SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

April 2, 2014

Our view: Local businesses thrive, even as institutions pass from the scene

It has been a rough few weeks for those of us who enjoy spending our money at locally run small businesses and who appreciate the sense of continuity and history long-running establishments bring to a neighborhood. But there is still much to celebrate in the local business community.

First, the sad news.

Last month, Frank and Ted Monroe announced they will close Derby Square Book Store in Salem after 39 years.

Customers from all over visited the Essex Street store to marvel at its wide, moderately priced selection and to wonder at how the teetering stacks of more than 10,000 books seemed to defy the laws of physics by staying upright.

“It’s living Jenga,” Salem State University student and Derby Square Book Store fan Kathy Farias told reporter Tom Dalton.

The eclectic inventory included everything from George Eliot’s “Adam Bede” to E.L. James’s “Fifty Shades Darker” to Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father.”

In Beverly, Cabot Street Cinema’s owners recently decided to stop showing films at the historic theater, which has been up for sale for almost a year.

The theater had been showing movies since it opened on Dec. 20, 1920, with the silent film “Behold My Wife,” starring Mabel Julienne Scott, Milton Sills and Winter Hall.

On its opening night, the Beverly Times labeled it “Beverly’s palatial new playhouse,” calling it “the finest theater of its size east of New York.”

The 2012 closing of the Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Show, however, spelled the end of the Cabot as we know it, as the income from the movies was used to help keep the show running.

Now, owner David Bull said, “It’s strange to be in town and not have the marquee lit up.”

Meanwhile, over in Hamilton, Robert McRae, owner of Mac’s Shoe Repair, is closing his shop after 64 years.

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