, Salem, MA

September 24, 2013

Cafe makes Powell accessible

Paul Leighton

---- — Note to readers: Five candidates are on the preliminary election ballot for one available seat representing Ward 1 on the Beverly City Council. The top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 5 final election.

BEVERLY — Since 1999, Susan Woods Powell has talked local politics with her customers at the Ryal Side Cafe on Bridge Street. Now she wants to put some of those lessons learned to good use on the City Council.

“I’m easily accessible. People know where to find me,” Powell said. “I’m willing to talk to anybody at any time.”

Powell, a 50-year-old Beverly native, said her experience as a small-business owner would be valuable to the City Council. To help diversify her business, she opened a T-shirt shop inside her restaurant.

“I’ve been very creative in keeping a small business afloat by myself in tough economic times,” she said. “I think I can bring my creative ideas to generate revenue rather than increasing taxes and fees.”

Before opening the cafe, Powell raised her two children, Dylan, an economics major at Bentley University, and Daryl, who recently graduated from Worcester State.

“They are both very proud of my decision to get involved and make a difference in our community,” she said.

Powell said she has raised money for Habitat for Humanity and has contributed “countless gift certificates and catering” to local charities and community events.

As a city councilor, she said she would work on building a new middle school, repaving Rantoul Street and improving the waterfront.

“I’ve never been a politician, but I’ve always been involved with local politics,” she said. “I like to know where my tax dollars are being spent.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or