This is the first in our brand-new “Business Spotlight of the Month” series! 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. First up, Kylie and our intern Cherese paid a visit to The Marble Faun.
Where: 131-1 Essex Street
Owners: Jessica and Anne DeStefano
The Business: Named after the Hawthorne book of the same title, The Marble Faun is a charming retail shop and book store with a wry sense of humor that defies definition. Owner Jessica DeStefano did her best to boil it down to a “literary-inspired gift shop stocked with eclectic and antique books, classic authors, humor, Steampunk, unique souvenirs, Hawthorne, Jane Austen and Poe novelty and t-shirts, jewelry, soaps, candles, and more.” What a mouthful! Oh yeah, and we left out the tea, the stationary, the corsets, the bags… It’s hard to understand how everything fits in in this small store, but somehow it all works.
Starting in Salem: If you haven’t heard of The Marble Faun, that’s because it’s relatively new. Jessica worked for a number of years in the House of Seven Gables’ gift shop, and always made a point of listening carefully to what people liked. She and her mother Anne had long talked about what they would carry “when they opened their own store.” When they were finally ready to take the plunge, the timing was just right to grab their current location on Essex. They opened in the space next to Comida Taqueria in the summer of 2013.
Surprises Await: It surprised us to learn how much of the Marble Faun’s merchandise is custom-ordered or made in-house. The DeStefanos designed their own Poe and Hawthorne-themed stationary to reflect Jessica’s background in professional writing. All jewelry from “The Moon Stone” line is personally designed and made by Anne. Steampunk-themed t-shirts designed specifically for the store join the list of items that can only be found at the Marble Faun.
That Special Something: A book lover’s dream, The Marble Faun is intended to appeal to both locals and out-of-towners. Regulars come in for the tea and the latest literary craze, visitors can find something uniquely Salem, and holiday shoppers are sure to find stocking-stuffers and humorous gifts galore. Jessica adds, “I think people will begin to realize that we’re a one-stop shop.”
When we asked what makes The Marble Faun unique, Jessica exclaimed, “These are all of my favorite things! And I think that they’re other people’s favorite things, too.” After an hour of exploring and discovering many of our own favorites, we have to agree.