Ode to Salem Businesses Past


I was so absorbed in marking down my sandwich order that at first I didn’t understand the employee who spoke to me from behind the Cascade Baking Company counter.

“What?” I asked as I looked up at her for the first time, noting her nose piercings, tattoos and burgundy hair.

“I miss Cherry Redd,” she repeated. “That place was awesome.”

I looked back blankly for a second, then glanced down at my black t-shirt, its circular logo with cherries in place of the two d’s in “Redd,” a memento I’d picked up before the downtown boutique closed several years ago.

I smiled and nodded. “Yeah, I miss it, too. I was sad when it closed.”

“It was so cool to have a place like that in Salem,” she added.

We exchanged knowing glances, appreciating each other anew. We’d been around long enough to remember what once was — the formerly cool things in Salem that no longer existed. It was a deeper level of connection, one that can only be shared by those who have lived here a while, who have long appreciated the greatness of this place, who know that a Subway restaurant wasn’t always a Subway restaurant, that it used to house leopard print and vintage dresses and fishnet stockings and hair flowers.

I’d planned to duck into the bakery, order a sandwich, and slink out, but after our exchange, I took a few minutes to ask the woman about the ready-made breads on the shelf, to get her opinions on her favorites. Before I left, I gave her another smile and wave.

Thank you, Salem businesses. You connect us while you’re here, but your legacy lingers long after you’ve shut your doors.

What’s your favorite Salem business that is no more? Tell us in the comments.

Salem Is editor Sarah Evans is forever indebted to Cherry Redd for introducing her to her favorite vintage-style dressmaker, Heartbreaker Fashion (now Heart of Haute).