, Salem, MA


June 19, 2013

End of an era

Last original Pickering Wharf shop to close

SALEM — Period brass candlesticks and other items are 30 percent off at Peter D. Barter Flowers and Colonial Gifts on Derby Street on Pickering Wharf.

It’s not a simple summer sale, but a sign that the last remaining original store on the wharf is closing this summer.

“People are sad,” said Betsy Barter Menici, the store’s manager and owner Peter Barter’s daughter, about the locals who are coming by the shop. “A lot of the local people know Peter so well.”

Peter Barter’s wife of 55 years, Hilda, who ran the neurology department at Beverly Hospital before retiring in the mid-1990s, also works in the shop. Their daughter has kept the store going while Peter Barter, 82, has been sick the past three years, Hilda Barter said. Their son, Brian, also helps out.

“I think it’s good right now,” said Hilda Barter. “Betsy, it’s a lot for her to do. It’s about time for Peter to take some years and not have to worry about anything.”

Peter Barter said he had great fun running his shop, helping supply flowers for fundraising galas for the North Shore Music Theatre or being a merchant for all things Colonial Williamsburg. He would often be asked to help make a wedding special or memorialize someone who died, sometimes someone he knew personally.

“I was told I did not have to put a card in my arrangements — everyone knew they were done here,” he said.

An artist, painter, floral designer and lover of the Colonial aesthetic, Peter Barter opened his shop a few doors down on Pickering Wharf in 1979, at the present location of Jaho Coffee and Tea.

“That store was designed right after a Williamsburg building interior, and it had perfect, perfect balance,” he said.

In 1985, when the rent became too high and the flower shop needed more visibility, Peter Barter moved his store to its present location, which used to be a men’s clothing store. He also took over a small shop next door.

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