To the editor
Just got through reading Virginia Buckingham’s column, “Bringing Back a Bookstore,” and I could not agree more about the void that Spirit of ’76 left in our community by closing. It cut right to the core and spirit of Marblehead.
Marblehead has been faced with years and years of small businesses opening up and closing their doors, almost to the point now where our streets are lined with real estate offices and the dentist office that occupies our former bookstore. Yes, a bookstore sounds like a touching new option for someone to open, but it’s rough out there. Never mind the challenges of the internet, but Marblehead needs to re-define itself as a destination in terms of a total experience. Throughout the greater North Shore, it is not known as a place to go for a total shopping experience.
The Massachusetts Express Grant Program is designed to provide small-to-medium size businesses the tools they need not just to survive, but succeed. It would certainly make a lot of sense if several of the small businesses would consider taking full advantage of this opportunity. To take it to another level, I would imagine the Express Grant Program could help design a strategy to help the town of Marblehead.
By the way, the Spirit of ’76 formerly operated stores in Swampscott, Andover, Newburyport and Marblehead — now only in Andover.
If a store is going to survive, my opinion is it has a much better chance if all the stores are strong. Cross-pollination is critical. Shop owners need to pull their resources together to give people a reason to shop in Marblehead.
Robert M. Brown