screamery for the first year, continuing to source from Bliss Bros. Dairy while learning the ropes of running a storefront business and slowly introducing her own, unique homemade flavors.  If you noticed new options popping up last year like pumpkin, sweet potato fluff, or anise with candied fennel seeds (!), you have an idea of where this is going.

RESIZED Melt Ice Cream collaboration with Salem Main Streets and Creative Salem_0501 RESIZED Melt Ice Cream collaboration with Salem Main Streets and Creative Salem_0539RESIZED Melt Ice Cream collaboration with Salem Main Streets and Creative Salem_0597







So what makes Melt different? Kroondyk’s vision for Melt has always included a strong focus on community and locally-sourced ingredients. Current flavors feature a number of ingredients from local, regional businesses, including coffee beans from Atomic Coffee Roasters (Salem), sea-salt brownie bits from Jodi Bee Bakes (Salem), chocolate from Taza Chocolate (Somerville), tea from MEM Tea (Watertown), nuts from That Nutty Redhead (Rockport), and candies from Sweet Lydia’s (Lowell).  The interior is open and inviting, including work by local artist Scott Froeschl (keep your eyes peeled for a mural coming soon). Last but not least, all ice cream is now made on-site in Melt’s beautiful, brand-new ice cream mixer! Kroondyk has also started making additional ingredients in-house, including homemade waffle cones.

Melt Ice Cream opens its doors on Thursday, March 24th, and will be open SEVEN DAYS A WEEK: for now, 1pm – 8pm on Sunday – Thursday, 1pm – 9pm, and Friday – Saturday.  Stop in to treat yourself and support a great new local business!

RESIZED Melt Ice Cream collaboration with Salem Main Streets and Creative Salem_0458