Jan 022018

Mark Your Spot

Windows in Salem Ma are more than things to look through. During the December (and into January) holiday season they are canvases to look upon! For our annual Holiday Window Contest over 30 Downtown District merchants decorated their windows with scenes of the season. Creativity abounded. And our judges, as always, had a difficult time in narrowing the list down

Some award categories highlight good retail design – use of store products or display of a business’ services, use of lighting – or types of design, like painted windows. Again, this year, the Contest Legacy award is given to businesses who have demonstrated high quality windows across consecutive years, while the Contest Newcomer recognizes businesses with high quality displays who have not previously or regularly participated in the contest.

“We had some truly fantastic windows this year, as always,” said Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director. “We give the judges the freedom to create new award categories based on what they see each particular year – but even then, we ended up with more awards and more ties than ever!”

Best Overall: Mark Your Spot
Honorable Mention – Emporium 32 and The Happy Sunflower

Contest Legacy (demonstrating high quality year after year): The Coven’s Cottage and Pamplemousse

Contest Newcomer: Moody Interiors
Honorable Mention – Witch City Wicks and Waite & Peirce

Best Use of Product: Boston Woodturning
Honorable Mention – Partridge in a Bear Tree and Waters & Brown

Best Showcase of Service: Witch Pix and LightShed Photography

Best Use of Lighting: Mark Your Spot
Honorable Mention – Peabody Essex Museum Shop

Best Painted Windows: Brothers Taverna and Life Alive
Honorable Mention – SATV

Emporium 32

The Happy Sunflower











Salem Main Streets congratulates the Holiday Window Contest winners, as well as every downtown merchant that was able to participate in this fun event.

Nov 242017

Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is the day that small businesses in Salem and all along Main Street USA really look forward to: Small Business Saturday. First observed in the United States on November 27, 2010, it is a day when communities of shoppers are urged to support the convenience of driving or even walking to their local brick & mortar businesses, instead of fighting the crowds at faraway over-crowded malls.

That kick-off Small Business Saturday was sponsored by American Express, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and Roslindale Village Main Street. Since then it has grown into a nationwide event, with an estimated 112 million consumers reported to have shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday in 2016.

Shopping Local Is An Experience

Small Business Saturday is so great,” explains Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets, “because it’s not just about the shopping or the things – though with over 200 locally-operated storefronts in downtown Salem, there’s certainly no shortage of gifts and treats to be found! Instead it’s more about the experience of being part of a community, the feeling you get when you’re in a locally-owned business that simply can’t be replicated in a box store or online.”

You can walk into a locally-owned Salem store and actually speak to a clerk with product knowledge of items in the store. Or just as likely, you can chat with the store owner! Ever talk to the owner or even manager of a big box store (unless to complain)?

Adds Elizabeth Rutledge, EVP of Global Advertising and Media at American Express, “People across the country are aware of the benefits that small businesses can bring to the community, and the momentum that was started with the first Small Business Saturday continues to build.”

That is backed up by the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express. Among U.S. consumers who went out and shopped in-store, total reported spending reached an estimated $15.4 billion at independent retailers and restaurants in 2016.

You will be in good company.

So, a word to the wise, relax on Friday and Monday. And make Saturday your day for walking out of Salem stores with good deals for your holiday and other gift giving needs!

Mar 032017

Did you notice a larger than usual crowd walking about Salem this evening? It will get even bigger as the 10th annual Salem Film Fest gets underway.

Regarded and highly respected as one of New England’s largest documentary film festivals, it presents a rich and diverse collection of the year’s best work from all over the world.

Film screenings take place March 3-9 at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), and the National Park Service Visitor Center. The schedule and full breadth of the week-long events can be viewed at salemfilmfest.com. Attendance at this year’s screening is easily expected to surpass last year’s record setting 6,000+ viewers.

Salem Film Fest concentrates on well-told stories with strong technical elements and interesting visual approaches, letting narratives unfold that wind their way through the human experience in the USA and foreign lands. Many of the films represent a US, East Coast or regional premiere. Filmmakers are expected to be present for more than half of the screenings, giving audiences a unique advantage to learn about the documentary process.

SFF 2017 offers a diverse schedule of feature length and short documentaries, parties, discussions, meet-and-greets, family-friendly screenings, student film showcases, and opportunities to meet visiting filmmakers in intimate settings.

Each film provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the encounters of others in a dramatic and sensory way, embarking upon what is different and recognizing what is common to us all. “The world is an amazing place,” is an oft worn but timely phrase. Salem Film Fest affirms that travel quote for your eyes and ears to behold. And some films may strike that ‘responsive chord’ that can change your life forever.

Again, go to film titles and times for full list of options to see.

Salem Film Fest was founded in 2008 by filmmaker Joe Cultrera (HAND OF GOD), local businessman Paul Van Ness (CinemaSalem, Van Ness Creative), Executive Director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce Rinus Oosthoek and others from the community. Run and operated entirely by volunteers, the week-long festival has become a community-wide event with screenings at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum and the National Park Service Salem Visitor Center with filmmaker parties and music events held at venues throughout downtown. Fueled by great films, dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic audiences, festival attendance has grown 15 to 25 percent each year.

Accept our invitation to see the world up close and personal.

Feb 122017

The conversation has begun. Are you a part of it? Do you want to be? Mayor Kim Driscoll, in her State of the City address last month, announced a community visioning process known as Imagine Salem. All Salem residents and community members are invited to join the Imagine Salem community conversation to prepare a road map to what they want the community to look like in 2026—the year that Salem celebrates its 400th anniversary.

The dialogue will be framed around housing, jobs, and transportation with themes of equity and inclusiveness woven throughout the topics. The vision will serve as a guide for future decisions.

“Salem has seen tremendous investment and growth over the past ten years,” said Mayor Driscoll. “New residents are joining longtime families in calling Salem home. Brownfields are being transformed, the waterfront is coming alive, and downtown has become a vibrant destination for the region. We’ve made important investments in our infrastructure, and our local economy is robust. Now the question is what kind of city do we want to be in ten years? How do we make sure our city is best positioned to continue our prosperity? From schools to housing and transportation to employment, let’s set some expectations for ourselves and then work to get them done.”

What can you do now?

  • Visit the website (www.imaginesalem.org).
  • Take a brief online survey.
  • Like Imagine Salem on Facebook.
  • Share a photo on Instagram.
  • Attend the citywide meeting on March 8 (6:30 PM Salem High School).
  • Come to a small get-together for coffee and conversation.

Those interested in doing more are invited to host a small group conversation. The conversation could be over a cup of coffee, at a book club, or a Sunday lunch with the family — however you typically meet with your friends, family, or social groups.

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) will provide you with the tools you need to facilitate a fun and engaging conversation about the future of Salem. Contact the DPCD (imaginesalem@salem.com, 978-619-5685) for more information.

“The people of Salem are what make this City great,” said Mayor Driscoll. “Our community’s vision should reflect their lives and experiences, and advance our collective hopes and dreams. I urge everyone to join the Imagine Salem conversation. I hope you will participate in as many ways as possible. Your contributions will help shape the vision for Salem’s future.”

Dec 192016

Dressed for the season with trees, wreaths, and ribbons, Salem is ready for the Holiday Season. In fact, over 20 downtown businesses have decorated their windows especially for the holidays as part of our traditional Holiday Window Contest. Judges nominated by Salem Main Streets recently did a little window shopping of their own to vote on the best windows.

“We had some truly fantastic windows this year, as always,” said Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director. “We gave the judges extra freedom to create new award categories based on what they saw this particular year.”

Some award categories highlight good retail design – use of product or use of light – while others highlighted types of participation or partnerships.

For example, the Contest Legacy award was given to businesses who have demonstrated high quality windows across consecutive years, while the Contest Newcomer recognized businesses with high quality displays who have not regularly participated in the contest.

And, the new Salem Spirit award recognized those who exemplified the true spirit of community in the design of their windows.

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Best Overall: The Happy Sunflower

Best Use of Product: Curtsy
Honorable Mention –  Partridge in the Bear Tree

Best Use of Lighting: Emporium 32
Honorable Mention – Hair Express

Contest Legacy (demonstrating high quality year after year): ReFind Men’s
Honorable Mention – Pamplemousse

Contest Newcomer: Aroma Sanctum
Honorable Mention – Witch Pix

Salem Spirit: The Coven’s Cottage, nAGLY

If you haven’t looked at the windows yet, we recommend going this week, especially during Festive Fridays, when numerous businesses around the downtown have committed to staying open until 8 pm to aid in your holiday shopping. More information about Festive Fridays and participating businesses can be found at this location.

In addition, this year, you get a chance to win! Salem Main Streets is holding two social media competitions on Facebook and Instagram right now.  Post a picture of your favorite #salemholidaywindows, or take a #selfiewithashopkeeper on Festive Friday nights, and you could win a prize from a local business.

For more information about the Holiday Window Contest, contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director, at (978)744-0004 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org,  and follow Salem Main Streets on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.