The Economic Pulse: Spotlight on Salem, Massachusetts 

September 22, 2021 12:45 pm

The North Shore Alliance, or the “Alliance,” prides itself on supporting economic development initiatives across the 30 communities and four Gateway Cities of the North Shore of Massachusetts. Each month we will be taking a look at some of these communities, where they stand economically, and highlight commercial development sites that may be of interest to our readers. 

This month we will be examining the “City of Peace” most known for the infamous Witch Trials of 1692 – Salem, Massachusetts. In order to take the pulse of this small-city in Essex County, we will delve into the local economic tools available. 


A Little About Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts may be most well-known for the Witch Trials in the late 1600s, but they also have a myriad of other claims-to-fame including being a bustling commercial hub of the North Shore, being the birthplace of the National Guard, world-famous museums, a wide variety of culturally unique restaurants and shops, and a maritime history that can be explore all along the waterfront. 

Just sixteen miles from Boston and a 30 minute train ride from North Station, Salem is uniquely located to be a busy city unto itself, or a launching point for businesses looking to start or expand in the Greater Boston area. 

Many consider Salem to be the jewel of Massachusetts’ vibrant North Shore, and businesses here benefit from its rich mix of history, culture and natural serenity. What makes Salem especially charming and enticing to businesses is that it is a pedestrian-friendly city that encourages off-street traffic for growing businesses.

Economic Development 

Of particular importance to existing and prospective Salem business owners are the many opportunities for business development and guidance. The City of Salem’s Department of Planning and Community Development, Salem Chamber of Commerce, Salem Main Streets, Enterprise Center at Salem State University, and SBA Small Business Development Center offer excellent counseling programs and guidance to get your entrepreneurial ideas launched!

Let’s take a look at the focus of these groups and how they can help the economy of this area recover and thrive after the pandemic shutdowns and struggles of the last year and a half. 

Department of Planning and Community Development 

The Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) is responsible for a wide range of activities and duties, including economic development, land use planning, housing policy, transportation projects, historic preservation, open space conservation programs, and neighborhood improvement efforts. 

Salem Main Streets 

If you’re looking for a guide to the businesses and attractions in downtown Salem or the adjacent neighborhoods, this is the place to visit. 

Founded in 2001, Salem Main Streets (SMS) produces and supports numerous community events and initiatives throughout the year, including the Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem Arts Festival, Salem’s So Sweet, and the October Information booth. SMS operates thanks to the generosity and partnership of the City of Salem and Mayor Kimberly Driscoll, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and many other local business sponsors and community volunteers.” 

Enterprise Center at Salem State University

Located on the campus of Salem State University, the Enterprise Center is a business resource center for entrepreneurs and small business owners across the North Shore. This educational and entrepreneurial hub offers business owners office space, education, and access and connections to small business resources.

SBA Development Center – North Shore 

The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center is committed to helping small and medium-sized businesses thrive in Massachusetts. They provide business assistance that is free, confidential, and one-to-one as well as free or low-cost educational training programs to prospective and existing small businesses.

For more information regarding Salem and its current revitalization and recovery after Covid, check out the City of Salem website for updates and resources. 


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