Empty Storefronts in Salem - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Empty Storefronts in Salem

Posted: Updated:

Drive up Main Street in Salem and you'll notice several stores and shops that have shut down, sitting empty as they wait for a new business to move in.

"Every city goes through its ups and downs with storefronts and businesses," says Salem's director of planning and development, Melinda Payne. "We've had some small businesses that have come and gone, such as a bike shop and some other little stores."

Regina Hyer and Barbara Croy own Antiques by the Market, and say having an empty storefront next door has taken a hit on their business.

"I think they foot traffic has definitely been affected by all of the closings," Hyer says. "There have been several stores that have closed. And it's affected us, it really has."

While much of the vacant property is not actually owned by the city, Payne says Salem is doing everything they can to help fill the empty space.

"We'll get an inkling that someone's looking to come to Salem. We'll call and say 'What can we do to help you?'" Payne says. "That's our role, to try to see what we can do to make it final."

The city says it's not just working to help new businesses move into the vacant locations, it's also working to help businesses that are already in the area.

"We have an ongoing relationship with our businesses," Payne says. "They know we're here for them and if they have a problem that can't be resolved or an issue, they come to us," making it easy for long-time businesses to say in business year after year.

"Salem is a unique little community," Payne says. "We have a hometown feel. That's what really drives the businesses here: we make people feel at home."