Salem Main Streets: Revitalizing the Downtown District 

October 6, 2021 7:03 am

The first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about Salem, Massachusetts is probably the historic period known as the Witch Trials of 1692. Or, maybe Salem conjures up thoughts of the month of October and Halloween. 

Salem is so much more than these two things however, and is the perfect place to visit, live, and work. Salem Main Streets is one program that has been helping the downtown district experience vitality for tourists, businesses, and families year round. 

In a recent North Shore Conversations radio broadcast on 104.9FM, the North Shore Alliance had an opportunity to chat with Kylie Sullivan, the Executive Director of Salem Main Streets to hear about the ways that this program works to better the Salem downtown area as well as where they stand right now after more than a year and a half of covid protocols. 


Salem Main Streets


What is the Mission of  Salem Main Streets?

Salem Main Streets is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2001 by the City of Salem and a coalition of downtown businesses and area residents, and is modeled on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Main Street Program.

In our interview, Kylie Sullivan explained the main mission of the organization is multifold. First, the group supports Salem downtown businesses through direct assistance. This could be in the form of helping businesses with resources or any special needs they may have including running programs that highlight and revitalize the downtown area. They also serve as a liaison between businesses to collaborate on events and programs throughout the year. 

Being a liaison between businesses could mean putting a downtown business in touch with the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, or the Creative Collective, all of who drive the revitalization of Salem, Massachusetts.

Additionally, Salem Main Streets holds events throughout the year including the Salem Farmers Market in Derby Square, the Salem Arts Festival, the wintertime Salem’s So Sweet events, the Ice Scream Bowl, and Holiday Happenings, just to name a few. The organization also runs an information booth during the month of October to help answer questions from the millions of tourists who flood the city during the Halloween season.

The program is led by Executive Director Kylie Sullivan, who also makes it the mission to reach out to residents to get them more engaged in their downtown area. Sullivan also notes that the program is constantly adjusting to what the downtown businesses need, including support during the peak of covid last year. 

Image Photo credit: Social Palates

Salem Arts Festival

How You Can Get Involved 

Sullivan is modest when she talks about the years of hard work she has put in at Salem Main Streets, but she is basically a woman who wears many hats and juggles lots of programs at once. 

She talked extensively during our conversation about the hard work put in by the more than 250 volunteers who run the Farmers Market, organize the Arts Festival, man the information booth and do all the little things around the downtown area that make it such a special place to live, work, and visit. 

If you are looking to get involved in this amazing program, you can help out through volunteering your time, via corporate or individual sponsorships, or just by spreading the word about all that there is to do in downtown Salem. 


Featured Image Credit: North Shore Magazine

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