SALEM — Whether it’s a bookstore, diner, pub or fried clam joint at the water’s edge, this summer will be a season of change for some of the city’s most prominent business spots.
A tour of transforming businesses might well start on the Essex Street pedestrian mall, where Wicked Good Books opened quietly last weekend in the same spot Derby Square Books occupied for 39 years. Denise Kent, who owns the store with her husband, Mike Gibson, said she has been “thrilled” with the turnout so far, and the support from other local businesses.
“So many people came in and thanked us for remaining a bookstore and, well, cleaning up the piles of mile-high books that had been there before,” she said. “A lot of people had not gone into the old store because it scared them; it got a bit frightening there toward the end.”
Kent said there had been numerous glitches to work out, including a malfunctioning Internet connection that made it difficult to order books and problems with the credit-card machine, but that things are looking up. The new store boasts all kinds of physical improvements over the last one, from a hardwood-style floor to custom beechwood bookcases to newly exposed windows, she said.
“The transformation is amazing,” she said, “but it was an awful lot of work.”
The store will have a grand opening in September, but for the summer it’ll be open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A short jaunt down Essex Street takes you to another business that’s encountering change, The Old Spot pub, on the corner of Essex Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. Owners Brenden Crocker and his wife, Milissa Oraibi, recently announced they’d be closing the business at the end of this month, citing issues with their landlord. It opened in 2006.