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  • Collegian staff

Five small businesses within walking distance from Willamette

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Jesse Buck

Lifestyles editor

In light of recent restrictions due to COVID-19, many independent and small businesses are facing an uncertain future. According to Forbes, over 100,000 small businesses have closed since the beginning of the pandemic. Small businesses make up a significant portion of Salem’s own downtown economy, a short walk away from Willamette’s campus. There are a multitude of benefits that come from shopping locally. Small businesses support the city’s economy by making more local purchases and set up shop in places that do not contribute to sprawl, congestion and habitat loss which reduces their environmental impact, while donating more per sales dollar to local nonprofits and community groups than chains (Sustainable Connections), and add unique character and distinction to the community as well. For students in Salem interested in supporting local businesses, here is a list of five small businesses just a short distance away.

1. Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails

Epilogue is a Black-owned business located at 130 High St SE. Co-owner Jonathan Jones describes the food style as inspired by “Black culture around the Mason-Dixon and Philadelphia. It is country food, it is comfort food, it's food from the working class, and our goal is to show that that doesn't just mean a burger and fries"(Statesman Journal). Business owners Jones and Maura Ryan have been vocally involved in local Black Lives Matter protests and often use their restaurant as a platform for conversations about race and social injustice, such as spearheading the Plates not Hate event, where restaurants gave out free meals to encourage social action and spread radical love (Statesman Journal). Epilogue Kitchen and Cocktails is open for takeout on Friday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m..

2. Tony’s Taco Shop

A Mexican restaurant located on 1412 Capitol St NE, Tony’s Taco Shop is open for takeout and delivery. The establishment also operates a drive-thru option and is available on UberEats with a 99 cent delivery fee. Open from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tony’s provides an expansive menu of fairly inexpensive Mexican food, perfect for a night in.

3. Art Department

If a student is in need of art supplies, look no further than the independent, women-owned art supply store Art Department. Located on 254 Commercial St NE, Art Department hosts events and offers art classes and workshops as well as selling quality brands. Their team is composed of artists who are able to help customers with their needs (Art Department LLC). Art Department is open from Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

4. Cooke Stationery Company

On a similar note, students searching for school supplies may be inclined to check out Cooke Stationery Company. They are an independent office supply dealer that has been in operation in Salem since 1935, selling products such as pens, paper, binders and cards (Cooke Stationery Company). They are located on 370 State St and are open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

5. The Book Bin

The Book Bin is a popular location in downtown Salem for that cozy bookstore feel. While in-store browsing is only open to five customers at a time, they are open daily from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. and offer free home delivery and curbside pickup options (The Book Bin). An additional benefit to this location is the presence of a store cat, Rose. The Book Bin provides a great place for students to pick up a new read, with both new and used books represented among the shelves.

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