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October 15, 2012

Reaping the benefits

In Salem, even non-Halloween retailers like October

SALEM — It has been so busy on October weekends at Re-find, a women’s clothing boutique on Washington Street, that they posted the train schedule inside the store.

Why?

“We make sure there are no bathroom breaks (for the staff) ... when the train is coming,” co-owner Shelley Matthews said with a laugh.

Matthews was only partially joking. Although bathroom breaks are permitted, she does want her staff to be aware of the train schedule so they can handle the Halloween crowds efficiently, allowing customers time to shop — and buy — and still make the train back to Boston or other destinations.

It has been a crazy Halloween season at Re-find and several other retail stores that don’t cater to the traditional Halloween crowds that come for haunted houses or fortunetellers. But when the crowds come for the holiday fun, many retailers benefit.

“We had absolutely the most amazing Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Matthews said in an interview last week. “It was a record-breaking weekend.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she has two stores, including Re-find Men’s on Essex Street.

While the Re-find stores are relatively new, there are some vintage Salem retailers that also welcome the Haunted Happenings season.

“It’s the busiest month of the year for us,” said Ted Monroe, co-owner of Derby Square Book Store, which is in its 38th year.

The bookstore, as locals know, is something of an attraction all on its own. Books are stacked in piles that reach almost to the ceiling and look as if they could topple at any moment. Even at the checkout counter, books are stacked several feet high, forcing Monroe to peer out at customers through a narrow peephole.

“I think the store is enough of a curiosity that people tend to wander in,” he said. “The fact we’re next to The Magic Parlor doesn’t hurt.”

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